Art for episode 1230

1230: Avocado Cartel

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 16m
April 2nd, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and lower Slobbovia, Cirina Catania, Jeffrey Sackett, Fawaz Al-Duaij, Dude Named Sven, Sir JD- Baron of Si Con Val

Associate Executive Producers: Sir 305, Clayton Usher, Tristan "Onion" Martens, Daniel Mariano, Jason Zeisler

Cover Artist: Mountain Jay

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
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Immunized money for bailout
Reverse repos. Fed sells treasuries and receives cash
today against a promise to buy treasuries pay cash on a later date, usually
within 6mths. Net impact of this is the market lending the Fed money
because the treasury price is fixed, so there is no market risk (treasury
price).
The market lending the fed money offsets the cash the Fed
provides to buy all those other securities they are now buying to support
mortgages, commercial paper, etc.
Kung Flu
Advertising and News
Covid-19 Celebrity Scientist Scoreboard
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:29
(stats update on refresh)
Michael Osterholm Prediction: 480,000 Dead Worldwide"We conservatively estimate that this could require 48 million hospitalizations, 96 million cases actually occurring. Over 480,000 deaths."
--Joe Rogan, Episode 1439
Neil Furguson Prediction: 2.2 million dead in U.S."In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality."
--Study - Imperial College London, 3/16/2020
Michael Saag Prediction:14 million hospitalized in U.S.s"He believes the projections that show 70 to 120 million Americans will become infected. An estimated 20% of those, mostly older people, will need additional medical care. At the low end, that's 14 million people who could require hospitalization."
--WBHM Interview, 3/18/2020
Anthony Fauci Prediction:100,000 to 200,000 dead in U.S.Dr. Anthony Fauci said based on modeling of the current pace of the coronavirus' spread in the U.S., "between 100,000 and 200,000" people may die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
--CNN - State of the Union, 3/29/2020
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Prediction:83,967 dead in U.S.Nationwide, a total of 83,967 COVID-19 deaths (range of 36,614 to 152,582) are currently projected to occur through the epidemic's first wave. These estimates align with yesterday's projections, though the average is slightly higher due to state-level death updates since March 30. These estimates assume that currently enacted social distancing policies remain in place and also that social distances measures are introduced within seven days from today in states that have not already adopted them.
--IHME Updates Blog, 3/31/2020
Can The News Industry Survive Coronavirus? | Vanity Fair
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:33
As Americans are turning in large numbers to media outlets for coronavirus coverage, the industry itself is struggling to stay afloat. ''The Coronavirus Is Killing Local News,'' read an Atlantic headline last week, while BuzzFeed dubbed the pandemic a ''media extinction event.'' Alternative weeklies, local dailies, and digital-only newsrooms are struggling with the current advertising free fall, compounding the long-running issue of advertising revenue migrating to big tech platforms like Facebook and Google. BuzzFeed announced last week it would cut pay for its employees through May in an attempt to avoid layoffs, while newspaper giant Gannett, which owns papers such as USA Today, the Des Moines Register, and Arizona Republic, told staff Monday that furloughs and pay cuts were coming. The Tampa Bay Times is also furloughing some staff and announced Monday that it cut print production to only Sundays and Wednesdays. ''These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,'' said Tampa Bay Times chairman Paul Tash.
There's no cure-all to fix the news business, but Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan has proposed directing stimulus money to help support it at this especially precarious moment. ''News-industry experts have been predicting for years that a recession of severe economic downturn would deliver a death blow to these already troubled businesses,'' Sullivan writes. ''And now a public health crisis has come along to threaten exactly that.'' One idea, proposed last week by Craig Aaron, president and co-CEO of Free Press, argued for a stimulus package that would double federal funds for public media, provide direct support to fund local news coverage, and seed a ''First Amendment Fund'' to support new positions and approaches to newsgathering. Among other steps to support local news, the Atlantic echoed the idea of federal support, proposing that the government ''funnel $500 million in spending for public-health ads through local media'' as part of its future stimulus plans.
Meanwhile, Ben Smith seems to want to rip the band-aid off. In his latest New York Times media column, Smith calls for ''a painful but necessary shift'' for saving the news business: look to the future. ''Abandon most for-profit local newspapers, whose business model no longer works, and move as fast as possible to a national network of nimble new online newsrooms,'' Smith writes, arguing that getting through this crisis requires confronting the reality that ''the revenue from print advertising and aging print subscribers was already going away'' and ''when the crisis is over, it is unlikely to come back.'' A large part of the stimulus money that some have advocated for could, Smith warns, go to already-doomed newspaper chains. He instead suggests building new institutions to support local journalists in the form of a new network of nonprofit organizations, citing the Texas Tribune as a promising model of this kind, and small businesses like subscription sites and newsletters.
The New York Times, which now boasts more than 5 million paid subscribers, has only grown in recent years as the newspaper industry contracted'--a problem Smith identified in his first Times column earlier this month. In looking at the impact of coronavirus, the New Yorker's Michael Luo revisits the Times decision more than a decade ago to install a paywall, and how that move helped lead to its financial stability today. Luo notes that the Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New Yorker are among the publications that have recently lowered their paywalls for parts of their coronavirus coverage, writing that an independent press keeps citizens informed and defends against ''rumors, half-truths, and propaganda that are rife on digital platforms.'' While these publishers may lose some revenue as the crisis plays out, they've also built solid subscription bases to help counter advertising downturns.
Still, some good news for local news came Monday, as Facebook announced it would invest $100 million to support the business during the coronavirus pandemic, with $25 million in emergency grants going to local news outlets and $75 million more for marketing to help those struggling to survive the current decline in advertising. As the Times reports, this money comes in addition to the $300 million that Facebook already committed to local news by the end of 2021. ''If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they're getting it now,'' said Campbell Brown, the former NBC News journalist who now serves as Facebook's VP of Global News Partnerships. ''And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we're in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.''
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
'-- Trump Awakens to the COVID-19 Danger'-- Could Wall Street's Coronavirus Tsunami Get Worse?'-- Jared Kushner Told Trump the Coronavirus Was Fake News'-- Tucker Carlson on How He Brought His Coronavirus Message to Mar-a-Lago'-- The 12 Most Insane Moments From Trump's National Emergency Presser'-- How a QAnon Coronavirus Conspiracy About Oprah Went Viral'-- From the Archive: Inside the Week of Hurricane Katrina, Revealing the Foolishness, Fear, and Politics That Turned a Natural Disaster Into a Man-Made Catastrophe
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An update on our continuity strategy during COVID-19
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:18
Updated March 27, 2020
As the entire world faces an unprecedented public health emergency, we want to be open about the challenges we are facing and the contingency measures we're putting in place to serve the public conversation at this critical time. We are regularly working with and looking to trusted partners, including public health authorities, organizations, and governments to inform our approach.
We will keep three blog posts updated on a rolling basis and encourage everyone to consult with them regularly for updates:
Our contingency strategy to protect the conversation (here) Our working guidance to our employees and partners to keep them safe Our partnerships and public engagement strategies Steps we're taking
As we continue to provide guidance to our employees that they must work from home to support self-distancing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, we also need to operationally pivot our core efforts to keep people safe on Twitter.
Starting this week and in place during this outbreak, we'll be making the below changes to our policy enforcement approach:
Increasing our use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content. We want to be clear: while we work to ensure our systems are consistent, they can sometimes lack the context that our teams bring, and this may result in us making mistakes. As a result, we will not permanently suspend any accounts based solely on our automated enforcement systems. Instead, we will continue to look for opportunities to build in human review checks where they will be most impactful. We appreciate your patience as we work to get it right '' this is a necessary step to scale our work to protect the conversation on Twitter.
Keeping the service running and the Tweets flowing is one of our top priorities in these difficult times. Our work has never been more critical and our service has never been in higher demand. In the past few weeks, we have seen more and more people turn to Twitter to participate in the public conversation and follow what's happening in real time.
The global conversation about COVID-19 and ongoing product improvements are driving up total monetizable DAU (mDAU), with quarter-to-date average total mDAU reaching approximately 164 million, up 23% from 134 million in Q1 2019 and up 8% from 152 million in Q4 2019. We've also seen a 45% increase in our curated events page usage and a 30% increase in Direct Message (DM) usage since March 6. While many of our teams are transitioning to working from home, some of our infrastructure teams have physical responsibilities that are critical to keeping our data centers, and Twitter, up and running. These teams are operating under the ''essential services'' provisions dedicated in City, County and State orders to ensure business continuity. We couldn't keep the Tweets flowing without their daily dedication and hard work.
The combination of the new work environment and the increased load on our platform has placed unique stresses on our operations, requiring our engineering teams to work more closely together than ever to respond to new demands, and to plan for the future. From our IT, Network and Product Engineering teams to our infrastructure and data center teams, we have collectively mobilized to ensure we are able to stay safe and productive under the stress of the new levels of traffic we're seeing on our service.
The effects of COVID-19 on Twitter have already surpassed any event we've seen, and it's possible that as the pandemic continues, we will see additional stress on our service. Beyond Twitter, COVID-19 has also had a far-sweeping impact on our supply chain partners. Whereas normally we'd have months of lead time to add hardware capacity for expected growth, in this case, manufacturing delays in China have compromised the supply chain, resulting in delays in deliveries to our data centers. Our Data Center, SiteOps, Supply Chain, Hardware Engineering and Mission Critical teams continue to manage the physical infrastructure that underlies the service -- expertly innovating to unlock additional capacity in existing supply.
Our teams are actively addressing areas where we need to add capacity to critical services, looking at how we can optimize existing technology to be more performant, and planning for how we might adjust to the way people are using Twitter during this time.
It's critical for Twitter to stay up and running through this global crisis. Our teams are focused, and as we make changes to our systems to meet these new demands, we will communicate openly. We will share what we've done, what we've learned, and if we see incidents, what we will do to recover as quickly as possible. Follow @TwitterEng to stay up to date.
Broadening our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. Rather than reports, we will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments, and continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content. Under this new guidance, we will require people to remove tweets that include:
Denial of global or local health authority recommendations to decrease someone's likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 with the intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance, such as: ''social distancing is not effective'', or actively encouraging people to not socially distance themselves in areas known to be impacted by COVID-19. Description of treatments or protective measures which are not immediately harmful but are known to be ineffective, are not applicable to the COVID-19 context, or are being shared with the intent to mislead others, even if made in jest, such as ''coronavirus is not heat-resistant - walking outside is enough to disinfect you'' or ''use aromatherapy and essential oils to prevent COVID-19.'' Description of harmful treatments or protection measures which are known to be ineffective, do not apply to COVID-19, or are being shared out of context to mislead people, even if made in jest, such as ''drinking bleach and ingesting colloidal silver will cure COVID-19.'' Denial of established scientific facts about transmission during the incubation period or transmission guidance from global and local health authorities, such as ''COVID-19 does not infect children because we haven't seen any cases of children being sick.'' Specific claims around COVID-19 information that intends to manipulate people into certain behavior for the gain of a third party with a call to action within the claim, such as ''coronavirus is a fraud and not real - go out and patronize your local bar!!'' or ''the news about washing your hands is propaganda for soap companies, stop washing your hands'' or ''ignore news about COVID-19, it's just an attempt to destroy capitalism by crashing the stock market.'' Specific and unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder, such as ''The National Guard just announced that no more shipments of food will be arriving for 2 months - run to the grocery store ASAP and buy everything!'' Specific and unverified claims made by people impersonating a government or health official or organization such as a parody account of an Italian health official stating that the country's quarantine is over. Propagating false or misleading information around COVID-19 diagnostic criteria or procedures such as ''if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, you do not have coronavirus.'' False or misleading claims on how to differentiate between COVID-19 and a different disease, and if that information attempts to definitively diagnose someone, such as ''if you have a wet cough, it's not coronavirus - but a dry cough is'' or ''you'll feel like you're drowning in snot if you have coronavirus - it's not a normal runny nose.'' Claims that specific groups, nationalities are never susceptible to COVID-19, such as ''people with dark skin are immune to COVID-19 due to melanin production'' or ''reading the Quran will make an individual immune to COVID-19.'' Claims that specific groups, nationalities are more susceptible to COVID-19, such as ''avoid businesses owned by Chinese people as they are more likely to have COVID-19.'' Building systems that enable our team to continue to enforce our rules remotely around the world. We're also increasing our employee assistance and wellness support for everyone involved in this critical work, and ensuring people's privacy and security stay a top priority.
Instituting a global content severity triage system so we are prioritizing the potential rule violations that present the biggest risk of harm and reducing the burden on people to report them.
Executing daily quality assurance checks on our content enforcement processes to ensure we're agile in responding to this rapidly evolving, global disease outbreak.
Engaging with our partners around the world to ensure escalation paths remain open and urgent cases can be brought to our attention.
Continuing to review the Twitter Rules in the context of COVID-19 and considering ways in which they may need to evolve to account for new behaviors.
As we've said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That's particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we're sharing updates here on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we're enforcing them.
Finally, we're encouraged that our service is being used around the world to provide free, authoritative health information, and to ensure that everyone has access to the conversations they need to protect themselves and their families. For more, our dedicated COVID-19 Event page has the latest facts right at the top of your timeline, and we'll continue to share updates @TwitterSafety and @TwitterSupport.
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Can the Coronavirus Prompt a Change to Brand Safety Tactics? '' Adweek
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:40
Publishers urge more ingenuity over keyword blacklisting as the pandemic impacts revenueOpinions vary on just how much keyword blacklisting is leading to the current slump in CPMs.
Sources: Getty Images
The coronavirus pandemic is upending economies, sparking arguably the biggest work-from-home migration in history. And as the global calamity unfolds, audiences are naturally turning to trusted online news sources.
Normally, large audiences generating record amounts of clicks is good for publisher finances, but the unpredictable nature of events plus a convoluted series of circumstances means that in many cases, the math doesn't add up.
Publisher sources claim marketers' brand safety concerns are leading media buyers to employ obtuse keyword blacklisting around coronavirus-related content'--potentially the defining news event of the 2020s.
In the current climate, this caution creates difficulty for publishers to monetize its most popular content with programmatic buys, further compounding a widespread freeze on advertiser spend.
''Brands are obviously cautious about their messaging showing up next to content that could be perceived poorly by the consumer,'' said Amanda Martin, vp of enterprise partnerships, at independent media agency Goodway Group. ''Obviously, brands don't want to be aligned with some of the unfortunate negative consequences of this pandemic, and so many try to avoid 'coronavirus' [as a keyword].''
Publishers and keyword cautionContent verification tools from companies such as DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Oracle's Grapeshot (part of Moat) have made efforts to categorize content, but they're still feeling the financial impact of keyword blacklisting.
The ongoing coronavirus crisis is highlighting the issue, according to ad ops professionals from premium news outlets, many of whom spoke to Adweek in anonymity for candor.
''You have a lot of these 'purpose-driven' marketers tweeting about their brand purpose and pulling money from publishers while at the same time saying they want this [coronavirus] coverage to be free and accessible,'' one source said.
Brand safety, and associated blacklisting keywords, arise in any challenging news cycle, The Atlantic's CRO and publisher Hayley Romer said.
But brands, so far, seem to be focused on ''the greater common good'' and are communicating that'--either through their own social feeds, or owned media properties'--and not necessarily advertising around it.
''There's no question advertising as we're used to it is being impacted and there's no question that our advertising business will be impacted'--and extremely so'--by what's happening without a doubt,'' Romer said, adding that it was too early to tell just what kind of impact it will have.
''Keyword blocking using blunt tools has taken blacklisting too far,'' said Brendan Spain, vp of ads at The Financial Times, who summed up the hardship this poses for publishers. ''This means that news content on sites with information that people that really need to know about can struggle to get funding.''
The difficulties with brand safety and automation Several instances of ads being blocked by content verification providers on the homepage of titles such as The Wall Street Journal have caused social media spats among ad-tech industry observers recently.
Eager to deflect such criticisms, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science each published blog posts clarifying their content classification methodologies as the coronavirus news cycle gathered pace.
DoubleVerify COO Matt McLaughlin told Adweek some of the difficulties when a publisher's ad request comes up against a blocked keyword. ''Our first choice in those scenarios is always to send that ad opportunity back to the publisher for monetization because it could be a perfectly balanced opportunity for another advertiser,'' he said.
However, in a programmatic environment, providers aren't necessarily aware of exactly what type of article an ad will be served against. Add in how triggering another ad call can result in a lag in page-load time and devalue the user experience, and it's not hard to see why people are looking for transparency.
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As Coronavirus Squeezes the Ad Industry, Local Publishers Are Feeling the Pain '' Adweek
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:33
Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs in recent years, with the biggest blows dealt at the local level. As other businesses recovered after the 2008 financial crisis, they took their digital ad dollars to Facebook and Google instead of publishers' websites and news pages. Local news organizations still haven't found their footing.
Now, news organizations, as all industries, face a new economic threat. But this time, local publishers are without the last leg they had to stand on in advertising dollars from local businesses now forced close to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Gannett, among the largest local newspaper owners in the country, announced today that it would not pay workers making more than $38,000 for one week per month through June; The Tampa Bay Times is reducing its print schedule to two days per week while its newsroom continues to aggressively cover the virus; and alt-weekly owners with publications in multiple cities, like Euclid Media Group, have had to lay off huge chunks of their staff.
''The industry was in a weak financial position before COVID-19,'' said News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern. And then whole advertising categories'--like travel, local restaurants and local theater ''completely disappeared,'' he added. ''This is not advertising that necessarily national publishers get. It's what still sustains local news publishing.''
This is now the fourth week of the coronavirus squeezing the U.S., and publications at the local level'--alt-weeklies and newspapers'--are starting to feel it. These are the business models on the front lines of tragedy.
''This was a natural disaster to the economy, but nobody knows when the recovery will start. I can't think of any analogy like that.''
News Media Alliance President & CEO David Chavern
Overall employment in U.S. newsrooms decreased by about 25% between 2008 and 2018, according to Pew Research . Local newspapers saw the greatest decline in that period with a 47% decrease in jobs.
''Before this public health crisis, most local news organizations were struggling with the massive disruption to their business models resulting from digital transformation. Now, a number of these local news organizations'--both legacy ones and digital startups alike'--are in even greater peril, with advertising and events revenue plummeting because of the coronavirus crisis,'' said Tim Franklin, senior associate dean and professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
This crisis has led to a surge in traffic to many publishers' websites, but without a real pathway to monetize that traffic.
Despite this, some local news organizations like The Seattle Times, The Tampa Bay Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Chicago Tribune are seeing an uptick in digital subscriptions, according to an analysis by the Local News Initiative, an effort to ''reinvent the relationship between news organizations and audiences'' led by Franklin at the university.
But bumps in digital subscribers, Chavern said, are not making up for the losses in ad revenue, which local publishers are forecasting to decrease by 30% to 50% this quarter.
''We're going to have to do two things: We need to figure out how to get our way through this COVID-19 crisis, and then we need to relook at how we rebuild a business model for the long term,'' he said.
Cleveland Scene, an alt-weekly with news coverage that competes with the Advance Publications-owned publication in town, The Plain Dealer, generates 75% of its advertising from places where people gather, like music venues and restaurants.
Ohio's aggressive move to ban large gatherings cut off the outlet's advertising pipeline, putting a chokehold on its events business. For example, it was just days away from a brunch tasting with 30 local restaurant partners, selling more than 800 tickets, when the coronavirus swept in. Cleveland Scene had to postpone the event and give refunds to ticket holders, and has stopped printing with its newsroom now down to just three journalists, after its parent company had to (hopefully) temporarily lay off about 70% of staff among its alt-weeklies in five states.
IAB Postpones NewFronts for Almost 2 Months '' Adweek
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:32
Annual event moves from late April to week of June 22NewFronts presentations like Verzion Media's, which had already shifted to digital only, now won't be held until June.
IAB
Three weeks after shifting this year's Digital Content NewFronts to a virtual event in light of the novel coronavirus, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is now postponing the entire annual event for nearly two months.
The NewFronts, which had been slated to take place April 27-May 6, have been moved to the week of June 22, the IAB said today in a blog post.
The delay comes a week after buyers indicated to Adweek that they would likely not be able to conduct upfront negotiations in the usual late spring/summer time frame as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the industry.
''Moving the NewFronts will give publishers time to be creative, fine tune their messages and do their best work. The goal at IAB, as always, is to help publishers showcase their work in the best way possible, and to be a connector for the industry,'' the IAB said in the blog post. ''This will be a 'new NewFronts' in every way you can imagine.''
The IAB said it is still planning for a streamed event, and will be meeting with the presenters to discuss the schedule and other matters related to the postponement. More updates will be shared in the coming weeks.
''The NewFronts have always been about realizing our collective potential, not looking through the lens of the past. In that spirit, we're having extensive conversations with both buyers and presenters about how to leverage this year's unique challenges to create something that's not just, 'OK, all things considered,' but really and truly better,'' said IAB president David Cohen in a statement. ''Our goal is to create a dynamic marketplace that connects buyers and sellers in a way that allows ample time for development, a robust platform for delivery and safety for all.''
As buyers have been increasingly doubtful that their clients will have their upfront budgets in place by May, the delay should give advertisers more time to prepare for long-term planning and buying.
''Best case scenario, if you're looking at a return to normalcy in four weeks or six weeks, nobody is going to be prepared to sit here and say, 'Yeah, I'm ready to talk about upfront budgets,''' one buyer, who requested to remain anonymous, told Adweek.
That means that ''we're not going to go to market until our clients are ready to go and comfortable with committing in advance,'' added another buyer.
Three weeks ago, as the coronavirus continued to spread, the IAB said it was preparing for a virtual NewFronts season and giving all presenters the option to produce fully streamed presentations without a live audience or create a show that would have an audience and also be streamed for remote viewers.
In the days following the IAB's announcement, several presenters, including YouTube, Twitter, Meredith, Digitas, Roku, Verizon Media and Hulu, said they would shift their NewFronts events to digital-only presentations. Vudu, meanwhile, opted to drop out of the event entirely.
The video streaming option will be available in future years to increase the audience of media buyers and planners who may be interested in purchasing ad inventory from participating companies and ''transform the NewFronts and upfronts into the 21st-century media and brand marketplace they were meant to be,'' the IAB said at the time.
Today's NewFronts shift means there are no upfront events on the calendar until broadcast upfront week. That week of presentations, which will be entirely digital after every major media company canceled their in-person events on March 12, is still set to kick off May 11.
''¨ Urgent Call for 1 Million Meditators on April 4/5 🏠🌍
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:20
URGENT CALLFOR 1 MILLION MEDITATORSTO LIBERATE AND RECLAIM OUR WORLD ON APRIL 4, 2020at precisely 10:45 pm ESTWHEN A CELESTIAL STARGATE OPENS! An open letter and cosmic invitation to spiritual leaders and influencers around the globe(links and instructions within content of letter, so please read in its entirety) On April 4, 2020 a tremendous Astrological Portal will open, through which humanity must UNITE AS ONE MIND, ONE CONSCIOUSNESS and by so doing take great strides in reclaiming our independence from the financial debt slave system instituted 700 years ago, dissolve the old world structures, erase the coronavirus and the fear surrounding it and end the 5G network and its deadly radiation (likely a major factor in what happened in Wuhan, China with reports now surfacing that as many as 3 million people may have died from radiation poisoning in that province).The power that we will have at our disposal on APRIL 4th is truly Astronomical in the most literal sense when the planets of Jupiter and Pluto come together in the sky that day! We intend to harness this powerful astrological alignment and creative a massive SHIFT for humanity in the most positive and harmonious direction possible, but this will require MASS PARTICIPATION and a joining of Hearts and Minds with singular focus and intention on a level that has not yet been reached on planet Earth!!!With all of this global chaos swirling around us, it is imperative that we the true Bearers of Light come together in a Global Meditation on April 4th and with profound heartfelt love Unite As One Million Points of Light who will anchor in the energies of Peace, Harmony, Abundance, Freedom, Healing and the most positive Ascension Timeline imaginable!No doubt most, if not all, who read this letter already believe in and promote the power of meditation as a tool for spiritual growth, healing and manifestation and that is commendable. You are now being asked to expand that power by reaching out to all who follow your social media pages and read your books or blogs and communicate that MASS MEDITATIONS on a GLOBAL SCALE need to become a Top Priority, beginning with the powerful Astrological Ascension Portal that will open April 4, 2020 when an unprecedented wave of light (5D gamma waves) will flood our planet. There are Legions of Light Beings that have entered our galaxy at this time to assist us in our ascension and help direct this high dimensional light our way on that momentous day.Whatever your personal view or belief about ascension/evolution might be at this juncture, we can all agree that it is beyond time for us to advance our consciousness as a collective for the upliftment and healing of all beings on Earth. The best possible way to do this is with MASS MEDITATION! The greater the numbers the grander the results!!We must harness our power collectively and come together in much larger numbers to meditate, more often, and especially on key strategic dates and times with a singular focus. This is the ONLY WAY we are going to evolve or ascend as a society and put an end to all this madness!GLOBAL MASS MEDITATIONS ARE THE KEY TO OUR LIBERATION AND THE QUANTUM LEAP WE ALL LONG FOR IN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS!IT IS TIME TO USE THE MAGIC KEY!!!For us to be successful in this endeavor, we must set aside our perceived differences, viewpoints, opinions, judgments of others or what we may or may not like about their personalities, and especially not allow certain words or phrases to ''trigger'' us in a negative way and prevent us from coming together, as these types of separations and divisions are what have been holding us back as a planet for so long!From this moment on, let us dispense with persons and personalities, names and labels, egos and personal agendas. Let us unite and focus solely on the end goal '' TO END THE SUFFERING.Following are the links and instructions to join the meditation, but we urge you to read the rest of this letter so that you can see why this Global Meditation is so important and for the proper stage to be set. We need to explain the meaning and true intention behind the words being used so no one misinterprets the information and fails to participate as a result. We need each and every one of you participating to ensure we have ONE MILLION ACTIVE MEDITATORS on April 4th!!!Please forward this letter to everyone in your sphere of influence to quickly spread the word far and wide around the globe! This information must be dispersed quickly so groups and individuals can begin making their plans to participate.******************************************************* A Mass Meditation called ''Ascension Timeline Meditation'' is being organized for April 4, 2020 at exactly 10:45 pm EST (eastern standard time U.S.) for 20 minutes and we need you to help us mobilize the greatest army of meditators this world has ever seen! *********************************************************
Together we will create MIRACLES by joining together as One Mind, One Heart at the precise moment of the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction which is 10:45 pm April 4th Eastern Standard Time (New York, United States), to anchor in these high vibrational energies and direct them using our Laser Focused Group Intention on the Liberation and Healing of humanity!Europe, Asia and Australia will already have April 5th at the moment of the activation, which will be:3:45 am BST in London,4:45 am CEST in Paris,4:45 am EET in Cairo,10:45 am CST in Taipei and Beijing,11:45 am JST in Tokyo and12:45 pm AEST in Sydney. You can check the time of the meditation for your time zone by clicking here:Time Conversion TableSo that our visualizations and intentions are cohesive, all meditators will be using the following instructions during the meditation (there is also a wealth of information on this blog concerning mankind's true history and what is being done on a galactic level to assist humanity): ASCENSION TIMELINE MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS
1. Use your own technique to bring you to a relaxed state of consciousness.2. State your intent to use this meditation as a tool to shift theplanet into the most optimal timeline and as a tool to completelyremove the coronavirus.3. Visualize a pillar of brilliant white Light emanating from the Cosmic Central Sun, then being distributed to Central Suns of all galaxies in this universe. Then visualize this light entering through the Galactic Central Sun, then going through our Galaxy, then entering our Solar System and going through all beings of Light inside our Solar System and then through all beings on planet Earth and also through your body to the center of the Earth.4. Visualize this Light transmuting all remaining coronavirus on Earth, disinfecting all infected areas on the planet, healing all patients, removing all fear associated with this epidemic and restoring stability. 5. Visualize the course of events on planet Earth shifting into the most positive timeline possible, shifting away from all epidemics, away from all wars, away from all global domination. Visualize white, pink, blue and golden Light healing all inequalities, erasing all poverty and bringing abundance to all humanity. Visualize a new grand cosmic cycle of the Age of Aquarius beginning, bringing pure Light, Love and Happiness to all beings on Earth.
Please encourage everyone in your groups to print out, write down or copy these instructions and save to a computer document ahead of time so that if they are unable to access the guided audio/video or lose internet connection they can still participate right on time as onecohesive unit.Let's DO THIS regardless of what time of day it falls in your time zone. It's only 20 MINUTES that can change the entire Destiny of Our Planet!The power for radical change and timeline shifts lies within us but it must be executed in force as a collective.
Ascension Timeline/End of Coronavirus Meditation April 4th/5th 2020 (VIDEO) Here is what is currently playing out on the world scene'...On the premise of the ''threat'' of the coronavirus, cities, provinces, and now entire countries are being locked down, borders are being closed, travel is being restricted or banned, schools and universities have been shut down, major events have been cancelled and tourist attractions temporarily closed and the National Guard has been deployed to an area north of Manhattan (New York) where even visits to elderly family members in nursing homes have been banned and there is talk of martial law being enforced soon in the U.S. The airline industry is already predicting it will lose $1.5 Billion this year due to global fears and travel restrictions.These events are unprecedented, and it is time to take MASSIVE ACTION to restore order in our world and reinstate our freedom!The good news is that the Light Forces currently assisting humanity have already initiated protocols to ease and eventually eliminate these threats but they need our help to accelerate the process.2020 is a power packed astrological year that will lead us into the much anticipated Age of Aquarius. Astrologers worldwide have predicted 2020 will be a ''defining year of the destiny of humanity'', a ''tipping point'' and a ''major redistribution of power.''This is largely because of the unprecedented astrological alignments including the extremely powerful Jupiter/Pluto conjunction beginning April 4th and the triple Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter conjunction to follow, which last occurred 700 years ago when the Templars created their prosperous debt-based financial and banking system which has led to the greatest enslavement of humankind and untold suffering. It is time to reverse all of that collateral damage and restore Abundance to all of our fellow humans!The corrupt elite and dark forces never cease in furthering their dark agendas, which is evidenced by the recent global coronavirus scare / potential false flag to mask their 5G weaponry and attempt at mandating bio-chipping vaccines and the further enslavement and eradication of mankind.We must be just as vigilant in our strategic efforts to completely counteract their unceasing attacks against humanity by spreading the word far and wide about this crucial Global Meditation on April 4th and finally break FREE from their False 3D Matrix and begin creating the 5th Dimensional World fueled by the Golden Age where Love, Freedom, Abundance, Peace and Perfect Health reign supreme!WE CAN ABSOLUTELY DO THIS WHEN ONE MILLION MINDS EXERT LASER FOCUS AT THE SAME MOMENT AND BECOME THE KUNG FU MASTERS OF OUR REALITY!Thoughts are packets of energy and when fueled by emotions, in this case LOVE, they have the power to manifest and create anything desired. When we meditate as a large group of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions, we create a Laser Like Energy Beam that in mere moments can cut through and dissolve stubborn structures (like the corrupt banking and corporate systems) that have been in place for hundreds or thousands of years!!!Yes we can actually collapse timeframes and alter the future if enough of us meditate at exactly the same moment! The power we hold collectively is unfathomable!!The minimum to reach critical mass and effect change on the planet is 144,000 meditators at a single moment in time focusing on the same outcome.But for what we wish to accomplish, we need many more than that which is why we are aiming for at least ONE MILLION MEDITATORS ON APRIL 4TH! We are counting on each of you to make this happen!!Some of you may know that in 1987 the Harmonic Convergence occurred where the goal was to amass large groups around the globe at sacred sites including Mt. Shasta, Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids for a total of 144,000 meditators. This event did have a major impact on human consciousness.But that was more than 30 years ago. The world situation has degenerated far worse than any of us could have imagined. So much greater effort is needed now.Let's shatter that record and come together on April 4th as ONE MILLION POINTS OF LIGHT and Quantum Leap to the BEST Timeline we can imagine for all of humanity!The new year will officially begin on the Equinox on March 19 in accordance with the natural cycles of time and the energies will build until April 4th when the greater energetic portal opens. We express heartfelt gratitude for your willingness to join us and spread the word about this Global Meditation on April 4th far and wide. Our future depends on it!We will keep you informed of upcoming Global Meditations that will be held on other key dates as the year progresses. You can also bookmark this website and join their mailing list for many other Mass Meditations being held including one on Spring Equinox March 19th, 2020:MARCH 19th SPRING EQUINOX MASS MEDITATIONTHE MOST POWERFUL TOOL WE HAVE FOR THE LIBERATION, UPLIFTMENT AND HEALING OF HUMANITY AND ALL LIFE ON THIS PLANET IS FOCUSED GROUP INTENTION THROUGH MASS MEDITATION.Let us use it to its fullest potential!!Signed,The Voice for the Liberation and Ascension of Humanity to 5D Earth Please use social icons or copy a link to this page to share on social media and invite your friends to join us in this daily meditation.Together we can make this information viral and create a huge positive impact!
WPP Implements Hiring Freeze, Cuts Awards and Postpones Salary Bumps Due to COVID-19 '' Adweek
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:16
Holding company predicts cost-cutting measures will save it nearly $1 billionWPP has taken a number of measures to "protect profitability."
WPP
WPP has implemented a number of cost-cutting measures in light of the spread of COVID-19.
The holding company said it is freezing new hires, reviewing freelance spend and stopping ''discretionary'' costs, which include travel, hotels and awards show payments. WPP is also postponing planned salary increases for 2020.
Members of WPP's executive committee, as well as its board, have committed to taking a 20% reduction in their salaries or fees for an initial period of three months.
According to WPP, it predicts these changes will generate savings to the tune of 700-800 million pounds sterling ($869-$993 million) this year.
Additionally, the company has chosen to immediately suspend its 950 million pounds ($1.2 billion) share buyback program, which is being funded by its recent sale of Kantar. WPP said it has completed 330 million pounds ($411 million) of the program since December of last year. The company is also suspending its 2019 final dividend, which was due to be proposed at its annual general meeting in June. Taken together, WPP said these two actions will save the company 1.1 billion pounds ($1.4 million).
The company also said it has identified savings in excess of 100 million pounds ($124 million) in ''property and IT capital expenditure'' against an initial 2020 budget of around 400 million pounds ($498 million).
''It is clear that the companies in the strongest financial position will be best placed to protect their people, serve their clients and benefit their shareholders during a period of great uncertainty, which is why we are taking the steps we are outlining today,'' WPP CEO Mark Read said in a statement. ''I am very proud of the response from our people, who are looking out for each other and going the extra mile for clients while demonstrating the creativity, collaboration and resilience that will be key to the enduring success of WPP.''
WPP has also withdrawn its guidance for 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus and will provide an update ''when appropriate.'' In its fourth quarter and full-year earnings call last month, the holding company predicted flat growth for 2020. In 2019, WPP's organic revenue declined 1.6% year-over-year.
The company said it has seen a ''range of different responses from clients globally'' this month. While media spend spend has ''largely remained committed, or diverted to alternative channels,'' WPP said it has seen an increasing volume of cancellations. Project and retained work has ''continued in most sectors,'' but activity has begun to decline.
''New business pitches continue where the process was already underway, albeit we have less certainty over our future pipeline,'' the company said in a statement. ''In some markets, we are seeing additional demand in our PR and specialist communications businesses.''
For the first two months of 2020, WPP said its organic revenue was down 0.6% compared to the same period the year prior. In the U.S., organic revenue declined 0.9%.
Corona Virus Notes
Important data points
Data Crumbs
Lethal "L" that spreads poorly, mainly water and waste
Safe "S" that spreads quickly with minor symptoms and inoculates against the ancient "L"
Birx Clip proves this
Bill Gates' Quantum Dot Digital Tattoo Implant to Track COVID-19 Vaccine Compliance | Saved Magazine
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 21:31
Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced on March 18, 2020 during a ''Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' session'' that he is working on a new, invisible ''quantum dot tattoo'' implant that will track who has been tested for COVID-19 and who has been vaccinated against it.
According to BioHackInfo.Com: ''The quantum-dot tattoos involve applying dissolvable sugar-based microneedles that contain a vaccine and fluorescent copper-based 'quantum dots' embedded inside biocompatible, micron-scale capsules. After the microneedles dissolve under the skin, they leave the encapsulated quantum dots whose patterns can be read to identify the vaccine that was administered.''
The Covid-19 vaccine is already under research and development and experts say it will likely be available in about 18 months. Will this mean forced vaccinations or perpetually ''sheltering in place'' for those who refuse the coronavirus vaccine? Gates is simultaneously working on the ID2020 Certification Mark, which according to pymnts.com utilizes ''immunization to serve as a platform for digital identity''. The Gates Foundation has also formed an alliance with Accenture, IDEO, Gavi, and the Rockefeller Foundation to make ID2020 a reality.
It was recently announced that Covid-19 has the ability to survive on cash for up to 10 days. How long before businesses shun paper money for fear of the virus and people demand a cashless society? According to New9.Com: ''A growing number of businesses and individuals worldwide have stopped using banknotes in fear that physical currency, handled by tens of thousands of people over its lifetime, could be a vector for the coronavirus''. In South Korea, the country's central bank went as far as taking cash out of circulation for two weeks, and even burned paper money in some cases. A draft of the upcoming economic stimulus bill also contained a provision that required creating a U.S. digital dollar, but was removed at the last minute. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has been pushing for the digital dollar, saying that it would ''allow everyone to set up a digital dollar wallet, called a 'FedAccount,' a free bank account that can be used to receive money, make payments, and take out cash.'' Will this eventually be tied into a ''mark'' or digital tattoo, let's say, that has the ability to not only track you with ID2020, confirm if you've been vaccinated, and also tie in the banking system all into one easy to implant, invisible, digital mark?
Bill Gates with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID and Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director.
MIT has been developing the quantum tattoo at Bill Gates' direction and funding. MIT researchers have ''found a covert way to embed the record of a vaccination directly in a patient's skin rather than documenting it electronically or on paper '-- and their low-risk tracking system could greatly simplify the process of maintaining accurate vaccine records, especially on a larger scale,'' according to ScienceAlert.Com. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded MIT's research for the invisible mark, which was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, in December 2019. ''The invisible ''tattoo'' accompanying the vaccine is a pattern made up of minuscule quantum dots '' tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light '' that glows under infrared light.''
It would be very clever of Satan to make the mark of the beast invisible.
While we cannot predict ''the day or the hour'', when you put all these components together, it's starting to look a lot like the beginnings of the end. ''And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name'' (Revelation 13:16-17).
At the very least, world events signal the very real likelihood of compelled vaccinations, as the world complies with orders to ''shelter in place''.
Christopher J. L. Murray - Wikipedia
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 20:24
For other people with the same name, see Chris Murray (disambiguation)Christopher Murray is a researcher in global health and public health at the University of Washington in Seattle and is the institute director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). Beginning in 1990, he has worked on ways to measure the burden of disease and disability around the globe. He has led several projects to gather that data, disease-by-disease, country by country. The aim of these efforts, which involve the work of hundreds of researchers, is to provide data for policy makers around the world to allocate healthcare resources.
Career Edit He previously served as Director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health and as Executive Director of the Evidence and Information for Policy Cluster at the World Health Organization. He graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and was a Rhodes Scholar, attending Oxford University, where he earned a DPhil in International Health Economics.[1] In 1988, he returned to Harvard, where he specialized in internal medicine and earned a Medical Doctorate. Since, he has worked on measurement of health and health outcomes. He was a part of the Disease Control Priorities Project. From 2005-2007, Murray was director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.[citation needed ]
In 2007, he moved from Harvard to the University of Washington to head the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation with the help of former Mexican Secretary of Health, Julio Frenk, who serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.[2] At the institute, Murray's work has included studying adult and child mortality, costs of various health interventions, and continuing work with colleagues at Harvard, the WHO and elsewhere on projects that conduct research and mine data to improve public health.
Research Edit While at Harvard, Murray, along with medical demographer Alan Lopez, developed the disability adjusted life years (DALY) approach to measuring the global burden of disease. Using this approach, it is possible to calculate standardized estimates for the years of life lost due to disease, injury and risk factors over time. It is also possible to compare the effects of different diseases on a population.[3] The research is intended to be used by policy makers to weigh healthcare decisions and allocate resources.[4]
The idea behind the work was to remove politics and other pressures from the research questions. This led to some tension when the team moved to the World Health Organization. When countries and organizations were found to have poorer-than-expected health outcomes, they complained to the W.H.O. At one point, an independent committee was formed to review some of the results.[5]
His work attracted the attention of Bill Gates, who decided to use the concept of DALYs to help determine priorities and evaluate potential projects in global health.[6] In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the state of Washington, established IHME and selected Murray as its leader. As head of IHME, Murray greatly expanded on his earlier research, leading an effort by 486 researchers from 302 institutions in 50 countries to produce Global Burden of Disease reports in 2010 and 2013.[7]
The later reports were significantly larger than the first. In 1990, for example, researchers catalogued 107 diseases and injuries.[8] The 2013 report involved creating and then analyzing a database of over 800 million deaths, and produced estimates for death and disability from 240 health conditions.[9][10]
Some of the findings from his studies have been controversial. In 2010, The Lancet published one such study on global maternal death rates, showing, to the surprise of some in the field, that maternal mortality had dropped significantly over the prior three decades. Fearing the results might undermine their ongoing efforts, some advocacy groups tried to delay publication of the material, The Lancet editor said at the time.[11]
In 2008, The Lancet published findings from Murray and IHME's work evaluating the work of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, which showed many countries had been inflating the number of children being immunized for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.[12] The study found that progress in childhood immunizations is far lower than prior official reports. The countries were receiving funding for the vaccinations, raising the concern that Gavi may have paid out much more than it should have based on the number of children immunized. After the report was published Gavi suspended payments and commenced a review.[13]
On March 26, 2020, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation headed by Murray published a study which concluded that roughly 81,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the United States in four months' time.[14][15]
References Edit ^ Inker, Rachel (1984). "Harvard Leads National Rhodes Tally with Nine Scholars Bound for Oxford". Harvard Crimson. ^ Paulson, Tom (June 4, 2007). "$105 million Gates' gift helps start global health center". Seattle PI . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Smith, Jeremy (11 December 2013). "Life, not death, is focus of new health metrics". Discover magazine . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Das, Pamela (15 December 2012). "The story of GBD 2010: a "super-human" effort". The Lancet. 380 (9859): 2067''2070. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62174-6. PMID 23259158 . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Smith, Jeremy (11 December 2013). "Life, not death, is focus of new health metrics". Discover magazine . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Smith, Jeremy (11 December 2013). "Life, not death, is focus of new health metrics". Discover magazine . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Smith, Jeremy (11 December 2013). "Life, not death, is focus of new health metrics". Discover magazine . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Horton, Richard (15 December 2012). "GBD 2010: Understanding disease, injury, and risk". The Lancet. 380 (9859): 2053''2054. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62133-3. PMID 23245595 . Retrieved 18 December 2014 . ^ "Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation . Retrieved 27 March 2015 . ^ Murray, Christopher JL; Lopez, Alan D (10 January 2015). "Global, regional, and national age''sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". The Lancet. 385 (9963): 117''171. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(14)61682-2. PMC 4340604 . PMID 25530442 . Retrieved 27 March 2015 . ^ Grady, Denise (April 13, 2010). "Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe". New York Times . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ Lim, Stephen; Murray, Christopher J.L. (13 December 2008). "Tracking progress towards universal childhood immunisation and the impact of global initiatives: a systematic analysis of three-dose diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunisation coverage". The Lancet. 372 (9655): 2031''2046. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61869-3. PMID 19070738. ^ Brown, David (12 December 2008). "Number of Children Immunized Has Been Inflated for Years". The Washington Post . Retrieved 13 November 2014 . ^ IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team (26 March 2020). "Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US state in the next 4 months". MedRxiv. ^ Popham, Nick (27 March 2020). "UW study estimates 81,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus, 1,429 in Wash. state". KOMO News . Retrieved 29 March 2020 . External links Edit IHME biographyHarvard School of Public Health biography
Gates Foundation's Influence Criticized - The New York Times
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 20:22
The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency's policy-making function.
In a memorandum, the malaria chief, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained to his boss, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., that the foundation's money, while crucial, could have ''far-reaching, largely unintended consequences.''
Many of the world's leading malaria scientists are now ''locked up in a 'cartel' with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group,'' Dr. Kochi wrote. Because ''each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of the others,'' he wrote, getting independent reviews of research proposals ''is becoming increasingly difficult.''
Also, he argued, the foundation's determination to have its favored research used to guide the health organization's recommendations ''could have implicitly dangerous consequences on the policy-making process in world health.''
Dr. Tadataka Yamada, executive director of global health at the Gates Foundation, disagreed with Dr. Kochi's conclusions, saying the foundation did not second-guess or ''hold captive'' scientists or research partnerships that it backed. ''We encourage a lot of external review,'' he said.
The memo, which was obtained by The New York Times, was written late last year but circulated this week to the heads of several health agency departments, with a note asking whether they were having similar struggles with the Gates Foundation.
A spokeswoman for the director general said Dr. Chan saw the memo last year but did not respond to it. It is ''the view of one department, not the W.H.O.'s view,'' said the spokeswoman, Christine McNab. The agency has cordial relations with the foundation, and the agency's policies are set by committees, which include others besides Gates-financed scientists, she said.
The Gates Foundation has poured about $1.2 billion into malaria research since 2000. In the late 1990s, as little as $84 million a year was spent — largely by the United States military and health institutes, along with European governments and foundations. Drug makers had largely abandoned the field. (China was developing a drug, artemisinin, that is now the cornerstone of treatment.)
The World Health Organization is a United Nations agency with a $4 billion budget. It gives advice on policies, evaluates treatments — especially for poor countries — maintains a network of laboratories and sends teams to fight outbreaks of diseases, like avian flu or Ebola. It finances little research; for diseases of the poor, the Gates Foundation is the world's biggest donor.
Dr. Kochi, an openly undiplomatic official who won admiration for reorganizing the world fight against tuberculosis but was ousted from that job partly because he offended donors like the Rockefeller Foundation, called the Gates Foundation's decision-making ''a closed internal process, and as far as can be seen, accountable to none other than itself.''
Moreover, he added, the foundation ''even takes its vested interest to seeing the data it helped generate taken to policy.''
As an example, he cited an intervention called intermittent preventive treatment for infants, known as IPTi.
Other experts said IPTi involved giving babies doses of an older anti-malaria drug, Fansidar, when they got their shots at 2 months, 3 months and 9 months. In early studies, it was shown to decrease malaria cases about 25 percent. But each dose gave protection for only a month. Since it is not safe or practical to give Fansidar constantly to babies because it is a sulfa drug that can cause rare but deadly reactions and because Fansidar-resistant malaria is growing, World Health Organization scientists had doubts about it.
Nonetheless, Dr. Kochi wrote, although it was ''less and less straightforward'' that the health agency should recommend it, the agency's objections were met with ''intense and aggressive opposition'' from Gates-backed scientists and the foundation. The W.H.O., he wrote, needs to ''stand up to such pressures and ensure that the review of evidence is rigorously independent of vested interests.''
Amir Attaran, a health policy expert at the University of Ottawa who has criticized many players in the war on malaria, said he thought Dr. Kochi's memo was ''dead right.'' His own experience with Gates-financed policy groups, he said, was that they are cowed into ''stomach-churning group think.'' But Dr. Attaran said he believed that scientists were not afraid of the foundation, but of its chief of malaria, Dr. Regina Rabinovich, whom he described as ''autocratic.''
Dr. Rabinovich, when told of Dr. Attaran's characterization, said she did not want to respond. Dr. Yamada of the Gates Foundation called it ''unfortunate and inaccurate.''
''I'm not a grantee of hers,'' he said, ''but she's an extremely knowledgeable leader. And if she has an opinion, she's entitled to it.'' He said he did not know the details of the IPTi issue, but added that researchers often differed about policy implications.
There have been hints in recent months that the World Health Organization feels threatened by the growing power of the Gates Foundation. Some scientists have said privately that it is ''creating its own W.H.O.''
One oft-cited example is its $105 million grant to create the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Its mission is to judge, for example, which treatments work or to rank countries' health systems.
These are core W.H.O. tasks, but the institute's new director, Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray, formerly a health organization official, said a new path was needed because the United Nations agency came under pressure from member countries. His said his institute would be independent of that.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation - Wikipedia
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 20:19
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is a research institute working in the area of global health statistics and impact evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Institute is headed by Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, a physician and health economist, and professor at the University of Washington Department of Global Health, which is part of the School of Medicine. IHME's goal, as stated on the Institute's website, is "to identify the best strategies to build a healthier world. By measuring health, tracking program performance, finding ways to maximize health system impact, and developing innovative measurement systems, IHME provides a foundation for informed decision-making that ultimately will lead to better health globally" IHME (2011).[1] IHME conducts research and trains scientists, policymakers, and the public in health metrics concepts, methods, and tools. Its mission includes judging the effectiveness and efficacy of health initiatives and national health systems. IHME's work seeks to be complementary to the United Nations' work in the World Health Organization in that it shares many tasks but is independent from member countries.[2][3]
Institute for Health Metrics and EvaluationAbbreviationIHMEFormation2007TypeGlobal health research institutePurposeAccelerating global health progress through sound measurement and accountable scienceHeadquarters2301 5th Ave, Suite 600LocationWebsitewww.healthdata.orgIHME gathers health-related data from all available sources. It develops innovative analytical tools to track trends in mortality, diseases, and risk factors, and capsulizes many of its research findings in data visualizations.[4] It evaluates interventions such as vaccines, malaria control policies, cancer screenings, and birth care. To enable researchers to replicate IHME's work and to foster new research, IHME created the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) where methods and results are cataloged and freely accessible. IHME is also committed to expanding the field of health metrics by training students at the post-baccalaureate and post-graduate levels.
History Edit IHME was launched in June 2007 based on a core grant of $105 million primarily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[5] Among its earliest projects was to produce new estimates of mortality rates, which were published in The Lancet in September 2007.[6] The Institute updated these in 2010[7]and again in 2014.[8] Maternal,[9] child, and adult mortality[10] estimates have been published, as well.[11][12]Founding board members included Chair Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health; Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Minister of Health for Ethiopia; K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India; Tomris Turmen, President of the International Children's Center and Head of the Department of Pediatrics/Newborn Medicine at the University of Ankara Medical School in Ankara, Turkey; Lincoln Chen, President of the China Medical Board; Jane Halton, who has served as Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia, as well as the Department of Finance; and David Roux, Co-Chief Executive of Silver Lake Partners.[13]
Current board members[14] are Frenk; Fineberg; Chen; Halton; and Roux, in addition to Stephen J. Cucchiaro, Chief Investment Officer of Windhaven Investment Management; Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England; and John W. Stanton, managing director of Trilogy Partnership.
In 2011, IHME co-sponsored the first Global Health Metrics & Evaluation conference in Seattle with The Lancet, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, and University of Queensland School of Population Health.[15]
In 2017, the Gates Foundation provided IHME with another $279 million grant.[16]
Research Edit IHME also has launched policy reports on a wide range of topics, including a June 2010 report on child and maternal mortality. The findings were updated in 2014. In 2009, IHME launched its series of Financing Global Health policy reports.[17][18] The initial report led to meetings with staff from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee and with a task force appointed by US President Barack Obama to guide the funding of his new Global Health Initiative. Annual updates have been published since then.
Recent publications have included estimations of causes of death worldwide,[19] the incidence of HIV, TB, and malaria,[20] as well as obesity,[21][22] cigarette smoking,[23] heart disease,[24] and small area estimation of diabetes rates in the United States.[25] IHME has also worked with other organizations on projects. For example, IHME researchers helped create the 2010 WHO World Malaria Report,[26] generating all the estimates for insecticide-treated nets.[27] IHME has also collaborated on country-level research projects, including a partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help create a health surveillance system to track disease trends and inform policy. There is a list of publications at IHME's website.
On March 26, 2020, the institute published a study which concluded that roughly 81,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the United States in four months' time.[28][29]
Global Burden of Disease Edit In the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study 2010, a worldwide consortium of 500 researchers, coordinated by IHME measured the impact of more than 290 health conditions and 67 health risk factors worldwide.[30] The GBD enterprise produced estimates in 21 regions around the world for disability-adjusted life years by age and sex for the past two decades. Part of this research has involved conducting in-person surveys in several countries and gathering health information through a website survey. The team created a cause of death database that includes 60 years of data, or almost 800 million deaths. To illustrate the findings, IHME released a suite of interactive data visualizations, which are available to the public.
The aim is to allow policymakers and other decision-makers to "compare the effects of different diseases '' such as cancer versus depression '' that kill people prematurely and cause ill health," to show disease trends over time, and to inform policy, IHME states on its website.
It has been labeled "the most comprehensive review of the state of humanity's health ever undertaken."[31]
The UK and China are among the countries working with IHME to generate subnational burden of disease estimates at the county and province levels.
In January 2014, IHME began releasing updates to the work, called the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study 2013. The work generated over 1 billion estimates of health outcomes.[32] GBD estimates are now being updated annually.
Some of the findings have been controversial. In 2012, IHME researchers estimated 1.2 million people died from malaria in 2010, double the WHO's estimate.[33][34]
Disease Control Priorities Network Edit The Disease Control Priorities Network project generates cost-effectiveness estimates for a range of health interventions. A team of demographers, statisticians, economists, and other experts are studying how to improve the allocation of resources among interventions, technologies, hospitals, and other service delivery platforms. They are working in multiple countries, including the US, India, and South Africa.Their cost-effectiveness work has revealed some hidden connections. For example, a 2010 report showed improving girls' education in poor countries is the most effective way to reduce child mortality,[35] which was a surprise for some people.[36]
An effort launched in 2011 called Access, Bottlenecks, Costs, and Equity (ABCE) involves collecting evidence and analyzing data to improve the cost-effectiveness and equity of health systems in Colombia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Uganda, and Zambia. The project examines four components that affect health care delivery: access (to health facilities), bottlenecks (limitations on the supply side), costs, and equity (across populations). The work includes in-depth facility surveys and inventories across a range of service delivery platforms; additional data is collected in countries with high HIV/AIDS burdens through exit interviews and chart extraction.
A 2013 report concluded that neonatal and maternal mortality in Ghana could be best improved not with sophisticated maternity care but with better transportation infrastructure.[37]
Population Health Metrics Research Consortium project Edit The Population Health Metrics Research Consortium created new methods for tracking health intervention coverage in low-resource settings. The methods have been used to measure mortality, causes of death, and incidence of major illnesses where data are incomplete.[38] Researchers collected data in India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
IHME's work on estimating mortality has been at times controversial. In 2009, IHME published a study on maternal mortality[39] which some advocacy groups tried to suppress '' worried that results showing a decline in mortality would make it harder to fund-raise. The WHO also initially disagreed with the new results, but later revised their estimates in agreement with those of IHME.[40]
Malaria Control Policy Assessment project Edit The Malaria Control Policy Assessment project evaluates the effectiveness of malaria-control interventions in Uganda and Zambia by analyzing their effect on child mortality and producing estimates at the national and local levels.
United States public health research Edit IHME conducts US research, including estimates of mortality, life expectancy, risk factors, health disparities, and disease prevalence. IHME has compiled national and local health trends and integrated multiple data sources to monitor disparities in chronic diseases.
A 2013 report, the State of US Health,[41] looked at trends in premature deaths due to injury or disease, and demonstrated the major health threat stemming from behavioral risk factors such as poor diet and sedentary lifestyles. It concluded that dietary factors cause more deaths each year than cancer or smoking.[42] The results included life expectancy trends broken down by state and county.
First Lady Michelle Obama cited the research in her campaign to improve Americans' diets and increase their level of physical activity.[43]
A paper published in the journal Population Health Metrics in June 2011 showed that life expectancy was rising in some poorer US counties '' especially in the South[44] '' a surprising result which was widely discussed.[45]
Other research projects include the Salud Mesoam(C)rica 2015 Initiative, which focuses on inequalities in health outcomes and access in southern Mexico and Central America; Gavi Full Country Evaluations, which evaluates immunization programs in Bangladesh, India, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia; and HealthRise, a partnership with Medtronic Philanthropy to evaluate programs targeting diabetes and heart disease, and sponsor small grants to make improvements.
In 2014, IHME announced the establishment of the University of Washington Center for Demography and Economics of Aging, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). It is one of 14 NIA Demography Centers at leading universities and policy organizations around the United States.
Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) Edit In March 2011, IHME launched the Global Health Data Exchange (or GHDx), which indexes and hosts information about microdata, aggregated data, and research results with a focus on health-related and demographic datasets. At launch, the site listed about 1,000 datasets; as of 2015, there are more than 30,000. As part of a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), GHDx includes 35 years of CDC data on child and maternal health. GHDx uses the Drupal 7 open source content management system and Apache SOLR for search. The site includes visualization and GIS tools, and has been noted by the health and global health communities.[46]
Degree Programs Edit IHME offers two types of global health fellowships, plus master's degrees and PhD programs.[47]
Funders Edit IHME receives core grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation[48] and the state of Washington. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Inter-American Development Bank; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health; Medtronic Philanthropy; and the National Institute on Aging have also contributed funding through project grants and contracts.
Reception Edit Initially, some within the World Health Organization had criticized IHME for trying to do the work that WHO already does. There had also been tension between UNICEF and IHME because a report from the latter showed "lackluster progress" on child death rates.[3][16]
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease report was criticized for its lack of transparency of methods and data as well as its use of complex statistical methods to fill in data gaps when reliable statistics were unavailable. Thomas Bollyky, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, called for more transparency. The report was also criticized for its use of verbal autopsies because many diseases have similar symptoms, leading to potential mistakes.[31][49]
Igor Rudan and Kit Yee Chan argue that the emergence of IHME introduced competition to the field of global health metrics, which was previously a field where WHO maintained a monopoly: "The GBD initiative has emerged as a well-organised and rapidly growing collaboration that is now seriously challenging WHO's role in generating global health estimates".[50]
Rudan and Chan also note that IHME "struggled to generate support, legitimacy, and acceptance for their findings" after publishing the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, due to concerns of lack of transparency, as well as the existence of parallel estimates of disease burden from WHO.[50]
The World Health Organization did not acknowledge the GBD 2010 estimates.[50][16]
The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013 expanded collaboration and increased transparency but "[fell] short of allowing full independent replication of all results".[50]
In May 2018, WHO and IHME signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to strengthen collaboration on the GBD and enhance policy use of GBD findings.[51]
Board of Directors[52] Edit Lincoln C. Chen, China Medical Board of CambridgeStephen J. Cucchiaro, 3Edge Asset ManagementSally Davies (doctor), Chief Medical Officer (United Kingdom)Victor Dzau, National Academy of MedicineJulio Frenk, University of MiamiJane Halton, (former) Department of Finance (Australia)Nafsiah Mboi, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria AllianceDavid Roux, Silver Lake PartnersJohn W. Stanton, Trilogy PartnershipSee also Edit Timeline of global healthPriority-setting in global healthDean JamisonReferences Edit ^ "Institute for Heath Metrics and Evaluation" . Retrieved 27 June 2011 . ^ McNiel, Donal (16 February 2008). "Gates Foundation's Influence Criticized". New York Times . Retrieved 9 May 2010 . ^ a b Doughton, Sandi (9 April 2008). "Seattle institute aims to help cure world-health data disorder". Seattle Times . Retrieved 9 May 2010 . ^ "Data Visualizations". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation . Retrieved 27 February 2015 . ^ Paulson, Tom (4 June 2007). "$105 million Gates gift helps start global health center". Seattle PI . Retrieved 9 May 2010 . ^ Murray, CJL; Laakso, T; Shibuya, K; Lopez, AD (22 September 2007). "Can we achieve Millennium Development Goal 4? New analysis of country trends and forecasts of under-5 mortality to 2015". The Lancet. 370 (9592): 1040''1054. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(07)61478-0. PMID 17889243. ^ Rajaratnam, JK; Marcus, JR; Flaxman, AD; Wang, H; Levin-Rector, A; Dwyer, L; Costa, M; Lopez, AD; Murray, CJL (24 May 2010). "Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970''2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4". The Lancet. 375 (9730): 1988''2008. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60703-9. PMID 20546887. ^ "Global, regional, and national levels of neonatal, infant, and under-5 mortality during 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013" (PDF) . The Lancet. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2014 . Retrieved 28 February 2015 . ^ Hogan, MC; Foreman, KJ; Naghavi, M; Ahn, SY; Wang, M; Makela, SM; Lopez, AD; Lozano, R; Murray, CJL (8 May 2010). "Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5". The Lancet. 375 (9726): 1609''1623. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60518-1. PMID 20382417. ^ Rajaratnam, JK; Marcus, JR; Levin-Rector, A; Chalupka, AN; Wang, H; Dwyer, L; Costa, M; Lopez, AD; Murray, CJL (30 April 2010). "Worldwide mortality in men and women aged 15''59 years from 1970 to 2010: a systematic analysis" (PDF) . The Lancet. 375 (9727): 1704''1720. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60517-x. PMID 20434763. ^ "Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013" . Retrieved 28 February 2015 . ^ "Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-03 . Retrieved 2015-03-26 . ^ "IHME's Founding Board Members". IHME . Retrieved 28 February 2015 . ^ "Governance". ^ "Global Health Metrics & Evaluation conference (Media Advisory)". ^ a b c Doughton, Sandi (January 25, 2017). "Historic gift: Gates Foundation gives $279 million to University of Washington". The Seattle Times . Retrieved January 25, 2017 . ^ Ravishankar, N; Gubbins, P; Cooley, RJ; Leach-Kemon, K; Michaud, CM; Jamison, DT; Murray, CJL (20 June 2009). "Financing of global health: tracking development assistance for health from 1990 to 2007". The Lancet. 373 (9681): 2113''2124. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(09)60881-3. PMID 19541038. ^ Lu, C; Schneider, MT; Gubbins, P; Leach-Kemon, K; Jamison, D; Murray, CJL (17 April 2010). "Public financing of health in developing countries: a cross-national systematic analysis". The Lancet. 375 (9723): 1375''1387. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60233-4. PMID 20381856. ^ "Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". ^ Murray, Christopher J.L.; Vos, Theo; Lopez, Alan (July 2014). "Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. ^ "Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". ^ Ng, Marie (2014). "Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980''2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". The Lancet. 384 (9945): 766''781. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60460-8. PMC 4624264 . PMID 24880830. ^ "Cigarette smoking prevalence in US counties: 1996- 2012". ^ "Temporal trends in ischemic heart disease mortality in 21 world regions, 1980-2010: the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study". ^ Srebotnjak, T; Mokdad, AH; Murray, CJL (29 September 2010). "A novel framework for validating and applying standardized small area measurement strategies". Population Health Metrics. 8: 26. doi:10.1186/1478-7954-8-26. PMC 2958154 . PMID 20920214. ^ "WHO: World Malaria Report 2010". World Health Organization . Retrieved 27 February 2015 . ^ Gakidou, E; Cowling, K; Lozano, R; Murray, CJL (2010). "Increased educational attainment and its effect on child mortality in 175 countries between 1970 and 2009: a systematic analysis". The Lancet. 376 (9745): 959''974. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)61257-3. PMID 20851260. ^ IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team (26 March 2020). "Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US state in the next 4 months". MedRxiv. ^ Popham, Nick (27 March 2020). "UW study estimates 81,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus, 1,429 in Wash. state". KOMO News . Retrieved 29 March 2020 . ^ Das, Pamela; Samarasekera, Udani (2012). "The story of GBD 2010: a "super-human" effort". The Lancet. 380 (9859): 2067''2070. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62174-6. PMID 23259158. ^ a b Doughton, Sandi (14 March 2013). "Gates, UW teaming up on massive health study". The Seattle Times . Retrieved January 27, 2017 . ^ "GBD History". ^ The Lancet (2012). "New estimates of malaria deaths: concern and opportunity". The Lancet. 379 (9814): 385. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60169-X. PMID 22305210. ^ Kelland, Kate (14 May 2012). "Analysis: Health by numbers: A statistician's challenge". Reuters . Retrieved January 25, 2017 . ^ Gakidou, E; Cowling, K; Lozano, R; Murray, CJL (18 September 2010). "Increased educational attainment and its effect on child mortality in 175 countries between 1970 and 2009: a systematic analysis". The Lancet. 376 (9745): 959''974. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)61257-3. PMID 20851260. ^ Paulson, Paul. "Number crunchers say the evidence is: Transparency strengthens global health". NPR Humanosphere . Retrieved 30 June 2011 . ^ "Travel time to maternity care and its effect on utilization in rural Ghana: a multilevel analysis". ^ "Population Health Metrics Research Consortium gold standard verbal autopsy validation study: design, implementation, and development of analysis datasets". ^ Hogan, MC; Foreman, KJ; Naghavi, M; Ahn, SY; Wang, M; Makela, SM; Lozano, R; Lopez, AD; Murray, CJL (8 May 2010). "Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5". The Lancet. 375 (9726): 1609''1623. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60518-1. PMID 20382417. ^ Paulson, Tom. "Number crunchers say the evidence is: Transparency strengthens global health". NPR Humanosphere . Retrieved 27 February 2015 . ^ "The State of US Health: Innovations, Insights, and Recommendations from the Global Burden of Disease Study". IHME. ^ Murray, CJ (10 July 2013). "The State of US Health, 1990-2010 Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors". JAMA. 310 (6): 591''608. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.13805. PMC 5436627 . PMID 23842577. ^ "Healthy Diet Important For Increasing Years of Healthy Life, New Study Says". Archived from the original on 2013-08-20 . Retrieved 2015-03-26 . ^ Kulkarni, SC; Levin-Rector, A; Ezzati Murray CJL., M; Murray, CJL (15 June 2011). "Falling behind: life expectancy in US counties from 2000 to 2007 in an international context". Population Health Metrics. 9 (1): 16. doi:10.1186/1478-7954-9-16. PMC 3141397 . PMID 21672269. ^ Pallarito, Karen (16 June 2011). "Life expectancy in U.S. trails top nations". CNN . Retrieved 28 February 2015 . ^ Van Dam, Andrew. "Institute launches global health data clearinghouse". Association of Health Care Journalists . Retrieved 28 February 2015 . ^ "Degree Programs in Health Metrics and Evaluation". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. University of Washington . Retrieved 27 March 2015 . ^ Paulson, Tom (4 June 2007). "$105 million Gates' gift helps start global health center". Seattle PI . Retrieved 27 February 2015 . ^ "Verbal Autopsy (VA)". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation . Retrieved January 28, 2017 . ^ a b c d Rudan, Igor; Chan, Kit Yee (December 18, 2014). "Global health metrics needs collaboration and competition" (PDF) . The Lancet. 385 (9963): 92''94. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62006-7. PMID 25530441 . Retrieved January 27, 2017 . ^ http://www.euro.who.int/en/data-and-evidence/news/news/2018/7/new-memorandum-of-understanding-between-who-and-ihme-brings-better-data-and-evidence-for-more-informed-decision-making-for-health ^ "IHME Board". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 6 February 2014. External links Edit IHME homepage Coordinates: 47°36'²58'"N 122°20'²36'"W >> / >> 47.615982°N 122.343217°W >> / 47.615982; -122.343217
Narrative
Pig to bat to wet-market to woman in bathroom stall
Then through the normal channels into pandemic
4 Main theories
5 G
Virus is not actually a virus, but a reaction humans have to major changes in the electromagnetic mesh that surrounds us
Claim is that it started in 1918 with first broadcasts
Upgrades along the way to include swine flu around 4G
First 5G roll-outs were in Wuhan and Northern Italy
Could it be StarLink?
David Icke
No virus
Simple sleight of hand with data
PCR testing does NOT test for different types of corona virus, just 'corona virus'
Normal flu deaths account for the numbers
Data misrepresentation is used to show problem reaction solution
Goal is vaccines and patient tracking
Control for Climate Change mitigation
Q
The most colorful of all
Q is actually JFK Jr who went under cove when the deep state took over - Hillary Clinton
Been awaiting revenge on the elites for killing his Dad (hence the Dylan song release)
The Elites who eat babies, have pizza parties, partied with Epstein and Weinstein
Most importantly they take 'Adrenochrome' which is extracted from children who are first put into a state of distress that releases compounds like adrenaline into their blood.
In order to track the elites, a tainted batch of Adrenochrome was circulated among a list of elites that they gpt from Harvey Weinstein in return for sentence reduction or disappearing him.
The shut down of all the world is so that Trump, Barr and The White-hats can arrest over 160.000 people world wide, stopping this scourge. Where We Go One, We Go All!
The Booby Trap
Iran contracted with A Swiss bio chemist to create a bio weapon that could be used against the Saudi's
Mossad caught wind of this and they swapped the weapon out for a SARS version that would not transmit easily
Saudi Arabia, once they had it, sent it to a Dutch lab for testing
The Dutch sent a sample to Winnipeg for their bio weapons lab to dissect the virus
Chinese PLA stole the sample from that lab and sent it to their own bio lab in Wuhan
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Chinese have been working on a bio logical first strike since 2005
The idea was to cripple key places and then basically soft-invade
The plan called for bat SARS to be transmitted through water infrastructure
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
China was so desperate because of Trade Sanctions and their internal economy that they decided to deploy their bio weapon
This got back through military intelligence in the USA
That's when Ft Detrick created a mirror image of the virus the Chinese had, which was already a mod by the Israeli's that had 2 strains; the L strain in the water / excrement, which is lethal, and the S strain in the airborne inoculation strain.
The concept being that you spread the L strain in the direct are you area targeting, and then blanket everything with the S strain so people quickly spread a very mild version that inoculates you from the L strain. It apparently also had some other features that would render any Chinese counter measure useless.
This version was then inserted into the lab at Wuhan (probably another corrupt professor transfer)
The booby trap deployed and Beijing freaked out, thinking their original virus had gotten out.
In a last ditch effort, the CCP sent carrier sof the strains to USA and Europe, in the hope they would have a head start and could play the hero to everyone to upstage the US
Notice NO cases in Africa, since that is the Chinese 'Engine Room'
Also started blaming US from within the US media
Eventually they were told or figured out that they could blanket their cities with S strain, which they were spraying
The Models
Imperial model used first and caused the alarm
WHO
Now Christopher Murray of Gates funded outfit
Where and how is the data collected and who has the hand in the pie
This is why Bill Gates smiled at the mentioning of Fauci's name
The Vaccine gang
Gates wants to provide therapeutics and vaccines with a nano dot laser id tag embedded into those who took the shot
Pshychology
Anticipatory fear
Trump
Stopped saying 'Chinese Virus" after speaking to Xi. Now back to 'Corona Virus'
Recovery time line is perfect for re-election
Financial and Economy
Former NY Banker Zoom Video Date
Everyone is out of New York completely deserted
Check mark Recovery!
MMT now full at work
$6 Trillion is 'Immunized money' that cannot be inflationary. It is not 'created' in the usual way
-INSERT Reverse Repo explanation here
Fauci went to former nun bankers high school and played basketball
Ford ventilators scam
GM/Ford sister corp actually MAKES them, they were just holding out for a better price
Adam,
I
work in the auto industry and work on these emergency ventilators. Please keep
my name out of this. I like my job hah
Quick
facts:
1.
These new ventilators can be easily operated by a non-professional
2.
Ford doesn’t actually “make” these and I’m surprised they didn’t mention DENSO.
We are designing/manufacturing them.
3.
The old 3m design can be operated by a non-professional
4. I’ve been one of the 20 engineers selected to work on
this and they are working non-stop to get these out in the event we do need
them. I understand that this “ventilator issue” in it’s current form is being
blown out of the water and is actually a non-issue.
Feel free to call, you guys are the best!
Ventilators are for Hospital personnel
With regard to Ventilators.
There are certainly patients who have COVID who are
sick enough to require a breathing machine. But one of the main reasons for the
increased demand not discussed in media is that we are putting these patients
on ventilators when we normally would not. You played a clip from the NYC
doctor on show 1230 who mentioned the "aerisolization" of the virus.
The virus is not normally airborne but if some of the droplets that contain the
virus are small enough it can linger in the air as your NYC doctor
described. Some medical procedures increase aerisolizaion or droplets, we
learned this from SARS. CPAP and BIPAP machines, nebulised medications like a
kids would get when they have an asthma attack all aerosolize bacteria and
viruses into finer droplets. Theses droplets linger in the air for 2-3 hours
place health workers at an increased risk. In response to this, patients that
have COVID and have an increased oxygen demand are moving from simple nasal
prong oxygen right to intubation. Normally there would be intermediate steps
that provide more oxygen like Bipap machines. It is the risk to healthcare
providers which is surging the need for ventilators.
STORIES
British cigarette giant claims it has developed a coronavirus vaccine | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 07:23
What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body's normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word 'corona', which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.
Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a 'sister' of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.
The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: 'Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
'Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
'Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.'
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.
By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.
The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Where does the virus come from?
According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals '' the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.
Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.
However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.
Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: 'The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.
'We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.'
So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans' lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they've never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.
Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: 'Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.
'Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we're talking about a virus where we don't understand fully the severity spectrum but it's possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.'
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
'My feeling is it's lower,' Dr Horby added. 'We're probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that's the current circumstance we're in.
'Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.'
How does the virus spread?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.
It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.
Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms '' but they may still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.
Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much '' changing is known as mutating '' much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.
More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they're tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.
However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.
Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.
Can the virus be cured?
The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it's not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people's temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the 'worldwide spread of a new disease'.
Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been 'spillover' from the epicentre, so the disease wasn't actually spreading actively around the world.
8 strains of the coronavirus are circling the globe. Here's what clues they're giving scientists.
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:41
SAN FRANCISCO '' At least eight strains of the coronavirus are making their way around the globe, creating a trail of death and disease that scientists are tracking by their genetic footprints.
While much is unknown, hidden in the virus's unique microscopic fragments are clues to the origins of its original strain, how it behaves as it mutates and which strains are turning into conflagrations while others are dying out thanks to quarantine measures.
Huddled in once bustling and now almost empty labs, researchers who oversaw dozens of projects are instead focused on one goal: tracking the current strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that cause the illness COVID-19.
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Labs around the world are turning their sequencing machines, most about the size of a desktop printer, to the task of rapidly sequencing the genomes of virus samples taken from people sick with COVID-19. The information is uploaded to a website called NextStrain.org that shows how the virus is migrating and splitting into similar but new subtypes.
While researchers caution they're only seeing the tip of the iceberg, the tiny differences between the virus strains suggest shelter-in-place orders are working in some areas and that no one strain of the virus is more deadly than another. They also say it does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve.
''The virus mutates so slowly that the virus strains are fundamentally very similar to each other,'' said Charles Chiu, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Investigation: How federal health officials mislead states and derailed the best chance at containment.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus first began causing illness in China sometime between mid-November and mid-December. Its genome is made up of about 30,000 base pairs. Humans, by comparison, have more than 3 billion. So far even in the virus's most divergent strains scientists have found only 11 base pair changes.
That makes it easy to spot new lineages as they evolve, said Chiu.
''The outbreaks are trackable. We have the ability to do genomic sequencing almost in real-time to see what strains or lineages are circulating,'' he said.
So far, most cases on the U.S. West Coast are linked to a strain first identified in Washington state. It may have come from a man who had been in Wuhan, China, the virus' epicenter, and returned home on Jan. 15. It is only three mutations away from the original Wuhan strain, according to work done early in the outbreak by Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutch, a medical research center in Seattle.
On the East Coast there are several strains, including the one from Washington and others that appear to have made their way from China to Europe and then to New York and beyond, Chiu said.
Death rate soars in New Orleans coronavirus 'disaster' that could define city for generations
Beware pretty phylogenetic trees
This isn't the first time scientists have scrambled to do genetic analysis of a virus in the midst of an epidemic. They did it with Ebola, Zika and West Nile, but nobody outside the scientific community paid much attention.
''This is the first time phylogenetic trees have been all over Twitter,'' said Kristian Andersen, a professor at Scripps Research, a nonprofit biomedical science research facility in La Jolla, California, speaking of the diagrams that show the evolutionary relationships between different strains of an organism.
The maps are available on NextStrain, an online resource for scientists that uses data from academic, independent and government laboratories all over the world to visually track the genomics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It currently represents genetic sequences of strains from 36 countries on six continents.
While the maps are fun, they can also be ''a little dangerous'' said Andersen. The trees showing the evolution of the virus are complex and it's difficult even for experts to draw conclusions from them.
''Remember, we're seeing a very small glimpse into the much larger pandemic. We have half a million described cases right now but maybe 1,000 genomes sequenced. So there are a lot of lineages we're missing,'' he said.
The basics on the coronavirus: What you need to know as the US becomes the new epicenter of COVID-19
Different symptoms, same strains
COVID-19 hits people differently, with some feeling only slightly under the weather for a day, others flat on their backs sick for two weeks and about 15% hospitalized. Currently, an estimated 1% of those infected die. The rate varies greatly by country and experts say it is likely tied to testing rates rather than actual mortality.
Chiu says it appears unlikely the differences are related to people being infected with different strains of the virus.
''The current virus strains are still fundamentally very similar to each other,'' he said.
The COVID-19 virus does not mutate very fast. It does so eight to 10 times more slowly than the influenza virus, said Anderson, making its evolution rate similar to other coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
It's also not expected to spontaneously evolve into a form more deadly than it already is to humans. The SARS-CoV-2 is so good at transmitting itself between human hosts, said Andersen, it is under no evolutionary pressure to evolve.
Shelter in place working in California
Chiu's analysis shows California's strict shelter in place efforts appear to be working.
Over half of the 50 SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes his San Francisco-based lab sequenced in the past two weeks are associated with travel from outside the state. Another 30% are associated with health care workers and families of people who have the virus.
''Only 20% are coming from within the community. It's not circulating widely,'' he said.
That's fantastic news, he said, indicating the virus has not been able to gain a serious foothold because of social distancing.
It's like a wildfire, Chiu said. A few sparks might fly off the fire and land in the grass and start new fires. But if the main fire is doused and its embers stomped out, you can kill off an entire strain. In California, Chiu sees a lot of sparks hitting the ground, most coming from Washington, but they're quickly being put out.
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An example was a small cluster of cases in Solano County, northeast of San Francisco. Chiu's team did a genetic analysis of the virus that infected patients there and found it was most closely related to a strain from China.
At the same time, his lab was sequencing a small cluster of cases in the city of Santa Clara in Silicon Valley. They discovered the patients there had the same strain as those in Solano County. Chiu believes someone in that cluster had contact with a traveler who recently returned from Asia.
''This is probably an example of a spark that began in Santa Clara, may have gone to Solano County but then was halted,'' he said.
The virus, he said, can be stopped.
View | 143 Photos
China is an unknown
So far researchers don't have a lot of information about the genomics of the virus inside China beyond the fact that it first appeared in the city of Wuhan sometime between mid-November and mid-December.
The virus's initial sequence was published on Jan. 10 by professor Yong-Zhen Zhang at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center. But Chiu says scientists don't know if there was just one strain circulating in China or more.
''It may be that they haven't sequenced many cases or it may be for political reasons they haven't been made available,'' said Chiu. ''It's difficult to interpret the data because we're missing all these early strains.''
Researchers in the United Kingdom who sequenced the genomes of viruses found in travelers from Guangdong in south China found those patients' strains spanned the gamut of strains circulating worldwide.
''That could mean several of the strains we're seeing outside of China first evolved there from the original strain, or that there are multiple lines of infection. It's very hard to know,'' said Chiu.
There's a new symptom of coronavirus, docs say: Sudden loss of smell or taste
The virus did not come from a lab
While there remain many questions about the trajectory of the COVID-19 disease outbreak, one thing is broadly accepted in the scientific community: The virus was not created in a lab but naturally evolved in an animal host.
SARS-CoV-2's genomic molecular structure '' think the backbone of the virus '' is closest to a coronavirus found in bats. Parts of its structure also resemble a virus found in scaly anteaters, according to a paper published earlier this month in the journal Nature Medicine.
Someone manufacturing a virus targeting people would have started with one that attacked humans, wrote National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins in an editorial that accompanied the paper.
Andersen was lead author on the paper. He said it could have been a one-time occurrence.
''It's possible it was a single event, from a single animal to a single human,'' and spread from there.
Coronavirus '' No Vaccine Is Needed to Cure It - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:32
The New York Times reported on 30 March that President Trump retreated from his earlier statement that by 12 April the COVID-19 lock-down should be over and its ''back-to-work'' time. Instead he said that an extension to the end of April was necessary '' and possibly even to June. This, he said, was following the guidance of his advisors, of whom Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), within the National Institute for Health (NIH), is one.
Virus COVID-19 has so far caused far less infections and death than the common flu in past years. WHO reports on 30 March worldwide 750,000 infections with a death toll of 36,000. In the US about 161,000 cases and 3,000 deaths. Yet, alarmist Fauci claims that there may be millions of US coronavirus cases and 100,000- 200,000 deaths. And, coincidentally, so does Bill Gates, using pretty much the same figures.
All with the idea of pushing a vaccine down the throat of the public.
A multibillion dollar vaccine is not necessary.
The NIAD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are collaborating with a view to developing a COVID-19 Vaccine.
China has proven that COVID-19 could be brought under control at rather low-cost and with strict discipline and conventional medication. The same medicines and measures have been used for centuries to prevent and cure successfully all kinds of viral diseases.
First, a vaccine against COVID-19, or coronaviruses in general, is a flu vaccine. Vaccines don't heal. In the best case, flu-vaccines may prevent the virus from affecting a patient as hard as it might without a vaccine. The effectiveness of flu vaccines is generally assessed as between 20% and 50%. Vaccines are foremost a huge money-making bonanza for Big Pharma.
Second, here are a myriad of remedies that have proven very successful. See also this and this .
French Professor Didier Raoult, who is one of the world's top 5 scientists on communicable diseases, suggested the use of hydroxychloroquine (Chloroquine or Plaquenil), a well-known, simple, and inexpensive drug, also used to fight Malaria, and that has shown efficacy with previous coronaviruses such as SARS. By mid-February 2020, clinical trials at his institute and in China already confirmed that the drug could reduce the viral load and bring spectacular improvement. Chinese scientists published their first trials on more than 100 patients and announced that the Chinese National Health Commission would recommend Chloroquine in their new guidelines to treat Covid-19.China and Cuba are working together with the use of Interferon Alpha 2B, a highly efficient anti-viral drug developed in Cuba some 39 years, but little known to the world, because of the US imposed embargo on anything from Cuba. Interferon has also proven to be very effective in fighting COVID-19 and is now produced in a joint-venture in China.There is an old natural Indian / Ayurveda medicine, Curcumin, that comes in capsules as C90. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound that has been successfully used to treat cancer, infectious diseases and, yes, coronaviruses.Other simple, but effective remedies include the use of heavy doses of Vitamin C, as well as Vitamin D3, or more generally the use of Micronutrients essential to fight infections, include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.Another remedy that has been used for thousands of years by ancient Chinese, Romans and Egyptians, are Colloidal silver products. They come in forms to be administered as a liquid by mouth, or injected, or applied to the skin. Colloidal silver products are boosting the immune system, fighting bacteria and viruses, and have been used for treating cancer, HIV/AIDS, shingles, herpes, eye ailments, prostatitis '' and COVID-19.A simple and inexpensive remedy, to be used in combination with others, is menthol-based ''Mentholatum''. It's used for common flu and cold symptoms. Rubbed on and around the nose, it acts as a disinfectant and prevents germs to enter the respiratory track, including corona viruses.
Northern Italy and New Orleans report that an unusual number of patients had to be hospitalized in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and be put 24—7 on a 90%-strength respirator, with some of the patients remaining unresponsive, going into respiratory failure. The reported death rate is about 40%. The condition is called acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS. That means the lungs are filled with fluid. When this description of ARDS episodes applies, Dr. Raoult and other medical colleagues recommend COVID-19 patients to ''sleep sitting up'' until they are cured. This helps drain the liquid out of the lungs. The method has been known to work successfully since it was first documented during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.Finally, Chinese researchers in cooperation with Cuban and Russian scientists are also developing a vaccine which may soon be ready for testing. The vaccine would attempt to address not just one strand of coronaviruses, but the basic coronaviral RNA genome (RNA = Ribonucleic Acid), to be applied as a prevention of new coronavirus mutations. In contrast to the west, working exclusively on profit-motives, the Chinese-Cuban-Russian vaccine would be made available at low cost to the entire world.These alternative cures may not be found on Big Pharma controlled internet. Internet references, if there are any, may advise against their use. At best, they will tell you that these products or methods have not proven effective, and at worst, that they may be harmful. Don't believe it. None of these products or methods are harmful. Remember, some of them have been used as natural remedies for thousands of years. And remember, China has successfully come to grips with COVID-19, using some of these relatively simple and inexpensive medications.
Few doctors are aware of these practical, simple and inexpensive remedies. The media, under pressure from the pharma giants and the compliant government agencies, have been requested to censoring such valuable information. The negligence or failure, to make such easily accessible remedies public knowledge is killing people.
The Role of Bill Gates and the Lockdown
Bill Gates may have been one of Trump's 'advisors', suggesting that he should extend the ''back-to-work'' date to at least end April, and, if Gates has his way, to at least June. That still remains to be seen. Gates is very-very powerful:
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wants businesses to open by Easter, April 12, to soften the economic impact. '... Gates acknowledged Tuesday that self isolation will be ''disastrous'' for the economy, but ''there really is no middle ground.'' He suggested a shutdown of six to 10 weeks. (CNBC, March 24, 2020)
Screenshot, CNBC, March 24, 2020
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will drive the mass vaccination effort which is scheduled to be launched in the period after the lockdown.
The vaccination association includes, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a semi-NGO, to which NIH / NIAID outsourced oversight of the vaccination program '' supported by Bill Gates; GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization '' also a Bill Gates creation, supported by WHO, also amply funded by the Gates Foundation; the World Bank and UNICEF; plus a myriad of pharmaceutical partners.
Bill Gates also strongly suggests that travelers must have in their passport a vaccination certificate before embarking on a plane, or entering a country.
The program implementation, including a related global electronic identity-program, possibly administered with nano-chips that could be embedded in the vaccine itself, would be overseen by the little-know agency Agenda ID2020 which is also a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation initiative.
Bill Gates is also known as a strong proponent of drastic and selective population reduction. Knowing what we know, who would trust any vaccine that carries Bill Gate's signature. Hope that this evil endeavor will not succeed is omnipresent. We must hope to the end, then the end will never come '' and gradually Light will drown Darkness
For further details on Agenda ID2020, see
The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is ''Agenda ID2020''
By Peter Koenig , March 12, 2020*
***
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Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion '' An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed '' fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! '' Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
''Hospitals Overwhelmed'' is Yet Another Hysterical Hoax '' Daily Stormer
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:24
Andrew AnglinDaily StormerApril 2, 2020
With everything else about this Coronavirus having been proved to be exactly within the bounds of a normal flu, I now have readers saying ''yeah but what about the hospitalizations? Maybe the death toll is the same as the flu, but the hospitalization rate is higher.''
This is yet another attempt by people to cope with the fact that they have been duped into falling into a state of mass hysteria.
I have no doubt that hospitals are having a hard time dealing with the patients coming in from Coronavirus/the flu, as is being reported by the media.
The thing that is going unsaid is that they must have also had a hard time dealing with the nearly 1 million people who were hospitalized for the flu during the 2017-18 flu season.
As a matter of fact, we've got a pretty good record of that hard time they had.
TIME, January 18, 2018UPI, January 24, 2018LA Times, January 16, 2018CBS News, January 5, 2018New Orleans Advocate, January 16, 2018AP, January 13, 2018San Francisco Business Times, January 8, 2018WGNTV Chicago, January 11, 2018Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Georgia), January 15, 2018Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts), January 14, 2018CBS Tampa Bay, February 9, 2018CBS Atlanta, January 30, 2018Fox 21 Colorado Springs, January 13, 2018City News Toronto, February 13, 2018CBS Greenville, January 27, 2018I dare say, those headlines look shockingly similar to the ones we're seeing right now with the hysterical Coronavirus situation.
Here's a graph from the CDC showing the estimated flu cases, hospitalizations and deaths since 2011.
We'll zoom in so you can see those numbers a bit better.
And you can check out the entire breakdown on the CDC website.
For some reason, the CDC's website still has the 2017-2018 season estimates from spring of 2018 on their website.
But the estimated death toll, which is listed there as 61,000, was later upgraded to 80,000. That finalization of the death toll was announced in September of 2018, but they haven't updated their public website with the final statistics.
AP, September 26, 2018:
An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter '-- the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, revealed the total in an interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press.
Flu experts knew it was a very bad season, but at least one found size of the estimate surprising.
''That's huge,'' said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The tally was nearly twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.
So I assume the hospitalization number was also low when the estimate of 810,000 was given, and the actual number of hospitalizations for the flu reached over a million in the 2017-18 season.
With Coronavirus, we do not have nationwide statistics on hospitalizations.
What we do have is the number from New York, which was given in the New York Times on Wednesday:
The number of patients hospitalized surpassed 10,900, up 15 percent from yesterday. Of those, 2,710 are currently in intensive care rooms with ventilators.
So, let's do the math.
At time of writing, 83,712 of the nation's 205,438 cases are in New York.
That means New York has 40% of the nation's confirmed cases.
So if the rest of the nation has roughly the same rate of hospitalizations, and they currently have 10,900 hospitalizations, then the total number of hospitalizations nationwide would be about 27,250.
And that is 3.4% of the total 810,000 recorded hospitalizations in 2018.
If you extrapolate that across the entire 6-month flu season, with the mean average flu hospital stays ranging from 5-10 days, and consider that March is often a peak month, you would get a number significantly lower than 80,000.
''Hospitals overwhelmed'' is the meme.
But we have to believe they were also overwhelmed in 2018, when the numbers were higher.
In 2018, no one was paying attention to any of this. It was talked about casually on the news, and people would say to each other ''oh yeah, I heard the flu is really bad this year'...'', but there was no mass discussion of the issue.
Conversely, this year, we have a mass hysteria, with the entire media reporting on every detail of the development of the virus situation, so what is actually just a normal flu season becomes an unmanageable crisis that shuts down the entire country and destroys the economy.
Do you know how many people die every year in car crashes in the United States?
Because I do.
Imagine if every single car accident was reported on the mainstream national media as a really, really important death. Of course, every car death is an important death. It's always someone's son or daughter or mother or father. But imagine they said there was an outbreak of car crashes, and really started hammering it, literally 24 hours a day in every media outlet.
Imagine if the reporters were coming on, saying ''the death toll is rising'... hospital emergency rooms are being overwhelmed with car crash victims'... Donald Trump continues to ignore the problem'...''
People would be scared. Death is scary.
Of course everyone would be afraid to get in a car and there would be people across the country calling for banning cars.
That's what we have with this year's flu.
Only banning cars would be a manageable goal. Stopping human beings from interacting with each other is an insane goal. And we're all going to pay the price for it, I can promise you that.
Manufactured Pandemic: Testing People for Any Strain of a Coronavirus, Not Specifically for COVID-19 - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:19
The following is from a medical forum. The writer, who is a widely respected professional scientist in the US, prefers to stay anonymous, because presenting any narrative different than the official one can cause you a lot of stress in the toxic environment caused by the scam which surrounds COVID-19 these days. '' Julian Rose
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I work in the healthcare field. Here's the problem, we are testing people for any strain of a Coronavirus. Not specifically for COVID-19. There are no reliable tests for a specific COVID-19 virus. There are no reliable agencies or media outlets for reporting numbers of actual COVID-19 virus cases. This needs to be addressed first and foremost. Every action and reaction to COVID-19 is based on totally flawed data and we simply can not make accurate assessments.
This is why you're hearing that most people with COVID-19 are showing nothing more than cold/flu like symptoms. That's because most Coronavirus strains are nothing more than cold/flu like symptoms. The few actual novel Coronavirus cases do have some worse respiratory responses, but still have a very promising recovery rate, especially for those without prior issues.
The 'gold standard' in testing for COVID-19 is laboratory isolated/purified coronavirus particles free from any contaminants and particles that look like viruses but are not, that have been proven to be the cause of the syndrome known as COVID-19 and obtained by using proper viral isolation methods and controls (not the PCR that is currently being used or Serology /antibody tests which do not detect virus as such). PCR basically takes a sample of your cells and amplifies any DNA to look for 'viral sequences', i.e. bits of non-human DNA that seem to match parts of a known viral genome.
The problem is the test is known not to work.
It uses 'amplification' which means taking a very very tiny amount of DNA and growing it exponentially until it can be analyzed. Obviously any minute contaminations in the sample will also be amplified leading to potentially gross errors of discovery.
Additionally, it's only looking for partial viral sequences, not whole genomes, so identifying a single pathogen is next to impossible even if you ignore the other issues.
The Mickey Mouse test kits being sent out to hospitals, at best, tell analysts you have some viral DNA in your cells. Which most of us do, most of the time. It may tell you the viral sequence is related to a specific type of virus '' say the huge family of coronavirus. But that's all. The idea these kits can isolate a specific virus like COVID-19 is nonsense.
And that's not even getting into the other issue '' viral load.
If you remember the PCR works by amplifying minute amounts of DNA. It therefore is useless at telling you how much virus you may have. And that's the only question that really matters when it comes to diagnosing illness. Everyone will have a few virus kicking round in their system at any time, and most will not cause illness because their quantities are too small. For a virus to sicken you you need a lot of it, a massive amount of it. But PCR does not test viral load and therefore can't determine if it is present in sufficient quantities to sicken you.
If you feel sick and get a PCR test any random virus DNA might be identified even if they aren't at all involved in your sickness which leads to false diagnosis.
And coronavirus are incredibly common. A large percentage of the world human population will have covi DNA in them in small quantities even if they are perfectly well or sick with some other pathogen.
Do you see where this is going yet? If you want to create a totally false panic about a totally false pandemic '' pick a coronavirus.
They are incredibly common and there's tons of them. A very high percentage of people who have become sick by other means (flu, bacterial pneumonia, anything) will have a positive
PCR test for covi even if you're doing them properly and ruling out contamination, simply because covis are so common.
There are hundreds of thousands of flu and pneumonia victims in hospitals throughout the world at any one time.
All you need to do is select the sickest of these in a single location '' say Wuhan '' administer PCR tests to them and claim anyone showing viral sequences similar to a coronavirus (which will inevitably be quite a few) is suffering from a 'new' disease.
Since you already selected the sickest flu cases a fairly high proportion of your sample will go on to die.
You can then say this 'new' virus has a CFR higher than the flu and use this to infuse more concern and do more tests which will of course produce more 'cases', which expands the testing, which produces yet more 'cases' and so on and so on.
Before long you have your 'pandemic', and all you have done is use a simple test kit trick to convert the worst flu and pneumonia cases into something new that doesn't actually exist.
Now just run the same scam in other countries. Making sure to keep the fear message running high so that people will feel panicky and less able to think critically.
Your only problem is going to be that '' due to the fact there is no actual new deadly pathogen but just regular sick people, you are mislabeling your case numbers, and especially your deaths, are going to be way too low for a real new deadly virus pandemic.
But you can stop people pointing this out in several ways.
1. You can claim this is just the beginning and more deaths are imminent. Use this as an excuse to quarantine everyone and then claim the quarantine prevented the expected millions of dead.
2. You can tell people that 'minimizing' the dangers is irresponsible and bully them into not talking about numbers.
3. You can talk crap about made up numbers hoping to blind people with pseudoscience.
4. You can start testing well people (who, of course, will also likely have shreds of coronavirus DNA in them) and thus inflate your 'case figures' with 'asymptomatic carriers' (you will of course have to spin that to sound deadly even though any virologist knows the more symptom-less cases you have the less deadly is your pathogen.
Take these 4 simple steps and you can have your own entirely manufactured pandemic up and running in weeks.
They can not ''confirm'' something for which there is no accurate test.
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Report: Israel Team Days Away From Creating Active Component Of Coronavirus Vaccine | The Daily Wire
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:11
On Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post reported that a team of Israeli scientists assert they are only days away from finishing production of the active component of a coronavirus vaccine. Additionally, the researchers say their work could be tested on humans by June 1.
Dr. Chen Katz, group leader of MIGAL's biotechnology group, which is partially funded by Israel's Science and Technology Ministry, stated, ''We are in the final stages and within a few days we will hold the proteins '' the active component of the vaccine.''
The Post noted, ''Researchers at MIGAL scientists have been developing a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes a bronchial disease affecting poultry. The effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven in preclinical trials carried out at the Veterinary Institute.''
Katz added, ''Our basic concept was to develop the technology and not specifically a vaccine for this kind or that kind of virus. The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis, causing the body to form antibodies against the virus.''
Katz acknowledged, ''Let's call it pure luck. We decided to choose coronavirus as a model for our system just as a proof of concept for our technology.''
MIGAL researchers analyzed the DNA of the novel coronavirus it and discovered the poultry coronavirus has tremendous genetic similarity and uses the same infection mechanism. Katz said that fact makes an effective human vaccine possible much more quickly.
Katz said, ''The quality of this kind of vaccine should be closer to food regulations than pharma regulations or somewhere in between. We hope that we will not need to go through the complete purification process like in the drug industry, because that could delay us '... technology wise, people wise we have all we need in Israel.''
Israel's government has been pushing hard for to find a vaccine; as early as February, Science and Technology Minister Ofer Akunis told his ministry's director-general to fast-track all approval processes.
The Israel Institute for Biological Research, an Israeli government defense research institute whose work is normally quite secretive, is collaborating with other entities to create a vaccine. Israel Institute for Biological Research chief innovation officer Eran Zahavy, who rarely makes public comments, stated, ''We are trying as much as we can to collaborate and have other ideas of other people. But the facility of the lab is very crowded and very busy and very dangerous, so it has to be very slow and very cautious '... It's not enough only to detect neutralizing antibodies in the animal. You really want to see them getting sick and getting better by this vaccine.''
The IIBR website states, ''IIBR scientists contributed to the development of a vaccine for polio (1959); developed kits for the detection of explosive materials (1980); developed of a brand name drug against Sjogren syndrome (1984) marketed all over the world and is one of four brand name drugs developed in Israel.''
Why Did Russia Just Halt Domestic Gold Purchases? | Zero Hedge
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:19
As the gold market continues to deal with global liquidity issues, and virus-lockdown-related disruptions between paper and physical pricing as extremely high physical demand creates shortages, Russia made a surprise announcement on Monday.
Starting April 1, Russia will be suspending its domestic gold purchases:
"Since April 1, 2020, the Bank of Russia has suspended the purchase of gold in the domestic precious metals market.
Further decisions on the purchase of gold will be made depending on the development of the situation in the financial market..." Russia's central bank said.
In recent years, as Kitco notes, the Russian central bank has dominated the gold market, consistently increasing its gold reserves every month for the last three years. According to data from the World Gold Council, the Russian central bank bought 158.1 tons last year. The WGC data shows that the central bank bought 8.1 tons of gold in January.
Although Russia will not be adding to its gold reserves in the near future, analysts are not expecting the central bank to start selling its gold anytime soon.
So the question is - why is Russia stopping its domestic purchases? We see four main possibilities...
1) Russia reached a limit on the relative size of gold reserves to overall reserves...
Gold accounts for over 20% of Russian international reserves, which is a high level historically and compared with other central banks.
''The central bank probably doesn't want to increase gold's share in reserves, while the size of reserves is falling,'' said Tatiana Evdokimova, an analyst at Nordea Bank in Moscow.
2) Ease tightness in global gold markets
This would have a manifold benefit by helping enable increased ownership of physical precious metals around the world, and potentially supporting the case for more de-dollarization.
It would also reduce the huge premiums that are being paid for physical gold (why would they want to pay up for it).
3) Offer domestic producers profit opportunities
As we have detailed previously, even though there's literally thousands of tons of gold bars sitting in vaults around the world, it's been hard to get metal when and where it's needed, and so premiums for physical bullion is extreme to say the least.
Given the huge physical premiums in precious metals (and a plunge in crude profits for the nation), it would make sense to enable producers to sell into global markets at a sizable profit
''The central bank is now signaling to gold sellers that they should redirect their supplies externally,'' said Dmitry Dolgin, ING Bank's chief economist in Russia. ''Global demand seems to be high.''
4) They no longer like gold...
This seems unlikely, as Bloomberg notes, Russia's relentless gold buying in recent years has been a key pillar of support for the market, putting a floor under prices as investors ditched safe havens and bought riskier, higher-yielding assets.
The bullion stockpile held by Russia's central bank is valued at about $120 billion.
* * *
So why is Russia ending its domestic purchases when the rest of the world is piling in? Perhaps they see what's coming and are fully prepared...
What will $120 billion (at current prices) be worth when the dollar dies?
Liquefied natural gas on trains: Trump plan draws widespread opposition - The Washington Post
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:16
Small amounts of LNG have been transported by rail on a trial basis in Alaska and Florida. But if the new rule is adopted, trains of 100 or more tank cars, each with a capacity of 30,000 gallons, could start carrying LNG, primarily from shale fields to saltwater ports, where it would be loaded onto ships for export. They could traverse dozens or hundreds of different jurisdictions across the country, some that rely on volunteer firefighters as first responders, while others are major population centers.
While the proposed rule has caught the attention of regulators and public safety experts, it has largely escaped notice by the general public, and the window to comment on the rule recently closed.
White House pulls rule that would require two-member crew in locomotives
Energy companies and railroads have been pushing to lift the ban at a time when a domestic gas glut has depressed U.S. prices. Trump, eager to prop up exports of fossil fuels, ordered the Transportation Department last April to devise the rule and imposed a quick 13-month deadline. Critics say that leaves nowhere near enough time to assess the dangers and design the safeguards that should be required.
''The risks of catastrophic LNG releases in accidents is too great not to have operational controls in place before large blocks of tank cars and unit trains proliferate,'' the NTSB, an independent federal agency, wrote in a comment on the proposed rule.
''The whole thing in my mind is very dangerous,'' said Susan Mehiel, director of the Alliance For Safe Trains, which opposes a plan to ship LNG on the Florida East Coast Railway through her hometown of Vero Beach. ''It's a really dangerous corridor. It goes through very densely populated areas.''
In his April executive order, Trump said the rule was necessary as one of a string of measures that would help the United States fully realize the economic potential of its energy resources. For the sake of efficiency, he wrote, the country has to ''reduce regulatory uncertainties.''
Supporters of the rule, including the Association of American Railroads, say trains have fewer accidents than trucks, which can currently carry LNG. They point out that ships have carried LNG for 60 years without catastrophes. Rail transit would allow large amounts of gas '-- as much as 3 million gallons in one train '-- to be delivered to terminals for export, as well as to areas such as the Northeast that have limited pipeline capacity.
American railroads ''have an excellent safety record in transporting hazardous materials,'' and relying on their own voluntary safety policies, as envisioned by the proposed rule, is appropriate, Robert E. Fronczak, assistant vice president of the Association of American Railroads, wrote in a comment also endorsed by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Taking LNG trucks off the highway in favor of rail ''has the potential to increase fuel economy and cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with the movement of LNG by 75 percent, and particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by significant quantities, as well,'' Mike O'Malley, president of the Railway Supply Institute, wrote in a comment.
Railroads, regulators clash over braking system for trains carrying flammable liquids
Opponents, pointing to numerous fires and explosions that have occurred in accidents involving oil-carrying trains, argue the haste in drawing up the rule hinders any meaningful consideration of safety.
''President Trump surely knew this when he issued his executive order," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat and short-lived presidential candidate, wrote in a comment. ''To move forward without an adequate review is to place the public's safety at significant risk.''
LNG and petroleum have different characteristics, but spectacular accidents involving trains of oil tank cars give critics plenty of grist.
In 2013, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, 47 people were killed when a runaway train exploded and burst into flames. Six months later, an oil train rammed into the derailed cars of a grain-carrying train in Casselton, N.D., unleashing exploding fireballs and forcing the evacuation of more than 1,400 people from the area. The crews of the two trains were on different radio frequencies.
On Feb. 6, a Canadian Pacific train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames outside Guernsey, Saskatchewan. A CSX train carrying ethanol ignited after it derailed in eastern Kentucky on Feb. 13.
LNG is not as likely to detonate as crude oil, experts say, unless after escaping a damaged tank car it gathers in a confined space, such as a tunnel. But even in the open, if a car was breached, an escaping vapor cloud could ignite and burn at extreme temperatures while it potentially drifted downwind from the scene of the accident. There is no way to extinguish such a fire other than to let it burn out, as noted in the joint statement by the state attorneys general, citing a 2010 study.
Another danger would be presented by the sudden failure of a tank car's ''thermos,'' which must maintain a temperature of minus-260 degrees to keep the gas in a liquid state. Above that temperature, it expands 600-fold. If safety valves fail, what engineers call a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion, or BLEVE, would follow, probably blowing the damaged tank car apart and putting anyone nearby at risk.
Canadian runaway train disaster blamed on weak safety culture, poor oversight
The specific thermos cars that would be allowed under the proposed rule are of a 50-year-old design, more robust than ordinary tank cars but of the same size and with a capacity three times that of a truck trailer's. They were ''specifically designed for the safe transportation of cryogenic [very low temperature] materials like LNG and have a strong safety record,'' wrote O'Malley, of the Railway Supply Institute.
One company, New Fortress Energy, has been at the forefront of proposals to carry LNG by rail, with plans to expand a small trial program underway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and to begin daily shipments on so-called unit trains between the Marcellus shale fields of northern Pennsylvania and a terminal on the Delaware River in Gibbstown, N.J. That route would necessarily cut through the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The company, which seeks to supply markets in the Caribbean and Central America, did not respond to requests for comment. Its chairman and founder is Wesley R. Edens, who is also a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Deadline for train safety technology undercut by industry lobbying
The Pennsylvania-New Jersey project, still in the development stage, was granted a special permit by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in December that includes several significant safety requirements involving speed limits, brake capabilities and the posting of routes in advance. Yet the same agency included none of those requirements when it drew up the more general proposed rule change, which would apply to the entire country.
The NTSB wrote in a comment: ''We are surprised'' that the authors of the new rule ''chose not to include such operation controls.''
The NTSB also argued for a regulation requiring the placement of five cars without hazardous materials between the locomotive and the LNG cars, for the safety of the train crews. It noted as well that there are only 67 tank cars that could carry LNG under the rule in the entire country. The Federal Railroad Administration has scheduled a safety test of those cars with respect to carrying LNG, but the results are not expected until a year from now.
An NTSB spokesman said the agency would not agree to an interview on the topic.
In Florida, New Fortress has been shipping small amounts of LNG from a liquefaction terminal in Hialeah to a location near the Fort Lauderdale airport, 28 miles away. It does not use full-size tank cars, but what are essentially tractor-trailer-size tanks lifted onto reinforced flat cars. The Florida East Coast Railway uses similar ''tenders'' to supply LNG to its fleet of natural gas locomotives.
Andres Trujillo, a Florida East Coast Railway locomotive engineer and an official with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, said the trains are limited to 10 cars and make only one trip a day. The top allowed speed is 40 mph, he said, ''because they're going through an extended urban area.'' The railroad requires 10 buffer cars behind the locomotive, he said. Only specially trained employees handle the loading and unloading of the LNG, he said, and in the two years since the pilot program began there have been no significant problems.
He agrees with his union, which says the national rule should include similar safety regulations. Another union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, noted in a comment that railroads have been carrying hazardous materials since the 19th century, but it makes no sense to go ahead with the rule before properly assessing the dangers that could arise from 100-car trains full of LNG.
''Do LNG trains carry more risk as trains get longer or when communications problems occur between the front and rear of the train?'' wrote Dennis Pierce, the union's national president. His answer was that no one knows.
The most dramatic oil tank-car accidents have occurred in decidedly rural spots, but the LNG proposals involve urban areas including south Florida and Philadelphia. Trains of tank cars in Florida would share tracks with the passenger service known as Virgin Trains, also connected to New Fortress.
Virgin Trains run between Miami and West Palm Beach at a top speed of 79 mph, but the plan is to extend them to Orlando and, eventually, run them at higher speeds. Mehiel, of Vero Beach, primarily focuses on the dangers posed by the railroad's many grade crossings and the more than 40 people who have been struck and killed by trains since the service began two years ago. But she argues that adding slower-moving LNG trains to the mix is asking for more trouble.
''It's a bad place for a fast train, for us,'' she said. ''It's a bad place for an LNG train, for us.''
A supporter of the new rule, Joshua Davidson, the editor of a trade publication called Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports, says rail transportation of LNG would help prevent potential winter energy shortages in the Northeast, where pipelines are inadequate and millions rely on heating oil. It would also make it easier for industries to move away from coal and oil, he wrote in a comment, in favor of cleaner natural gas.
That argument has alarmed local officeholders in New Jersey who worry about the hazards of LNG trains rumbling through their towns on the way to New York and New England.
All the way across the country, another clean-fuel project, to supply natural gas to ships traveling from Puget Sound to Alaska, has the Puyallup Tribe, based in Tacoma, Wash., up in arms. The tribe has lobbied against a proposed liquefaction plant adjacent to their reservation '-- probably the most urban reservation in America '-- and now with the new rail rule, they worry the plant could be refashioned to produce LNG for trains as well as ships.
Lisa Anderson, the tribe's attorney, said she is concerned not only about LNG releases but also about the toxic byproducts that are used as refrigerants and are much more volatile. In proposing the rule without consultation, she said, the Transportation Department has violated the treaties between the Puyallups and the federal government, as well as executive orders governing relations with Native Americans signed by presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
''It impacts our culture, it impacts our members,'' said Annette Bryan, a member of the Puyallup Tribal Council. ''There's a scientific component to this, and an emotional component.''
Pentagon watchdog tapped to lead committee overseeing $2 trillion coronavirus package - POLITICO
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:07
Glenn Fine | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
The nation's top government watchdogs on Monday appointed Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Pentagon, to lead the newly created committee that oversees implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Donald Trump last week.
Fine will lead a panel of fellow inspectors general, dubbed the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and command an $80 million budget meant to "promote transparency and support oversight" of the massive disaster response legislation. His appointment was made by a fellow committee of inspectors general, assigned by the new law to pick a chairman of the committee.
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Fine, who served as Justice Department inspector general from 2000 to 2011 '-- spanning parts of the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies '-- will join nine other inspectors general on the new committee. They include the IGs of the Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and the Treasury; the inspector general of the Small Business Administration; and the Treasury inspector general for Tax Administration.
''Mr. Fine is uniquely qualified to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, given his more than 15 years of experience as an Inspector General overseeing large organizations '-- 11 years as the Department of Justice Inspector General and the last 4 years performing the duties of the Department of Defense Inspector General," said Michael Horowitz, the top watchdog at the Justice Department who leads the group of inspectors general that made the appointment. "The Inspector General Community recognizes the need for transparency surrounding, and strong and effective independent oversight of, the federal government's spending in response to this public health crisis."
The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee is one of three major prongs in the new law meant to provide oversight of the enormous sums to be doled out by the Trump administration. The others include a new "special inspector general" to oversee the Treasury Department's disbursal of $500 billion in funds to support distressed industries and shore up the collapsing economy. Trump is slated to nominate that inspector general, who will then face Senate confirmation.
Confirmed U.S. Cases: 213,372 |U.S. Deaths: 4,757
In addition, the law establishes a Congressional Oversight Commission appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The five appointees of that panel have yet to be named but are due to file reports within 30 days of the disbursal of funds by the Treasury Department.
But it's the panel led by Fine that has the broadest purview. It's charged with "developing a strategic plan to ensure coordinated, efficient, and effective comprehensive oversight by the Committee and Inspectors General over all aspects of covered funds and the Coronavirus response; auditing or reviewing covered funds, including a comprehensive audit and review of charges made to Federal contracts pursuant to authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, to determine whether wasteful spending, poor contract or grant management, or other abuses are occurring and referring matters the Committee considers appropriate for investigation to the Inspector General for the agency that disbursed the covered funds, including conducting randomized 19 audits to identify fraud."
The new law also charges the committee with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse discovered in any coronavirus response programs and acting as a liaison between several federal agencies involved in the effort. It gives the chairman subpoena power and requires regular reporting to the public and Congress of its activities, including a notification to lawmakers if any of the inspectors general are denied information from agencies they're reviewing.
Some of these provisions may be on a collision course with Trump, who has indicated he intends to treat as optional the law's provisions that require reporting or consultation with Congress.
Trump, in particular, has indicated that a requirement that the "special inspector general" report to Congress any time he or she is denied information would be improper without presidential approval, undercutting a key element of oversight that helped win over some Democrats wavering over whether to support the $2 trillion bill. It's unclear whether Trump will also apply that principle to Fine's panel as well.
''Glenn Fine has a good reputation as a tough federal prosecutor and former DOJ Inspector General, and must exercise his full oversight authority to ensure that the Trump administration implements the CARES Act as intended," said Schumer in a statement on Monday.
Trump chips away at Congress' role in coronavirus relief oversight - POLITICO
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:07
President Donald Trump. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President Donald Trump intends to ignore provisions in the newly passed $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill intended to shore up Congress' oversight of the massive rescue program.
The legislation establishes a "special inspector general" to review and investigate loan decisions made by the treasury secretary as part of the coronavirus relief effort, an accountability measure that was a central part of Democrats' demands to shore up transparency in the bill. The provision requires the inspector general to notify Congress if he or she is "unreasonably refused or not provided" any information.
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But in a signing statement issued shortly after he approved the bill, Trump says he'll be the last word on whether this provision is followed.
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution, Trump said in the signing statement.
Trump also indicated he would treat as optional a requirement in the bill that key congressional committees be consulted before Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State or U.S. Agency for International Development spends or reallocates certain funds.
"These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," Trump says in the statement.
Trump's incursion on Congress' involvement in key aspects of the law could rankle congressional Democrats, who conditioned their support for the enormous rescue package on stepped up oversight over the $500 billion fund meant to support distressed industries and companies.
One Democratic Senate aide indicated that this was a reason Congress built in multiple layers of oversight '-- including the new inspector general, a review council of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.
Asked about the signing statement on MSNBC, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president's move "no surprise."
"But Congress will exercise its oversight," Pelosi said. "And we will have our panel appointed by the House to, in real time, to make sure we know where those funds are going to be expended."
Pelosi's comments came as some rank-and-file Democrats raised alarms about Trump's signing statement.
"And just like that, the Congressional oversight provisions for the 1/2 TRILLION dollar Wall St slush fund (which were *already* too weak) are tossed away the day the bill is signed," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt admin w/ 0 accountability."
Trump's decision to override the requirement that the inspector general report concerns to Congress is reminiscent of his handling of the whistleblower complaint regarding Ukraine that ultimately led to his impeachment last year.
At the time, the intelligence community's inspector general sought to relay to Congress a whistleblower complaint that Trump had abused his power by seeking Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election. But top officials in the Justice Department and White House intervened, blocking the report from reaching Congress until subpoenas and a pressure campaign from House Democrats forced it into the open.
Trump, in his signing statement, is now suggesting that any legal requirement that an inspector general report to Congress is inherently improper without allowing for the president to make the ultimate decision.
Confirmed U.S. Cases: 213,372 |U.S. Deaths: 4,757
Under the final measure, the special inspector general would be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. He or she would be required to "conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of the making, purchase, management, and sale of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments made by the Secretary of the Treasury under any program established by the Secretary under this Act."
The inspector general is empowered to seek information from any agency or department. And in a section titled "Refusal to Provide Requested Information," the official is also required to report to Congress "without delay" when such information is not provided.
The coronavirus legislation also includes a second accountability measure championed by Democrats: the establishment of a "Pandemic Response Accountability Committee" to "promote transparency and conduct and support oversight of covered funds."
Under the law, the chair of the new committee will be appointed by the leader of longstanding council of federal inspectors general, who in turn is required to discuss the appointment with Pelosi, Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Trump indicated that he wouldn't stand in the way of voluntary communication with Congress. "But a requirement to consult with the Congress regarding executive decision-making, including with respect to the President's Article II authority to oversee executive branch operations, violates the separation of powers by intruding upon the President's power and duty to supervise the staffing of the executive branch," Trump wrote.
Trump concluded his signing statement by rejecting several provisions in the new law that require the administration to recommend legislation to Congress.
"[M]y Administration will continue the practice of treating provisions like these as advisory and non-binding," he wrote.
Los Angeles Engineer Charged With Trying to Ram Train into US Hospital Ship Mercy
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:58
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The US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced Wednesday that a train engineer was arrested by federal agents that morning after he allegedly ran a locomotive off the tracks at full speed in an apparent attempt to strike the USNS Mercy.
The Department of Justice release revealed that train engineer Eduardo Moreno, a 44-year-old resident of San Pedro, California, was arrested on one federal count of train wrecking on April 1. He was previously being held by Los Angeles Port Police on "local charges" the night of the incident - March 31 - and then turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Video viewed by the port police showed the train traveling at a "high rate of speed before crashing through various barriers and coming into close proximity to three occupied vehicles." Moreno was then initially taken into custody by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who witnessed the scene. The CHP officer reported that he saw the train "smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence."
The DoJ release noted that Moreno confessed to the crime in his first interview with LA Port Police and said he "did it" to bring media attention to the USNS Mercy - which was docked in the city's port to assist local hospitals with patients who do not have COVID-19 novel coronavirus-related ailments.He contended that the medical ship was not there for the purpose of assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic and was instead part of an undercover government takeover plot.
Chopper footage from the scene at the Port of Los Angeles, California, shows the proximity of Eduardo Moreno's train wreckage (bottom-left corner) to the USNDS Mercy (top-right).
He maintained this story in his interview with the FBI and said that he wanted to "wake people up," according to the affidavit.
''Moreno stated that he thought that the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe 'the ship is what they say it's for,'" the filing stated. The federal charge of train wrecking carries a statutory maximum penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the DoJ release.
Biden Offers To Call Trump At White House To Discuss Coronavirus Response Strategy
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:57
Is he going to try to advise him on more things he's already doing, for the cameras? Biden's really desperate for attention.
Via Fox News:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is offering to call President Trump to discuss a strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic rocking the nation, Fox News has learned.
Biden's offer comes after Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, challenged him to ''call the White House today and offer some support.''
Biden has been offering advice and warnings to Trump about the coronavirus in media interviews and appearances for months. Wednesday, however, is the first time the former vice president is offering to speak with the president directly.
''Vice President Biden has been extending his advice for months, and he did so again on the air last night,'' Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told Fox News. ''As he has said repeatedly, Donald Trump is not accountable for coronavirus itself '-- but he is accountable for the federal government's slow and chaotic response to this outbreak.''
Keep reading'...
COVID-19 'Miracle Drug' Goes On FDA Shortage List After Study Confirms Efficacy
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:56
Days after the FDA approved the use of hydrochloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, weekly prescriptions soard from 100k to 300k in one week.
Compounding the issue is a study, which shows that the commonly used treatment for lupus, arthritis and other disorders which was touted by President Trump has proven to be effective in a small study reported by The New York Times. As such, the drug has been placed on the FDA's list of shortages - leaving those with the aforementioned afflictions at risk of not being able to refill their prescriptions, according to Bloomberg.
The news comes after Novartis AG's Sandoz donated over 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, while Bayer AG donated 1 million doses of chloroquine to the national stockpile.
While we are still waiting on the results from clinical studies, compelling anecdotal evidence of the drug's efficacy when combined with azithromycin (Z-Pac) and zinc sulfate has caused several countries to place them on their recommended treatment regemin for the disease.
Some of the nine companies on the FDA's list that make hydroxychloroquine, including generic-drug giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., said there is a limited supply that is subject to allocation. 4
Others said the drug is available, particularly for existing customers. Increasingly larger shipments of chloroquine are scheduled over the next eight months, according to Natco Pharma Ltd., whose chloroquine is distributed by Rising Pharmaceuticals Inc. -Bloomberg
"The agency is working with manufacturers to assess their supplies and is actively evaluating market demand for patients dependent on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis," the FDA said in a Tuesday evening statement, adding that all manufacturers are ramping up production.
OANN is booted from White House press room after correspondent makes second unauthorized appearance - Connecticut Post
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:55
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, with (L-R) US Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 1, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
lessDirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, with (L-R) US Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task
... more Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP Via Getty Images Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP Via Getty Images
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, with (L-R) US Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 1, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
lessDirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, with (L-R) US Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task
... more Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP Via Getty Images This time, it was a fairly routine question that Chanel Rion, a correspondent for One America News Network, posed to President Donald Trump during Tuesday's White House news briefing: How many clinical trials would it take before a potential coronavirus drug he has touted could be approved? Trump wasn't sure and turned the question over to Anthony S. Fauci, his infectious-diseases expert.
But the brief Q&A raised its own question: What was Rion doing there in the first place?
Under strict new guidelines jointly imposed last month by White House officials and the White House Correspondents' Association, which represents journalists, access to the cramped briefing room is now restricted to about 15 reporters each day, to enforce social-distancing measures amid the coronavirus crisis, and several smaller news organizations can rotate in only once every several days.
And it wasn't OANN's turn on Tuesday. Nor on Wednesday, when Rion showed up in the room again - prompting the correspondents' association to vote to remove OANN from the rotation.
"We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy," the board of the WHCA said in a statement late Wednesday. "We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety."
Rion and her employer, a tiny conservative cable outlet known as OANN, appear to have gotten special permission from the White House, in violation of the guidelines. The reasons, and the source of the approval, are unclear, but OANN and Rion have a history of reporting favorably about Trump. Rion herself has pushed conspiracy theories that advance his political interests, such as the unfounded allegation that officials in Ukraine secretly manipulated the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. Trump, in turn, has tweeted praise of OANN's reporting dozens of times.
The White House, in effect, on Tuesday bent the rules - which were designed to ensure the health of journalists, the president and the nation's top public-health officials - in granting access and a national spotlight to a correspondent from an obscure but Trump-friendly news outlet.
OANN was founded 2013 by Robert Herring Sr., a millionaire Republican donor from San Diego who made his fortune in the circuit-board business before starting over in media. His son, Charles Herring, president of One America's parent company Herring Broadcasting, told The Post last week that the channel "is designed to report just the news" and that "we would not describe our news reporting as right-leaning."
But for a 2017 story, more than a dozen former and current employees described Robert Herring to The Post as a heavy-handed unofficial news director who frequently ordered coverage favorable to Trump. It was the first channel to carry Trump's 2016 campaign speeches live, and internal emails showed Herring directing that other candidates' rallies not get the same treatment.
Rion, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment, has socialized with the Trumps at Mar-a-Lago, according to photos she has posted on Facebook, and brags on her personal website about having "been aboard the Trump Train from its first week" at the start of the 2016 campaign
At both Tuesday and Wednesday's briefings, she stood at the back of the press room - and this, too, was a violation of the guidelines: Reporters are required to occupy a seat, with no standing in the aisles or behind the seating area.
WHCA President Jonathan Karl said he alerted White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and the White House press office on Tuesday that Rion's presence was "a clear violation" of precautions that have been strictly followed at the White House for weeks.
"The rules are clear," said Karl, ABC News's White House reporter. "If you don't have a seat in the briefing room on your given day, you cannot be there. The rules are established to protect the health of the White House press corps. We're abiding by the [Centers for Disease Control's] guidelines."
Grisham declined to comment on Wednesday.
In an email, OANN founder and chief executive Charles Herring said Rion's presence "was appropriate" and that she was invited to attend the briefing. He declined to say who invited her or why.
Trump clearly has been delighted by OANN's participation, calling on Rion and a colleague, Jenn Pellegrino, who handles weekend shifts at the White House, several times over the past two weeks. "OAN. Very good," he said after calling on Rion in one briefing. "They treat me very nicely."
Rion has attracted attention at the briefings with bizarre or heavily loaded questions. At Monday's session, she compared the number of coronavirus deaths to the number of "children killed by their mothers through elective abortions every day" and then asked the president: "Do you agree with states who place coronavirus victims above elective abortions?"
In a previous briefing, Rion brought up Trump's controversial use of the term "Chinese virus" by rhetorically asking whether he considered the term "Chinese food" to be racist because "it is food that originated from China?" After Trump amiably replied that he didn't think it was "racist at all," she went on to argue that "major left-wing media . . . have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives" to push criticism of the president for using the term.
Rion, who joined OANN last May, has pushed some odd conspiracies. In October, she claimed that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had had an affair - a story later retracted by OANN. She later traveled to Ukraine with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, to produce a documentary series for OANN about Giuliani's claims in support of Trump's actions in withholding military aid to the country.
During a special report that aired on the network in mid-March, Rion suggested that the coronavirus came from "a biosafety level-three lab in North Carolina" and that it was then smuggled into China by lab workers and released. She cited as her source a "citizen investigator." None of the claims have been confirmed.
In her previous pastime as a political cartoonist, she produced illustrations suggesting that Hillary Clinton was behind the unsolved 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich - an evidence-free conspiracy popular in right-wing circles.
On her website, she calls herself "a fierce foe of anything Clinton, of everything Obama, and as a total and unrelenting enemy of academic left-liberalism and political correctness anywhere." She is engaged to be married soon to Courtland Sykes, an also-ran in the GOP primary for the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Missouri, who briefly went viral that year with a social media rant blasting feminists as "she devils" with "snake-filled heads" and explaining how he expects Rion to prepare for him "a home cooked dinner at six every night."
This, of course, was before Rion took a job that lately has kept her at the White House past 6 p.m. Neither she nor Pellegrino appear to have had much journalism experience before covering the White House for OANN, a network that typically attracts a fraction of the audience watching Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.
Before joining OANN two months ago, Pellegrino was an intern for Bill O'Reilly, a booker for the home-shopping network QVC, and a production assistant at Fox News, interspersed with sales and business development jobs, according to her LinkedIn profile.
On Sunday, Trump called on Pellegrino twice to ask a question - one of which seemed to please him immensely.
"Mr. President, your approval ratings have been the highest they've ever been, as well as the ratings on your handling of the virus," she asked. "Yet there are some networks that are saying they're debating whether to carry these briefings live. Do you think there's a link between the two?"
"Well, I don't know," Trump replied. "I know that - boy, that's a nice question. Thank you very much."
Pentagon Orders 100,000 Body Bags As FEMA Braces For Onslaught Of COVID-19 Deaths
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:50
After President Trump's talk of up to 240k coronavirus-related deaths rattled markets on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Wednesday evening that the Pentagon is seeking up to 100,000 body bags for FEMA, lending the federal coronavirus response a real natural-disaster feel.
Per BBG, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested 100,000 body bags, known in the business as "Human Remains Pouches", vian an interagency group that directed the request to the Pentagon. The Pentagon is looking into sourcing more bags, but will initially provide 50k from a stockpile of 50,000 HRP they have...probably languishing in some underground bunker in Virginia.
Bloomberg described the anxiety-provoking headline as "a somber counterpoint to the Pentagon's highly-praised deployment of two hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles to help alleviate pressure on regional hospitals overburdened by the pandemic."
The Defense Logistics Agency's Troop Support unit manages the Pentagon's stockpile of the HRPs, which consist of green nylon, 94-inch by 38-inch body bags that are typically distributed to war zones. The unit has been in talks with a contractor about their production capabilities, but the agency has yet to place an official order.
President Trump said last night that he's preparing for between 100k and 240k deaths, as per the official White House projections, but some of the more alarming projections have called for as many as 1 million deaths, without the 'mitigation' efforts being enacted by millions of Americans, who are working from home, or otherwise staying inside.
FEMA hasn't requested a formal delivery date from the DLA, according to the report, but the agency has purportedly told the contractor that it wants the bags ready ASAP.
A spokesman for FEMA told BBG that the bags are part of the "prudent planning" process for anby potential future needs. The bags specifically apply to any "mortuary contingencies" from US states that might occur.
Earlier this week, the director for the Joint Chiefs laid out the liaison process for working with FEMA, and explained how the JC is working "in close partnership" to make sure all needs are addressed.
Facebook and Fox News to host a virtual town hall Thursday on the pandemic using Facebook's Portal devices; Facebook is shipping a Portal Plus to each attendee (Jay Peters/The Verge)
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:49
Mediagazer presents the day's must-read media news on a single page.
The media business is in tumult: from the production side tothe distribution side, new technologies are upending the industry.Keeping up with these changes is time-consuming, as essential media coverageis scattered across numerous web sites at any given moment.
Mediagazer simplifies this task by organizing the key coverage in one place.We've combined sophisticated automated aggregation technologies withdirect editorial input from knowledgeable human editorsto present the one indispensable narrative of an industry in transition.
The coronavirus is showing us how clean the air can be if electric cars were the norm - Electrek
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:54
With all the loss of lives and financial destruction that the coronavirus has brought us, it's hard to look at silver linings from this crisis, but there's one that's becoming obvious: cleaner air.
It might not last for long, but it's giving us a glimpse at what we could experience if the world was to rapidly transition to electric transportation.
With shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders all over the world, passenger car traffic has been way down and people have been burning way less petrol.
Here in California, it has been almost two weeks since most people who can work from home have been staying off the road, and we are starting to see an incredible impact on the air.
I have been staying in Silverlake in Los Angeles for the past three months.
We have a great view from our backyard and can see miles out.
However, due to the smog that surrounds Los Angeles, we were only able to see the San Gabriel Mountains and Downtown Los Angeles a day or two after the smog is cleared by the rain '-- then it's back to seeing only a few miles out.
But now it hasn't rained in a week, and we can see further out than I've ever seen in the last three months:
We can see all the way to the Cucamonga Peak, which is a good 50 miles from here.
Of course, that's only anecdotal evidence, but the data is starting to back it up.
Earther has produced a map of nitrogen dioxide captured from satellite images and it shows a massive reduction compared to just two months ago:
Barbara Dix, an atmospheric researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, explains why nitrogen dioxide is a good indicator of emissions from fossil fuels:
Nitrogen dioxide is produced by fossil fuel burning and therefore often used as an urban pollution tracer. Burning fossil fuels directly emits a lot of nitric oxide and a little nitrogen dioxide (often referred to as NOx together), but the nitric oxide is rapidly converted into nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere. Nitrogen dioxide can easily be measured by satellite.
To be fair, it would be important to note that weather patterns can affect nitrogen dioxide readings by satellite, but the massive change is still a good indicator.
Dix continued:
The rapid decrease we see in nitrogen dioxide due to COVID-19 is unprecedented. We are now witnessing a global experiment where one emission source is rapidly turned down (NOx), while other sources are still up or will decrease more slowly. A lot of atmospheric science will come out of this.
The data gathered during the crisis is expected to be used to better understand how human activity produces emissions in different regions.
The electric vehicle revolutionWhile this positive impact of the coronavirus outbreak isn't likely to last long, it's a great demonstration to show the powerful impact that widespread electric vehicle adoption could have on the air we breathe.
If everyone who is staying home these days were driving electric cars powered by renewable energy when they go back to their regular commute, we would keep this incredible air quality going forward.
We are still quite far from that goal, but we could take this opportunity to double down our effort to accelerate electric vehicle adoption.
The Democratic Party was trying to include measures to do just that in the latest stimulus package for the coronavirus crisis, while the Republican party was trying to use it to bail out the US oil industry:
Neither party managed to get what they wanted, but the good news is that the oil companies didn't get money, and that could spell trouble for them.
In turn, it could push more politicians to see that the best path for US energy independence and security would be a rapid adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy to power those electric vehicles.
On top of cleaner air, it would create more local expertise in electric vehicles, which means a bigger part of EV manufacturing and related supply chains '-- resulting in more jobs in the US.
It's a win-win-win scenario.
The best way to make it happen is a significant and comprehensive carbon tax, but this is a tough one to get by US legislators.
Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Schiff drafting legislation to set up 9/11-style commission to review coronavirus response | TheHill
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:45
House April 01, 2020 - 12:26 PM EDT By J. Edward MorenoRep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is drafting legislation that would set up an independent commission that would investigate why the country was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
"After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes," the House Intelligence Committee chairman said in a tweet. "Once we've recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic."
Schiff did not give specifics regarding when the legislation will be dropped, but suggested it would be after Congress finishes the task at hand: mulling a series of stimulus packages aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the pandemic. Sources familiar with the legislation told NBC News the legislation is "very preliminary."
"We will need to delay the work of the commission until the crisis has abated to ensure that it does not interfere with the agencies that are leading the response," Schiff told The Washington Post. "But that should not prevent us from beginning to identify where we got it wrong and how we can be prepared for the next pandemic."
The administration has come under scrutiny in the past month for what critics call a late response to the virus. Critics have also pointed out that in 2018 the administration disbanded the National Security Council unit focused on pandemic preparedness.
U.S. sues to force Altria to unwind investment in JUUL | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:35
Wed Apr 1, 2020 / 6:54 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday that it had filed a complaint aimed at forcing Altria Group (MO.N ) to sell its $12.8 billion investment in e-cigarette maker JUUL.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Sandra Maler)
GeenStijl: Eurobonds: de echte crisis is de Europese Unie zelf
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:17
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Fentanyl smuggled from China is killing thousands of Americans - Los Angeles Times
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:46
The Zheng drug trafficking organization was hardly clandestine. The Shanghai-based network sold synthetic narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, on websites posted in 35 languages, from Arabic and English to Icelandic and Uzbek.
The Chinese syndicate bragged that its laboratory could ''synthesize nearly any'' drug and that it churned out 16 tons of illicit chemicals a month. The group was so adept at smuggling, and so brazen in its marketing, that it offered a money-back guarantee to buyers if its goods were seized by U.S. or other customs agents.
Over the last decade, federal officials say, the Zheng group mailed and shipped fentanyl and similar illicit chemicals to customers in more than 25 countries and 35 U.S. states. U.S. officials say the syndicate's success, laid bare in a recent federal indictment, partly helps explain America's skyrocketing death toll from drug overdoses.
Fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin, and related laboratory-crafted drugs have become the No. 1 cause of opioid-related overdose deaths. And rogue chemical companies in China '-- operating openly and outside the reach of U.S. authorities '-- are the largest single source of the deadly drugs, law enforcement officials say.
''People in labs in China are producing this substance that is killing Americans,'' Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein said in an interview. ''This is a real crisis. The Chinese government has the ability to stop this if they want to. We believe they should want to do that.''
(Los Angeles Times)
U.S. officials have pushed Beijing to shut down the labs, and say Chinese authorities have taken steps to police chemical makers. The push comes even as relations with Beijing have grown acrimonious amid an escalating trade war and U.S. unease over China's increasing economic and military clout.
Nearly 29,000 people died last year in the United States from overdoses linked to synthetic opioids, a category that experts say is dominated by fentanyl and its chemical cousins '-- a staggering surge from the 3,100 such deaths reported in 2013.
One reason for the spike: The drug is so powerful that a sugar-packet-sized bag of fentanyl can contain 500 lethal doses. That also means it can be smuggled through the mail in what officials call micro-shipments that are far harder to identify and interdict than bulkier loads of heroin, cocaine or marijuana.
Chinese companies send fentanyl in small quantities to dealers in the United States or Canada, but ship the drugs in bulk to criminal cartels in Mexico. The cartels then mix the synthetics into heroin and other substances, or press them into counterfeit pills. The product is then smuggled across the border.
While total fentanyl seizures more than doubled last year, to 1,196 pounds, officials say far more of the illicit drug is getting through. Some of the biggest fentanyl seizures have been in California because of the Mexican connection.
Last month, for example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized 52 pounds of powdered fentanyl at the Pine Valley checkpoint near San Diego '-- and that wasn't a record. In December, officers discovered nearly 80 pounds in a college student's car.
This summer, authorities discovered 20,000 fentanyl pills in a hidden compartment of a Mini Cooper at the San Ysidro checkpoint, a week after confiscating 11,500 pills in another vehicle.
U.S. drug dealers also purchase directly from China with a few clicks of a computer mouse on company websites or shopping in so-called dark web drug bazaars, where communications are encrypted and dealers often pay with cryptocurrencies or gift cards that are difficult to trace.
Fentanyl drove drug overdose deaths to a record high in 2017 '-- about 200 a day '-- CDC estimates >>
A 33-year-old Long Beach man, for example, was sentenced in June to more than 26 years in federal prison for illegally importing chemicals in bulk from China, including a fentanyl analog, and then producing tens of thousands of pills in a homemade lab.
When agents raided his lab, federal prosecutors said, they seized more than 11 kilograms of acetyl fentanyl, an analog 15 times more powerful than morphine. During a nine-month span, prosecutors said, the Long Beach lab sold an estimated 300,000 pills nationwide.
In Utah, a former Eagle Scout is awaiting trial in Salt Lake City after he and five others were charged with turning his mother's basement into an illicit pill lab. When her house was raided in November 2016, police found 70,000 pills laced with fentanyl and $1.2 million in cash, prosecutors said. The group allegedly sold hundreds of thousands of the pills on the dark web.
The ease with which dealers can buy fentanyl from China ''is a challenge because it's creating traffickers who are not affiliated with larger organizations or with cartels,'' said Paul Knierim, a top Drug Enforcement Administration official.
It isn't hard to find fentanyl and similar drugs on the internet, and sales tactics rival those of online retailers, according to federal investigators.
(Los Angeles Times)
''A simple Google search of 'fentanyl for sale' returned a number of potential sellers,'' according to a Senate Homeland Security Committee report released in January.
It said investigators, ''posing as a first-time fentanyl purchaser,'' had contacted six online sellers overseas, and each offered to ship purchases to the United States '-- sometimes with aggressive salesmanship.
The sellers ''actively negotiated '... to complete a deal by offering flash sales on certain illicit opioids and discounted prices for bulk purchases,'' the report said. When investigators ''failed to immediately respond to an offer, the online sellers proactively followed up, sometimes offering deeper discounts to entice a sale.''
Fentanyl was developed decades ago as an ultra-powerful painkiller '-- 100 times more potent than morphine '-- for use in surgery. It is still used to help hospice-level cancer patients.
Drug dealers began dabbling in the drug in the mid-2000s, but it surged in popularity in 2014 and 2015 because it was easy to obtain and hugely profitable.
A $1,500 kilogram can bring $1.5 million in profits after the drug is cut and sold on the street, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
There was only one place to obtain the drug: China. It has a robust chemical and pharmaceutical sector, as well as lax regulations and widespread corruption.
''Regulatory gaps have led to a large increase in the number of unlicensed or 'semi-legitimate' chemical manufacturers or distributors,'' Bryce Pardo, an analyst from the Rand Corp. think tank, recently told Congress.
''A lack of oversight and government and corporate accountability increase opportunities for corruption,'' he added.
Chinese dealers targeted a loophole that let them send packages to the United States through the mail without providing detailed information on the sender or the contents of the package. Private carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, are required to provide such information to customs inspectors, which can help authorities identify smugglers and smuggling patterns.
Congress this month passed legislation designed to close that gap, and President Trump is expected to sign it into law.
U.S. officials long have pressed China to more aggressively police its chemical manufacturers, and China has strictly regulated the production of 175 chemicals, including fentanyl and some of its analogs.
'Drug Llama,' accused of selling 50,000 fentanyl pills over the dark web, is linked to baby's death >>
That chemical-by-chemical approach, however, permits drug companies to tweak chemical formulas to get around a ban.
U.S. officials want China to follow the lead of the DEA, which in February used emergency powers to categorize fentanyl-related substances as controlled substances under federal law. The move was designed to make it easier to prosecute offenders and thwart chemists from slightly altering formulas.
A Chinese Embassy representative in Washington declined comment but forwarded remarks made by Hua Chunying, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, at a January news conference in Beijing.
''Anti-drug cooperation is one of the highlights of China-U.S. law enforcement cooperation,'' Hua said. ''In recent years, the two sides have conducted some highly effective cooperation on cracking down on cross-border drug-related crimes and advancing psychoactive substance listing and control, which has won wide approval from the public of the two sides. China's attitude on this issue is very clear.''
The Justice Department has brought charges against several Chinese manufacturers of synthetic opioids. They are unlikely to end up in U.S. courtrooms because Washington and Beijing do not have an extradition treaty, and China has generally refused to send its citizens to the United States for criminal trials.
Last October, the Justice Department unveiled the first-ever indictment against Chinese manufacturers of opioids, accusing two groups with operating illicit labs that sold fentanyl and other drugs to U.S. dealers. The rings were vast '-- one involved at least 100 distributors '-- and authorities were able to trace at least four deaths to fentanyl and related chemicals sold by one of the groups, court records show.
Then in August, federal prosecutors in Cleveland unveiled a 43-count indictment against the Zheng organization. It alleged that Fujing Zheng, 35, and his father, Guanghua Zheng, 62, both of Shanghai, ran a global organization that manufactured tons of illicit chemicals each month.
U.S. officials said the Zhengs were adept at staying ahead of regulators '-- and police. When China banned unregulated production of one synthetic narcotic, officials said, the Zhengs used their expertise to adjust the formula to skirt the prohibitions and keep the drugs flowing.
''We work diligently to make every possible chemical to meet the needs of our customers,'' the Zhengs wrote on one of their websites, according to court papers. ''We will create custom-made products for you.''
To get their product to U.S. customers, the Zhengs often relied on middlemen who hid the drugs in bulk freight shipments and then helped redistribute them. Prosecutors said that helped obscure the narcotics' origins.
The Zhengs could not be reached for comment for this story.
But their operation had a deadly effect halfway across the world. In February 2015, Leroy Steele, 38, a small-time drug dealer in the Akron, Ohio, area, sent the Zheng organization an email seeking to purchase acetyl fentanyl, according to court papers.
''Send me prices as well as information on where I can send the money,'' Steele wrote.
A member of the Zheng group quickly replied, prosecutors alleged, and claimed he represented ''professional acetyl fentanyl manufacturer in China, our products are all best quality, a lot of U.S. and Europe customers purchase largely from us every month.''
''Tell me how many quantity you wanna buy,'' the member wrote. ''Do you wanna have a sample order?''
Steele wired the Zhengs $3,500 for half a kilogram of the narcotic.
The dealer, who later would be sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug distribution charges, soon was slinging heroin laced with acetyl fentanyl to his customers, prosecutors said.
Within a few weeks, federal officials said, two of Steele's customers, a 37-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, were dead '-- from overdoses.
Illegal drug trade in Venezuela - Wikipedia
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:44
Illegal drug trade in Venezuela is the practice of illegal drug trading in Venezuela. Venezuela has been a path to the United States for illegal drugs originating in Colombia, through Central America and Mexico and Caribbean countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
According to the United Nations, there has been an increase of cocaine trafficking through Venezuela since 2002.[1] In 2005 Venezuela severed ties with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), accusing its representatives of spying.[2] Following the departure of the DEA from Venezuela and the expansion of DEA's partnership with Colombia in 2005, Venezuela became more attractive to drug traffickers.[3] Between 2008 and 2012, Venezuela's cocaine seizure ranking among other countries declined, going from being ranked fourth in the world for cocaine seizures in 2008[4] to sixth in the world in 2012.[5]
Drug trafficking routes Edit According to a 2009 US report, 90% of US cocaine is sourced from Colombia, with Venezuela and the Caribbean accounting for around 10% of US-destined cocaine trans-shipments in 2010.[6] Another significant route is directed to export cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs via direct sea shipments from Venezuela to Europe, with half of all direct shipments to Europe between 2006 and 2008 originating in Venezuela.[7][8]
Aircraft routes Edit In 2012, the United States stated that the majority of aircraft related to drug trafficking originate from Venezuela's border area near Colombia, with "almost all the planes that land in Honduras, the focal point of Central American air drug trafficking, come from Venezuela."[9]
In Apure, Colombian guerrilla group FARC had set up locations in the state, creating multiple airfields in the region.[10]In September 2013, 31 suitcases containing 1.3 tons of cocaine on an Air France flight astonished Paris authorities as it was the largest seizure of cocaine recorded in mainland France.[3][11]
At a presentation at the XXXII International Conference on Drugs in 2015, commander of the United States Southern Command General John Kelly stated that though relations with other Latin American nations countering drug trafficking has been good, Venezuela was not as cooperative and that "there's a lot of cocaine leaving Venezuela to the world market". General Kelly also stated that almost all shipments of cocaine using aircraft comes out of Venezuela and that since 2013 to early-2014, the route of drug trafficking aircraft has changed from heading to Central America to primarily traveling through Caribbean islands.[12]
Groups involved Edit Since 2012, the United States government has stated that "generally permissive security forces and a corrupt political environment have made Venezuela one of the preferred routes of cocaine trafficking from South America", noting that drug trafficking organizations ranging from Mexican cartels, such as Los Zetas, ngeles Ca­do and the Sinaloa Cartel, to armed far-right Colombian organizations and the FARC and ELN, have operated from Venezuela. According to the United States, "elements of the Venezuelan security forces have assisted these drug trafficking organizations".[9]
Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan Edit In the early 1970s parts of the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan moved to Venezuela,[13] which became an important hideout as the clan bought hotels and founded various businesses in Caracas and Valencia, as well as an extended ranch in Barinas, near the Colombian border. "Venezuela has its own Cosa Nostra family as if it is Sicilian territory," according to the Italian police. "The structure and hierarchy of the Mafia has been entirely reproduced in Venezuela." The Cuntrera-Caruana clan had direct links with the ruling Commission of the Sicilian Mafia, and are acknowledged by the American Cosa Nostra.[13]
Pasquale, Paolo and Gaspare Cuntrera were expelled from Venezuela in 1992, "almost secretly smuggled out of the country, as if it concerned one of their own drug transports. It was imperative they could not contact people on the outside who could have used their political connections to stop the expulsion. " Their expulsion was ordered by a commission of the Venezuelan Senate headed by Senator Cristobal Fernandez Dalo and his money laundering investigator, Thor Halvorssen Hellum. They were arrested in September 1992 at Fiumicino airport (Rome),[14][15] and in 1996 were sentenced to 13''20 years.[13]
Norte del Valle Cartel Edit In 2008 the leader of the Colombian Norte del Valle Cartel, Wilber Varela, was found murdered in a hotel in M(C)rida in Venezuela.[16] In 2010 Venezuela arrested and deported to the United States Jaime Alberto "Beto" Marin, then head of the Norte del Valle Cartel.[17]
Venezuelan government Edit According to Jackson Diehl, Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela shelters "one of the world's biggest drug cartels". There have also been allegations that former president Hugo Chvez and Diosdado Cabello being involved with drug trafficking.[18]
In May 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported from United States officials that drug trafficking in Venezuela increased significantly with Colombian drug traffickers moving from Colombia to Venezuela due to pressure from law enforcement.[19] One United States Department of Justice official described the higher ranks of the Venezuelan government and military as "a criminal organization", with high ranking Venezuelan officials, such as National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, being accused of drug trafficking and chief of Cartel of the Suns.[19] Those involved with investigations stated that Venezuelan government defectors and former traffickers had given information to investigators and that details of those involved in government drug trafficking were increasing.[19]
Narcosobrinos incident Edit In October and November 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began monitoring two nephews of President Nicols Maduro's wife Cilia Flores'--Efra­n Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freites'--after the two had contacted a person that was an DEA informant. They wanted advice as how to traffic cocaine. They brought to the meeting a kilogram of the drug so that the informant could understand its quality.[20] On 10 November 2015, Campo Flores and Flores de Freites, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti by local police while attempting to make a deal to transport 800 kilograms[21] of cocaine destined for New York City and were turned over to the DEA where they were flown directly to the United States.[20][22][23] The men flew from a hangar reserved for the President of Venezuela in Sim"n Bol­var International Airport into Haiti while being assisted by Venezuelan military personnel, which included two presidential honor guards, with the nephews carrying Venezuelan diplomatic passports which did not have diplomatic immunity according to former head of DEA international operations Michael Vigil.[24][25][22] A later raid of Efra­n Antonio Campo Flores' "Casa de Campo" mansion and yacht in the Dominican Republic revealed an additional 280 lbs of cocaine and 22 lbs of heroin, with 176 lbs of the drugs found in the home while the remainder was discovered in his yacht.[26]
Campo stated on the DEA plane that he was the step son of President Maduro and that he grew up in the Maduro household while being raised by Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores.[20][23] When the two learned that they did not have diplomatic immunity, they began to give names of those involved, allegedly naming former National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, and Governor of Aragua State Tarek El Aissami.[27] It is expected that without cooperating with investigators, Maduro's nephews could face between 20 to 30 years in prison.[27] Due to the extradition process, New York courts could not apprehend those who assisted the nephews on their way to Haiti.[25] The incident happened at a time when multiple high-ranking members of the Venezuelan government were being investigated for their involvement of drug trafficking,[20] including Walter Jacobo Gavidia, Flores' son who is a Caracas judge, as well as Diosdado Cabello and Tarek El Aissami.[24][27]
On November 18, 2016, the two nephews were found guilty, with the cash allegedly destined to .."help their family stay in power".[28]
FARC ties Edit In 2008, the U.S. Department of Treasury accused two senior Venezuelan government officials and one former official of providing material assistance for drug-trafficking operations carried out by the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia.[29] In the same year, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, testified before the U.S. Congress that "there are no evidences [sic]" that Venezuela is supporting "terrorist groups", including the FARC.[30] In a 2009 United States Congress report, it was stated that corruption in the Venezuelan armed forces was facilitating Colombian FARC guerillas' drug trafficking.[31]
In March 2012, Venezuela's National Assembly removed Supreme Court Justice Eladio Aponte Aponte from his post after an investigation revealed alleged ties to drug-trafficking. On the day he was to face questioning, Aponte Aponte fled the country, and has sought refuge in the U.S., where he began to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Justice. Aponte says that, while serving as a judge. he was forced to acquit an army commander who had connections with a 2 metric ton shipment of cocaine. Aponte also claimed that Henry Rangel, former defense minister of Venezuela and General Cl­ver Alcal Cordones were both involved with the drug trade in Venezuela.[32] Venezuelan officials have also been allegedly working with Mexican drug cartels.[32]
In September 2013, an incident involving men from the Venezuelan National Guard placing 31 suitcases containing 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Paris flight astonished French authorities.[32] On 15 February 2014, a commander for the Guard was stopped while driving to Valencia with his family and was arrested for having 554 kilos of cocaine in his possession.[33] According to Colombian weekly Revista Semana, the director of the Direcci"n General de Inteligencia Militar (DGIM), Venezuelan agency in charge of Military Intelligence, was involved in supporting FARC drug trafficking.[34]
Hezbollah and Iran ties Edit The Venezuelan government has allegedly had a long relationship with the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.[35] In a 2011 article by The New York Times, Colonel Adel Mashmoushi, Lebanon's drug enforcement chief, stated that flights between Venezuela and Syria that were operated by Iran could have been used by Hezbollah to transport drugs into the Middle East.[36] According to long-time serving New York district attorney Robert Morgenthau, high-ranking Venezuelan officials turned Venezuela to "a global cocaine hub" and his office had found that cocaine in New York was linked to Venezuela, Iran and Hezbollah.[37] Morgenthau also explained how Hugo Chvez's government allegedly assisted Iran with drug trafficking so Iran could circumvent sanctions and fund their development of nuclear weapons and other armaments.[37]
Edit The CIA, in spite of objections from the Drug Enforcement Administration, in 1990 allowed at least one ton of nearly pure cocaine to be shipped into Miami International Airport. The CIA claimed to have done this as a way of gathering information about Colombian drug cartels. But the cocaine ended up being sold on the street.[38][39]
In November 2014, authorities from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and the United States dismantled an international drug trade and money laundering operation which was based in Brazil where aircraft had their ID codes modified and were then flown from areas in Venezuela controlled by FARC to Honduras where the aircraft were abandoned.[40]
Statistics Edit According to The New York Times, claims presented by the Venezuelan government "appear to be vastly overstated".[10] In 2009, a report from the United States Congress said that from 2004 to 2007, the quantity of cocaine exported from Colombia via Venezuela had quadrupled, reaching 17% of world trade in cocaine in 2007.[31] The smuggling of cocaine has increased in Venezuela in the 2010s, going from about 25% of South American cocaine coming from the country in 2010[10] to about 33% in 2015.[19]
See also Edit Crime in VenezuelaNational Anti-Drug OfficeReferences Edit ^ El Universal, 24 February 2008, Aumenta narcotrfico por Venezuela ^ Neuman, William (26 July 2012). "In Venezuela, Remote Areas Provide a Drug Trafficking Hub Previous". The New York Times . Retrieved 5 June 2015 . ^ a b al-Ameri, Alaa (31 March 2014). "Venezuela's Drug-Running Generals May Be Who Finally Ousts Maduro". Vice News . Retrieved 26 May 2014 . ^ United Nations, World Drug Report 2010 Statistical Annex: Drug seizures ^ "Drug seizures Report From Year: 2009 Until Year: 2012 Drug Group: Cocaine-type". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime . Retrieved 29 May 2015 . [permanent dead link ] ^ United Nations, World Drug Report 2010, p74 ^ United Nations, World Drug Report 2010, p84 ^ Another route sees shipments by air via West Africa to Spain to be distributed in Europe. - United Nations, World Drug Report 2010, p84 ^ a b "Crtel de Sinaloa y 'Los Zetas' operan desde Venezuela: EU". Univision. 7 March 2012 . Retrieved 15 February 2017 . ^ a b c Neuman, William (26 July 2012). "Cocaine's Flow Is Unchecked in Venezuela". The New York Times . Retrieved 22 June 2014 . ^ Meza, Alfredo (26 September 2013). "Corrupt military officials helping Venezuela drug trade flourish". El Pais . Retrieved 18 March 2014 . ^ " ' Quisi(C)ramos ms cooperaci"n del lado venezolano': EE. UU". El Tiempo. 3 June 2015 . Retrieved 5 June 2015 . ^ a b c Tom Blickman (1997), "The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba", Transnational Organized Crime, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997 ^ Fonzi, Gaeton. "The Troublemaker". The Pennsylvania Gazette (November 1994). ^ Presumed Guilty, by Isabel Hilton, Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), July 1994 (UK edition) ^ BBC, 1 February 2008, Colombian drugs lord found dead ^ Venezuelanalysis.com, 20 September 2010, Venezuela Deports Two Drug Kingpins, Calls US Drug Blacklist "Abusive and Interventionist" ^ Diehl, Jackson (29 May 2015). "A drug cartel's power in Venezuela". The Washington Post . Retrieved 29 May 2015 . ^ a b c d DeC"rdoba, Jos(C); Forero, Juan (18 May 2015). "Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub; U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering". Dow Jones & Company Inc. The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 19 May 2015 . ^ a b c d de C"rdoba, Jos(C) (11 November 2015). "U.S. Arrests Two Relatives of Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro on Drug-Trafficking Charges". The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 12 November 2015 . ^ Kay Guerrero; Claudia Dominguez (2015-11-12). "U.S. agents arrest members of Venezuelan President's family in Haiti". ^ a b Goodman, Joshua; Caldwell, Alicia A.; Sanchez, Fabiola (11 November 2015). "Nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Arrested on US Drug Charges". The New York Times . Retrieved 12 November 2015 . ^ a b Llorente, Elizabeth; Llenas, Bryan (11 November 2015). "Relatives of Venezuelan president arrested trying to smuggle nearly 1 ton of drugs into U.S." Fox News Latino . Retrieved 12 November 2015 . ^ a b Yagoub, Mimi. "Venezuela Military Officials Piloted Drug Plane". InSight Crime . Retrieved 25 November 2015 . ^ a b Blasco, Emili J. (19 November 2015). "La Casa Militar de Maduro custodi" el traslado de droga de sus sobrinos". ABC . Retrieved 25 November 2015 . ^ "Dominican police raid mansion, yacht of Venezuelan president's kin, find 280lb of cocaine". Fox New Latino. 13 November 2015 . Retrieved 17 February 2016 . ^ a b c Delgado, Antonio Maria (18 November 2015). "Hijo de primera dama de Venezuela tambi(C)n es investigado por narcotrfico". El Nuevo Herald . Retrieved 17 February 2016 . ^ Raymond, Nate (19 November 2016). "Venezuelan first lady's nephews convicted in U.S. drug trial". Reuters . Retrieved 19 November 2016 . ^ "Treasury Targets Venezuelan Government Officials Supporting the FARC". Press Release. United States Department of Treasury . Retrieved 5 March 2014 . ^ "OAS' INSULZA: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF VENEZUELAN SUPPORT TO TERRORISTS". El Universal. 10 April 2008. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014 . Retrieved 2 August 2014 . ^ a b (in Spanish) El Pa­s, 16 July 2009 El narcotrfico penetra en Venezuela ^ a b c Meza, Alfredo (26 September 2013). "Corrupt military officials helping Venezuela drug trade flourish". El Pais . Retrieved 5 March 2014 . ^ Sanchez, Nora (15 February 2014). "Detienen a comandante de la Milicia con cargamento de drogas". El Universal . Retrieved 20 April 2014 . ^ "El Montesinos de Chvez". Semana. 2 February 2008 . Retrieved 26 November 2015 . ^ Hesterman, Jennifer (2014). Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack. CRC Press. ISBN 1482244225. ^ Becker, Jo (13 December 2011). "Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah's Financing". The New York Times . Retrieved 20 May 2015 . ^ a b Lopez, Linette (19 May 2015). "NYC's most legendary prosecutor sees a darker threat in Venezuela's alleged global cocaine hub". Business Insider . Retrieved 20 May 2015 . ^ Tim Weiner, 20 November 1993, New York Times, Anti-Drug Unit of C.I.A. Sent Ton of Cocaine to U.S. in 1990 ^ New York Times Service, "Venezuelan general who led CIA program indicted," Dallas Morning News (26 November 1996) p. 6A. ^ "Desarticulan red de trfico de drogas que operaba en Venezuela, Brasil y Honduras". La Patilla. 4 November 2014 . Retrieved 9 November 2014 . External links Edit Oficina Nacional Anti-drogas (Venezuela Anti-drug Agency)
Dutch face friendly fire as corona bond bad cops '' POLITICO
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:27
Blunt stance sparks criticism at home as well as abroad.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte has adopted a blunt stance on "corona bonds" | Philipp Guelland via EPA
Too much, even for the Dutch?
Politicians and economists in the Netherlands have accused Prime Minster Mark Rutte's government of going too far in rejecting ''corona bonds'' to help countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, and by calling for the EU to probe why those states don't have the financial buffers to cope better with the economic shock.
The Dutch stance '-- and the blunt tone of Dutch leaders '-- has infuriated Southern European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal, reopening wounds still raw from the eurozone debt crisis a decade ago. At a time when thousands are dying and Southern Europe is asking for European solidarity, the Dutch stand accused of saying the wrong things at the wrong time.
''The image that Italians have of the Netherlands has been drastically polluted in just a few days,'' former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. ''And not just in Italy '... Look at the reactions in Portugal and Spain. They are surprised, severely disappointed reactions. Nobody expected that the Netherlands, one of the founders of the European Union, would behave like this at just such a moment.''
The Dutch are no strangers to criticizing the financial management of Southern European capitals and Rutte and his Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra are sticking to their guns. But their decision to take such a strident position in the current crisis has prompted reflection among the political class at home '-- even within Rutte's four-party coalition, where the socially liberal D66 party has voiced criticism.
''The Netherlands, like many other governments, enjoys that feeling of 'We're a little bit stubborn.' But it is becoming clear that they are playing with fire, because if Italy falls, then the eurozone and EU falls and then we fall as well'' '-- Sophie in 't Veld, MEP
''The Netherlands got rich through the EU. Now that jobs and incomes are at stake throughout Europe because of the corona crisis, we cannot let our friends suffocate,'' Rob Jetten, head of the D66 parliamentary group, tweeted on Friday. ''Only together can we survive.''
Sophie in 't Veld, a D66 member of the European Parliament, said the government's ''attitude and tone were so inappropriate and so blunt, and I do not think you need to be a northerner or southerner to feel that.''
''The Netherlands, like many other governments, enjoys that feeling of 'We're a little bit stubborn.' But it is becoming clear that they are playing with fire, because if Italy falls, then the eurozone and EU falls and then we fall as well,'' she told POLITICO.
On Monday evening, a second leader from the ruling coalition distanced himself from the hard line pushed by Rutte and Hoekstra. Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the small conservative Christian Union party, called for a new ''Marshall Plan for southern Europe.''
''Italy is a tragedy. That country is in ruins. As far as I'm concerned, the first message would be: 'We're going to help you,'' Segers told a talk show on public TV station NPO 1.
Even the president of the Dutch central bank, Klaas Knot, issued a veiled criticism of the government. ''This is a test for the eurozone,'' he told newspaper NRC Handelsblad. ''When you see what is now happening with the coronavirus in countries like Italy and Spain, I find the call for solidarity extraordinarily logical.''
For some countries, the issue of European solidarity is crystallized in the issue of corona bonds '-- debt that would be backed by all members of the eurozone. The Dutch are not the only country to oppose the idea '-- Germany, Austria and Finland also have reservations '-- but they have been the most outspoken critics.
Knot said solidarity could come through corona bonds but also credit lines issued via the eurozone's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) '-- an alternative solution championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and cautiously supported by the Dutch government.
Knot's predecessor Nout Wellink was even more blunt in his criticism, saying that economic instability in Southern Europe would severely harm Dutch interests. ''If the whole south collapses, the rich north ceases to exist,'' he told Dutch national radio on Monday.
'Old arguments'Opposition parties also lambasted the government's approach. ''Despite being faced by a shock inherently different from the eurozone crisis, the Dutch government has fallen back on the much-rehearsed arguments of 'moral hazard,''' said Lodewijk Asscher, head of the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA).
''Failing to act means risking a crisis unparalleled in the history of the eurozone. The choice is between weathering this storm as a collective, or going under on our own.''
Paul Tang, an MEP from PvdA, said Rutte and Hoekstra had not adjusted to a new reality. ''In the Netherlands, a conservative fiscal policy is usually really popular,'' he said. ''But these old arguments don't make any sense in these new times.''
Dutch diplomats have spent recent days on the phone trying to calm outrage among their EU partners, arguing in particular that Hoekstra had not intended to point fingers at any particular countries.
But Rutte, leader of the liberal VVD party, and Hoekstra have shown no signs of backing down. On Friday, Rutte again ruled out corona bonds and linked potential credit lines via the ESM to strict conditions.
''Look at the Netherlands, we have taken incredibly difficult measures over the past 10 years,'' he said. ''I would like other countries to do the same, and if they make use of this emergency shield, then they should also make arrangements to ensure that, should there be another crisis '-- economic or health or something else '-- that they are also able to deal with it.''
Despite the criticism at home and abroad, Rutte and Hoekstra have good domestic political reasons for sticking to their line, according to Rem Korteweg, a political analyst from the Dutch Clingendael think tank. The country faces a national election in a year and with the ruling coalition increasingly fractious, each partner is out to appeal to its base and to win popular support.
''Dutch politicians are first and foremost concerned with how they come across among their peers,'' said Korteweg. ''The Dutch parliament embraces Rutte and Hoekstra's approach.''
Hoekstra's party, the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), is looking for a new leader and the finance minister is considered a favorite for the job, alongside Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.
''Both are now trying to boost their profile '-- De Jonge by dealing with the corona crisis, while Hoesktra is doing that, among other things, by his performance in Brussels,'' Korteweg said.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte | Pool photo by Julien Warnand/AFP via Getty Images
The Dutch style of politics doesn't always go down well abroad, even if it gets results, said Korteweg, who last year co-authored a study about European perceptions of Dutch EU policy titled ''Effective without Empathy.''
He said that what is seen in the Netherlands as a virtue '-- directness '-- is viewed in the rest of Europe as ''rude, even a little insulting, and moralizing.''
The question for the Netherlands is whether the empathy deficit is now damaging its effectiveness.
Two days after Hoekstra made his controversial proposal last week, Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten asked for EU support to compensate the Dutch flower industry for the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Solidarity for tulip growers was not forthcoming.
''That the ministers didn't think those two things would be connected is almost embarrassing,'' said Korteweg.
This article has been updated to add comments from Gert-Jan Segers.
This article is part of POLITICO 's premium policy service: Pro Financial Services. From the eurozone, banking union, CMU, and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the Financial Services policy agenda. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.
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Klimaatwet Timmermans onderuitgehaald | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:25
Timmermans presenteerde zijn Green Deal begin vorige maand. In het wetsvoorstel ligt de juridische verplichting voor de EU-landen om in 2050 klimaatneutraal te zijn vast.
''¸ Hollandse Hoogte / Isopix
Timmermans kwam begin vorige maand met zijn langverwachte klimaatwet. Die leidde bij lidstaten en Europarlementarirs tot verdeelde reacties. Vooral de manier waarop vanaf 2030 eenzijdig klimaatdoelen kunnen worden opgehoogd door de Europese Commissie - als klimaatneutraliteit in 2050 uit zicht dreigt te geraken - trok veel vuur. CDA-Europarlementarir Esther de Lange sprak zelfs van 'een machtsgreep'.
De juridische dienst van het Europees Parlement concludeert in het vertrouwelijke stuk dat lidstaten en Europees Parlement in feite buitenspel worden gezet bij het nemen van 'essentile' besluiten.
'Potentieel conflicterende belangen'De vraag hoe het klimaattraject vanaf 2030 richting 2050 moet worden ingevuld is in hoge mate een politieke vraag, volgens de juridische onderbouwing. Gaat de afbouw van broeikasgassen met gelijke stappen of mogen landen op het eind (als er technologisch wellicht veel meer mogelijk is) een flinke inhaalslag maken?
De parlementsjuristen oordelen dat er 'žverschillende en potentieel conflicterende belangen op gebied van economie, milieu en op sociaal gebied'' tegen elkaar in zullen werken. Dit zijn essentile zaken waar de lidstaten en het Europees Parlement in moeten worden meegenomen. 'žDit betekent dat dit traject niet aan de Commissie gedelegeerd mag worden'', aldus het oordeel.
'Terug naar de tekentafel'CDA-Europarlementarir Esther de Lange is blij dat er nu 'žeen kraakheldere juridische analyse'' ligt. 'žWe kunnen niet het klimaat redden door de democratie uit te hollen'', aldus De Lange. 'žOp dit onderdeel overspeelt commissaris Timmermans zijn hand en moet de Commissie wat ons betreft terug naar de tekentafel.''
Maar een woordvoerder van Timmermans stelt dat het werk van het Europees Parlement in tegenspraak is met een eigen juridische analyse van de Commissie. 'žAls de wijze van vaststelling van het traject tussen 2030 en 2050 het springende punt is, maar de kern van de Klimaatwet - de klimaatdoelstellingen tussen 2030 en 2050 - niet wordt betwist, dan zijn we op de goede weg'', aldus de zegsman.
Parlement en lidstaten buigen zich binnenkort over Timmermans' plannen. Wanneer is nog onduidelijk omdat door de coronacrisis veel reguliere overleggen in Brussel zijn stil komen te vallen.
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Boeren woedend over 'voorgekookte' stikstofmaatregelen, overleg met minister gestaakt | Home | gelderlander.nl
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:49
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Coronavirus: Exercise rule-breakers spark surge in police calls - BBC News
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:25
Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Nick Adderley said people need to work together and obey the lockdown rules in order to avoid crippling the NHSA police force has had a surge in calls from people reporting their neighbours for "going out for a second run".
Government lockdown rules allow people to leave their homes to take one form of exercise a day .
Nick Adderley, from Northamptonshire Police, said the force control room has had "dozens and dozens" of calls about people ignoring the order.
In the coming days, police will be given the powers to fine anyone found to be flouting the law.
Mr Adderley told the Local Democracy Reporting Service his officers will issue penalty notices if necessary, but wanted to educate the public first.
"We are getting calls from people who say 'I think my neighbour is going out on a second run - I want you to come and arrest them'.
"We have had dozens and dozens of these calls."
The force has also been getting reports from people whose neighbours are gathering in their back gardens, Mr Adderley said.
"We won't have police officers crashing through garden fences to check the ID of everyone who is there to see whether they live at the house or whether they should be self-isolating," he added.
"We wouldn't want to discourage people from making us aware, but we have to set expectations. If people think we will be descending on these houses with blue lights, then we won't.
"But be under no illusion, we will be using these powers if necessary."
Supt Ash Tuckley, who leads the control room, said the force did not "want to discourage people from reporting" but stressed the "need to exercise caution".
He said other queries included someone asking if it was illegal not to cough in a tissue, a caller urging police to arrest their neighbour before he drove off, and a man who asked: "My wife doesn't think her job is essential but I do and she's working from home. Is there anything I can do?"
The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK had risen to 465 by Wednesday.
Sen. Dick Durbin: Pritzker aiming to organize an airlift of COVID-19 supplies from China to Illinois - Chicago Sun-Times
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:16
The governor also has found an Illinois company with supplies to sell - but was seeking a better price from another state, Durbin said.
By Lynn Sweet on April 1, 2020 10:04 am Speaking from his backyard deck in Springfield, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling the CEOs of major airlines to organize an airlift to haul personal protection equipment from China to Illinois.
Durbin also said Pritzker told him about an Illinois company with COVID-19 supplies to sell '-- yet was ''playing hard to get'' while seeking a better price from another state for this equipment now referred to in shorthand simply as PPE.
For weeks now, Pritzker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been publicly outraged that states are competing against themselves '-- and the federal government '-- in bidding for desperately needed masks, gowns, ventilators and other supplies as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
In an interview on MSNBC's ''Morning Joe,'' Durbin said, ''I talk to the governor almost every day and yesterday he said he felt like a shipping clerk. He was calling the major airlines that he knew the CEOs to be available, asking and begging them to help Illinois secure goods from China, PPE from China.
''They couldn't get flights, cargo flights out. You know, I've got a very talented governor here, and he's dealt with big business, but to think it's his responsibility to airlift what should have been in the national stockpile is incredible at this moment.''
Durbin said the Illinois company was profiteering on the disaster and that was ''unacceptable.''
''Our governor was telling me about a producer, in our state, who has this equipment who is just playing hard to get when it comes to making it available. He is looking for a better price from another state,'' Durbin said.
Durbin said President Donald Trump needed to use ''every power at his disposal to mobilize'' the nation. Trump has been reluctant to fully use the Defense production powers he has. Durbin said it might be for ideological reasons - a reluctance to impose mandates on the marketplace.
On March 28, Pritzker tweeted, ''My team continues to scour the global supply chain for personal protective equipment and has already placed orders for millions of units of PPE. We have been shipping these out to counties across the state as needed and as they arrive.''
Durbin said in a tweet he also asked the EPA's Chicago-based region to ''donate any available masks, gloves, or gowns in EPA storage to our hospitals & health care workers without delay.''
On Tuesday, Durbin, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Democratic Illinois House members sent a letter to Trump ''urging the Administration to immediately implement a federally coordinated effort to meet Illinois' need for personal protective equipment,'' imploring him to organize a national procurement effort.
Trump was told in the letter about ''the life-threatening shortage of respirators, masks, protective eyewear, face shields, gloves, gowns, and other protective equipment for health care workers and first responders in Illinois and across the country.''
Signing the letter were Democratic Reps. Bobby L. Rush; Robin Kelly; Jesºs G. ''Chuy'' Garc­a; Mike Quigley; Sean Casten; Danny K. Davis; Raja Krishnamoorthi; Jan Schakowsky; Bradley S. Schneider; Bill Foster; Lauren Underwood and Cheri Bustos.
LATER TODAY: The Pritzker administration to hold a daily briefing on COVID-19 at the Thompson Center in Chicago at 2:30 p.m. Watch live: https://www.Illinois.gov/LiveVideo
Anticipatory Anxiety and Panic Disorder
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:11
Anticipatory anxiety happens when people experience increased anxiety and stress when they think about an event that will happen in the future. Such anxiety may occur in response to large events such as giving a presentation at work, but it can also precede minor, everyday activities such as driving to work, parking your car, or having conversations with co-workers. While this is not a distinct mental condition, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom of other conditions including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.>> >>
If you have panic disorder, you may find yourself anticipating many life events. Driving to work, going into a store, attending a social gathering, and other activities may be a daily focus of your anticipation. Before you had panic attacks, you probably didn't give much thought to any of these common events. But now anticipation may cause you to feel anxious and interfere with your ability to fully function in your everyday life.
People often feel anticipatory anxiety because they fear that they will a panic attack when they are in these situations.
Normal vs. Problem Anticipatory Anxiety An infinite number of human experiences cause normal anticipatory anxiety. Many times we experience anxiety in anticipation of doing something new or before we complete a major task or go through an upcoming life event. You might feel anticipatory anxiety before a first date, a final exam, a job interview, moving to a new home, or before a major trip.
If you have panic disorder, anticipatory anxiety likely goes beyond the limits of what people normally experience with new or major life events, leading to problem anticipatory anxiety. This is because the anticipation, or the way you visualize a future event, is focused on having a panic attack in certain situations.>> >>
The fear of having a panic attack can be associated with any life situation or event, big or small. In some cases, anticipatory anxiety surrounds any activity that involves leaving the safety of your own home.
How Your Thoughts Contribute to Anticipatory Anxiety Anticipatory anxiety is closely associated with the way you think. With panic disorder, your thoughts are generally focused on worrying about having a panic attack in a situation that will result in embarrassment, extreme discomfort, a heart attack, or even worse.
If you have panic disorder, you are probably very familiar with ''what if'' worries. Perhaps your worries are similar to these:
What if I have a panic attack and drive my car into a ditch?What if I start to panic in the store and embarrass myself with some bizarre behavior?What if, while eating at a restaurant, I can't swallow and start choking on my food?What if I take a walk around the block and start to panic and can't get back home?This kind of thinking causes a lot of anticipatory anxiety that can lead to avoiding certain activities. The anxiety may be so intense that it causes a condition called agoraphobia.
How to Cope With Anticipatory Anxiety Here are some ways to cope with anticipatory anxiety:
Learn and Practice Relaxation Techniques By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will be able to reduce your level of anticipatory anxiety. You may even be able to defuse a panic attack in the making. Some techniques that may be helpful include:
Deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can often be an effective way to decrease feelings of panic and nervousness.>> >> Because feelings of panic are often accompanied by rapid, shallow breathing, learning to take slower, deeper breaths can help calm your body.Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): Panic often causes people to tense up, but practicing progressively tightening and then relaxing the muscles of your body can help you learn to better control this tension. After learning this technique, you will be able to release the tension in your muscles, which can have a relieving and calming effect.Guided imagery: This process involves closing your eyes and visualizing imagery that helps you feel calm and relaxed. You can use this type of imagery to imagine yourself succeeding in different situations or simply to help return your body to a calmer state.Mindfulness meditation: This type of meditation can be helpful in easing anticipatory anxiety because it encourages you to focus on the present rather than worrying about the future.>> >> Journal writing: Writing about your feelings may help you better notice patterns in how your thoughts and emotions contribute to anticipatory anxiety. Try Self-Help Strategies When you find yourself experiencing anticipatory anxiety, there are some things that you can do that may make it easier to cope:
Challenge anxious thoughts. When you get nervous about something you have to do in the future, ask yourself if you are being realistic. In many cases, you might find that you are catastrophizing or thinking of worst-case scenarios. Challenging these thoughts with more realistic ones can help calm your feelings of anxiety.Refocus your thoughts. When negative or anxious thoughts begin, intentionally interrupt your train of thought. Force yourself to consciously focus on good things that may happen rather than running through anxiety-provoking scenarios.Take action. Anticipatory anxiety often leads people to put off tasks rather than face them; which can then lead to even more anxiety.>> >> If you are dreading something and find yourself getting nervous about it, take control of the situation first. Remind yourself that if you get it over with now, you won't have to spend all of your time feeling anxious about it. Get Professional Help If you can't get your anxiety under control on your own, it is important to talk to your doctor or mental health professional. A variety of professionals can help you with problem anticipatory anxiety.
Some of the treatments they may be able to provide include:
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Helbig-lang S, Lang T, Petermann F, Hoyer J. Anticipatory anxiety as a function of panic attacks and panic-related self-efficacy: an ambulatory assessment study in panic disorder. Behav Cogn Psychother. 2012;40(5):590-604. doi:10.1017/S1352465812000057
Grupe DW, Nitschke JB. Uncertainty and anticipation in anxiety: an integrated neurobiological and psychological perspective. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013;14(7):488''501. doi:10.1038/nrn3524
Jerath R, Crawford MW, Barnes VA, Harden K. Self-regulation of breathing as a primary treatment for anxiety. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2015;40(2):107-15. doi:10.1007/s10484-015-9279-8
Hoge EA, Bui E, Marques L, et al. Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013;74(8):786''792. doi:10.4088/JCP.12m08083
Additional Reading Roy-Byrne PP. Panic disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis. UpToDate. Updated January 25, 2018.
Sadock BJ, Sadock VA, Ruiz P. Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2014.
As U.K.'s coronavirus toll surges, Gilead kickstarts remdesivir trials across the country | FierceBiotech
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 12:12
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson infected and isolated in Downing Street, and other top officials similarly afflicted with COVID-19, the U.K. is joining in the testing for Gilead Sciences' much-hyped antiviral candidate remdesivir.
The Big Biotech will launch a series of trial sites for its investigational broad-spectrum drug, originally designed to battle Ebola. As a nucleotide analog that mimics adenosine, one of the building blocks of any RNA virus's genome, the therapy could also attack SARSCoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19'--or so the theory goes.
Armed with the country's urgent public health research (UPHR) status, remdesivir w
ill now start two phase 3 trials'--initially at 15 centers up and down the U.K.'--to assess how well it can work in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19.
''Gilead started research into remdesivir more than a decade ago. We are now in a position to consider its potential to treat COVID-19 and rapidly progress its development, and these clinical trials will help generate important data on the safety and efficacy of the medication in the coming weeks,'' said Hilary Hutton-Squire, VP and GM of Gilead Sciences UK and Ireland.
The COVID-19 numbers are grim across Britain: At the end of March, deaths were around 1,800 with 25,000 confirmed cases, even with testing mostly limited to hospitalized patients. Case counts have jumped by more than 300 each day as March came to a close.
To handle the surge,
a major new hospital with more 4,000 beds has come online inside a London conference center and the government has enlisted British manufacturers, including automakers, to build a fleet of new ventilators.
Having a treatment in their arsenal would be a game-changer, and officials say they're ready to move quickly to test any likely prospects. Siu Ping Lam, M.D., director of the licensing division at U.K. drug regulator MHRA, said in the statement that the agency "is ready to prioritize and provide any assistance for clinical trials and other regulatory applications in response to COVID-19, in line with government priorities.
''We have procedures for rapid scientific advice, reviews and approvals and are ready to support manufacturers, researchers and other regulators. We have dedicated resources to ensure this happens, as we did during the Ebola crisis when we authorized clinical trial applications within a week.''
There are already three ongoing COVID-19 clinical trials at locations across China and the U.S. for remdesivir. Doctors in the U.S. have also treated patients with the drug under the Food and Drug Administration's compassionate use policy, and Gilead recently announced plans to expand that access program to approve treatment for multiple patients at a time.
Sixty Australian newspapers to stop printing
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 12:11
(AFP) '' Rupert Murdoch's Australian flagship media group News Corp announced Wednesday it will stop printing around 60 regional newspapers, as the troubled sector received a fresh blow from a COVID-19 advertising downturn.
News Corp said papers in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia would cease printing and move online.
''We have not taken this decision lightly,'' News Corp Australasia Executive Chairman Michael Miller was quoted as saying by the group's Australian newspaper title.
''The coronavirus crisis has created unprecedented economic pressures and we are doing everything we can to preserve as many jobs as possible.''
''The suspension of our community print editions has been forced on us by the rapid decline in advertising revenues following the restrictions placed on real estate auctions and home inspections, the forced closure of event venues and dine-in restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus emergency, '' he added.
Many Australian media groups had already been shifting to focus to online content before the pandemic began.
The announcement follows a series of media closure announcements, including national wire AAP, which is due to cease work later this year.
The move has echoed a global trend.
The largest US newspaper publisher, Gannett, said on Monday it was making unspecified furloughs and pay cuts for its staff.
Falling readerships and the rise of Google and Facebook as dominant players in advertising has made news organisations less profitable
(C) 2020 AFP
NextTrace
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:14
NextTrace aims to coordinate test results and contact tracing to enable public health decisionsSocial distancing, if widely adopted, works. Unfortunately, it's unsustainable. If we continue distancing, it may devastate our economy and society. But if we stop before a vaccine is ready, it will cause a rebound in infections because not enough of us are immune.
We can manage this epidemic through contact tracing and isolation, at scale, using modern technology. But it will require coordination and rapid innovation.
Here's how we plan to do itA massive rollout of diagnostic and serological testing is on its way. We will help curate that data and build tools that guide targeted interventions. We will do this collaboratively, working with existing efforts and sharing best practices as we go.
Test
We will help organize and surface diagnostic and serological data, working with commercial, state, and academic testing labs.
Trace
We will scope and build software for digital participatory contact tracing to find and isolate cases earlier in their course of illness.
Guide
We will deliver models and best practices to state and local decision makers to inform containment policies at the community level.
Trevor Bedford on Twitter: "Today, we're standing up a project called NextTrace that aims to enable digital participatory contact tracing and guide #COVID19 surveillance efforts. See a full description here https://t.co/0jKDupUlVb or get the summary in th
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:12
Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h The
#COVID19 epidemic is occurring because each infection results in 2 to 3 further infections. This process creates the exponential growth we have seen across countries, states, and cities. Any successful intervention must reduce this number of secondary transmissions. 2/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Current broad-scale social distancing interventions aim to bring this number down by decreasing the number of contacts between people across the population. If people do not encounter each other, they cannot spread infection, regardless of whether they are infected or not. 3/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Unfortunately, broad-scale social distancing is a blunt intervention with massive societal and economic costs. If we can move toward interventions targeted at infected and exposed individuals we can achieve the same outcomes with less societal hardship. 4/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Contact tracing is a targeted intervention proven to reduce transmission and curb an infectious disease outbreak. By identifying possible exposures of an index case, the exposed individuals can be tested and isolated in the event that they are also infected. 5/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Contact tracing targets surveillance resources and testing at individuals most likely to be positive, and also serves to test individuals early in the course of illness when isolation is most effective at reducing onward transmission. 6/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h However, traditional approaches to contact tracing do not scale; they rely on a huge investment in time and labor in which public health staff conduct exhaustive phone interviews to assess symptoms and exposure history among the network of persons under investigation. 7/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Because of this, contact tracing is typically only conducted in the early ''containment'' phase of an epidemic when there are few enough cases that public health staff can keep up. 8/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h I believe, and others have proposed as well, that *digital participatory contact tracing* has the potential to substantially reduce transmission while avoiding the societal costs imposed by social distancing interventions. This will require: 9/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Test: We will need to massively increase our testing capacity. This scale-up is now being tackled by a combination of state public health labs, hospital testing, and commercial laboratories. 10/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h However, relying on hierarchical reporting is fragile and may not result in timely distribution of results. We propose moving to a decentralized reporting system in which any lab performing diagnostic testing can broadcast test results in an anonymized fashion. 11/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Trace: We propose a system in which, if an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, they can register their case in an online platform. If they register, the platform will warn other individuals who were possibly exposed to this infection that they should seek testing. 12/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h The app / online platform would essentially conduct a coarse version of what epidemiologists do with interviews; it would build a contact history for the registered case, listing out contact events with other individuals that could potentially have resulted in transmission. 13/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h This system would use cell phone location and proximity data to detect possible exposure events while ensuring that privacy is preserved and data is secure. This obviously needs a great deal of attention to get right. 14/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Guide: Beyond simply developing a system that can monitor individual-level interactions and exposure events, understanding high resolution transmission patterns on a broad scale would allow us to characterize the heterogeneity of the epidemic in different areas. 15/20
View conversation · Trevor Bedford @ trvrb
8h Variable levels of immunity, population densities, and age structures will create subtly different environments for transmission. Therefore, in addition to individual-level interventions, we will use this platform to help inform containment policies at the community level. 16/20
View conversation ·
Coronavirus testing effort hampered by kits contaminated with Covid-19
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:10
Britain's attempt to ramp up mass coronavirus testing has been dealt a blow after key components ordered from overseas were discovered to be contaminated with coronavirus, the Telegraph can disclose.
Laboratories across the country were on Monday warned to expect a delay after traces of the virus were detected in parts due for delivery in the coming days.
It comes as ministers and public health chiefs face growing questions over why Britain's testing capacity appears to be lagging far behind other major nations including the US and South Korea.
To accelerate production, the government has enlisted private firms to help produce thousands of kits in the hope that mass testing will be available to the public within weeks.
One of the suppliers - the Luxembourg-based firm Eurofins - sent an email on Monday morning to government laboratories in the UK warning that a delivery of key components called ''probes and primers'' had been contaminated with coronavirus and would be delayed.
The firm admitted there had been ''an issue'' and insisted other private providers had suffered the same problem.
Exactly how the contamination occurred is not clear, and senior health sources insisted the delay would not significantly affect the UK's testing programme.
Meanwhile, Downing Street accused Public Health England of providing ministers with incorrect information on the number of coronavirus tests conducted after Michael Gove claimed that 10,000 had been completed on Sunday. Only 8,278 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday morning.
The Prime Minister's spokesman was yesterday forced to clarify that Mr Gove had been referring to the capacity available, rather than the actual number completed, which had been lower.
It came 24 hours after Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, stated the Government's target of 10,000 tests per day had been hit, with ministers now pushing for 25,000 by mid-April.
However, confusion mounted when official figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) revealed that just under 7,000 people had been tested, significantly lower than Mr Gove had claimed.
On Monday morning, health minister Helen Whately added to the uncertainty when she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: ''We have achieved the capacity to have 10,000 tests a day. The actual number that was tested on the day in question was I think around 7,000.''
To compound the issue further, PHE released the latest figures just minutes later, stating that between Friday morning and 9am on Saturday 9,114 tests had been completed.
PHE also stated that ''testing capacity for patient care stands at 10,949 a day'', prompting questions as to whether, despite overwhelming demand, health services failed to carry out the maximum number of tests available.
Last night Whitehall sources claimed the error had occurred due to Public Health England failing to make clear to ministers the distinction between the capacity available and the number that had actually been completed.
They added that a number of people were tested more than once, thereby resulting in the disparity between the statistics. Government sources said the discrepancy was partly caused by hospitals not knowing at the start of each day how many people would need to be tested, and holding back enough capacity to ensure they did not run out of tests.
The Telegraph also understands that Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has also privately expressed frustration that testing may not be being carried out at full capacity and has ordered any excess tests to be used on NHS staff.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said roll-out of testing will begin this week after staff were sampled on Saturday and Sunday.
On March 11 the UK announced it had carried out 25,000 tests in total and was aiming for 10,000 a day '-- a target it has yet to reach. Ministers are hoping that a new antibody test that discovers whether a person has previously contracted the virus will be ready within weeks.
Food delivery company Ocado has ordered 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits for staff but has promised to hand them over to the NHS if required.
It has paid £1.5m for the testing kits, with 40,000 already delivered and a further 60,000 to come, while celebrities have been paying up to £375 to have tests done privately.
But experts yesterday questioned why Britain was lagging so far behind other nations in mass testing of the population. Professor Graham Medley, chair of SPI-M, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, which advises the Government, said the country simply did not have enough ''people and machines'' to ramp up capacity, compared to other countries.
''It's the difference between cooking and catering,'' he told the Telegraph. ''We might have the brilliant minds but we don't have the machines or the number of trained people to ramp this up properly.
''We are trying to do things that are beyond any single research laboratory. We need more PCR machines which are expensive and need to be maintained.
''We need the people trained to run them, even though in an ideal world they might never be needed.
''South Korea have got warehouses full of testing kits and machines, and lots of people trained and ready to go. When Sars and Mers came along, they knew they needed it.
''Germany just appear to have been better prepared than us. It would have been a very difficult political decision to spend that kind of money on things that might never have been needed.''
To increase capacity, Public Health England have enlisted an army of volunteers including university students to help laboratories, it emerged on Monday. Some will be paid for their work while others have offered their expertise for free.
When the disease first emerged, the UK chose to use only one lab - Public Health England's main facility at Colindale in north London. In recent weeks public health authorities have enlisted 11 more labs as well as universities and NHS hospitals.
Greg Clark, the former Conservative business secretary who chairs the House of Commons science select committee, which is investigating the Government's response to Covid-19, questioned why Britain had been so slow to bring in more laboratories to ramp up production.
''Our strategy was to start with one lab then increase it to 12. I don't know why we moved so slowly,'' he said.
''It's not clear why we don't have the testing capacity, and why we appear to be in a worse position than other countries on this.''
Mr Clark also questioned why Public Health England only had 290 people working on contact tracing, unlike nations like South Korea where tracing infected people has been a key part of the strategy.
''It just doesn't make sense. We need to know where the disease is going,'' he said.
A spokesman for Eurofins said: ''In rare occasions, delays in some orders may occur if based on Eurofins Genomics stringent quality and environmental control procedures, manufacturing of a product may not meet the quality or purity criteria set by Eurofins Genomics.
''We are aware that contaminations of the nature you mentioned have been observed by several primers and probes manufacturers around the world after they produced SARS-COV2 positive controls. Those initial problems can be easily resolved by proper cleaning and production segregation procedures.''
A spokesperson for PHE said that: ''COVID-19 only started to emerge at the beginning of the year and since then, PHE has managed to rapidly develop, validate and deliver an accurate test. PHE has since expanded to 12 other testing sites in Englandand supported the NHS to start testing at greater capacity in their labs.
''This is the fastest deployment of a novel test to PHE and NHS labs in recent history, including in the Swine flu pandemic in 2009.''
The Department of Health refused to comment.
Jailbreak iOS 12.4 Unc0ver 3.5.0 IPA For iPhone X, 8, 7, Plus, iPad Pro Released | Redmond Pie
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:55
iOS 12.4 Jailbreak Unc0ver 3.5.x Is Out, Download NowSurprise, surprise! You can now jailbreak iOS 12.4 on iPhone X, iPad Pro and other devices using Unc0ver 3.5.0.
They say Sunday is Funday, and while we haven't had a jailbreak funday for a long time in true sense, today it seems like those good old days of jailbreaking are back with the release of unc0ver 3.5.x which brings jailbreak for current, latest signed and available firmware version of iOS, which happens to be iOS 12.4.
As far as compatibility goes, all devices up to A11 are supported, which means while the iPhone X is supported, the latest iPhone XS, XS Max, XR and 2018 iPad Pros aren't. This is likely due to the exploit being used here which is not exploitable for A12 and A12x devices.
Coming back to the jailbreak, you can download Unc0ver 3.5.x IPA right now from here and then jailbreak compatible device using it which will give you access to Cydia Installer and Cydia Substrate.
We will of course be back soon with full guide and details on how to use this latest version of unc0ver to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad on iOS 12.4.
Again, it has been a long time since we have had a jailbreak for latest signed firmware version of iOS so this is indeed a big deal here. If you are on iOS 13 beta or a firmware version below iOS 12.4, we recommend updating to latest iOS 12.4 firmware and then making use of this latest jailbreak.
Stay tuned for more on this.
UPDATE x1: We now have a full step by step guide posted for it. You can follow the instructions here to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad on iOS 12.4: How To Jailbreak iOS 12.4 Using Unc0ver 3.5.x [Tutorial].
UPDATE x2: Unc0ver has now been updated to add partial jailbreak support for A12 and A12X based devices like the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and 2018 iPad Pro models. More info on this can be found here.
UPDATE x3: Our video tutorial is up now and embedded below:
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.
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Eurovisie Songfestival komt met alternatieve tv-show voor heel Europa | NOS
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:36
Het Eurovisie Songfestival komt met een alternatieve tv-uitzending: Europe Shine a Light. De show, zonder publiek, wordt op zaterdag 16 mei om 21.00 uur in heel Europa uitgezonden. Het Eurovisie Songfestival, dat dit jaar in Rotterdam zou worden gehouden, gaat vanwege de coronacrisis niet door. Op 16 mei zou de finale van het liedjesfestijn zijn.
"Het wordt een show in de geest van eenheid en saamhorigheid", zegt Jon Ola Sand van de organiserende omroeporganisatie EBU. "We moedigen alle omroepen die aan het Eurovisie Songfestival van dit jaar zouden meedoen aan om deze show uit te zenden."
De 41 artiesten die in Rotterdam zouden optreden, worden volgens hoofdproducent Sietse Bakker in de schijnwerpers gezet. "Naast een kort fragment van hun eigen nummer waarmee ze zouden optreden, zullen zij een gezamenlijke uitvoering brengen van een eerdere songfestivalhit." Ze doen dat ieder vanuit hun eigen land.
Ook oud-deelnemers doen aan het alternatieve evenement mee. "Bekende songfestivalartiesten van de afgelopen jaren worden uitgenodigd om vanuit hun eigen land nummers uit het verleden op te voeren", zegt Bakker.
Stilstaan bij coronapandemieEurope Shine a Light wordt gepresenteerd door Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley en Jan Smit. Zij zouden samen ook de presentatie van het Songfestival verzorgen.
Volgens de organisatoren wordt in de alternatieve show uitgebreid stilgestaan bij iedereen die door de coronacrisis is getroffen en bij alle mensen die hard werken om de crisis te bestrijden.
Intussen wordt nagedacht over een nieuwe datum voor het 'echte' songfestival. Algemeen wordt aangenomen dat Rotterdam ook volgend jaar de organiserende stad is. "De komende periode wordt in kaart gebracht hoe we dit samen voor elkaar kunnen krijgen", zegt NPO-voorzitter Shula Rijxman.
Bill Gates: How COVID-19 pandemic can help world solve climate change
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:33
Though the economic and social shutdowns due to COVID-19 in countries across the globe has meant a temporary reprieve from some of the most obvious environmental effects in places from China to Venice, Italy, the world's nearly singular focus on the pandemic has meant less attention is being paid to climate change.
However, in the long run, efforts to get the coronavirus pandemic under control will facilitate the fight against climate change, according to Bill Gates.
How?
"That idea of innovation and science and the world working together '-- that is totally common between these two problems, and so I don't think this has to be a huge set back for climate," Gates told TED's Chris Anderson during a livestreamed conversation on March 24.
The cooperation Gates is observing globally in the science community is encouraging, he says.
"In the science side and data sharing side, you see this great cooperation going on," Gates told Anderson.
Gates, who stepped down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway on March 13 to devote more time to his philanthropic work, announced in February that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contribute up to $100 million to the global response to COVID-19.
Gates told Anderson he is "very much an optimist" when it comes to what scientists working together can do, including when it comes to the pandemic.
"[T]he amount of innovation, the way we can connect up and work together. Yes, I'm super positive about that," Gates told Anderson. "I love my work because I see progress on all these diseases all the time. Now we have to turn an focus on this'.... but you know the message for me '-- although it's very sober when we're dealing with this epidemic '-- you know I'm very positive that this should draw us together. We will get out of this and then we will get ready for the next epidemic."
However not everyone is so sure the global community will apply learnings from the COVID-19 response to climate change.
"COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals '-- or if people get used to telecommuting and thus use less oil in the future," said Jason Bordoff, a former U.S. National Security Council senior director and special assistant to President Barack Obama in an op-ed published in Foreign Policy on Friday. "Yet any climate benefits from the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be fleeting and negligible," he said.
Instead, the issues with keeping the pandemic under control indicate that solving climate change will be virtually impossible. "The pandemic is a reminder of just how wicked a problem climate change is because it requires collective action, public understanding and buy-in, and decarbonizing the energy mix while supporting economic growth and energy use around the world," said Bordoff, who is now a professor and founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
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Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis - The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:52
Summary BackgroundIn the face of rapidly changing data, a range of case fatality ratio estimates for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been produced that differ substantially in magnitude. We aimed to provide robust estimates, accounting for censoring and ascertainment biases.
MethodsWe collected individual-case data for patients who died from COVID-19 in Hubei, mainland China (reported by national and provincial health commissions to Feb 8, 2020), and for cases outside of mainland China (from government or ministry of health websites and media reports for 37 countries, as well as Hong Kong and Macau, until Feb 25, 2020). These individual-case data were used to estimate the time between onset of symptoms and outcome (death or discharge from hospital). We next obtained age-stratified estimates of the case fatality ratio by relating the aggregate distribution of cases to the observed cumulative deaths in China, assuming a constant attack rate by age and adjusting for demography and age-based and location-based under-ascertainment. We also estimated the case fatality ratio from individual line-list data on 1334 cases identified outside of mainland China. Using data on the prevalence of PCR-confirmed cases in international residents repatriated from China, we obtained age-stratified estimates of the infection fatality ratio. Furthermore, data on age-stratified severity in a subset of 3665 cases from China were used to estimate the proportion of infected individuals who are likely to require hospitalisation.
FindingsUsing data on 24 deaths that occurred in mainland China and 165 recoveries outside of China, we estimated the mean duration from onset of symptoms to death to be 17·8 days (95% credible interval [CrI] 16·9''19·2) and to hospital discharge to be 24·7 days (22·9''28·1). In all laboratory confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases from mainland China (n=70'117), we estimated a crude case fatality ratio (adjusted for censoring) of 3·67% (95% CrI 3·56''3·80). However, after further adjusting for demography and under-ascertainment, we obtained a best estimate of the case fatality ratio in China of 1·38% (1·23''1·53), with substantially higher ratios in older age groups (0·32% [0·27''0·38] in those aged <60 years vs 6·4% [5·7''7·2] in those aged '‰¥60 years), up to 13·4% (11·2''15·9) in those aged 80 years or older. Estimates of case fatality ratio from international cases stratified by age were consistent with those from China (parametric estimate 1·4% [0·4''3·5] in those aged <60 years [n=360] and 4·5% [1·8''11·1] in those aged '‰¥60 years [n=151]). Our estimated overall infection fatality ratio for China was 0·66% (0·39''1·33), with an increasing profile with age. Similarly, estimates of the proportion of infected individuals likely to be hospitalised increased with age up to a maximum of 18·4% (11·0''7·6) in those aged 80 years or older.
InterpretationThese early estimates give an indication of the fatality ratio across the spectrum of COVID-19 disease and show a strong age gradient in risk of death.
FundingUK Medical Research Council.
Introduction As of March 25, 2020, 414'179 cases and 18'440 deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), had been reported worldwide.
1 WHOCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report'--43.
The epidemic began in mainland China, with a geographical focus in the city of Wuhan, Hubei. However, on Feb 26, 2020, the rate of increase in cases became greater in the rest of the world than inside China. Substantial outbreaks are occurring in Italy (69 176 cases), the USA (51'914 cases), and Iran (24 811 cases), and geographical expansion of the epidemic continues.
Clinical studies of hospitalised patients have shown that, at onset of COVID-19, patients frequently show symptoms associated with viral pneumonia, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat, myalgia, and fatigue.
2Chan JFW Yuan S Kok KH et al.A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster.
, 3Chen N Zhou M Dong X et al.Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study.
, 4Guan WJ Ni ZY Hu Y et al.Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China.
, 5Huang C Wang Y Li X et al.Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
, 6Li Q Guan X Wu P et al.Early transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China, of novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia.
The case definition adopted in China and elsewhere includes further stratification of cases as severe (defined as tachypnoea ['‰¥30 breaths per min], oxygen saturation '‰¤93% at rest, or PaO
2/FiO
2 ratio <300 mm Hg) and critical (respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation, septic shock, or other organ dysfunction or failure that requires intensive care).
7 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology TeamThe epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in China.
According to the report from the WHO''China Joint Mission on COVID-19, 80% of the 55'924 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in China to Feb 20, 2020, had mild-to-moderate disease, including both non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases, while 13·8% developed severe disease and 6·1% developed to a critical stage requiring intensive care.
8 WHOReport of the WHO-China Joint Mission on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a study of clinical progression in 1099 patients,
4Guan WJ Ni ZY Hu Y et al.Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China.
those at highest risk for severe disease and death included people over the age of 60 years and those with underlying conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer.
Research in contextEvidence before this study
We searched PubMed, medRxiv, bioRxiv, arXiv, SSRN, Research Square, Virological, and Wellcome Open Research for peer-reviewed articles, preprints, and research reports on the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), using the search terms ''coronavirus'', ''2019-nCoV'', and similar terms, and ''fatality'', up to March 6, 2020. Several studies have estimated the case fatality ratio (the percentage of individuals with symptomatic or confirmed disease who die from the disease) and infection fatality ratio (the percentage of all infected individuals who die from the disease, including those with mild disease) of COVID-19 using a range of different statistical and modelling methods. Studies done solely in hospitalised patients report the highest fatality ratios (8''28%), representing the outcome for the most severely ill patients. Estimates of the population-level case fatality ratio from all case reports are in the range of 2''8%. Estimates of the infection fatality ratio averaged across all age-groups range from 0·2% to 1·6%, while estimates of the infection fatality ratio in the oldest age group ('‰¥80 years) range from 8% to 36%. None of the identified studies had adjusted for differences in the denominator populations to obtain estimates that could be applied across populations. No other studies have estimated the proportion of infected individuals who will require hospitalisation.
Added value of this study
By synthesising data from across a range of surveillance settings, we obtained estimates of the age-stratified case fatality ratio and infection fatality ratio that take into account the different denominator populations in the datasets. Our underlying assumption, that attack rates (ie, the probability of becoming infected) do not vary substantially by age, is consistent with previous studies for respiratory infections. Under this assumption, differences in age patterns among cases in Wuhan versus those elsewhere in China would probably due to under-ascertainment of cases, given the different surveillance systems in place. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis, with cases in Wuhan seen in older individuals, who would have been identified through attendance at hospital, whereas cases elsewhere in China being younger overall, which would be explained by the policy of testing those with a travel history to Wuhan. After correcting for these biases, we found that estimates of the case fatality ratio from China are consistent with those obtained from early international cases. Our age-stratified estimates of the infection fatality ratio can be applied to any demography to give an estimate of the infection fatality ratio in older and younger populations. These estimates can be combined with estimates of the infection attack rate (approximately 80% for an unmitigated epidemic) to give rough projections of scale. Similarly, our estimates of the proportion of infections requiring hospitalisation can be combined with the infection attack rate to forecast health-care requirements.
Implications of all the available evidence
Our estimates of the case fatality ratio for COVID-19, although lower than some of the crude estimates made to date, are substantially higher than for recent influenza pandemics (eg, H1N1 influenza in 2009). With the rapid geographical spread observed to date, COVID-19 therefore represents a major global health threat in the coming weeks and months. Our estimate of the proportion of infected individuals requiring hospitalisation, when combined with likely infection attack rates (around 50''80%), show that even the most advanced health-care systems are likely to be overwhelmed. These estimates are therefore crucial to enable countries around the world to best prepare as the global pandemic continues to unfold.
Assessing the severity of COVID-19 is crucial to determine the appropriateness of mitigation strategies and to enable planning for health-care needs as epidemics unfold. However, crude case fatality ratios obtained by dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases can be misleading.
9Garske T Legrand J Donnelly CA et al.Assessing the severity of the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.
, 10Lipsitch M Donnelly CA Fraser C et al.Potential biases in estimating absolute and relative case-fatality risks during outbreaks.
First, there can be a period of 2''3 weeks between a person developing symptoms, the case subsequently being detected and reported, and observation of the final clinical outcome. During a growing epidemic, the final clinical outcome of most of the reported cases is typically unknown. Simply dividing the cumulative reported number of deaths by the cumulative number of reported cases will therefore underestimate the true case fatality ratio early in an epidemic.
9Garske T Legrand J Donnelly CA et al.Assessing the severity of the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.
, 10Lipsitch M Donnelly CA Fraser C et al.Potential biases in estimating absolute and relative case-fatality risks during outbreaks.
, 11Ghani AC Donnelly CA Cox DR et al.Methods for estimating the case fatality ratio for a novel, emerging infectious disease.
This effect was observed in past epidemics of respiratory pathogens, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
12Donnelly CA Ghani AC Leung GM et al.Epidemiological determinants of spread of causal agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Hong Kong.
and H1N1
9Garske T Legrand J Donnelly CA et al.Assessing the severity of the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.
influenza, and as such is widely recognised. Thus, many of the estimates of the case fatality ratio that have been obtained to date for COVID-19 correct for this effect.
13Jung S Akhmetzhanov AR Hayashi K et al.Real-time estimation of the risk of death from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection: inference using exported cases.
, 14Mizumoto K Kagaya K Chowell G Yoshida-Nakaadachi-cho U Early epidemiological assessment of the transmission potential and virulence of 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan City: China, January''February, 2020.
, 15Famulare M 2019-nCoV: preliminary estimates of the confirmed-case-fatality-ratio and infection-fatality-ratio, and initial pandemic risk assessment.
, 16Wu P Hao X Lau EHY et al.Real-time tentative assessment of the epidemiological characteristics of novel coronavirus infections in Wuhan, China, as at 22 January 2020.
Additionally, however, during the exponential growth phase of an epidemic, the observed time lags between the onset of symptoms and outcome (recovery or death) are censored, and naive estimates of the observed times from symptom onset to outcome provide biased estimates of the actual distributions. Ignoring this effect tends to bias the estimated case fatality ratio downwards during the early growth phase of an epidemic.
Second, surveillance of a newly emerged pathogen is typically biased towards detecting clinically severe cases, especially at the start of an epidemic when diagnostic capacity is low (
figure 1). Estimates of the case fatality ratio can thus be biased upwards until the extent of clinically milder disease is determined.
9Garske T Legrand J Donnelly CA et al.Assessing the severity of the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.
Data from the epicentre of the outbreak in Wuhan have primarily been obtained through hospital surveillance and, thus, are likely to represent patients with moderate or severe illness, with atypical pneumonia or acute respiratory distress being used to define suspected cases eligible for testing.
7 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology TeamThe epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in China.
In these individuals, clinical outcomes are likely to be more severe, so any estimates of the case fatality ratio will be higher. Elsewhere in mainland China and the rest of the world, countries and administrative regions alert to the risk of infection being imported via travel initially instituted surveillance for COVID-19 with a broader set of clinical criteria for defining a suspected case. These criteria typically included a combination of symptoms (eg, cough and fever) combined with recent travel history to the affected region (Wuhan, or Hubei province)
2Chan JFW Yuan S Kok KH et al.A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster.
, 17Xu XW Wu XX Jiang XG et al.Clinical findings in a group of patients infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) outside of Wuhan, China: retrospective case series.
. Such surveillance is likely to detect clinically mild cases but, by initially restricting testing to those with a travel history or link, might have missed other symptomatic cases.
Figure 1 Spectrum of COVID-19 cases
Show full caption At the top of the pyramid, those meeting the WHO case criteria for severe or critical cases are likely to be identified in the hospital setting, presenting with atypical viral pneumonia. These cases will have been identified in mainland China and among those categorised internationally as local transmission. Many more cases are likely to be symptomatic (ie, with fever, cough, or myalgia), but might not require hospitalisation. These cases will have been identified through links to international travel to high-risk areas and through contact-tracing of contacts of confirmed cases. They might also be identified through population surveillance of, for example, influenza-like illness. The bottom part of the pyramid represents mild (and possibly asymptomatic) cases. These cases might be identified through contact tracing and subsequently via serological testing.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Here we attempt to adjust for these biases in data sources to obtain estimates of the case fatality ratio (proportion of all cases that will eventually lead to death) and infection fatality ratio (the proportion of all infections that will eventually lead to death) using both individual-level case report data and aggregate case and death counts from mainland China, from Hong Kong and Macau, and international case reports. By adjusting for both underlying demography and potential under-ascertainment at different levels of the severity pyramid (
figure 1), these estimates should be broadly applicable across a range of settings to inform health planning while more detailed case data accrue.
Methods Individual-level data on early deaths from mainland China We identified information on the characteristics of 48 patients who died from COVID-19 in Hubei, reported by the National Health Commission and the Hubei Province Health Commission website up to Feb 8, 2020. We recorded the following data elements, where available: sex, age, date of symptom onset, date of hospitalisation, and date of death. Of the 48 cases, neither the date of symptom onset nor the date of report was available for 13 cases. We also removed eight cases with onset before Jan 1, 2020, or death before Jan 21, 2020, and three deaths after Jan 28, 2020, which were the dates consistent with reliable reporting of onset and death in this setting, respectively, considering the onset-to-death times (including early onsets creates a bias towards long onset-to-death times, reflecting under-ascertainment of deaths early on). This left 24 deaths, which we used to estimate the onset-to-death distribution.
Individual-level data on cases outside mainland China We collated data on 2010 cases reported in 37 countries and two special administrative regions of China (Hong Kong and Macau), from government or ministry of health websites and media reports, until Feb 25, 2020. We recorded the following information where available: country or administrative region in which the case was detected, whether the infection was acquired in China or abroad, date of travel, date of symptom onset, date of hospitalisation, date of confirmation, date of recovery, and date of death. We used data from 165 recovered individuals with reported recovery dates and reported or imputed onset dates to estimate the onset-to-recovery distribution, after excluding 26 recoveries without appropriate information on dates of recovery, report, or locality. We used data on 1334 international cases to obtain estimates of the case fatality ratio, not including cases without dates of report.
Data on aggregate cases and deaths in mainland China Data on 70'117 PCR-confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases by date of onset in Wuhan and elsewhere in China from Jan 1 to Feb 11, 2020, were extracted from the WHO''China Joint Mission report.
8 WHOReport of the WHO-China Joint Mission on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Over this period a total of 1023 deaths were reported across China, with these data available disaggregated into 10-year age bands between 0''9 years and 70''79 years old, and a further age band for those aged 80 years or older.
7 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology TeamThe epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in China.
Using collated data on daily reported deaths obtained each day from the National Health Commission regional websites, we estimated that 74% of deaths occurred in Wuhan and the remainder outside Wuhan. Additionally, the most recent available cumulative estimates (March 3, 2020) of 80'304 confirmed cases and 2946 deaths within China were extracted from the WHO COVID-19 Situation Report (number 43).
1 WHOCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report'--43.
An earlier preprint of a subset of these cases up to Jan 26, 2020 reported the age distribution of cases categorised by severity for 3665 cases.
18Yang Y Lu Q Liu M et al.Epidemiological and clinical features of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
Under the China case definition, a severe case is defined as tachypnoea ('‰¥30 breaths per min) or oxygen saturation 93% or higher at rest, or PaO
2/FiO
2 ratio less than 300 mm Hg.
7 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology TeamThe epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in China.
Assuming severe cases to require hospitalisation (as opposed to all of the patients who were hospitalised in China, some of whom will have been hospitalised to reduce onward transmission), we used the proportion of severe cases by age in these patients to estimate the proportion of cases and infections requiring hospitalisation.
Data on infection in repatriated international Wuhan residents Data on infection prevalence in repatriated expatriates returning to their home countries were obtained from government or ministry of health websites and media reports. To match to the incidence reported in Wuhan on Jan 30, 2020, we used data from six flights that departed between Jan 30 and Feb 1, 2020, inclusive.
Data on cases and deaths on the Diamond Princess cruise ship In early February 2020 a cruise liner named the
Diamond Princess was quarantined after a disembarked passenger tested positive for the virus. Subsequently all 3711 passengers on board were tested over the next month. We extracted data on the ages of passengers onboard on Feb 5, 2020, the dates of positive test reports, which were available for 657 out of 712 PCR-confirmed cases, and the dates of ten deaths among these cases from the reports of the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
19 Government of JapanMinistry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
and international media.
Demographic data Age-stratified population data for 2018 were obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics of China.
20 National Bureau of Statistics of ChinaChina statistical yearbook.
According to these data, the population of Wuhan in 2018 was approximately 11 million people.
Statistical analysis overview Estimation of time intervals between symptom onset and outcome In estimating time intervals between symptom onset and outcome, it was necessary to account for the fact that, during a growing epidemic, a higher proportion of the cases will have been infected recently (
appendix p 7). Therefore, we re-parameterised a gamma model to account for exponential growth using a growth rate of 0·14 per day, obtained from the early case onset data (
appendix p 6). Using Bayesian methods, we fitted gamma distributions to the data on time from onset to death and onset to recovery, conditional on having observed the final outcome. Missing onset dates were imputed on the basis of dates of report, where available.
Estimation of case fatality ratio, infection fatality ratio, and proportion hospitalised from aggregated case data Estimates of the distribution of times from onset-to-death were used to project the expected cumulative number of deaths given the onsets observed in Wuhan and outside Wuhan, assuming a uniform attack rate across age groups. Using the age-distribution of the population, we obtained an estimate of the expected number of infections in each age group. Under-ascertainment was estimated in and outside of Wuhan by comparing the number of observed cases by age to this expected distribution, assuming perfect ascertainment in the 50''59 age group as this group had the highest number of detected cases relative to population size. We also did a sensitivity analysis assuming a differential attack rate by age (
appendix p 9). For Wuhan, we added scaling to account for further under-ascertainment compared with outside of Wuhan. These steps gave us the expected age-distribution of cases.
For a given onset-to-death distribution, we obtained a modelled estimate of the cumulative number of deaths by age under an age-dependent case fatality ratio (fitted relative to the case fatality ratio in the oldest age group, which represented the highest crude case fatality ratio). This estimate was compared with the observed deaths by age using a Poisson likelihood. These data were then jointly fitted alongside the most recent age-aggregated cumulative deaths and cases in mainland China. Given that the numbers of observed cases and deaths have dropped substantially following a peak in late January, the ratio of current cumulative cases to current number of deaths, once corrected for under-ascertainment, should provide a good estimate of the final case fatality ratio.
11Ghani AC Donnelly CA Cox DR et al.Methods for estimating the case fatality ratio for a novel, emerging infectious disease.
To estimate the infection fatality ratio we fitted to data on infection prevalence from international Wuhan residents who were repatriated to their home countries. Our age-stratified case fatality ratio and infection fatality ratio model was jointly fitted to the case data and infection prevalence data with use of Bayesian methods, using our previous estimate of the onset-to-death distribution as a prior. Full mathematical details are provided in the
appendix (p 8).
Assuming a uniform attack rate by age groups, we used the demography-adjusted under-ascertainment rates calculated above to obtain an estimate of the proportion of infected individuals who would require hospitalisation.
To independently validate our infection fatality ratio estimate, we analysed data from the outbreak on the
Diamond Princess cruise liner taking the dates of reported positive tests as a proxy for onset date. We calculated the expected proportion of deaths observed until March 25, 2020, given the onset times and estimated onset-to-death distribution (
appendix p 13).
Estimation of case fatality ratio from individual case data We used parametric and non-parametric methods
11Ghani AC Donnelly CA Cox DR et al.Methods for estimating the case fatality ratio for a novel, emerging infectious disease.
, 22Griffin J Ghani A CASEFAT: Stata module for estimating the case fatality ratio of a new infectious disease. Boston College of Economics.
to estimate the case fatality ratio in cases reported outside of mainland China using individual-level data. Cases in which the outcome was unknown were treated as censored observations. For parametric and non-parametric analyses, missing onset dates were multiply imputed using information on the onset-to-report distribution, and unreported recoveries were imputed using onset-to-outcome distributions and country summary data. The parametric models were fitted to the data using Bayesian methods (
appendix p 12).
Role of the funding source The funder of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.
Results In the subset of 24 deaths from COVID-19 that occurred in mainland China early in the epidemic, with correction for bias introduced by the growth of the epidemic, we estimated the mean time from onset to death to be 18·8 days (95% credible interval [CrI] 15·7''49·7;
figure 2) with a coefficient of variation of 0·45 (95% CrI 0·29''0·54). With the small number of observations in these data and given that they were from early in the epidemic, we could not rule out many deaths occurring with longer times from onset to death, hence the high upper limit of the credible interval. However, given that the epidemic in China has since declined, our posterior estimate of the mean time from onset to death, informed by the analysis of aggregated data from China, is more precise (mean 17·8 days [16·9''19·2];
figure 2).
Figure 2 Onset-to-death and onset-to-recovery distributions
Show full caption (A) Onset-to-death data from 24 cases in mainland China early in the epidemic. (B) Onset-to-recovery data from 169 cases outside of mainland China. Red lines show the best fit (posterior mode) gamma distributions, uncorrected for epidemic growth, which are biased towards shorter durations. Blue lines show the same distributions corrected for epidemic growth. The black line (panel A) shows the posterior estimate of the onset-to-death distribution following fitting to the aggregate case data.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Using data on the outcomes of 169 cases reported outside of mainland China, we estimated a mean onset-to-recovery time of 24·7 days (95% CrI 22·9''28·1) and coefficient of variation of 0·35 (0·31''0·39;
figure 2). Both these onset-to-outcome estimates are consistent with a separate study in China.
23Zhou F Yu T Du R et al.Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study.
Case fatality ratios were estimated from aggregate data on cases and deaths in mainland China (
table 1). A large proportion of the cases, including all of those early in the epidemic, were reported in Wuhan, where the local health system was quickly overwhelmed. As a result, the age distribution of cases reported in Wuhan differed to that in the rest of China (
figure 3A). Reported cases in Wuhan were more frequent in older age groups, perhaps reflecting higher severity (and therefore prioritisation for hospitalisation in Wuhan), while cases outside of Wuhan might also show a bias in terms of the relationship between age and travel. Adjusting for differences in underlying demography and assuming no overall difference in the attack rate by age, we estimated high under-ascertainment of cases in younger age groups both inside and outside of Wuhan (
figure 3C, D). Furthermore, we estimated a higher level of under-ascertainment overall in Wuhan compared with outside of Wuhan (
figure 3C). Accounting for this under-ascertainment, we estimated the highest case fatality ratio (13·4% [11·2''15·9%]) in the 80 years and older age group (
figure 3B,
table 1), with lower case fatality ratios associated with lower age groups, and the lowest in the 0''9 years age group (0·00260% [0·000312''0·0382]).
Table 1 Estimates of case fatality ratio and infection fatality ratio obtained from aggregate time series of cases in mainland China
Crude case fatality ratios are presented as mean (95% confidence interval). All other fatality ratios are presented as posterior mode (95% credible interval). Estimates are shown to three significant figures. Cases and deaths are aggregate numbers reported from Jan 1 to Feb 11, 2020.
8 WHOReport of the WHO-China Joint Mission on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Crude case fatality ratios are calculated as the number of deaths divided by the number of laboratory-confirmed cases. Our estimates also include clinically diagnosed cases (a scaling of 1·31 applied across all age-groups, as the breakdown by age was not reported for clinically diagnosed cases), which gives larger denominators and thus lower case fatality ratios than if only laboratory-confirmed cases were included.
Open table in a new tab Figure 3 Estimates of case fatality ratio by age, obtained from aggregate data from mainland China
Show full caption (A) Age-distribution of cases in Wuhan and elsewhere in China. (B) Estimates of the case fatality ratio by age group, adjusted for demography and under-ascertainment. Boxes represent median (central horizontal line) and IQR, vertical lines represent 1·5'—'IQR, and individual points represent any estimates outside of this range. (C) Estimated proportions of cases ascertained in the rest of China and in Wuhan relative to the 50''59 years age group elsewhere in China. Error bars represent 95% CrIs.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)In cases reported outside of mainland China, we estimated an overall modal case fatality ratio of 2·7% (95% CrI 1·4''4·7) using the parametric model (
table 2). In those who reported travel to mainland China (and would therefore have been detected in the surveillance system), we estimated an overall modal case fatality ratio of 1·1% (0·4''4·1), and in those without any reported travel to China (therefore detected either through contact tracing or through hospital surveillance), we estimated a case fatality ratio of 3·6% (1·9''7·2) using the parametric model. The estimated case fatality ratio was lower in those aged under 60 years of age (1·4% [0·4''3·5]) compared with those aged 60 years and over (4·5% [1·8''11·1]). Similar estimates were obtained using non-parametric methods (
table 2).
Table 2 Estimates of case fatality ratio obtained from individual-level data on cases identified outside of mainland China
Parametric estimates are presented as posterior mode (95% credible interval), and were obtained using the gamma-distributed estimates of onset-to-death and onset-to-recovery. Non-parametric estimates are presented as maximum likelihood estimate (95% confidence interval) and were obtained using a modified Kaplan-Meier method.
11Ghani AC Donnelly CA Cox DR et al.Methods for estimating the case fatality ratio for a novel, emerging infectious disease.
, 23Zhou F Yu T Du R et al.Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study.
Note that due to missing data on age and travel status, numbers in the stratified analysis are lower than for the overall analysis. In addition, the parametric method requires a correction for the epidemic growth rate, and these estimates were therefore obtained from the subset of data for which the travel or local transmission and age was known.
Open table in a new tab In international Wuhan residents repatriated on six flights, we estimated a prevalence of infection of 0·87% (95% CI 0·32''1·9; six of 689). Adjusting for demography and under-ascertainment, we estimate an infection fatality ratio of 0·66% (95% CrI 0·39''1·33). As for the case fatality ratio, this is strongly age-dependent, with estimates rising steeply from age 50 years upwards (
table 1). The demography-adjusted and under-ascertainment-adjusted proportion of infected individuals requiring hospitalisation ranges from 1·1% in the 20''29 years age group up to 18·4% in those 80 years and older (
table 3). Using these age-stratified infection fatality ratio estimates, we estimate the infection fatality ratio in the
Diamond Princess population to be 2·9%. Given the delay from onset of symptoms to death, we would expect 97% of these deaths to have occurred by March 25, 2020, giving an estimate of the current infection fatality ratio of 2·8%, compared with the empirical estimate of 1·4% (95% CI 0·7''2·6; ten of 712).
Table 3 Estimates of the proportion of all infections that would lead to hospitalisation, obtained from a subset of cases reported in mainland China22Griffin J Ghani A CASEFAT: Stata module for estimating the case fatality ratio of a new infectious disease. Boston College of Economics.
Proportions of infected individuals hospitalised are presented as posterior mode (95% credible interval) and are adjusted for under-ascertainment and corrected for demography. Estimates are shown to three signficant figures. We assumed, based on severity classification from a UK context, that cases defined as severe would be hospitalised.
Open table in a new tab Discussion From an extensive analysis of data from different regions of the world, our best estimate at the current time for the case fatality ratio of COVID-19 in China is 1·38% (95% CrI 1·23''1·53). Although this value remains lower than estimates for other coronaviruses, including SARS
24Lau EHY Hsiung CA Cowling BJ et al.A comparative epidemiologic analysis of SARS in Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan.
and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS),
25Lessler J Salje H Van Kerkhove MD et al.Estimating the severity and subclinical burden of middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
it is substantially higher than estimates from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
26Riley S Kwok KO Wu KM et al.Epidemiological characteristics of 2009 (H1N1) pandemic influenza based on paired sera from a longitudinal community cohort study.
, 27Kwok KO Riley S Perera RAPM et al.Relative incidence and individual-level severity of seasonal influenza A H3N2 compared with 2009 pandemic H1N1.
Our estimate of an infection fatality ratio of 0·66% in China was informed by PCR testing of international Wuhan residents returning on repatriation flights. This value was consistent with the infection fatality ratio observed in passengers on the
Diamond Princess cruise ship up to March 5, 2020, although it is slightly above the upper 95% confidence limit of the age-adjusted infection fatality ratio observed by March 25 (of 712 confirmed cases, 601 have been discharged, ten have died, and 11 remain in a critical condition). This difference might be due to repatriation flight data slightly underestimating milder infections, or due to cruise passengers having better outcomes because of a potentially higher-than-average quality of health care.
Our estimates of the probability of requiring hospitalisation assume that only severe cases require hospitalisation. This assumption is clearly different from the pattern of hospitalisation that occurred in China, where hospitalisation was also used to ensure case isolation. Mortality can also be expected to vary with the underlying health of specific populations, given that the risks associated with COVID-19 will be heavily influenced by the presence of underlying comorbidities.
Our estimate of the case fatality ratio is substantially lower than the crude case fatality ratio obtained from China based on the cases and deaths observed to date, which is currently 3·67%, as well as many of the estimates currently in the literature. The principle reason for this difference is that the crude estimate does not take into account the severity of cases. For example, various estimates have been made from patient populations ranging from those with generally milder symptoms (for example international travellers detected through screening of travel history)
13Jung S Akhmetzhanov AR Hayashi K et al.Real-time estimation of the risk of death from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection: inference using exported cases.
through to those identified in the hospital setting.
14Mizumoto K Kagaya K Chowell G Yoshida-Nakaadachi-cho U Early epidemiological assessment of the transmission potential and virulence of 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan City: China, January''February, 2020.
, 15Famulare M 2019-nCoV: preliminary estimates of the confirmed-case-fatality-ratio and infection-fatality-ratio, and initial pandemic risk assessment.
It is clear from the data that have emerged from China that case fatality ratio increases substantially with age. Our results suggest a very low fatality ratio in those under the age of 20 years. As there are very few cases in this age group, it remains unclear whether this reflects a low risk of death or a difference in susceptibility, although early results indicate young people are not at lower risk of infection than adults.
28Bi Q Wu Y Mei S et al.Epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19 in Shenzhen China: analysis of 391 cases and 1,286 of their close contacts.
Serological testing in this age group will be crucial in the coming weeks to understand the significance of this age group in driving population transmission. The estimated increase in severity with age is clearly reflected in case reports, in which the mean age tends to be in the range of 50''60 years. Different surveillance systems will pick up a different age case mix, and we find that those with milder symptoms detected through a history of travel are younger on average than those detected through hospital surveillance. Our correction for this surveillance bias therefore allows us to obtain estimates that can be applied to different case mixes and demographic population structures. However, it should be noted that this correction is applicable under the assumption of a uniform infection attack rate (ie, exposure) across the population. We also assumed perfect case ascertainment outside of Wuhan in the age group with the most cases relative to their population size (50''59-year-olds); however, if many cases were missed, the case fatality ratio and infection fatality ratio estimates might be lower. In the absence of random population surveys of infection prevalence, our adjustment from case fatality ratio to infection fatality ratio relied on repatriation flight data, which was not age specific. The reported proportion of infected individuals who were asymptomatic on the
Diamond Princess did not vary considerably by age, supporting this approach, but future larger representative population prevalence surveys and seroprevalence surveys will inform such estimates further.
Much of the data informing global estimates of the case fatality ratio at present are from the early outbreak in Wuhan. Given that the health system in this city was quickly overwhelmed, our estimates suggest that there is substantial under-ascertainment of cases in the younger age groups (who we estimate to have milder disease) by comparison with elsewhere in mainland China. This under-ascertainment is the main factor driving the difference between our estimate of the crude case fatality ratio from China (3·67%) and our best estimate of the overall case fatality ratio (1·38%). The case fatality ratio is likely to be strongly influenced by the availability of health-care facilities. However surprisingly, although health-care availability in Wuhan was stretched, our estimates from international cases are of a similar magnitude, suggesting relatively little difference in health outcome. Finally, as clinical knowledge of this new disease accrues, it is possible that outcomes will improve. It will therefore be important to revise these estimates as epidemics unfold.
The world is currently experiencing the early stages of a global pandemic. Although China has succeeded in containing the disease spread for 2 months, such containment is unlikely to be achievable in most countries. Thus, much of the world will experience very large community epidemics of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months. Our estimates of the underlying infection fatality ratio of this virus will inform assessments of health effects likely to be experienced in different countries, and thus decisions around appropriate mitigation policies to be adopted.
Contributors
NMF and ACG conceived the study with input from RV, LCO, ID, PW, and CW. RV, LCO, and ID led the analysis of individual-case data for the international cases and estimation of the onset-to-outcome distributions, with input from CAD, ACG, and NMF. RV, PW, CW, and PGTW led the analysis of the China data, with input from ACG and NMF. NI coordinated management of the team, including the data collation and processing. NI and GC-D undertook the extraction of the international case data. HT undertook the extraction of flight repatriation data, with input from NI and AD. HF led the extraction of the China mainland data from national and regional websites with input from HW, YW, and XX. JTG developed the code for the non-parametric model. ACG produced the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the final draft.
Declaration of interests
LCO reports grants from WHO outside of the submitted work. CAD reports grants from the UK Medical Research Council and from the National Institute for Health Research during the conduct of the study. NMF reports grants from the UK Medical Research Council and the UK National Institute for Health Research during the conduct of the study, and grants from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation outside of the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests.
Data sharing All data and code used in this study are available in a
GitHub repository.
Acknowledgments
This work was supported by centre funding from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) under a concordat with the UK Department for International Development, the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Modelling Methodology, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation. We are grateful for the input from the following volunteers and hackathon participants from the MRC Centre at Imperial College London: Kylie Ainslie, Sumali Bajaj, Lorenzo Cattarino, Joseph Challenger, Giovanni Charles, Georgina Charnley, Paula Christen, Constance Ciavarella, Victoria Cox, Zulma Cucunub, Joshua D'Aeth, Tamsin Dew(C), Lorna Dunning, Oliver Eales, Keith Fraser, Tini Garske, Lily Geidelberg, Nan Hong, Samuel Horsfield, Min J Kwun, David J¸rgensen, Mara Kont, Alice Ledda, Xiang Li, Alessandra Lochen, Tara Mangal, Ruth McCabe, Kevin McRae-McKee, Kate Mitchell, Andria Mousa, Rebecca Nash, Daniela Olivera, Saskia Ricks, Nora Schmit, Ellie Sherrard-Smith, Janetta Skarp, Isaac Stopard, Juliette Unwin, Juan Vesga, Caroline Walters, Lilith Whittles.
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Venezuela state prosecutors summon opposition leader Guaido for 'attempted coup'
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:51
/ Americas Issued on: 31/03/2020 - 18:53 Modified: 31/03/2020 - 18:52
Venezuela's National Assembly President and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, takes part in a demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela March 10, 2020. REUTERS - MANAURE QUINTERO State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaido for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Tuesday.
In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaido had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela.
The subpoena was delivered to his head of security on Monday night, Saab said.
The opposition leader is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, including the United States, that refuse to recognize socialist President Nicolas Maduro after his disputed 2018 re-election.
Colombian forces last week seized a cache of weapons linked to a retired Venezuelan general wanted on drug trafficking charges in the United States. The shaven-headed general, Cliver Alcala, surrendered in Colombia and was handed over to US authorities last week.
Alcala claimed ownership of the weapons discovered by police in Puerto Viejo in Colombia's Magdalena department on March 23. He said in social media messages the intention was to deliver them to Venezuela to "begin the liberation."
Maduro's 'last mistake'
In his announcement Tuesday, Saab said Alacala -- who was once close to late president Hugo Chavez but retired when Maduro took power in 2013 -- had been operating under "direct instructions from Mr Juan Guaido."
Guaido has been repeatedly targeted by the government in a number of legal cases but never arrested, amid warnings by the United States that it would be Maduro's "last mistake."
Guaido called on Sunday for the formation of an emergency coalition government that would be able to convince multilateral agencies to provide badly needed funding for its crumbling health system to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund last week rejected Maduro's request for a $5 billion loan, on the grounds that there was "no clarity" on international recognition of his government.
(AFP)
Hungary's emergency law 'incompatible with being in EU', say MEPs group | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:50
Measures voted on Monday will allow Viktor Orbn to rule by decree without time limits
Viktor Orban in the Hungarian parliament.Photograph: Zoltn Mth(C)/EPAHungary's emergency law that enables the prime minister, Viktor Orbn, to rule by decree without time limits is incompatible with being in the EU, the European parliament's liberal group said on Tuesday.
Passing measures ostensibly to tackle coronavirus, the Hungarian parliament on Monday voted to give Orbn the power to rule by decree with no clear end-date. The law also introduces jail terms for spreading disinformation about the virus, raising fears it could be used to neuter critics of the government's approach.
Sophie in't Veld, a Dutch liberal MEP, who chairs the European parliament's rule of law group, said: ''Viktor Orbn has completed his project of killing democracy and the rule of law in Hungary. Clearly, the actions of the Hungarian government are incompatible with EU membership.''
Dacian ‡iolos, a former Romanian prime minister and EU commissioner who now leads the liberal group, said it was ''shameful this dreadful corona is abused in such a manner''.
The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, issued a statement on Tuesday calling for all emergency measures to be ''limited to what is necessary and strictly proportionate'' and not lasting indefinitely. ''It is of utmost importance that emergency measures are not at the expense of our fundamental principles and values as set out in the treaties,'' Von der Leyen said in a statement that did not mention Hungary.
The message from Washington was more direct. Eliot L Engel, the chairman of the US House of Representatives' foreign affairs committee, said Orbn was making ''a blatant power grab in the face of the worst global health crisis in recent history. This legislation marginalises the Hungarian parliament and allows prime minister Orbn to rule by decree like a dictator.
''Such a serious affront to democracy anywhere is outrageous, and particularly within a Nato ally and EU member.''
Katalin Cseh, an Hungarian MEP for the centrist Momentum party, urged the commission to engage with Hungary over the law last week once it was clear Orbn was on course to secure the law with his two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament.
''In a democracy, we should never give anyone unlimited powers or unlimited time. It's not a matter of whether I trust Orbn. It's really about our basic perception of democracy '... There should always be checks and balances. Such a law is against my perception of parliamentary democracy.''
Norbert R¶ttgen, the head of the German Bundestag's foreign affairs committee and a candidate in the race to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, also condemned the law, writing on Twitter that it ''effectively eliminates opposition'' and was a breach of basic principles the EU ''cannot accept''.
Others accused EU authorities and member states in the EU council of ministers of failing to speak out, following Hungary's sharp decline in democratic freedoms over the last 10 years, as measured by international organisations, such as Freedom House and article 19. ''The silence from the president of the commission and the council is deafening,'' in't Veld said.
Responding to Von der Leyen's statement, Orbn's spokesman Zoltn Kovcs said the Hungarian state of emergency and extraordinary measures were ''congruent with the treaties and the Hungarian constitution and targeted exclusively at fighting the coronavirus''.
He said the law upheld EU values, rule of law, press freedom, while accusing critics of being misinformed.
Podcast listening sees decline with work-from-home requirements limiting commutes - 9to5Mac
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:20
As people adjust to shelter in place orders around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, new behaviors are impacting almost every industry and that includes podcasts. While at first, you might think podcast listener numbers would be up with the extra time many people have on hand, it's actually the opposite, here's why.
Reported by The New Consumer, in the US, podcast audiences are down 10% over the last two weeks according to data from Podtrac. While that might sound strange considering that many people have a lot more free time with shelter in place orders, what is likely happening here is that normal routines like listening to podcasts on the commute to work isn't happening as day-to-day routines have been disrupted.
Further backing up that notion, Marco Arment shared that listenership was down through his Overcast podcast player during the week by 20% but that weekend numbers haven't changed.
The New Consumer notes that for the year, news podcasts have grown alongside the pandemic while genres like comedy, sports, society and culture, and true crime have dipped.
We've still been putting out regular episodes of our shows here at 9to5Mac as have our sister-sites, so be sure to check out the latest if your listening routine has been interrupted over the last few weeks.
Our lineup includes:
An hour long weekly Apple news podcast called 9to5Mac Happy Hour released on FridaysA brief news podcast called 9to5Mac Daily with episodes released Monday through FridayA fortnightly Apple Watch podcast called 9to5Mac Watch Time released every other WednesdayA weekly tech news podcast from the perspective of developers called Stacktrace released on WednesdaysA bi-weekly podcast about Apple in the enterprise called Apple @ WorkOther podcasts on the network:Electrek from Electrek.coQuick Charge from Electrek.co9to5Toys Daily from 9to5Toys.comAlphabet Scoop from 9to5Google.com9to5Google Daily from 9to5Google.com
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
About the AuthorMichael Potuck @michaelpotuck
Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, Electrek, and DroneDJ. You'll find most of his writing on 9to5Mac where he covers news, reviews, how-tos, and more.
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Facebook invests $100M in journalism as COVID-19 makes it more vital than ever - The Verge
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:19
Facebook has pledged to invest $100 million in the news industry at a time when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that accurate reporting is more important than ever. $25 million will be provided in grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, while the remaining $75 million will come in the form of ''additional marketing spend'' to worldwide news organizations.
Publishers are expected to be hit hard by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The advertising revenue that many publishers rely on is being squeezed, as companies slash marketing budgets amidst financial uncertainty. Research firm eMarketer has lowered its growth projections for worldwide media ad spend by 3 percent, SearchEngineLand reports, while Reuters has reported that the virus could cost the US advertising industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Publishers are expected to be hit as advertisers reduce spending
At the same time, high-quality and accurate reporting is more important than ever, as misinformation about the virus spreads online. ''If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they're getting it now,'' Facebook says in its press release. The company has pledged to do its bit to remove the misinformation that's posted on its platform, but the crisis is also putting pressure on its own moderation teams. There is so much misinformation that one fact-checking organization, Snopes, has been forced to scale back its routine content production or else risk overwhelming its staff.
Facebook says that it plans to concentrate its grants on the publishers that need them the most in the hardest hit countries in the world. It announced the first series of grants last week, when it said that it would be giving $5,000 to 50 local newsrooms across the US and Canada to cover ''unexpected costs'' associated with covering the viral outbreak.
The $100 million comes in addition to the $300 million Facebook pledged to spend on news programs, partnerships, and content at the beginning of 2019. Facebook said it planned to invest that $300 million over the course of three years. Later that year it launched a program to help local news organizations boost digital subscriptions, and also announced plans to spend £4.5 million on training local journalists in the UK.
Facebook says that usage of its services including private messaging and video calling are surging during the pandemic, as people self-isolate and connect with distant friends and family. However, Facebook is also seeing the same reduction in ad spending as other online businesses. ''Our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world,'' it said in a blog post.
Coronavirus Doctors Threatened to Be Fired if They Talk About PPE - Bloomberg
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:56
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A CNN pundit referred to President Trump as 'retarded.' It did not go over well.
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 01:42
A CNN pundit took heavy online ridicule for her word choice on Tuesday, after referring to President Donald Trump as "retarded" in a now-deleted social media post.
What are the details?Sophia Nelson, who describes herself as a "frequent" guest on CNN, was reacting to a critical tweet about the president from fellow anti-Trump Republican Rick Wilson, when she replied, "They just always got an excuse to cover for his retarded ass!"
The backlash came quickly against Nelson, the former GOP counsel for the House Oversight Committee, and she explained that she deleted her comment after the father of a special needs child called her out "with class and grace" for using the derogatory term. Nelson then noted that the "nasty ass twitter bully mob" still came after her.
Nelson admitted that she understood why the word "retarded" was offensive many people, yet, she continued to defend herself for her choice of language. She argued that she used the word because it was used frequently among people of her generation in the past, while asserted that referring to the president as "retarded" was "being kind."
Nelson is also a senior adviser to the Lincoln Project, whose mission is to "defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box." Mr. Wilson is a co-founder of the initiative.
When a reporter from the Daily Caller pointed out Nelson's position, she doubled down and insisted on calling the president "retarded" once again.
"This is a great hit job you guys are attempting because I called Trump a 'retarded ass.' He is that," Nelson wrote. "This has zero reference to disabled or special needs persons."
'Shameless Opportunist': Norwegian Princess's Shaman Lover Lambasted for 'Predicting' Pandemic
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 01:40
Society05:19 GMT 01.04.2020Get short URL
Durek Verrett, who previously claimed to have predicted the 9/11 terror attacks, said he had known in advance that the world would experience a major disaster in 2020.
US healer and self-proclaimed shaman Durek Verret, who is best known in Europe for dating Norwegian Princess M¤rtha Louise, has landed in hot water amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a recent interview with the British breakfast programme The Morning, 45-year-old Verrett, who tours the globe as a spiritual guide and has numerous celebrities among his clients, claimed he had predicted the coronavirus pandemic in his own book Spirit Hacking, which came out last year.
Verrett referred to something that ''in shamanism is called the blackout'', describing it as a ''point in evolution, where we all have to come together and start dropping a lot of the superficial things we put our energy into''. Verrett ventured that this was the first stage, known as the ''plague''.
In the book, ''blackouts'' are described as ''key moments that require quantum leaps in evolution to ensure species' survival'', which occur when ''planetary states reach extreme levels of imbalance''. The word ''virus'' is mentioned four times, but never in the context of what the world is experiencing now. The words ''pandemic'' or ''epidemic'' are not mentioned at all. This led many to believe that Verret is using the crisis as an opportunity for self-promotion.
Norwegian literary critic and Cathrine Kr¸ger said Verrett was ''worse than Donald Trump''.
''The book is full of wish-wash, and vague enough to claim that he had foreseen anything. I do remember him writing something about 'blackout', yes. But all the books of that genre '' a kind of mix of Christian doomsday prophecy, fantasy and charlatanism '' speak of an end time of sorts,'' Kr¸ger told the newspaper Dagbladet. ''The fact that the West is afraid of a virus outbreak is well known. Both the Ebola and the swine flu have frightened people.''Opinion journalist Ingeborg Senneset of Aftenposten called his actions ''distasteful''.
''Suppose we buy into it as a fact, I would like to know: Why didn't he give any advance notice? Why didn't he try to warn? What else has he foreseen without saying? And why didn't he mention the word pandemic in the book?'', Senneset asked rhetorically.Senneset argued that those she referred to as ''shameless opportunists'' make use of a global calamity to assert themselves.
''There is nothing wrong with making money from advice or work, as doctors and journalists do. The wrong thing is to profit from false promises, lies or deception,'' Senneset said.''Viruses don't care about shamanism, but if a shaman can get people to maintain social distance, it can curb the spread and thus save some lives. But so can Netflix,'' she concluded.
Verrett previously claimed to have cured the sick through healing, even ''rescuing'' cancer patients. Verrett also claimed that he himself rose from the dead and that he predicted the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 several years before they occurred. In another instance, Verrett claimed that he could affect atoms and electrons, thereby changing a person's age. All of these claims have been rejected as pseudo-scientific.
Nevertheless, Verrett has had a number of international celebrities on his client list as a shaman, including Gwyneth Paltrow.
ПосмотÑеть эту ÐубÐ>>икацию в Instagram
Love is more than words, it's an action, a declaration. My favorite scene from the @titanicmovie is when Rose said " You jump I jump" That is a declaration and a action of love. This world as we know is needing more actions of love, especially with everything going on right now. Less hate, less judgment, less pointing the fingers and a whole lot more of love please. My love @princessmarthalouise aka @iam_marthalouise without even telling me showed up at my door before being locked down. She literally flew across the world to see me before her country boarders where closed. Just to see me before she couldn't anymore, even if it was just for 2 days. It was the best 2 days in my life for me and my family. When she surprised me I cried like a baby because that is love to me. Taking action! I know this women loves me as much as I love her. Demonstrating acts of love is far more greater than just saying it. It doesn't hurt to wash the dishes or to take out the trash or surprise your love with a gift or give them a massage. Just do something so off the wall. Like going straight to the airport with your kids no bags, no nothing and jump on a plane just to see the one you love. Tribe, that is love. Love you my sweet sweet Martha. You amazing, beautiful, powerful, wise women who makes me a better man. You jump I jump. ''¤ Tribe, tag someone you will jump for I love you all! We are weathering this storm with grace. You were born for victory
ПубÐ>>икация от Shaman Durek (@shamandurek) 15 Ð'Ð°Ñ 2020 в 3:31 PDT
The coronavirus pandemic that broke out in the Chinese province of Hubei in December has now reached almost every country on Earth. So far, it has infected more than 850,000, killing over 42,000. Some 178,000 have recovered from the disease.
Americans Favor Aggressive Coronavirus Measures, Poll Finds - WSJ
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 21:39
WASHINGTON'--A new survey finds widespread public support for aggressive measures like government cellphone tracking and mandatory health screenings in public places to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has infected more than 180,000 Americans.
The new results from Harris Poll show that support for such policies'--even when they might affect privacy and civil liberties'--crosses a spectrum of demographic and ideological lines, suggesting that policy makers have significant latitude from the public in crafting emergency responses to combat the virus.
The Harris survey, which was conducted online between March 28-30, reveals that 60% of adults back giving government officials access to anonymized cellphone location data to establish whether Americans are complying with social-distancing instructions.
The poll also finds that 71% of Americans would be willing to share their own mobile location data with authorities to receive alerts about their potential exposure to the virus'--for example, if they were near a suspected or known coronavirus carrier.
In addition, 65% support a public registry that would show if their neighbors were diagnosed with the virus and 84% are in favor of mandatory health screenings to enter public places like beaches and airports. Another 77% back a mandate that businesses hosting events like concerts or conferences conduct health screenings.
Support for such measures broadly crosses partisan lines. Sixty-one percent of self-identified Republicans and 64% of Democrats are in favor of giving officials anonymized location data.
The support also largely cuts across generational lines, though older Americans are marginally more concerned about privacy than younger ones. For example, 69% of respondents aged 18 to 34 approve of a public database of people diagnosed with coronavirus, while 59% of those over 65 do.
The poll, which surveyed about 2,000 Americans, doesn't provide a traditional margin of error because of its online methodology and weighting. A traditional poll of that sample size would carry a margin of error of between 2% and 3% in either direction.
''I looked at this data and thought a little bit about this being a modern day Patriot Act'--a dramatic move really quick in reaction to 9/11. I think that's kind of what you're seeing in the public'--a lot of bipartisan support for some pretty aggressive moves by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus,'' said John Gerzema, the chief executive of the Harris Poll.
The Patriot Act passed Congress overwhelmingly in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, granting the government additional powers to combat terrorism.
The law has been controversial since its inception and some of its provisions were modified after intelligence-community contractor Edward Snowden revealed the existence of several secret surveillance programs.
Governments world-wide have turned to policies that many consider invasive and sometimes draconian to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has threatened to overwhelm their health-care systems. China sealed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the virus emerged, and put in place aggressive quarantines that kept as many as 500 million in their homes at various points.
China also used cellphone data and apps to track and limit the movement of its citizens, and instituted temperature checkpoints, monitoring citizens in public spaces for potential fever.
Though China's policies were criticized at the time by some human-rights and privacy activists, many Western countries eventually adopted similar travel restrictions and location-tracking measures. Cellphone carriers in Europe and Israel have provided huge troves of data to national authorities, while governments all over the world have instituted stay-at-home, shelter-in-place or lockdown orders of varying severity.
In the U.S., many cities and states are currently on lockdown, with governments asking or ordering their residents to limit nonessential travel.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that federal, state and local government officials had started to receive reports based on the anonymized movement of millions of cellphones to help evaluate how many Americans are complying with social-distancing orders and to see where crowds might still be gathering.
In the U.S., personal health-care information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. A government registry of known coronavirus patients that included personal information like names and addresses would be contrary to those privacy protections.
Cellphone data from carriers is also protected by law, though there are some exceptions. The data currently being used by federal, state and local governments is drawn from the mobile advertising industry, which relies on consumers to opt in to tracking. Because of that, the industry is largely unregulated and often makes bulk location data available for purchase.
The Supreme Court has put more stringent restrictions on the government's acquisition of mobile-phone data from cellphone carriers, requiring a search warrant to obtain such data on any individual in most circumstances.
Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com
DOJ IG Checked 29 More FBI Spy Warrants, And Found Problems With All Of Them - The Daily Caller
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:25
The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General has a ''lack of confidence'' in the FBI's procedures to validate information used to obtain spy warrants on American citizens, the watchdog said in a report released Tuesday.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found errors in all 29 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications that were subject to the review.
The audit is a follow-up to an investigation of the FBI's surveillance of Carter Page, the former Trump campaign aide.
A report of that investigation blasted the FBI for making dozens of errors and omissions in four applications the bureau submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The findings prompted the Justice Department to retract two of the warrants because they were based on faulty information.
The OIG review released Tuesday suggests that the FBI's problems are widespread.
''As a result of our audit work to date and as described below, we do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy,'' the OIG said in a memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
As part of the review, the OIG reviewed documents known as Woods Files for 29 applications filed from between October 2014 and September 2019.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (L) and FBI Director Christopher Wray in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 18, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
FBI agents and officials are supposed to provide proof in the Woods Files for every factual statement made in applications submitted to the FISA Court in order to show that the applications are ''scrupulously accurate.'' (RELATED: FISA Judge Blasts FBI For Submitting False Information About Carter Page)
The OIG investigation of the Carter Page FISA applications found numerous errors with the Woods Files used in that investigation. The OIG report, released Dec. 9, 2019, found that FBI agents working the case failed to validate information from the infamous Steele dossier.
According to the latest audit, OIG investigators were unable to locate four Woods Files for the 29 FISA applications, suggesting that FBI agents never filled them out.
The OIG audit also identified ''apparent errors or inadequately support facts'' in the 25 applications that were available for review.
The audit also found that the FBI and Justice Department's National Security Division did not conduct appropriate oversight of FISA procedures.
The OIG did not assess whether the errors were material, or that they would have changed the FBI's decision to file the applications, or the FISA Court's decision to grant them.
The audit does not provide specific information about the applications that were reviewed.
An OIG report released Dec. 9, 2019, found that the FBI made at least 17 significant errors and omissions in the final Carter Page FISA application. The Justice Department deemed the final two Page FISAs to be invalid because of all of the errors.
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.
Pro-Trump Super PAC Files FEC Complaint Alleging Bloomberg's $18 Million DNC Donation Was Illegal - The Daily Caller
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:24
A political action committee supporting President Donald Trump filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission saying former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's donation to the Democratic Party was illegal.
Bloomberg's $18 million donation to the Democratic National Committee is an attempt to circumvent contribution limits and violate campaign finance laws, Great America PAC said in the March 26 complaint. The FEC is reviewing the complaint and will determine later if it will investigate.
The Daily Caller News Foundation received a copy of the complaint. (RELATED: Bloomberg Bails On Pledge To Employ Campaign Staffers Throughout Election)
''Having failed to buy his party's nomination, Bloomberg is doing the next best thing and buying the Democratic Party itself,'' the group's treasurer Dan Backer said Monday in a press statement.
He was responsible for writing the complaint.
He added: ''If the Federal Election Commission allows Michael Bloomberg to get away with this illegal transfer, they'll have sold off our democracy to a billionaire oligarch.''
The DNC must be held accountable, Baker noted.
President Donald Trump meets with supply chain distributors in reference to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in the Cabinet Room in the West Wing at the White House on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)
The group's complaint highlights Bloomberg's decision to forgo donations and instead bankroll his own failed presidential run. The group said this unusual setup skirts the confines of the law distinguishing personal finances from campaign cash.
Federal rules allow individuals to donate $355,000 per year under normal conditions, but Bloomberg is taking advantage of a provision in campaign finance law allowing federal candidates to provide an unlimited amount of cash to party committees. The FEC lacks a quorum so the agency is unlikely to provide insight on the legality.
Neither Bloomberg nor the DNC responded to the DCNF's request for comment, but the party's communications director Xochitl Hinojosa addressed questions about the arrangement in a March 20 tweet.
''Bloomberg was in earnest running for POTUS & transferred money to his campaign ahead of trying to win on Super Tuesday,'' she told her followers. ''Didn't win. He, like any other candidate, can transfer that $ to a party cmte.''
The billionaire former Republican made the hefty donation after previously promising to create an independent expenditure campaign ahead of the election that would have kept staff employed throughout November 2019. Many of his former employees must find other forms of work.
Bloomberg became a big money man during his short presidential run, dumping more than $234 million into TV, radio and digital ads in the Super Tuesday states. He suspended his campaign March 4 after a poor showing and tossed his unbridled support behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who throttled his Democratic opponents.
Biden fleshed out big wins in Minnesota, Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee, while Bloomberg managed to scrape together a win in American Samoa. Bloomberg spent roughly $500 million on ads leading up to Super Tuesday, plastering advertisements on Facebook and in the media ecosphere. The major digital push was all for naught, as it turns out.
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.
Coronavirus: Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor, positive; Andrew Cuomo responds
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:00
CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo has tested positive for coronavirus.
The 49-year-old brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a tweet Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to people who are infected. Cuomo has extensively covered the coronavirus pandemic on the cable news network during his show ''Cuomo Prime Time.''
"Sooooo in these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus. I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath," Cuomo wrote.
"I just hope I didn't give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness! I am quarantined in my basement (which actually makes the rest of the family seem pleased!) I will do my shows from here," he continued.
Cuomo concluded on a positive note: "We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!"
The New York governor said in a press conference Tuesday his brother "is going to be fine."
"Even for essential workers, people have to be careful. Again, I've been trying to communicate that everyone '' everyone '' is subject to this virus," the governor said. "This virus is the great equalizer. My brother, Chris, is positive for coronavirus. Found out this morning. Now, he is going to be fine. He's young, in good shape, strong '' not as strong as he thinks '' he will be fine. But there's a lesson in this. He's an essential worker, a member of the press, so he's been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you'll get infected is very high."
"He's just worried about his daughter and his kids and he hopes he didn't get them infected," the governor said. "You don't really know Chris '' you see Chris on his show at night '... but you just see one dimension.
"You see a person in his job. And in his job, he's combative and he's argumentative and he's pushing people. But that's his job. That's not who he is," the governor continued.
"He's a really sweet, beautiful guy. And he's my best friend. My father was always working, so it was always just me and Chris," the governor said, adding his brother joked to him this morning that "even the dogs won't come downstairs."
The governor also tweeted Tuesday about to younger brother: "Stay strong little brother '... If anyone is #NewYorkTough it's you."
The governor added that two weeks ago the brothers disagreed over Chris Cuomo having their mother over at his home: "Love needs be a little smarter than reactive."
Chris Cuomo was most recently at CNN's offices in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of New York City last Friday, CNN confirmed Tuesday.
USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Cuomo for comment.
This new fintech startup is behind Microsoft's Money in Excel feature - MSPoweruser
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:33
Microsoft yesterday announced a number of new features for Office 365 subscribers '-- one of them being Money in Excel feature.
Money in Excel is a new add-in that makes it easier for you to manage, track, and analyze your money and spending. All you must do is connect your bank accounts and credit card accounts to Excel by following a few simple steps and Excel will take care of the rest.
Supporting number of financial institutions across the world for this feature is a complex process. Instead of building the integrations on its own, Microsoft is relying on a fintech startup called Plaid. Plaid enables Excel users to securely connect their financial accounts, import the data within them, sync balances and transactions over time.
Here's how Money in Excel works:
Plaid provides the permissioned connection to financial accounts via Plaid Link from directly within the Microsoft Money in Excel experience.After linking their account(s), the individual will have access to their balance and transaction history, providing an up-to-date and holistic financial picture.Plaid connects to 11,000 institutions across the US, Canada, and Europe. In the US, Plaid supports nearly every institution from the major retail banks to community credit unions.''Monthly Snapshot'' sheet will allow users to have personalized charts and graphs based on their financial data to help them better understand your spending behaviors. Users can also add templates that are relevant to them for more customization.
Money in Excel will start to become available in the U.S. in the coming months.
Source: Plaid
Governors drunk on power are out of control
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:29
Some of these politicians have become way too intoxicated with this sudden power they're brandishing like a club over the heads of their fellow citizens '-- I'm talking about you, Charlie Baker, and Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island makes two.
Check out the stories from around the country '-- two (Democrat) governors have taken to threatening physicians and pharmacists who dispense legal anti-malarial drugs to coronavirus victims.
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen ''Half'' Whitmer is openly calling for ''professional consequences'' for any health care professionals who defy her edict, a directive the Detroit News said ''deviates into open threats.''
Other Democrats are setting up snitch lines to report ''non-essential'' businesses.
On Friday night, the mayor of Los Angeles admitted to one of his comrades on CNN that they're tracking cellphone data to keep tabs on the movements of citizens.
This Democrat has also threatened to cut off electricity and water to any businesses that won't obey. All of this is going on in a jurisdiction where 1,700 prisoners have been cut loose '... and the gun stores have been threatened with shut downs (as in Delaware, by yet another Democrat).
In Laguna Beach, where drones are outlawed for private use, law enforcement are using their drones to enforce ''social distancing'' on public beaches. In Lakewood, N.J., on Thursday, cops broke up a wedding '-- per orders of the governor, they claimed.
Closer to home, Tall Deval '-- or, if you prefer his newer nickname, Charlie Parker '-- wants to ''ramp up'' tracking those of us who will not obey his high-handed orders.
Yardbird now demands that everyone coming into the state ''self-quarantine'' for two weeks. Really? As one of my listeners asked Friday:
''I work in Massachusetts '-- you know, I pay taxes '-- and I live in New Hampshire. So do I have to 'self-quarantine' every morning for two weeks when I cross the border into Mass?''
Then there's Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
''In a move without precedent in state history,'' as the Providence Journal described it, she ordered that ''anyone entering Rhode Island from New York state by any means of grounds transportation '-- passenger vehicle, bus or train '-- must provide personal information to authorities and self-quarantine for 14 days.''
So '... being in an automobile with NY license plates is now considered ''probable cause'' for a police stop? I have a question: surely this doesn't apply to illegal immigrants? I mean, after all, Rhode Island is for all intents and purposes a sanctuary state for criminal illegals.
According to the RI state police, New Yorkers who are stopped '-- citizens, anyway '-- will be asked their plans.
''If the response is 'passing through,' we will send them on their way.''
The paper continued, ''Those responding that their destination is somewhere in Rhode Island will be asked for their information and will be ordered to self-quarantine.''
Asked for information? Sounds like something out of an old World War II movie, in which the Nazi guards were always demanding to see ''your papers.''
The Rhode Island ACLU pointed out the existence of something called the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal search and seizure, even of taxpaying citizens.
If that's not enough, let us turn to Article 4, Section 2 of the Constitution:
''The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.''
In other words, a New Yorker has as much right to be in Rhode Island as a Rhode Islander.
You may notice that the two New England governors who seem most eager to stomp on their fellow citizens' rights are the same two who have been desperately trying to impose an unconstitutional gasoline tax on motorists under the guise of ''climate change.''
Coincidence?
Down in Virginia, Gov. Ralph ''Blackface'' Northam is one of many who has banned gatherings of more than 10 people. In the Old Dominion, some deplorables are asking the obvious follow-up question: in addition to proscribing Christian services, will the newly woke Gov. Blackface also be breaking up religious gatherings at, say, mosques?
That's about as likely, of course, as a Muslim baker being sued for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake.
Just a month ago, most of these same hacks were wringing their hands and calling President Trump a ''fascist'' or a ''dictator.'' Now the mayor of LA is organizing vigilante groups in the city's neighborhoods, calling them, in his best Orwellian speak, ''the Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program.''
Meanwhile, not a single shiftless hack on the Massachusetts state payroll has been laid off, not even at UMass or Massport or at the deserted courthouses. That's coming next, right, Tall Deval? We're all in this together, aren't we? Right? Right?
Mark Dice on Twitter: "Please tell me Fredo's brother the Governor of New York doesn't have his nipples pierced. #NippleGate https://t.co/HyCfpFHzhx" / Twitter
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:15
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Pompeo Issues DARK Warning To China | Conservative Minute
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:10
Image credit: Al JazeeraThey better listen closely.
During a recent sit down with Fox's Sean Hannity, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised concern about countries like China and others not being honest about COVID-19/coronavirus data.
According to Breitbart, Pompeo stated, ''President Trump and I have been committed to making sure that we had the best data available. When you hear Drs. Fauci and Birx talk about risk, talk about fatalities, trying to think about how to model what they need is data. They need data from Italy. They need data from China. They need data from Iran. We need every country to step up and provide accurate, transparent information. And if we can't have that, if we have disinformation instead, there are more lives that will be at risk not only today but in the weeks ahead as we battle this enormous challenge.''
''We've asked every country to step up, tell us what they know so that the world can learn,'' Pompeo said. ''America will then turn around, and we will share the information we get. And we'll keep people safe not only here in the United States but all across the world.''
''What we've been looking for here all along is we simply want to make sure we understand what's happened so that we can prevent the loss of life moving forward,'' Pompeo said. ''We're looking to cooperate with every country. We'd love to cooperate with the Chinese as well to get the right information so that we can do all that's needed to find therapeutics, to find the vaccine, to do everything we can to reduce the risk that there will be more lives lost as the world moves forward.'' You can watch a clip of Pompeo's comments here.
White House, Pelosi Weigh Next Stimulus Amid Ire Over Last Bill
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:58
(Bloomberg) -- The White House and congressional Democrats are preparing for a fourth round of economic stimulus to get the U.S. through its coronavirus outbreak, even while they're still arguing over the $2 trillion measure President Donald Trump signed Friday.
White House officials have compiled lists of requests from government agencies totaling roughly $600 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposals include more state aid as well as financial assistance for mortgage markets and the travel industries.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Monday that Democrats are ''collecting information, taking inventory'' on what might be needed in another round of stimulus. She also indicated states and local governments need more federal assistance, and said there could be further direct payments to everyday Americans.
In an interview Tuesday with MSNBC, Pelosi said negotiators had already agreed that ''everything will be specific to the coronavirus'' in the next round of legislation and that it wouldn't become a ''wish list.''
In an interview with the New York Times published on Monday, Pelosi indicated that another possible move was getting rid of the limit on state and local tax deductions, or SALT, that was part of the 2017 tax overhaul and affects California, Pelosi's home state, and New York.
But a spokesman for Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, dismissed the idea as ''a nonstarter.''
''Millionaires don't need a new tax break as the federal government spends trillions of dollars to fight a pandemic.'' said the spokesman, Michael Zona.
Industry Lines Up
The U.S. outbreak isn't expected to peak for another two weeks, according to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and the president has urged Americans to continue ''social distancing'' practices that have devastated the economy until May.
Already, a range of industries are lining up for more federal aid, including hospitals and doctors, booksellers, insurers, mortgage bankers, Realtors, theaters, retailers and others.
More than 30 industry groups wrote the White House and Congress on Tuesday to ask for the creation of a ''recovery fund.''
The proposed fund, to be managed by a special administrator, would make grants to businesses to help them retain and rehire employees, maintain benefits, and keep up with expenses, according to a letter sent Tuesday to Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and congressional leaders.
Seperately, health industry leaders expect Congress will need to send billions of dollars more to hospitals and doctors this year, even before any of the $100 billion in emergency funds cleared last week have been doled out.
Trump said early Monday that he's considering hazard pay for health care professionals in a subsequent bill. He said Sunday that he's assigned the Treasury and Labor secretaries to work on restoring a tax break for corporate restaurant spending that was repealed as part of his 2017 tax overhaul. Such a change stands to benefit the president's company, the Trump Organization, which rents space to restaurants at many of its resort properties.
Many of the priorities Pelosi outlined for a fourth round on Monday were part of an alternative stimulus bill House Democrats proposed last week, but were rejected by Senate leaders in negotiations with Trump's administration.
There's bipartisan momentum building for another stimulus measure in Congress. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said Monday on Bloomberg Television that ''if the crisis continues for substantially longer I have no doubt that the Congress will have to act again.''
Stimulus Friction
But there's lingering friction between Trump and Pelosi over the $2 trillion stimulus, which may shadow negotiations on a fourth round.
Democrats are angry that the president issued a statement Friday saying he'd gag a new inspector general intended to watchdog the distribution of $500 billion in aid to companies. Several White House aides were unhappy that Mnuchin agreed to the oversight in the first place, according to two people familiar with the matter.
And Trump on Monday criticized Pelosi for seeking to win some Democratic priorities in the legislation he signed Friday, such as airline pollution controls.
''We want to change the voting laws, we want to change this, we want windmills all over the place to ruin everybody's house and farm. We want to do all sorts of things,'' Trump said on ''Fox & Friends.'' ''They wanted things that were so ridiculous and had nothing to do with putting people that just essentially lost their jobs putting them back to work.''
Nonetheless, the federal government on Monday proceeded with plans to oversee virus-related spending. Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general at the Defense Department, will lead a nine-member Pandemic Response Accountability Committee established by the most recent law.
That's separate from the special inspector general the law creates at the Treasury Department, who will be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate. That office, to sit inside of Treasury, will have an operating budget of about $25 million for five years and submit quarterly reports to Congress.
Trump said in his signing statement he wouldn't allow the new IG to tell Congress it's been stonewalled for information by government agencies without his permission, an effort by the White House to curb the watchdog's powers.
Representatives of the White House and the Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday night.
(Updates with groups seeking money starting in ninth paragraph.)
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Cellular data shows which Bay Area counties are following stay-at-home orders | KRON4
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:34
by: Omar P(C)rez
Posted:
Mar 30, 2020 / 04:07 PM PDT / Updated:
Mar 30, 2020 / 05:46 PM PDTSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA '' MARCH 30: The beach at Crissy Field is nearly empty on March 30, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Officials in seven San Francisco Bay Area counties have announced plans to extend the shelter in place order until May 1. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (KRON) '-- According to a recent study by Unacast, California received an ''A'' for social distancing. Among other counties throughout the state, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties also received an ''A''.
Through GPS cellular data Unacast created a RealWorldGraph to show how people throughout the country are moving amid social distancing and sheltering-in-place orders.
The website produced an interactive map of the country, grading each state from ''A'' to ''F'' based on the average distance traveled.
App users click here to view interactive map
CaliforniaCalifornia saw a 40 percent decrease in average distance traveled receiving an ''A''. As a whole, California residents have followed social distancing orders according to the study.
Courtesy: UnacastAccording to the study, most Bay Area counties received an ''A''.
The following counties saw a decrease in average timed traveled by 65 percent or lower:
Alameda with a 51 percent decrease.
Contra Costa with a 48 percent decrease.
Marin with a 56 percent decrease.
Napa with a 54 percent decrease.
San Francisco with a 65 percent decrease.
San Mateo with a 63 percent decrease.
Santa Clara with a 61 percent decrease.
Sonoma with a 41 percent decrease.
Solano saw a 37 percent decrease earning a ''B''.
Unacast's social distancing grading scale:' A: >40% decrease' B: 30-40% decrease' C: 20-30% decrease' D: 10-20% decrease' F: <10% decrease or increase.
The United States received a ''B'' with a decrease of 32 percent of average distance traveled.
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Witkowski: Aggressive telecommunications deregulation key to crisis response - San Jos(C) Spotlight
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:33
Op-ed March 30, 2020March 30, 2020
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure Americans do not lose their connectivity amid the coronavirus crisis. Image by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
In times of great crisis, it becomes necessary to set aside bureaucratic burdens and do what is necessary to solve problems.
America, and indeed the world, has set aside their differences and declared war on SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus). As the world works to limit the spread of the pandemic and flatten the future curve of potential COVID-19 cases, our daily lives are being reshaped.
This is nowhere more evident than the forced transition from in-person activities to remote work and remote school. The internet has enabled employers and schools to send people home for weeks or even months of isolation. It is also exposing the often-discussed '-- but rarely addressed in a practical way '-- issue of digital inclusion.
Even in Silicon Valley, not all households have access to the internet. In 2017, a city of San Jose report estimated that over one in four residents did not have access to home broadband. Many of those residents get their internet access through schools, libraries, public Wi-Fi and other sources. The closure of schools and issuance of shelter-in-place orders has closed off these access options. Without the internet, telework or tele-school is not possible.
At the start of the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission called upon the nation's broadband and telecommunications providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, and followed that with several actions including temporarily granting wireless carriers access to additional spectrum, granting waivers to Telecommunications Relay Service providers, waiving some Lifeline program rules, and lifting the gift rules for Rural Health Care and E-Rate programs.
These steps are vitally necessary to facilitate a rapid response to our unprecedented local, national and global challenges.
Waiver of the E-Rate gift rules is especially important to support a tactical response to digital inclusion issues. At the start of the pandemic, Joint Venture's Wireless Communications Initiative reached out to our wireless carrier members asking them to donate personal hotspots with prepaid service plans for distribution to students so that they could access online school resources from home.
The carriers were very supportive of the idea, but at the time were constrained by E-Rate rules. Now that the FCC has suspended E-Rate gift rules, even if temporarily, we are looking forward to moving this program forward, and my organization is doing everything we can to facilitate the process.
The world is now effectively on wartime footing against the virus. We applaud the FCC's long-awaited rule changes, and encourage more (and swift) deregulation to allow innovation in telecommunications and other critical services.
David Witkowski is executive director of the Wireless Communications Initiative at Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
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World's Biggest Wealth Fund Dragged Closer to Dumping Assets - Bloomberg
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:44
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Our media is on the brink of mass failure | The Star
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:37
By Daniel Bernhard Contributor Fri., March 27, 2020 timer 3 min. read
By some industry estimates, many of our major media outlets will fail within weeks. Starved of advertising revenues for years, the COVID-19 pandemic will deliver the final blow, especially for newspapers. And with the government now preparing to spend unprecedented amounts of money, we should be concerned that there will be no journalists left to keep watch.
This is a six-alarm fire. If Ottawa does not treat this as an emergency and act accordingly, Canadians will be left with few sources of reliable information about how to protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19.
Yesterday, we got a taste of what lies ahead.
In Quebec, the newspaper chain formerly known as Groupe Capitale M(C)dias announced that 40 per cent of its 350 employees will be laid-off, and that print editions of five daily newspapers will be limited to Saturdays only, effective immediately.
In Atlantic Canada, the SaltWire Network of five daily and 20 weekly newspapers announced significant cuts to production and laid off 40 per cent of its workforce.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis struck, private media outlets were so beleaguered that they required special tax assistance just to stay afloat. Despite this support, Postmedia and Torstar, Canada's largest producers of daily newspapers, are in dire financial straits. As of Thursday, you could buy all Torstar stock for just $21 million. As the economic downturn intensifies and businesses of all sizes suffer horrendous financial consequences, the few advertising dollars that remain are drying up overnight.
For its part, the CBC is so underfinanced that it cancelled all local TV news broadcasts last week. In a video town hall with CBC employees, Barb Williams, executive vice-president of English services, said the move was necessary to keep the network from ''fading to black.''
Ottawa must understand that we are staring down the end of Canadian private media as we know it. With few exceptions, we're talking about the extinction of the entire Canadian media industry. No democracy can survive without a functioning press.
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Nobody wants journalists to become dependent on the government they're meant to scrutinize. But the federal government can help by properly funding the CBC. And the CBC can help by collaborating with private outlets rather than competing with them.
Ottawa needs to start by doubling the budget of the CBC, to finance a major expansion of its national, regional, and local news capacity with a mandate to freely share its news content with any media outlet that wants to use it. To maintain CBC's vital independence, the government must also give the CBC board of directors the exclusive authority to hire and fire the corporation's president, currently a prime ministerial prerogative.
Amid the carnage, some media companies are doing quite well. Trouble is, they don't employ a single journalist. They publish journalism produced by others without paying for it. And they face none of the financial and legal consequences of publishing false, harmful, or illegal content. To top it off, they don't pay a dime in corporate taxes on more than $8 billion of profits they extracted from Canada last year.
Of course, I am talking about Facebook, Google, Netflix and other online media giants.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Canadian business spent $8.5 billion on digital advertising in 2019, with 87 per cent, or $7.4 billion flowing to foreign internet platforms '-- mostly Facebook and Google. Netflix made $1.6 billion more, according to the Yale Commission report. Because they have so few Canadian employees, almost all of this is profit.
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Canadians who are fighting for their livelihoods and to preserve their businesses, large and small, are right to be furious at Ottawa for allowing these companies to profit so handsomely while the rest of us paid our taxes and now find ourselves struggling to survive.
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Sign Up NowIt is long past time that Ottawa taxes these companies just like any other corporation operating here. Applying the federal corporate income tax of 15 per cent to foreign online ad sales would yield $1.1 billion. That money would be enough to double the Parliamentary appropriation to CBC.
If Ottawa does not act now, it will be too late for our media. CBC may be the only source of reliable Canadian journalism left standing, while Canadians are swamped with misinformation and illegal content from the likes of Facebook.
Daniel Bernhard is the executive director of FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting. Follow Daniel @sendinthewolf
The Fed Transformed: Jay Powell Leads Central Bank into Uncharted Waters - WSJ
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:35
WASHINGTON'--To meet the dislocation the coronavirus pandemic unleashed on the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has mobilized the central bank to move faster and farther than ever before.
In the short weeks since financial markets seized up, Mr. Powell has placed the Fed on wartime footing. He took up the central bank's playbook from the 2008 financial crisis and then some'--cutting rates to near zero, purchasing huge quantities of government debt and, breaking a taboo, lending to American businesses.
The pace left no time for the deliberative policy process the Fed prefers. Officials can spend weeks tweaking a few words in a heavily parsed statement. This time, the team saw the need for immediate action.
When Fed officials met Sunday morning, March 15, infections were rising along the East Coast. Mr. Powell and his colleagues left empty seats in between them at the central bank's oval boardroom table, made of Honduran mahogany and granite. Two screens suspended from the two-story boardroom ceiling showed 12 reserve bank presidents and others who dialed in remotely.
They made decisions in four hours that would usually take two days.
''We learned our lesson. Moving early and aggressively is really important,'' said Patrick Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. ''We needed to get the markets functioning.''
It's another transformation of the Fed's traditional role in American finance, as banks' lender of last resort, in a time of crisis. Congress has encouraged the Fed, working with the Treasury Department, to invent new ways to stem the damage, pushing the Fed into fiscal policy choices it has long preferred that elected officials decide.
Mr. Powell and his colleagues have rolled out new programs at all hours of the day to keep markets functioning and otherwise-solvent businesses afloat. They are preparing to facilitate lower-cost lending for cities and states. Adding to the challenge, they have done much of this from their homes, as a health precaution, instead of from a Fed war room.
The current situation has no precedent in postwar America. Economic activity has been deliberately halted, the equivalent of a medically induced coma, to slow the virus. That means the Fed, rather than trying to kick-start growth, is instead focused on preventing credit from drying up to preserve the economy's capacity to produce once activity resumes.
The big challenge for the Fed is that so much about the economy's future remains out of its control. If the virus overwhelms the Fed's power to preserve businesses' access to money, the result could be defaults and bankruptcies that turn a severe, synchronized global recession into a full-bore depression.
The Fed's actions appear to have helped core pillars of the financial market to function for now. The danger is that new programs, even those launched very quickly, won't be ready in time to help revenue-starved businesses already burning through cash. Designing new programs also raises fundamental questions about which firms should get help and on what terms.
Many economists now expect the U.S. economy to experience a severe recession. Goldman Sachs economists see it contracting at an annualized rate of 24% during the April-to-June quarter. Morgan Stanley sees the unemployment rate rising to 12.8% this spring'--the highest on records that date to 1948.
The economic outlook is more dire than after the 2008 financial crisis, making it easier for Mr. Powell to cast aside the nagging concerns that his predecessors faced as the housing bubble burst.
Back then, officials were reluctant to cut rates as quickly because they weren't sure how bad the housing bust might get. Some were concerned that untested tools to purchase government debt might fuel excessive inflation. Others worried about the effect near-zero rates would have on markets.
Now, Fed officials have lent freely and purchased enormous amounts of debt, likely swelling its balance sheet to $6 trillion this week from $4.2 trillion in late February.
Officials unveiled six new lending facilities, lending not only to banks, its primary role, but also to businesses. As part of its rescue package, Congress kicked in $454 billion so that the Fed can take on more risky lending, with programs expected to support trillions of dollars of borrowing.
With credit markets beginning to rally last Monday, Mr. Powell fielded a phone call from President Trump, who earlier in the month had disparaged the Fed as ''pathetic,'' the latest in a yearlong string of insults over his desire for lower rates, even when the economy was on a stronger footing.
''I said, 'Jerome, good job. You really did it,' '' Mr. Trump recounted later to reporters. ''I was proud of him. That took courage.''
Mr. Powell, who goes by Jay, said little in response.
People who work with Mr. Powell, a 67-year-old lawyer who isn't an economist, say he has carried a calm demeanor throughout. That, they say, reflects his comfort with the team inside the central bank, the relationships he has cultivated across Washington and his experience studying the economy and financial markets during a career in private equity and a stint in the Treasury Department during George H.W. Bush's presidency.
From his home office in the Maryland suburbs, Mr. Powell fields early-morning calls with central-bank counterparts abroad and late-night consultations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He relies on a specially configured laptop to access his Bloomberg data terminal, Wall Street's ubiquitous trading-desk tool.
Mr. Powell has made clear that even with interest rates at zero, the Fed's firepower is limitless. ''When it comes to lending, we are not going to run out of ammunition,'' he said Thursday in an interview on NBC's ''Today'' show. ''That doesn't happen.''
Just as Ben Bernanke, a leading scholar of the Great Depression, was praised by economists and his peers in government for being the right person to lead the Fed during the 2008 crisis, current and former colleagues say Mr. Powell is proving more decisive than more academic-minded colleagues in a job that is becoming more political.
His feel for markets ''is more second nature, and that gives him a greater level of confidence,'' said William Dudley, a former president of the New York Fed who served alongside Mr. Powell for six years. ''If you're not as confident you tend to want to get more evidence before you move. He's responding very aggressively, and that's appropriate.''
When Mr. Powell traveled to Riyadh for a Feb. 22 summit of Group of 20 ministers and central bankers, the virus was tearing through Italy, Iran and South Korea, and markets had started to turn from record highs. Mr. Powell began emailing staff back in Washington that their policy plans would need to change.
U.S. school closures and travel restrictions that would crimp the economy, until then a far-off hypothetical, were quickly becoming a reasonable base case.
By the end of that week, with markets down more than 14% from their highs of one week earlier, Mr. Powell issued a rare statement under his name signaling rate cuts were likely. Fed officials met March 2 to agree to the first emergency rate cut in 12 years.
By March 11, the uncertainty about economic disruptions panicked markets. Financial institutions began selling U.S. government securities, typically considered a haven, to raise cash after markets for corporate debt, mortgage-backed securities and other assets began seizing up.
Mr. Powell concluded the Fed couldn't wait until its regularly scheduled interest-rate policy meeting the following week to act. Fed officials decided to move up the policy meeting by two days to March 15. In between, the Fed accelerated previously planned purchases of Treasury securities in a bid to prevent strains from worsening.
A key ally, Richard Clarida, a monetary economist who became vice chairman in 2018 after serving as a longtime adviser to bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co., dialed in from the New York Fed's lower Manhattan headquarters after driving from his home in Connecticut.
Messrs. Clarida and Powell, both mild-mannered professionals who formed the nucleus of the Fed's leadership team, had built a strong relationship during their first year working together and cultivated the respect of the Fed's staff. At the central bank's holiday party last December inside the marble atrium, Mr. Clarida sang ''What the World Needs Now Is Love'' with Mr. Powell playing guitar.
That day, Fed officials received a briefing from Lorie Logan, the manager of the Fed's portfolio. Ms. Logan, a 21-year veteran of the bank, had been at the New York Fed on Sept. 11, 2001. When the World Trade Center towers collapsed a few blocks from the New York Fed's fortresslike headquarters, she led a few colleagues to check on the markets, working upstairs while others hunkered down in the basement.
Now Ms. Logan ran through the range of distress: market volatility at highs, short-term funding markets seizing up, businesses unable to borrow in debt markets, Wall Street dealers flooded with transactions, hedge funds unwinding bond trades that became unprofitable when volatility soared, fueling even more volatility.
Particularly troubling was a widening gap between the higher prices for Treasury securities that were issued more recently than so-called off-the-run securities issued previously. The Treasury market sits at the foundation of the financial market, providing a backbone for everything from hedging trades to conducting monetary policy, and certain types of deteriorating trading conditions in this normally robust market signaled much bigger cracks forming.
Officials agreed to what were once considered last-resort measures'--the cut in the benchmark rate to near zero and open-ended purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities to bolster confidence and unclog markets. They also encouraged banks to tap the so-called discount window for emergency loans by reducing the rate on those loans to 0.25%, a record low, and by extending terms to 90 days.
''You can see us working through different solutions and finding the one that we think really will work, and then acting quite vigorously, quite aggressively, tonight to implement it,'' Mr. Powell told reporters on a conference call.
The Fed announced its actions at 5 p.m. eastern, before Asian markets opened. But they tumbled. The selloffs moved on to Europe and, when U.S. markets opened, the stress spread to other assets.
Mr. Powell then deployed the rest of Mr. Bernanke's crisis plan. Mr. Bernanke had broken the seal on a little-used but powerful provision'--section 13(3) of the Fed's charter'--that allows the Fed to lend broadly during a crisis. Mr. Powell now kept that section tabbed on his computer screen.
In rapid-fire succession, the Fed redeployed those facilities. On March 17, the Fed unveiled at 10 a.m. a program to backstop markets for short-term corporate IOUs called commercial paper and another at 6 p.m. to allow approved dealers of U.S. government debt to borrow against stocks and bonds.
Still, the next day, money-market funds were besieged, unable to easily sell holdings of commercial paper to meet investor demands for cash. At 11:30 p.m., the Fed and Treasury announced a program to backstop prime money-market funds. Late that same evening, the European Central Bank had announced a new debt-purchase program to alleviate rising yields on certain countries' government debt.
''Midnight announcements tell you there was an urgency to put a safety net under the system,'' said Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.
In the midst of that frenetic week, Mr. Powell started to work from home, as did many other Fed officials. Mr. Powell's youngest daughter, months from graduating from Princeton, had returned home after classes were suspended.
The financial bleeding spread to the mortgage market, forcing sales of government-backed bonds by real-estate investment trusts. Officials, who had previously said the Fed would buy at least $700 billion in government and mortgage bonds over months, now said it would purchase them within days. It is on track to have bought twice that by the end of this week.
At 8 a.m. Monday, March 23, Fed officials unveiled their latest package: open-ended bond purchases and three new lending facilities for business debt markets.
In moving so aggressively to keep the economy from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus, Mr. Powell has also transformed the Fed's role to being the lender of last resort not only to banks, but to businesses. To fend off criticism the lending favors big business, Mr. Powell is planning a new facility to help smaller firms.
The Fed's task now is to get these programs working quickly. ''We are moving aggressively in our thinking in how we help Main Street,'' said the Philadelphia Fed's Mr. Harker. ''We're all seeing it right now walking around our neighborhoods. These are challenging times.''
Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com
Intrapreneur Definition
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:30
What Is an Intrapreneur? An intrapreneur is an employee who is tasked with developing an innovative idea or project within a company. The intrapreneur may not face the outsized risks or reap the outsized rewards of an entrepreneur. However, the intrapreneur has access to the resources and capabilities of an established company.
Key TakeawaysAn intrapreneur works inside a company to develop an innovative idea or project that will enhance the company's future.The intrapreneur is generally given autonomy to work on a project that may have a considerable impact on the company.Over time, an intrapreneur may turn into an entrepreneur. How Intrapreneurship Works Intrapreneurs are employees of a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project. They are given the time and freedom to develop the project as an entrepreneur would.
However, they are not working solo. Intrapreneurs have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal.
Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs have different objectives. An entrepreneur envisions creating a company from the ground up. An intrapreneur has a broader vision for an established company. This vision may involve radical changes to company traditions, processes, or products. The intrapreneur typically has directly applicable skills and experience to bring to the job.
An entrepreneur starts a company as a means of providing a good or service. An intrapreneur seeks to improve an existing company.
Advantages of Intrapreneurship An entrepreneur starts a company as a means of providing a good or service. An intrapreneur explores policies, technologies, or applications that will help improve the performance of an existing company. Inevitably, as an intrapreneur develops the skills needed to recognize and solve important problems, that intrapreneur may turn into an entrepreneur.
An intrapreneur can expect to be given the freedom and autonomy needed for such a project. Day-to-day deliverables are generally not demanded. The intrapreneur is expected to analyze and understand the trends necessary for planning the company's future. Intrapreneurs synthesize their findings and make proposals for staying ahead of their competitors.
Intrapreneurs often become a company's executive leaders over time. They move the business forward and rise to the top with a deep understanding of the business from all levels.
When intrapreneurs work at solving problems, they foster the growth of other talented intrapreneurs and integrate more new ideas for the good of the entire company.
Example of an Intrapreneur In less than a year on the job as eBay's chief of staff of global product management, Healey Cypher realized the company was missing out on a major business opportunity.
At the time, eBay offered only e-commerce services to its clients. Despite the growth of Internet retail, the majority of consumer purchases are still made within 15 miles of a consumer's home. Many eBay retailers told Cypher they wanted a physical retail presence as well.
After consulting with eBay's chief executive officer (CEO), Cypher assembled a team of engineers to develop tools that could be used to create an eBay presence in physical stores. The engineers created an interactive storefront that Toys'R'Us eventually installed. Over the following two years, the engineers did the same for TOMS, Sony, and Rebecca Minkoff.
Cypher's success became a new division of eBay, giving workers autonomy for solving problems and moving the company forward. Cypher became eBay's Head of Retail Innovation. He is now CEO of ZIVELO, a company that designs and manufactures kiosks and digital signage.
Dogz BolloxðŸ´ó §ó ó ¥ó ®ó §ó Right Wing News on Twitter: "Italian politician Fabio Rampelli removes the EU flag from his chambers and replaces it with the national one. If the Coronavirus did one good thing, that was expose the European union fo
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:20
Log in Sign up Dogz BolloxðŸ´ó §ó ó ¥ó ®ó §ó Right Wing News @ Bollocks_Dogz Italian politician Fabio Rampelli removes the EU flag from his chambers and replaces it with the national one.If the Coronavirus did one good thing, that was expose the European union for the inept bureaucrats they are.
pic.twitter.com/uatMvpUzRS 11:02 AM - 30 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Dogz BolloxðŸ´ó §ó ó ¥ó ®ó §ó Right Wing News @Bollocks_Dogz john smith @ JohnSmi65665016
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@Bollocks_Dogz If one other country leaves apart from the UK, its game over.
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@JohnSmi65665016 @Bollocks_Dogz Timber. Let the EU fall.
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Trace Together app Privacy
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:01
March 28, 2020
A couple of days ago, I saw the announcement for a new app called TraceTogether. It's an app by the government to make contact tracing easier. The app appeared on a lot of news websites because it's a good smart nation initiative.
I was interested to find out how Bluetooth was used. I launched my terminal and decompiled the app using Jadx to find out what's powering the app.
The app uses bluetooth to log other people's devices around you. I have done some testing myself to know that one of the ways to figure out who's around you is to use Bluetooth Low Energy (''BLE''). It makes sense to use BLE because leaving it on all day in the background will not drain your battery. The signal strength of the pings can be used to deduce the distance between users. It's also how airpods use it to connect to your iphone.
While I was looking through the code, I saw that the app was using Firebase Analytics and Crashlytics. I found one instance where Firebase Analytics was used: an event is triggered when the user signs in and gives the app permissions. While it is common for apps to use these two analytics libraries to track user engagement and app crashes, the inclusion of such libraries undermines the developers' goal to keep data collection minimal.
An event is triggered once the user signs up successfully.
What caught my eye was another library that was included in the app called Snowplow Analytics. It's the first time I've heard about it and Google tells me it's an open-sourced analytics platform. Interestingly, a line in the code points to this obscure domain ''snowplow-mobile.wogaa.sg''. I visited wogaa.sg and it turns out that wogaa is actually a government data collection service. What's going on here?
Weird domain.
mS.m3744(context, environment) initialises the tracking.
Tracking is initialised in these files.
The FAQ on wogaa describes itself as ''a centralized internet-facing government platform to analyze and improve digital services''. A quick look at wogaa's documentation tells me that it can log user ip addresses, device type, carrier etc and deduce the user's location based on this information. With this library packaged in the app, there's no point in anonymising any information because your data is logged on another service anyway.
Wogaa's website.
Part of Wogaa's data glossary.
Checking if data from the app has been received before on wogaa's website.
By using a proxy, I can intercept the requests to wogaa to find out what data is sent back. You can view a raw request here. From download to setup, there were 19 requests sent to wogaa.
Part of a request to Wogaa.
Clearly, some parts of the app's FAQ are wrong. I went back to the press releases and tried to verify statements about the app. On data hygiene, I found that all data is uploaded even if the data is older than 21 days. There is no code to purge local data beyond a certain time.
Code to retrieve all rows in the records table.
On the following day, I contacted the team and asked them about my findings. Their response was that wogaa is built by the same team and it's standard practice to include wogaa in their products. They overlooked the fact that the app is sending more data than necessary so they're removing wogaa and working to purge local data after 21 days in the next update. During my call with them, I can see that they are a team with great intentions. If you're concerned about your privacy, it's best to install the app only after they've updated the app. Otherwise, this app is a great initiative to improve our contact tracing efforts.
Ë£
The team says you don't have to reinstall the app if you have auto-update on.
How Will the Coronavirus End? - The Atlantic
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:57
Editor's Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection
here.
T hree months ago , no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation's psyche.
To hear more feature stories, get the Audm iPhone app.
A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. ''What if?'' became ''Now what?''
So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.
As we'll see, Gen C's lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5'--the world's highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.
Anne Applebaum: The coronavirus called America's bluff
''No matter what, a virus [like SARS-CoV-2] was going to test the resilience of even the most well-equipped health systems,'' says Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician at the Boston University School of Medicine. More transmissible and fatal than seasonal influenza, the new coronavirus is also stealthier, spreading from one host to another for several days before triggering obvious symptoms. To contain such a pathogen, nations must develop a test and use it to identify infected people, isolate them, and trace those they've had contact with. That is what South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong did to tremendous effect. It is what the United States did not.
As my colleagues Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer have reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed and distributed a faulty test in February. Independent labs created alternatives, but were mired in bureaucracy from the FDA. In a crucial month when the American caseload shot into the tens of thousands, only hundreds of people were tested. That a biomedical powerhouse like the U.S. should so thoroughly fail to create a very simple diagnostic test was, quite literally, unimaginable. ''I'm not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,'' says Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, who works on legal and policy issues related to infectious diseases.
Related Stories The 4 Key Reasons the U.S. Is So Behind on Coronavirus Testing How the Coronavirus Became an American Catastrophe This Is How We Can Beat the Coronavirus The testing fiasco was the original sin of America's pandemic failure, the single flaw that undermined every other countermeasure. If the country could have accurately tracked the spread of the virus, hospitals could have executed their pandemic plans, girding themselves by allocating treatment rooms, ordering extra supplies, tagging in personnel, or assigning specific facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases. None of that happened. Instead, a health-care system that already runs close to full capacity, and that was already challenged by a severe flu season, was suddenly faced with a virus that had been left to spread, untracked, through communities around the country. Overstretched hospitals became overwhelmed. Basic protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, began to run out. Beds will soon follow, as will the ventilators that provide oxygen to patients whose lungs are besieged by the virus.
Read: The people ignoring social distancing
With little room to surge during a crisis, America's health-care system operates on the assumption that unaffected states can help beleaguered ones in an emergency. That ethic works for localized disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, but not for a pandemic that is now in all 50 states. Cooperation has given way to competition; some worried hospitals have bought out large quantities of supplies, in the way that panicked consumers have bought out toilet paper.
Partly, that's because the White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to ''act now to prevent an American epidemic,'' and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president's ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.
Derek Thompson: America is acting like a failed state
Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I've spoken with had feared. ''Much worse,'' said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. ''Beyond any expectations we had,'' said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. ''As an American, I'm horrified,'' said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. ''The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.''
I. The Next MonthsHaving fallen behind, it will be difficult'--but not impossible'--for the United States to catch up. To an extent, the near-term future is set because COVID-19 is a slow and long illness. People who were infected several days ago will only start showing symptoms now, even if they isolated themselves in the meantime. Some of those people will enter intensive-care units in early April. As of last weekend, the nation had 17,000 confirmed cases, but the actual number was probably somewhere between 60,000 and 245,000. Numbers are now starting to rise exponentially: As of Wednesday morning, the official case count was 54,000, and the actual case count is unknown. Health-care workers are already seeing worrying signs: dwindling equipment, growing numbers of patients, and doctors and nurses who are themselves becoming infected.
Italy and Spain offer grim warnings about the future. Hospitals are out of room, supplies, and staff. Unable to treat or save everyone, doctors have been forced into the unthinkable: rationing care to patients who are most likely to survive, while letting others die. The U.S. has fewer hospital beds per capita than Italy. A study released by a team at Imperial College London concluded that if the pandemic is left unchecked, those beds will all be full by late April. By the end of June, for every available critical-care bed, there will be roughly 15 COVID-19 patients in need of one. By the end of the summer, the pandemic will have directly killed 2.2 million Americans, notwithstanding those who will indirectly die as hospitals are unable to care for the usual slew of heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. This is the worst-case scenario. To avert it, four things need to happen'--and quickly.
Read: All the president's lies about the coronavirus
The first and most important is to rapidly produce masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. If health-care workers can't stay healthy, the rest of the response will collapse. In some places, stockpiles are already so low that doctors are reusing masks between patients, calling for donations from the public, or sewing their own homemade alternatives. These shortages are happening because medical supplies are made-to-order and depend on byzantine international supply chains that are currently straining and snapping. Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the pandemic, was also a manufacturing center of medical masks.
In the U.S., the Strategic National Stockpile'--a national larder of medical equipment'--is already being deployed, especially to the hardest-hit states. The stockpile is not inexhaustible, but it can buy some time. Donald Trump could use that time to invoke the Defense Production Act, launching a wartime effort in which American manufacturers switch to making medical equipment. But after invoking the act last Wednesday, Trump has failed to actually use it, reportedly due to lobbying from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and heads of major corporations.
Some manufacturers are already rising to the challenge, but their efforts are piecemeal and unevenly distributed. ''One day, we'll wake up to a story of doctors in City X who are operating with bandanas, and a closet in City Y with masks piled into it,'' says Ali Khan, the dean of public health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A ''massive logistics and supply-chain operation [is] now needed across the country,'' says Thomas Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That can't be managed by small and inexperienced teams scattered throughout the White House. The solution, he says, is to tag in the Defense Logistics Agency'--a 26,000-person group that prepares the U.S. military for overseas operations and that has assisted in past public-health crises, including the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
This agency can also coordinate the second pressing need: a massive rollout of COVID-19 tests. Those tests have been slow to arrive because of five separate shortages: of masks to protect people administering the tests; of nasopharyngeal swabs for collecting viral samples; of extraction kits for pulling the virus's genetic material out of the samples; of chemical reagents that are part of those kits; and of trained people who can give the tests. Many of these shortages are, again, due to strained supply chains. The U.S. relies on three manufacturers for extraction reagents, providing redundancy in case any of them fails'--but all of them failed in the face of unprecedented global demand. Meanwhile, Lombardy, Italy, the hardest-hit place in Europe, houses one of the largest manufacturers of nasopharyngeal swabs.
Read: Why the coronavirus has been so successful
Some shortages are being addressed. The FDA is now moving quickly to approve tests developed by private labs. At least one can deliver results in less than an hour, potentially allowing doctors to know if the patient in front of them has COVID-19. The country ''is adding capacity on a daily basis,'' says Kelly Wroblewski of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
On March 6, Trump said that ''anyone who wants a test can get a test.'' That was (and still is) untrue, and his own officials were quick to correct him. Regardless, anxious people still flooded into hospitals, seeking tests that did not exist. ''People wanted to be tested even if they weren't symptomatic, or if they sat next to someone with a cough,'' says Saskia Popescu of George Mason University, who works to prepare hospitals for pandemics. Others just had colds, but doctors still had to use masks to examine them, burning through their already dwindling supplies. ''It really stressed the health-care system,'' Popescu says. Even now, as capacity expands, tests must be used carefully. The first priority, says Marc Lipsitch of Harvard, is to test health-care workers and hospitalized patients, allowing hospitals to quell any ongoing fires. Only later, once the immediate crisis is slowing, should tests be deployed in a more widespread way. ''This isn't just going to be: Let's get the tests out there!'' Inglesby says.
These measures will take time, during which the pandemic will either accelerate beyond the capacity of the health system or slow to containable levels. Its course'--and the nation's fate'--now depends on the third need, which is social distancing. Think of it this way: There are now only two groups of Americans. Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that's treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now ''flatten the curve'' by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission. Given the slow fuse of COVID-19, to forestall the future collapse of the health-care system, these seemingly drastic steps must be taken immediately, before they feel proportionate, and they must continue for several weeks.
Juliette Kayyem: The crisis could last 18 months. Be prepared.
Persuading a country to voluntarily stay at home is not easy, and without clear guidelines from the White House, mayors, governors, and business owners have been forced to take their own steps. Some states have banned large gatherings or closed schools and restaurants. At least 21 have now instituted some form of mandatory quarantine, compelling people to stay at home. And yet many citizens continue to crowd into public spaces.
In these moments, when the good of all hinges on the sacrifices of many, clear coordination matters'--the fourth urgent need. The importance of social distancing must be impressed upon a public who must also be reassured and informed. Instead, Trump has repeatedly played down the problem, telling America that ''we have it very well under control'' when we do not, and that cases were ''going to be down to close to zero'' when they were rising. In some cases, as with his claims about ubiquitous testing, his misleading gaffes have deepened the crisis. He has even touted unproven medications.
Away from the White House press room, Trump has apparently been listening to Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan on new epidemics, and now sits on the COVID-19 task force that meets with Trump roughly every other day. ''He's got his own style, let's leave it at that,'' Fauci told me, ''but any kind of recommendation that I have made thus far, the substance of it, he has listened to everything.''
Read: Grocery stores are the coronavirus tipping point
But Trump already seems to be wavering. In recent days, he has signaled that he is prepared to backtrack on social-distancing policies in a bid to protect the economy. Pundits and business leaders have used similar rhetoric, arguing that high-risk people, such as the elderly, could be protected while lower-risk people are allowed to go back to work. Such thinking is seductive, but flawed. It overestimates our ability to assess a person's risk, and to somehow wall off the ''high-risk'' people from the rest of society. It underestimates how badly the virus can hit ''low-risk'' groups, and how thoroughly hospitals will be overwhelmed if even just younger demographics are falling sick.
A recent analysis from the University of Pennsylvania estimated that even if social-distancing measures can reduce infection rates by 95 percent, 960,000 Americans will still need intensive care. There are only about 180,000 ventilators in the U.S. and, more pertinently, only enough respiratory therapists and critical-care staff to safely look after 100,000 ventilated patients. Abandoning social distancing would be foolish. Abandoning it now, when tests and protective equipment are still scarce, would be catastrophic.
Read: America's hospitals have never experienced anything like this
If Trump stays the course, if Americans adhere to social distancing, if testing can be rolled out, and if enough masks can be produced, there is a chance that the country can still avert the worst predictions about COVID-19, and at least temporarily bring the pandemic under control. No one knows how long that will take, but it won't be quick. ''It could be anywhere from four to six weeks to up to three months,'' Fauci said, ''but I don't have great confidence in that range.''
II. The EndgameEven a perfect response won't end the pandemic. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there's a chance that one infected traveler will reignite fresh sparks in countries that have already extinguished their fires. This is already happening in China, Singapore, and other Asian countries that briefly seemed to have the virus under control. Under these conditions, there are three possible endgames: one that's very unlikely, one that's very dangerous, and one that's very long.
The first is that every nation manages to simultaneously bring the virus to heel, as with the original SARS in 2003. Given how widespread the coronavirus pandemic is, and how badly many countries are faring, the odds of worldwide synchronous control seem vanishingly small.
The second is that the virus does what past flu pandemics have done: It burns through the world and leaves behind enough immune survivors that it eventually struggles to find viable hosts. This ''herd immunity'' scenario would be quick, and thus tempting. But it would also come at a terrible cost: SARS-CoV-2 is more transmissible and fatal than the flu, and it would likely leave behind many millions of corpses and a trail of devastated health systems. The United Kingdom initially seemed to consider this herd-immunity strategy, before backtracking when models revealed the dire consequences. The U.S. now seems to be considering it too.
Read: What will you do if you start coughing?
The third scenario is that the world plays a protracted game of whack-a-mole with the virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced. This is the best option, but also the longest and most complicated.
It depends, for a start, on making a vaccine. If this were a flu pandemic, that would be easier. The world is experienced at making flu vaccines and does so every year. But there are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses'--until now, these viruses seemed to cause diseases that were mild or rare'--so researchers must start from scratch. The first steps have been impressively quick. Last Monday, a possible vaccine created by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health went into early clinical testing. That marks a 63-day gap between scientists sequencing the virus's genes for the first time and doctors injecting a vaccine candidate into a person's arm. ''It's overwhelmingly the world record,'' Fauci said.
But it's also the fastest step among many subsequent slow ones. The initial trial will simply tell researchers if the vaccine seems safe, and if it can actually mobilize the immune system. Researchers will then need to check that it actually prevents infection from SARS-CoV-2. They'll need to do animal tests and large-scale trials to ensure that the vaccine doesn't cause severe side effects. They'll need to work out what dose is required, how many shots people need, if the vaccine works in elderly people, and if it requires other chemicals to boost its effectiveness.
''Even if it works, they don't have an easy way to manufacture it at a massive scale,'' said Seth Berkley of Gavi. That's because Moderna is using a new approach to vaccination. Existing vaccines work by providing the body with inactivated or fragmented viruses, allowing the immune system to prep its defenses ahead of time. By contrast, Moderna's vaccine comprises a sliver of SARS-CoV-2's genetic material'--its RNA. The idea is that the body can use this sliver to build its own viral fragments, which would then form the basis of the immune system's preparations. This approach works in animals, but is unproven in humans. By contrast, French scientists are trying to modify the existing measles vaccine using fragments of the new coronavirus. ''The advantage of that is that if we needed hundreds of doses tomorrow, a lot of plants in the world know how to do it,'' Berkley said. No matter which strategy is faster, Berkley and others estimate that it will take 12 to 18 months to develop a proven vaccine, and then longer still to make it, ship it, and inject it into people's arms.
Read: COVID-19 vaccines are coming, but they're not what you think
It's likely, then, that the new coronavirus will be a lingering part of American life for at least a year, if not much longer. If the current round of social-distancing measures works, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy. Offices could fill and bars could bustle. Schools could reopen and friends could reunite. But as the status quo returns, so too will the virus. This doesn't mean that society must be on continuous lockdown until 2022. But ''we need to be prepared to do multiple periods of social distancing,'' says Stephen Kissler of Harvard.
Much about the coming years, including the frequency, duration, and timing of social upheavals, depends on two properties of the virus, both of which are currently unknown. First: seasonality. Coronaviruses tend to be winter infections that wane or disappear in the summer. That may also be true for SARS-CoV-2, but seasonal variations might not sufficiently slow the virus when it has so many immunologically naive hosts to infect. ''Much of the world is waiting anxiously to see what'--if anything'--the summer does to transmission in the Northern Hemisphere,'' says Maia Majumder of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital.
Second: duration of immunity. When people are infected by the milder human coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms, they remain immune for less than a year. By contrast, the few who were infected by the original SARS virus, which was far more severe, stayed immune for much longer. Assuming that SARS-CoV-2 lies somewhere in the middle, people who recover from their encounters might be protected for a couple of years. To confirm that, scientists will need to develop accurate serological tests, which look for the antibodies that confer immunity. They'll also need to confirm that such antibodies actually stop people from catching or spreading the virus. If so, immune citizens can return to work, care for the vulnerable, and anchor the economy during bouts of social distancing.
Scientists can use the periods between those bouts to develop antiviral drugs'--although such drugs are rarely panaceas, and come with possible side effects and the risk of resistance. Hospitals can stockpile the necessary supplies. Testing kits can be widely distributed to catch the virus's return as quickly as possible. There's no reason that the U.S. should let SARS-CoV-2 catch it unawares again, and thus no reason that social-distancing measures need to be deployed as broadly and heavy-handedly as they now must be. As Aaron E. Carroll and Ashish Jha recently wrote, ''We can keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, closing them quickly when suppression fails, then opening them back up again once the infected are identified and isolated. Instead of playing defense, we could play more offense.''
Whether through accumulating herd immunity or the long-awaited arrival of a vaccine, the virus will find spreading explosively more and more difficult. It's unlikely to disappear entirely. The vaccine may need to be updated as the virus changes, and people may need to get revaccinated on a regular basis, as they currently do for the flu. Models suggest that the virus might simmer around the world, triggering epidemics every few years or so. ''But my hope and expectation is that the severity would decline, and there would be less societal upheaval,'' Kissler says. In this future, COVID-19 may become like the flu is today'--a recurring scourge of winter. Perhaps it will eventually become so mundane that even though a vaccine exists, large swaths of Gen C won't bother getting it, forgetting how dramatically their world was molded by its absence.
III. The Aftermath The cost of reaching that point, with as few deaths as possible, will be enormous. As my colleague Annie Lowrey wrote, the economy is experiencing a shock ''more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.'' About one in five people in the United States have lost working hours or jobs. Hotels are empty. Airlines are grounding flights. Restaurants and other small businesses are closing. Inequalities will widen: People with low incomes will be hardest-hit by social-distancing measures, and most likely to have the chronic health conditions that increase their risk of severe infections. Diseases have destabilized cities and societies many times over, ''but it hasn't happened in this country in a very long time, or to quite the extent that we're seeing now,'' says Elena Conis, a historian of medicine at UC Berkeley. ''We're far more urban and metropolitan. We have more people traveling great distances and living far from family and work.''
After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now tinged with danger. People with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder are struggling. Elderly people, who are already excluded from much of public life, are being asked to distance themselves even further, deepening their loneliness. Asian people are suffering racist insults, fueled by a president who insists on labeling the new coronavirus the ''Chinese virus.'' Incidents of domestic violence and child abuse are likely to spike as people are forced to stay in unsafe homes. Children, whose bodies are mostly spared by the virus, may endure mental trauma that stays with them into adulthood.
Read: The kids aren't all right
After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV. Health-care workers will take time to heal: One to two years after SARS hit Toronto, people who dealt with the outbreak were still less productive and more likely to be experiencing burnout and post-traumatic stress. People who went through long bouts of quarantine will carry the scars of their experience. ''My colleagues in Wuhan note that some people there now refuse to leave their homes and have developed agoraphobia,'' says Steven Taylor of the University of British Columbia, who wrote The Psychology of Pandemics.
But ''there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma,'' says Richard Danzig of the Center for a New American Security. Already, communities are finding new ways of coming together, even as they must stay apart. Attitudes to health may also change for the better. The rise of HIV and AIDS ''completely changed sexual behavior among young people who were coming into sexual maturity at the height of the epidemic,'' Conis says. ''The use of condoms became normalized. Testing for STDs became mainstream.'' Similarly, washing your hands for 20 seconds, a habit that has historically been hard to enshrine even in hospitals, ''may be one of those behaviors that we become so accustomed to in the course of this outbreak that we don't think about them,'' Conis adds.
Pandemics can also catalyze social change. People, businesses, and institutions have been remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements. ''This is the first time in my lifetime that I've heard someone say, 'Oh, if you're sick, stay home,''' says Adia Benton, an anthropologist at Northwestern University. Perhaps the nation will learn that preparedness isn't just about masks, vaccines, and tests, but also about fair labor policies and a stable and equal health-care system. Perhaps it will appreciate that health-care workers and public-health specialists compose America's social immune system, and that this system has been suppressed.
Aspects of America's identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country's values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.
Years of isolationist rhetoric had consequences too. Citizens who saw China as a distant, different place, where bats are edible and authoritarianism is acceptable, failed to consider that they would be next or that they wouldn't be ready. (China's response to this crisis had its own problems, but that's for another time.) ''People believed the rhetoric that containment would work,'' says Wendy Parmet, who studies law and public health at Northeastern University. ''We keep them out, and we'll be okay. When you have a body politic that buys into these ideas of isolationism and ethnonationalism, you're especially vulnerable when a pandemic hits.''
Graeme Wood: The 'Chinese virus' is a test. Don't fail it.
Veterans of past epidemics have long warned that American society is trapped in a cycle of panic and neglect. After every crisis'--anthrax, SARS, flu, Ebola'--attention is paid and investments are made. But after short periods of peacetime, memories fade and budgets dwindle. This trend transcends red and blue administrations. When a new normal sets in, the abnormal once again becomes unimaginable. But there is reason to think that COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change.
The other major epidemics of recent decades either barely affected the U.S. (SARS, MERS, Ebola), were milder than expected (H1N1 flu in 2009), or were mostly limited to specific groups of people (Zika, HIV). The COVID-19 pandemic, by contrast, is affecting everyone directly, changing the nature of their everyday life. That distinguishes it not only from other diseases, but also from the other systemic challenges of our time. When an administration prevaricates on climate change, the effects won't be felt for years, and even then will be hard to parse. It's different when a president says that everyone can get a test, and one day later, everyone cannot. Pandemics are democratizing experiences. People whose privilege and power would normally shield them from a crisis are facing quarantines, testing positive, and losing loved ones. Senators are falling sick. The consequences of defunding public-health agencies, losing expertise, and stretching hospitals are no longer manifesting as angry opinion pieces, but as faltering lungs.
After 9/11, the world focused on counterterrorism. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. Anthony Fauci is now a household name. ''Regular people who think easily about what a policewoman or firefighter does finally get what an epidemiologist does,'' says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Such changes, in themselves, might protect the world from the next inevitable disease. ''The countries that had lived through SARS had a public consciousness about this that allowed them to leap into action,'' said Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar. ''The most commonly uttered sentence in America at the moment is, 'I've never seen something like this before.' That wasn't a sentence anyone in Hong Kong uttered.'' For the U.S., and for the world, it's abundantly, viscerally clear what a pandemic can do.
The lessons that America draws from this experience are hard to predict, especially at a time when online algorithms and partisan broadcasters only serve news that aligns with their audience's preconceptions. Such dynamics will be pivotal in the coming months, says Ilan Goldenberg, a foreign-policy expert at the Center for a New American Security. ''The transitions after World War II or 9/11 were not about a bunch of new ideas,'' he says. ''The ideas are out there, but the debates will be more acute over the next few months because of the fluidity of the moment and willingness of the American public to accept big, massive changes.''
One could easily conceive of a world in which most of the nation believes that America defeated COVID-19. Despite his many lapses, Trump's approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.
One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of ''America first'' politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.
In 2030, SARS-CoV-3 emerges from nowhere, and is brought to heel within a month.
Related PodcastListen to Ed Yong discuss this story on an episode of Social Distance, The Atlantic's podcast about living through a pandemic:
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Ed Yong is a staff writer at
The Atlantic, where he covers science.
Woman Who Ingested Fish Tank Cleaner Was Prolific Donor to Democratic Causes
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:55
The Arizona woman who said that she and her 68-year-old husband ingested a substance used to clean fish tanks after hearing President Donald Trump tout chloroquine as a cure for the coronavirus has given thousands of dollars to Democratic groups and candidates over the last two years.
The woman's most recent donations, in late February, were to a Democratic PAC, the 314 Action Fund, that bills itself as the "pro-science resistance" and has vocally criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic and held up her case to slam the White House.
Although local and national media outlets withheld the couple's names, the Washington Free Beacon established their identities through descriptions in local news reports, where the pair were identified by their first names and ages: Gary, 68, and Wanda, 61. The Free Beacon is withholding their identities at Wanda's request.
Federal Election Commission records show that Wanda has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic electoral groups and candidates over the past two years, including Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and EMILY's List, a group that aims to elect pro-choice female candidates.
Wanda told the Free Beacon that she and her husband were both Democrats, not Trump supporters. They heard about the potential benefits of chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, in news reports. She decided at the "spur of the moment" to try taking it, but reached for a fish tank cleaner in her pantry that contains chloroquine phosphate, a different and deadly form of the chemical. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the use of chloroquine to treat coronavirus on Sunday.
"We weren't big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff," Wanda told the Free Beacon. "And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake," she said. "It was stupid, and it was horrible, and we should have never done it. But it's done and now I've lost my husband. And my whole life was my husband."
"We didn't think it would kill us," she added. "We thought if anything it would help us 'cus that's what we've been hearing on the news."
In her first national news interview, Wanda told NBC News that she took the fish tank cleaner in a tragically botched attempt to follow medical advice that Trump had relayed in a press conference earlier that week.
"We saw Trump on TV'--every channel'--and all of his buddies and that this was safe," she said last Monday. "Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure."
During a press briefing on March 19, the president pointed to medical studies indicating that chloroquine, a medication used to treat malaria, may be a "game changer" in treating the coronavirus. Wanda warned others in the same NBC News interview not to "believe anything that the president says."
Wanda's most recent contributions to Democratic causes came on Feb. 26 and 28. They went to the 314 Action Fund, a Democratic political action committee that describes itself as "the largest pro-science advocacy organization committed to electing scientists" and aims to "promote the responsible use of data driven fact based approaches in public policy."
The group has been highly critical of Trump's coronavirus policies in recent weeks. In fact, on its Facebook page, the group slammed the Trump administration for the couple's actions, writing, "There are real consequences to the White House throwing its approval behind an experimental drug trial before it's time."
In the wake of the incident, media outlets tacitly blamed Trump for the tragedy. The New York Times noted that chloroquine "has been bandied about by President Trump during White House briefings on the coronavirus pandemic as a potential 'game changer' in the treatment of Covid-19." Others, like Axios, ran corrections noting that the couple had not ingested the chloroquine in its medical form but rather the form "used in aquariums" after initially reporting that the couple had followed the president's faulty medical advice.
Wanda does not appear to have a long history of political donations, according to FEC reports. Her contributions to Democrats rose sharply over the past few years. Her first recorded political donation was $150 to Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to FEC records. The next year she gave $550 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Since 2018, she has contributed approximately $6,000 to Democratic electoral groups.
She said she and her husband had decided to stay in their home to avoid catching the virus. They were spending much of their time watching media coverage.
"We were watching the news because we were self-isolating and getting pretty nervous. We were scared. I'm still scared," Wanda told the Free Beacon.
She said she and her husband are not active on social media and don't read much online news, but they get a lot of their information from television.
"I didn't know, and I didn't understand how serious it was," she added. "It was the worst situation I could ever, ever, ever imagine anybody being in."
Wanda told NBC News that her experience was a cautionary tale about taking the president's words at face value. "Oh my God, don't take anything. Don't believe anything that the president says and his people," she said. She told a local news outlet that she was still "pretty much in shock" over her husband's death.
"We were just having the best day before this happened. I made him his favorite lunch, grilled steak and asparagus and red potatoes, and we were just having the best Sunday," she said.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published at 3:00 p.m.
Click here for the mobile version of this story (with comments)
'We Find Ourselves Afraid.' The Pope Confronts Coronavirus. - The New York Times
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:53
The virus is inside the walls of the Vatican, which has canceled public participation in Easter ceremonies, is testing scores of people and considering isolating measures for Pope Francis.
Pope Francis giving a blessing from an empty St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, on Friday. Credit... EPA, via Shutterstock ROME '-- The coronavirus that is threatening the world and knows no religion has penetrated the high walls of the Vatican and come to the doorstep of Pope Francis and the elderly cardinals who live near him.
''For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives,'' Francis, who is 83 and had part of a lung removed during an illness in his youth, said in remarks hauntingly delivered on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica Friday evening.
He spoke alone and before a vast and empty square, its cobblestones slicked with rain and reflecting the blue lights of the police locking down Rome to fight the virus. ''We find ourselves afraid,'' the pope added. ''And lost.''
The remarks on such a dramatic and grand stage amounted to a change of course for the pontiff, who throughout the first weeks of the coronavirus crisis in Italy '-- now the world's deadliest outbreak '-- tended to talk about other things, or addressed the issue via live stream. When he came down with a bad cold last month, he refused to address whether he had been tested for the virus; some employees have grumbled about offices having stayed open too long.
But the Vatican confirmed on Tuesday cases of the virus inside its walls, and on Wednesday reports emerged that an Italian Vatican official who lives in the pope's residence had tested positive and required hospitalization. Now the Vatican, which has also essentially canceled all public participation in Easter ceremonies, is testing scores of people and considering isolating measures for Francis. Top Vatican officials said Francis has had negative results to two separate tests and has said privately he doesn't have the virus.
And as is the case with most governments, some have questioned the Vatican's handling of the crisis.
Rev. Mauro Cozzoli, 73, a professor of moral theology at the Lateran Pontifical University, where he lives, said ''until four days ago everyone was still forced to go to the office.'' Now, he said, ''they activated the smart working from home, and here in the offices people go in shifts.''
He said there was tension, with the cardinals who run the congregations keeping offices open against the opposition of workers.
''They said, 'We did it because this was the Pope's will,''' he said, adding he did not know if that was in fact the pope's order.
The Vatican declined to comment on Friday.
What is clear is that a new anxiety has seized Vatican City, with about 600 citizens and a population of about 246 people behind the Vatican walls. About 100 of the residents are young Swiss Guards, but the remaining denizens include the pope, a handful of older cardinals, the people who work in their households, and some laymen, making it in some ways as vulnerable as a nursing home to a virus that can be devastating to the old.
Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, 85, the president emeritus of the Vatican City State, acknowledged that elderly people like himself were the ''first candidates'' and joked that given the elderly population of Vatican City, ''the only place more quiet than this is the cemetery.''
He called the Vatican ''a small island separated from the rest of the city'' but nevertheless said that life in the Vatican now ''is very limited'' with people closed in their apartments. ''We can also go out in the Vatican Gardens for a walk but always must keep distance from one another to avoid contagions,'' he said.
The Vatican has followed the decrees of the Italian state, which has restricted movement except to procure essential goods.
''I went to the pharmacy for a necessity and before entering they took my temperature,'' said Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, 85, who lives in the Vatican. He said that he had no way of getting a haircut, that his watch had stopped because the battery died, and that he couldn't replace it. ''But we go ahead with trust, we need to hope because the Lord is good, it's not true that he punishes.''
Pope Benedict XVI, who is 92 and frail, also lives in the Vatican.
His longtime personal secretary and confidante, Archbishop Georg G¤nswein, said that in the Vatican monastery that is their residence, ''we live as if in seclusion. No visits from the outside and no going out.'' He said he and Benedict spent much of the day praying for the infected, for the dead, for the doctors and priests on the front lines and for the end of the pandemic. Their shopping, they said, was done by their ''caretaker angels.''
Benedict's former secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, 72, also lives behind the Vatican's walls and said that he worked from home like everyone else he knew and watched the pope's sermons on live stream. He said he went out for food shopping by Sant'Anna gate, where only a few people were allowed inside at a time. He said that he rarely saw cardinals waiting in line.
''Other people go for the cardinals,'' he said.
As everywhere else, he said, the survival of those in the Vatican depended on one another, not any external fortress.
''It's not about the Vatican walls,'' he said. ''It's about one's own behavior.''
In the middle of February, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, 87, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, returned home after successful treatment for pneumonia in a hospital. He was under strict orders to stay inside his home in the San Callisto Palace, an extraterritorial property of the church in the Trastevere section of Rome.
''Since Feb. 11, I haven't left home,'' he said.
When he got out of the hospital, he called Pope Francis, who had a cold at the time. ''I spoke personally with him on the telephone,'' he said. ''I asked him if he had this virus and he said, no no, that I don't have.''
''He wasn't worried,'' he said.
But many in the Vatican are worried for the pope, especially since news broke on Wednesday that an Italian priest who lives in Santa Marta, the hotel-style residence that is home to the pope, had tested positive for the virus.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, 71, who runs the department for promoting integral human development, met with the Pope on Friday morning as part of a ''think tank'' for coronavirus issues such as the protection of health care workers, access to health care, inequality and unemployment. The pope received him, he said, in his private library, where there were a ''lot of hand sanitizers'' but no masks.
Cardinal Turkson said he had understood the pope had been tested twice for the virus, both with negative results. On Friday, he said, the pope talked to the group about how somebody was ''discovered to be infected in Santa Marta.''
He added that the issue of Santa Marta was a serious one, because while the 130 rooms were separate from one another, it was nevertheless an enclosed space.
''The hallways and the corridors are the same. You need to pass through corridors to get to elevators. So there is a lot of interconnected life,'' he said. The case had resulted in ''some measures taken to ensure the pope is safe'' as well as testing in the Vatican, where he said a lot of workers came in and out, and where older cardinals lived in apartments.
Cardinal Lajolo added that especially after the scare in Santa Marta, the pope no longer ate in the refectory with the other priests. ''They have forced him into isolation because, naturally, he is a person we all care about.''
In his remarks on Friday evening, Francis thanked the doctors, first responders and workers on the front lines and said the pandemic ''unmasks'' to the faithful how ''false and superfluous'' the priorities of modern life had become.
With a wooden crucifix behind him that had been carried through Rome's streets in 1522 against the great plague, Francis sought to bolster faith in a world facing anxiety and fear.
''From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God's blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace,'' Francis concluded. ''Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts.''
Elisabetta Povoledo contributed from Rome, Emma Bubola from Verona.
Updated March 24, 2020
How does coronavirus spread?It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.
Is there a vaccine yet?No. The first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine began in mid-March. Such rapid development of a potential vaccine is unprecedented, but even if it is proved safe and effective, it probably will not be available for 12 to18 months.
What makes this outbreak so different?Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions '-- not just those with respiratory diseases '-- particularly hard.
What should I do if I feel sick?If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
How do I get tested?If you're sick and you think you've been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there's a chance '-- because of a lack of testing kits or because you're asymptomatic, for instance '-- you won't be able to get tested.
What if somebody in my family gets sick?If the family member doesn't need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there's space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don't forget to wash your hands frequently.
Should I wear a mask?Experts are divided on how much protection a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf, can provide for people who aren't yet sick. The W.H.O. and C.D.C. say that unless you're already sick, or caring for someone who is, wearing a face mask isn't necessary. And stockpiling high-grade N95 masks will make it harder for nurses and other workers to access the resources they need. But researchers are also finding that there are more cases of asymptomatic transmission than were known early on in the pandemic. And a few experts say that masks could offer some protection in crowded places where it is not possible to stay 6 feet away from other people. Masks don't replace hand-washing and social distancing.
Should I stock up on groceries?Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Can I go to the park?Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don't live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.
Should I pull my money from the markets?That's not a good idea. Even if you're retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year's worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.
What should I do with my 401(k)?Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions '-- don't! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you're at least saving as much as you can to get that ''free money.''
CBS News admits 'mistake' after airing footage of overcrowded Italian hospital in report about NYC | Fox News
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:51
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CBS News admitted to a "mistake" on Monday after airing footage of an overcrowded hospital room that was allegedly in New York City but was actually from a hospital in Italy.
"It was an editing mistake. We took immediate steps to remove it from all platforms and shows," a CBS News spokesperson told Fox News.
Last Wednesday, "CBS This Morning" included a brief clip showing several patients and medical professionals in one room during a report about the rising threat of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City.
However, that same footage aired days prior on Sky News.
NBC'S CHUCK TODD UNDER FIRE FOR ASKING BIDEN IF TRUMP 'HAS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS' FOR DELAYED CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
''This is the main hospital in Bergamo, in Lombardy province. It's one of the most advanced hospitals in Europe,'' Sky News reported.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
ABC News made a similar mistake last fall when it aired footage from a Kentucky gun range while falsely claiming it depicted a fierce battle between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces.
The network aired the footage framing it as battlefield video, when, in fact, it appears to be from a night gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Ky.
ABC News issued a correction and apologized for the error.
Fox News' Nick Givas contributed to this report.
An international tribunal should judge China for 'biological warfare' | South Asia Monitor
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:45
The notion that COVID-19 originated outside China has no scientific evidence to support Beijing's theory, but the WHO, instead of nailing China for the global COVID-19 outbreak caused by its biowarfare experiment going horribly wrong is busy wagging its tail like an obedient puppy '' merely calling it a pandemic because China is the second-largest donor to the WHO, writes Lt Gen P. C. Katoch (retd) for South Asia Monitor
The dexterity with which China has converted the biological attack unleashed from Wuhan with COVID-19 into a victory is pathologically and diabolically cynical. President Xi Jinping, whose foundations were shaking within China, has been transformed from a demon to a hero through intense psychological operations. China was fighting on two fronts, against COVID-19 and hiding the truth; it appears to have won the latter. Dissent continues to be throttled and dissenters disappear as before. China's official COVID-19 figures as of March 21 are 3,255 dead and 81,008 infected, but actual figures of how many died may never be known. China Mobile is showing they lost 8.116 million users in January-February 2020. Such large numbers switching their service provider in such a short span is highly unlikely; it appears indicative of what Beijing is hiding.
The brutal credentials of China's communist regime are well established '' tanks mowing down unarmed students at Tiananmen Square and, presently, concentration camps in Xinjiang torturing Uighurs. China's state-sponsored media claims COVID-19 came to Wuhan by 300 'infected' US soldiers participating in the World Military Games in October 2019. These games saw over 9000 participants from 140 countries including India. So how come the 300 US participants purportedly infected with virus passed it on only to the Chinese? Surely the US contingent did not include a task force from SOCOM that broke into the PLA-overseen lab and set a timer on a vial to shatter it only after the games were over. How come the pandemic did not go global then but was only in Wuhan, which Beijing put a lid on?
But this is not about how Beijing treats or kills Chinese nationals or lets loose the virus to control its own population. This is about the blood on the hands of China's regime for the over 11,000 deaths and over 300,000 infected with COVID-19 globally by March 21, with these figures multiplying every second, cities/regions/nations locked down, economies shattered and unemployment going berserk '' in effect de-stabilizing the world because of its biological warfare experiment gone horribly wrong.
SARS broke out in China in November 2002, but China reported it to the WHO only in February 2003, by which time SARS spread to 37 countries. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan was hidden by China for months until it became impossible to hide any longer. In July 2019, a group of Chinese scientists in Canada were accused of spying in Canada's National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg; allegedly smuggling data/virus to China. Biological warfare, economic warfare and psychological warfare are all part of China's concept of 'Unrestricted Warfare', originally aimed at destroying America but which Beijing employs against all adversaries. China's biological warfare programme is believed to be in an advanced stage.
Dr Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act, is quite sure that COVID-19 is an offensive biological warfare weapon with DNA-genetic engineering. This is known to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The notion that COVID-19 originated outside China has no scientific evidence to support Beijing's theory, but the WHO, instead of nailing China for the global COVID-19 outbreak caused by its biowarfare experiment going horribly wrong is busy wagging its tail like an obedient puppy '' merely calling it a pandemic because China is the second-largest donor to the WHO. China recently pledged $20 million to help the WHO fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, the declaration of this pandemic by the WHO was at a belated stage. It is absolutely pathetic for the WHO to highlight China's 'transparency' when it has no capability!
Clearly, the world needs to wake up and call for an international tribunal to try China for its acts of biological warfare that has caused immense human misery across the world, in addition to massive damage to economies. It does not matter if China abstains, which it would. The tribunal must also probe the role of the WHO, its effectiveness if any, especially when faced with pandemics.
Italy and Iran are the worst hit but the EU is also severely affected, as also is America. Japan and South Korea have had their share of COVID-19 along with other countries of Southeast Asia. India is transiting from stage two to stage three and the worst may yet emerge.
It stands to reason that all the affected countries must stand together, not only to fight the scourge but also make China accountable for the outbreak. There is no denying that most of the world is dependent on Chinese products but it would be good for countries and individuals to now shun China and Chinese products until China's communist regime reverses course, instead of going more and more rogue.
(The author is an Indian Army veteran. The views expressed are personal)
$20 Trillion Lawsuit Against China For Waging Biological War | GreatGameIndia
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:22
Amidst worldwide criticism U.S. lawyer and conservative activist, Larry Klayman, his Company Buzz Photos and his group Freedom Watch have filed a $20 trillion lawsuit against China for waging a Biological war, alleging that it unleashed the coronavirus as a bioweapon upon the world.
$20 Trillion Lawsuit Against China For Waging Biological War$20 Trillion Biological War Lawsuit The lawsuit cited following pieces of evidences, as cataloged in a New York Post article:
Chinese leader Xi Jinping specifically linked efforts to prevent similar future threats to security of biological laboratories. Xi explained these efforts by saying that laboratory safety is a ''National security'' issue.The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: ''Instructions on strengthening bio-security management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.''China's only Level 4 microbiology lab that is equipped to handle deadly coronaviruses, called the National Biosafety Laboratory, is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.First page of the class action lawsuit brought by Larry Klayman against China for waging a Biological War. Find the full document here. Source: Freedom WatchIn the lawsuit, the plaintiff argued that because China had already agreed by Biological Weapons Convention treaty to outlaw such weapons c. November, 1984, these actions cannot be official governmental actions of the People's Republic of China and therefore, China cannot claim legal immunity from the class action lawsuit.
Klayman added in a statement, ''There is no reason why the American taxpayer should, contrary to the establishment in Washington, D.C., have to pay for the tremendous harm caused by the Chinese government. The Chinese people are a good people, but their government is not and it must be made to pay dearly.''
Klayman is seeking $20 trillion in damages and has called for affected Americans to sign up at his website Freedom Watch USA and become part of the class action lawsuit. The case has been filed in a Texas Federal Court.
Worldwide Criticism by Experts Klayman is not the only one calling out China's Biological Warfare activities. Chinese mishandling of the virus has attracted global criticism and numerous prominent personalities have come forward urging the international community to conduct an investigation into these serious matter and take action. Below we mention few of them.
Lt. Gen. Prakash Katoch, Indian Army Veteran Indian Army veteran Lt. Gen. Prakash Katoch has called for an international tribunal to punish China for its biological warfare, citing the late SARS epidemic reporting by China in 2003 and the enormous drop off of close to 15 million subscribers in Chinese mobile subscriber base over January and February, 2020 as evidences that China mishandled coronavirus at an unprecedented, international scale. He also cited GreatGameIndia's investigation into spying by a group of Chinese scientists in Canada's National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg in July 2019.
Lt Gen @KatochPrakash (retd) expands on our investigation on #Coronavirus Bioweapon and makes the case for an international tribunal to judge China for 'biological warfare' in @SAMonitor. #CoronavirusLockdownhttps://t.co/SiaKl7gIWw
'-- GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) March 25, 2020
''The brutal credentials of China's communist regime are well established '' tanks mowing down unarmed students at Tiananmen Square and, presently, concentration camps in Xinjiang torturing Uighurs,'' the Lt Gen Katoch wrote. He also rebuked the role of the World Health Organization in this affair: ''China recently pledged $20 million to help the WHO fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, the declaration of this pandemic by the WHO was at a belated stage. It is absolutely pathetic for the WHO to highlight China's 'transparency' when it has no capability!''
Former Israeli Intelligence Officer Dany Shoham Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who studied Chinese biological warfare, said the (Wuhan Institute of Virology) institute is linked to Beijing's covert bio-weapons program. He said the secure Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory at the institute was engaged in research on the Ebola, Nipah and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses.
The Wuhan virology institute is under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but certain laboratories within it ''have linkage with the PLA or BW-related elements within the Chinese defence establishment,'' he said. Suspicions were raised about the Wuhan Institute of Virology when a group of Chinese virologists working in Canada improperly sent to China samples of what he described as some of the deadliest viruses on earth, including the Ebola virus.
Bioweapons Expert Dr Francis Boyle Dr Francis Boyle is an eminent professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in the U.S. In an explosive interview with Geopolitics and Empire, Dr Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act, gave a detailed statement on how the 2019 Wuhan Coronavirus is an offensive biological warfare weapon and that the World Health Organization (WHO) already knew about it.
Watch here the exclusive interview of Dr. Francis Boyle on Coronavirus Biological Warfare blocked by the Deep State. Read here the full transcript of the interview.
U.S. Republican Senators Tom Cotton, Republican Senator of Arkansas Sen. Cotton earlier in February, did not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus may have been developed by the Chinese in a ''Superlaboratory,'' and that the damage from the virus could be ''Worse than Chernobyl.''
Chinese Communist Party lies & corruption turned a local health problem into a global pandemic, devastating lives & dreams across our country. There will be a reckoning. https://t.co/CPlEohA5ez
'-- Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 22, 2020
In a press release published on his website, Sen. Cotton stated, ''The official line is that coronavirus is contained and China is back to work. But don't believe it. Do not believe the hype. The Chinese Communist Party lied from the very beginning of this outbreak, and it's lying still. It is responsible for the scale of this virus outbreak around the world. This outbreak didn't happen in spite of the Chinese Communists' efforts to contain it, it happened because of the communist system of government.''
Republican Senator of Missouri, Josh Hawley and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik Republican Senator of Missouri, Jash Hawley and Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik introduced a joint resolution on the 24th of March, calling for an international investigation into China's handling in the early spread of the coronavirus.
Senator Hawley said in an interview with FOX News that China must be made to pay for the economic damage to the United States caused by the coronavirus. ''The cost of Beijing's criminal conduct should be assessed and they should pay damages to USA and the world,'' Hawley added.
Geopolitical Expert J.R. Nyquist J.R. Nyquist, an expert on Russian and communist military and foreign policy, and author of the books ''Origins of the Fourth World War'' and ''The New Tactics of Global War,'' published secret speeches given to high-level Communist Party cadres by Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Chi Haotian.Gen. Haotian revealed that the catalyst to a long-range plan for ensuring a Chinese national renaissance would be a secret plan to weaponize viruses.
In the words of author J.R. Nyquist:
Frank Plummer Assassination The below visualization The Secret History of #Coronavirus is based on GreatGameIndia's exclusive report Coronavirus Bioweapon '' How China Stole Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponized Ithttps://t.co/lxpoK2LO8B
'-- GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) March 16, 2020
GreatGameIndia, in early February, brought to attention the Chinese Biological Espionage case at Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory. The key to the case, renowned Canadian scientist Frank Plummer, died in mysterious circumstances. He was the very person who received Saudi SARS Coronavirus sample and was working on a Coronavirus (HIV) vaccine in the Winnipeg-based Canadian lab from where the virus was smuggled by Chinese Biowarfare agents to China and is widely believed to be weaponized in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Investigation by India and USA The Indian government has ordered an inquiry into a study conducted in the North Eastern state of Nagaland (close to China) on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola. 2 of the 12 researchers belonged to Wuhan Institute of Virology's Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases and it was funded by the United States Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
The results of the study were published in October last year in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, originally established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Even the White House has opened and investigation to determine if these findings are true and whether Coronavirus is indeed bio-engineered in a lab.
Send in your tips and submissions by filling out this form or write to us directly at the email provided. Join us on WhatsApp for more intel and updates.
For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.
GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations. Get to know the Geopolitical threats India is facing in our exclusive book India in Cognitive Dissonance. Past magazine issues can be accessed from the Archives section.
Read more on Chinese Biological and Chemical warfare activities against India in our exclusive History of Narco-Terrorism issue.
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Chinese Biological Experiments To Infect Humans With Coronavirus Exposed In 2015 By Italian State Media | Zero Hedge
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:19
Authored by Guido Taietti via GreatGameIndia.com,
Five years ago, Italian state owned media Company, Rai '' Radiotelevisione Italiana, exposed dark efforts by China on viruses. The video, which was broadcast in November, 2015, showed how Chinese scientists were doing biological experiments on a SARS connected virus believed to be Coronavirus, derived from bats and mice, asking whether it was worth the risk in order to be able to modify the virus for compatibility with human organisms.
Below is a transcription of the Italian broadcast translated in English...
Chinese Biological ExperimentsChinese scientists have created a pulmonary supervirus from bats and mice only for study reasons but there are many questionable aspects to this. Is it worth the risk? It's an experiment, of course, but it is worrisome. It worries many scientists: It is a group of Chinese researchers attaching a protein taken from bats to the SARS virus, Acute Pneumonia, derived from mice. The output is a super coronavirus that could affect man. It remains closed in laboratories and it is only for study purposes, but is it worth the risk '' creating such a great threat only for examination purposes?
The debate about the risks of research is as old as science itself. Like the myth of Icarus, who plunged from the Sky and perished in the sea, having gone too close to the Sun with the wings of wax designed by his father!
Chinese scientists experiment on SARS virus to infect humans. Rai '' Radiotelevisione Italiana
Here is an experiment in China, in which a group of scientists has managed to develop a chimera '' an organism modified by attaching the surface protein of a coronavirus found in bats of the common species called the Great Horseshoe Bat, to a virus that causes SARS in mice, although in a non-fatal form. It was suspected that the protein could make the chimeric hybrid organism suitable for affecting humans, and the experiment confirmed it.
It is precisely this molecule, called SHCO14, that allows the coronavirus to attach itself to our respiratory cells and to trigger the syndrome. According to researchers, the two organisms, the original and even more so the engineered one, can infect humans directly from bats, without going through an intermediate species like the mouse, and it is this eventuality that raises many controversies.
Just one year ago (this broadcast is of 2015), the U.S. government suspended research funding, which aimed to make viruses more contagious. The moratorium did not stop the work of the Chinese on SARS, which was already in advanced stages and looked relatively harmless.
According to a section of the scientific community, it is in fact not dangerous. The probability that the virus may pass to our species was insignificant compared to the benefits of the virus '' an argument that many other experts rejected. First, because the relationship between risk and benefit is difficult to evaluate and second, because especially in these times, it is more prudent to not put into circulation an organism that can escape or be removed from the control of laboratories.
As soon that this broadcast went viral on the Italian social media, journalists and experts began explaining it away saying, that the virus in the video was not COVID-19. Even the British journal Nature, which wrote the very publication this Italian show was based on, clarified that the virus the broadcast talked about was not related to the ''Natural'' COVID-19.
However, that is beside the point. This is not to say that the viruses are literally the same. This is to say that the information presented in the video is consistent with the information that China is doing a lot of research on bioweapons, and that the impact of the virus in the broadcast has a lot in common with mainstream information about the symptoms of COVID-19.
The central monitor room at China's National Bio-safety Laboratory. Nature
Moreover, Nature itself had done a piece in February, 2017, on the BSL-4 laboratory in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, raising valid concerns and theories, and wondering out loud whether experimentation with deadly viruses was a good idea.
''BSL-4 is the highest level of bio-containment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial'....
Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn't require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do'... Worries surround the Chinese lab'... The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times'... The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming.''
In January, 2020, Nature then sheepishly added an editor's note to the top of the article, saying that there is in fact ''no evidence'' of this lab playing a role in the outbreak of coronavirus and that scientists believe that the source is likely ''an animal market.''
Meanwhile, the Italian scientists at Milan University are investigating whether the coronavirus outbreak actually began in Italy in the last quarter of 2019. Milan and Lodi cities of Lombardy administrative region reported a ''significant'' increase in the number of people hospitalized for pneumonia and flu in October and December of 2019. Meanwhile, amidst worldwide criticism, a $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed against China for waging Biological war using Coronavirus.
Biden's Unpresidential Coronavirus Rhetoric | The American Spectator
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:35
O ne reason it's difficult for any politician, regardless of reputation, to unseat an incumbent president involves the difficulty of remaining statesmanlike while engaging in partisan politics. From the birth of the republic until the late 19th century, candidates managed this by ''standing for office'' while their surrogates handled the cut and thrust of day-to-day campaigning. Today's presidential challengers enjoy no such luxury. They are expected to get out among the voters and explain how they would do a better job than the incumbent. In a time of national crisis, this must be accomplished without exploiting the emergency and appearing cynically opportunistic. Joe Biden has already committed this fatal blunder.
The former vice president has attempted to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to gain political leverage from the moment the outbreak spread to the United States. Biden has personally peddled false charges concerning the Trump administration's response to the crisis and directed his staff to run campaign ads that deliberately distort the facts. This conduct has been so irresponsible in some cases that even news outlets whose ideological inclinations would normally render them supportive of his candidacy have taken him to task. The Washington Post, for example, awarded Biden four ''Pinocchios'' last Friday for promulgating deceptively edited videos that created a false impression of the president's words:
Biden's ad presents two separate and distinctly different examples of manipulated video'.... Ultimately, the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that Trump had clarified his comments on the matter before the ad was released, and the blatant way the Biden camp isolated his remarks about the American Dream pushed us to Four Pinocchios. Campaigns must be willing to make their case without resorting to video manipulation.
This is by no means an isolated offense. During last Sunday's Democratic debate, Biden leveled a charge at the Trump administration that was not merely false but also betrayed considerable ignorance about public health: ''Look, the World Health Organization offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them.'' In reality, there was no such offer. Kaiser Health News quotes World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Margaret Harris as follows: ''No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States.'' The Coronavirus Task Force also debunked Biden's claim while explaining how such tests are evaluated.
A few days before the Sunday debate, Biden made yet another false claim about the Trump administration that had already been debunked: ''By cutting our investment in global health, this administration has left us woefully unprepared for the exact crisis we now face.'' This myth has been parroted so often by so many Democrats, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), that the Post was again compelled to set the record straight: ''Murphy jumped to conclusions, assuming the funding reductions had gone into effect and the programs in nearly 40 countries were closed. But that's not correct.'' Nonetheless, numerous variations of this ''funding cuts'' fiction remain in Joe Biden's rhetorical repertoire.
Biden has, for example, consistently claimed that Trump shut down the ''pandemic response'' office created by the Obama administration to deal with infectious diseases like coronavirus. On March 1, CNBC reported, ''Biden accused the Trump administration of eliminating an office in the White House to deal with future outbreaks of pandemic diseases, which he said was set up during the Ebola crisis in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.'' The story goes more or less as follows: Trump made drastic cuts in the National Security Council (NSC) that effectively ''dissolved'' the pandemic response office. Unfortunately for the former VP's credibility, the person who led that office says the charge just isn't true:
It has been alleged by multiple officials of the Obama administration '... that the president and his then-national security adviser, John Bolton, ''dissolved the office'' at the White House in charge of pandemic preparedness. Because I led the very directorate assigned that mission, the counterproliferation and biodefense office, for a year and then handed it off to another official who still holds the post, I know the charge is specious.
That was written by Tim Morrison, who was senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense at the NSC when Trump's ''draconian cuts'' occurred. What actually happened was that the president streamlined the bloated NSC, reorganizing some sections to accomplish that goal. In that process, three departments with roughly the same mission were consolidated. According to Morrison, who is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, ''It is this reorganization that critics have misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented.'' Unless Joe Biden doesn't understand the difference between ''consolidation'' and ''elimination,'' he is among those intentionally misrepresenting the facts.
Biden has also insisted that Trump is at fault for any delays in coronavirus testing: ''Our government's ability to respond effectively has been undermined by hollowing out our agencies and disparagement of science.'' Yet, the most reliable and nonpartisan source for information on the Trump administration's response to the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says Trump cannot reasonably be blamed: ''This has nothing to do with anybody's fault, certainly not the president's fault.'' This is where Biden's attempt to blame Trump will backfire. It simply isn't presidential. Meanwhile, as former Obama adviser David Axelrod points out, all Trump has to do in order to appear statesmanlike is show up and do his job:
[Trump] has one big platform right now. We saw it today. He's the president of the United States in the midst of a crisis '... if he consistently appears to be wrestling with that crisis, this is a country that likes to rally behind the leader.'... But, if you're Joe Biden, you have to think about how do you run against a guy who's spending hours on television every day talking to the American people about this mortal threat.
This brings us back to the challenger's dilemma in a race against an incumbent president in a time of crisis. It's just not a good look to stand on the outside with no responsibility and criticize the man tasked with solving the problem. The voters see it as cheap partisanship. And if the challenger's criticisms are based on falsehoods, as are many of Biden's, he is destined to be seen as a cynical opportunist exploiting a national emergency for personal gain. This is where Joe Biden is today, and it is most emphatically not presidential.
China objects to term 'Wuhan coronavirus' used by Mike Pompeo
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:29
China's foreign ministry on Monday objected to the expression "Wuhan coronavirus" '-- saying the name will "stigmatize" the country '-- following remarks from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The objection marks the latest from Beijing leaders and the country's state-controlled media, which have gone as far as to claim that the coronavirus outbreak, which was first reported in the central province of Hubei, may not have started in China at all.
The new coronavirus was first reported to the World Health Organization in December last year, after emerging in the central city of Wuhan. Since then, COVID-19 has spread to more than 100 countries, infected over 100,000 people and killed at least 3,800 globally. Most of those infected and killed so far were in China.
Asked about Pompeo's use of the term at a scheduled press briefing on Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry said it was a "despicable practice" to call the virus the "Wuhan coronavirus."
"Despite the fact that the WHO has officially named this novel type of coronavirus, (a) certain American politician, disrespecting science and the WHO decision, jumped at the first chance to stigmatize China and Wuhan with it. We condemn this despicable practice," said Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesperson. He was commenting on Pompeo's use of the term "Wuhan coronavirus."
No less (an) authority than the Chinese Communist Party said it came from Wuhan. So don't take Mike Pompeo's word for it. We have pretty high confidence that we know where this began.
Mike Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State
There were similar comments last week.
"It is highly irresponsible for some media to dub it 'China virus,'" said Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson last Wednesday. "We firmly oppose that."
However, respected AIDS researcher David Ho said the coronavirus very likely originated from China. He told the Voice of America (VOA) last week that given what researchers know about SARS, COVID-19 and coronaviruses found in other animal species, "I have very little doubt that the origin is China."
Ho said there were opportunities to improve the research on the SARS virus, which caused an outbreak 17 years ago, and that would have better prepared the world for the current outbreak. However, political will and commitment to funding "simply disappeared" after the outbreak, he added.
'Information virus'Last week, Pompeo hit back against suggestions from China that the global outbreak of the coronavirus could have originated outside that country.
"No less (an) authority than the Chinese Communist Party said it came from Wuhan," Pompeo told CNBC last Friday. "So don't take Mike Pompeo's word for it. We have pretty high confidence that we know where this began."
But according to the Chinese foreign ministry's transcript, Zhao said there was "no conclusion" to the origins of the virus yet and emphasized the comments of famed SARS researcher, Zhong Nanshan, who said that even though the epidemic was first reported in China, it didn't necessarily originate in the country.
Government workers walk out of Jianghan Fangcang temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients, which is being shut down, in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Monday, March 09, 2020. As the number of patients drops, the city has begun closing the temporary hospitals built to treat patients with the coronavirus.
Feature China | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
"We should all say no to 'information virus' and 'political virus.' By calling it 'China virus' and thus suggesting its origin without any supporting facts or evidence, some media clearly want China to take the blame and their ulterior motives are laid bare," said Zhao.
An official account for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet on Mar. 4 that China was "still tracing the origin" of the coronavirus. "Its origin is not necessarily in China," the tweet said.
Chinese Communist Party-linked newspaper Global Times also attacked Pompeo's use of the term "Wuhan virus."
"Pompeo's move not only exposes malicious US intentions toward China without regard to common sense, but also hits a new low in his personal conduct," said the newspaper's opinion piece published on Sunday. "Instead of devoting energy to strengthening their country's defenses against the virus, some US politicians are keen to blame China and pass the buck to Beijing."
China's message switches gearAs the growth in the number of infected cases appears to slow in China, Beijing is emphasizing its efforts to distribute aid such as test kits to affected countries such as Japan, Iran and Pakistan.
That may win some hearts and shift the perception that China did not contain the virus effectively in its early days, said one analyst.
China is portraying itself to have done a very good job in those early days '-- even though we know that perhaps it was more mixed as a response.
Natasha Kassam
research fellow, Lowy Institute
"Perhaps other countries are not dealing with the outbreak as competently as might have been expected. And so, by contrast, China is portraying itself to have done a very good job in those early days '-- even though we know that perhaps it was more mixed as a response," said Natasha Kassam, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia.
There's "a switch in gear for the propaganda machine in China where they are talking about sending masks overseas, sending assistance to other countries that need it, talking about these kind of laudable medical achievements that they've made and how they can share the information," said Kassam in a Friday podcast.
"They started dispelling or trying to dispel the idea that the virus came from Wuhan and so, with that shift, I think you have a lot of countries that need help that don't have the health-care systems to deal with this and suddenly, maybe China is a helpful ally to them again," Kassam added.
China's State Council Information Office, which oversees publicity for the Chinese government overall, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kassam's analysis.
'Science, reason and cooperation' China is now calling on the world to fight the epidemic together and saying that "rumors and prejudice" must go.
"The epidemic is a global challenge. The right move should be working together to fight it, which means no place for rumors and prejudice," Zhao said at the same press briefing last week. "We need science, reason and cooperation to drive out ignorance and bias."
Chinese foreign diplomats have also been on the defensive recently '-- most notably on Twitter, which is blocked in the mainland. China's ambassador to South Africa said in a tweet on Sunday: "Although the epidemic first broke out in China, it did not necessarily mean that the virus is originated from China, let alone 'made in China.'"
Global Times has pointed fingers at some countries which it said was "slow to respond" to the outbreak.
"Many countries are slow in responding to COVID-19. Coronavirus overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan in a short time. China dispatched over 40,000 medical workers to support Wuhan," the paper's chief editor tweeted recently. "No other country has this mobilization capability. They must try utmost to prevent situation from worsening."
State media has also said the world and the United States should "thank" China for taking extreme measures to contain the coronavirus, which would have otherwise spread even further, instead of imposing travel restrictions on Chinese citizens.
"Now, we should say righteously that the U.S. owes China an apology, the world owes China a thank you," said an editorial on state news agency, Xinhua, which was translated by CNBC and which was first posted on the social media account of Huang Sheng, an investor.
America's Superb, Unappreciated President | Frontpagemag
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:24
A close look at what Trump has done to combat the current pandemic -- amid constant Democrat assaults.
It has been a very long time since Americans last saw such a clear distinction between the considerable leadership qualities of their president, and the shameless political maneuverings of an opposition party constantly lusting for power. Let us review exactly what has happened in this country over the past two months, vis-a-vis the coronavirus pandemic. On January 29, President Donald Trump created a White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate the federal government's response to the virus outbreak and to keep the American people as informed about it as possible. At that time, you might recall, congressional Democrats were giving precisely ZERO attention to the coronavirus threat. They had not held even a single hearing '-- for even a single moment '-- about the matter. Instead, they had spent the preceding four months entirely obsessed with one agenda item: impeaching President Trump and trying to remove him from office. The Senate impeachment trial, which had commenced on January 21, was still in high gear. Since the previous September, the faces of Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and a host of other Democrats had become fixtures on every television screen in America as they salivated over the smell of political blood. They talked about nothing but impeachment, as their normal legislative duties were all but forgotten. Coronavirus was, quite literally, the last thing on any of their minds. Two days later, on January 31, President Trump formally declared coronavirus to be a public health emergency and he implemented a ban on travel from China to the United States. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci later noted that ''the very timely decision on the part of the president to shut off travel from China'' had ''absolutely'' gone ''a long way'' toward limiting the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. ''We did it early,'' said Fauci, ''and as it turned out, there were relatively few cases, in the big picture of things, that came in from China. Unfortunately '... in European countries they didn't do that [ban travel from China], and they got hit really hard.... When the infection burden shifted from China to Europe, we did the same thing. We shut off travel from Europe, which again was another safeguard to prevent influx from without, in.'' Also by Fauci's telling, the Trump administration's ''coordinated response'' to the crisis '-- dating back to ''the beginning [when] we [first] recognized what this [virus] was'' '-- had been undeniably ''impressive.'' ''I can't imagine that, under any circumstances, anybody could be doing more,'' said Fauci. But Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden failed to recognize any value in Trump's actions. Instead, he saw a golden opportunity to inject his campaign with a bit of life by doing what he does best: branding a political opponent as an out-of-control bigot. On February 1 '-- just one day after Trump had announced his China travel restriction '-- Biden depicted the president as a racist whose heart was filled with hatred for Asian people. ''This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria and xenophobia '-- hysterical xenophobia '-- and fearmongering,'' said the former vice president. Notably, it would not be until four days later '-- on February 5 '-- that the Democrats' failed impeachment trial in the Senate would finally draw to a close. That was the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs held its very first coronavirus hearing. In subsequent weeks, President Trump announced further travel restrictions on certain global hot spots where coronavirus was becoming increasingly widespread '-- namely Iran, South Korea, and eventually, all of Europe. American citizens returning from travel-restricted countries began to be routed to specific airports, where they could be properly screened and, if necessary, isolated. Eventually, in March, the president officially closed both the southern and northern borders of the United States, so as to prevent the unnecessary influx of any further coronavirus cases from Mexico or Canada. But at that very same moment in time, a host of Democrats and their supporters suddenly became quite enamored of a talking point that had recently been floated by Communist China's foreign ministry: the notion that it was somehow ''racist'' for anyone to make reference to coronavirus as a phenomenon of Chinese origin. Joe Biden, true to form, latched on to the Beijing propaganda and suggested that Trump's decision to describe the pathogen as ''a foreign virus'' or ''a Chinese virus'' was evidence of the president's '... yes, you guessed it, racism and xenophobia. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jumped aboard the bandwagon as well: ''The president is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis.'' In conjunction with the Trump administration's around-the-clock efforts to accelerate the development of coronavirus diagnostic capabilities, treatments, and vaccines, on February 29 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency approval for the development of new commercial coronavirus tests. To enable this goal to be realized as quickly as possible, President Trump instructed the agency to dramatically cut the bureaucratic red tape that traditionally had stood in the way of swift action. Meanwhile, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) provided large sums of money to help accelerate the production of diagnostic tests. Trump also issued emergency orders that allowed HHS ''to immediately waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give [all] healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients.'' And on March 16, the National Institutes of Health announced the start of a clinical trial aimed at creating a coronavirus vaccine '-- representing one of the fastest vaccine-development launches in the history of medicine.
But alas, Joe Biden was unimpressed. ''The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense,'' he boasted, ''to prepare for future pandemics like COVID-19'' '-- the disease caused by the coronavirus. ''Donald Trump eliminated it [the Directorate], and now we're paying the price.'' Trump's ''draconian cuts,'' said Biden, were now costing people their lives. Not surprisingly, Biden's very serious charge caught the media's attention on a grand scale. Too bad it was an unadulterated lie. Former National Security Council (NSC) official Tim Morrison, who was the senior director for counter-proliferation and bio-defense at the NSC when Trump's ''draconian cuts'' had supposedly occurred, explains that the office in question was simply combined with others in a reorganization that ''left the bio-defense staff unaffected.'' ''What actually happened,'' says the American Spectator, ''was that the president streamlined the bloated NSC, reorganizing some sections to accomplish that goal. In that process, three departments with roughly the same mission were consolidated.'' Morrison painstakingly laid out these facts in an op-ed published by the Washington Post, where he not only praised the president for his efforts to ''finally create real accountability in the federal government's expansive bio-defense system,'' but also derided critics for having ''misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented'' the facts regarding Trump's action. On March 4, HHS announced that it was going to purchase 500 million N95 respirators for the Strategic National Stockpile. A week later, President Trump signed a memorandum directing his administration to make general-use face masks available to healthcare workers. And six days after that, on March 17, the Department of Defense, in response to a request by the president, announced that it would be providing 5 million additional respirator masks as well as 2,000 specialized ventilators. But Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg lamented that many Americans would tragically have to ''pay a heavy cost'' for ''the president's management incompetence.'' Former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine likewise derided Trump for his ''massive missteps that have led to the United States being so far behind other nations in the world'' in responding to the crisis. On March 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created new billing codes for coronavirus tests, so as to facilitate accurate tracking of the public health response. The following day, President Trump signed legislation securing $8.3 billion for coronavirus response efforts '-- money that would cover the costs of things like public lab testing, isolation and quarantine initiatives, the sanitization of public areas, and vaccine research. And a week after that, Trump officially declared a national emergency, which freed up an additional $42 billion to fund the cause. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer decided that the best way they could now help the American people rally their energies to fight the pandemic, would be to release a joint statement declaring that ''President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration, and it is hampering the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.'' In an effort to be responsive to the needs of American businesses and their employees, President Trump met with executives from the banking, health insurance, pharmaceutical, airline, grocery store, and retail store industries, among others. On March 10, he urged Congress to pass a payroll tax cut. That same day, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) '-- in fulfillment of ''a top priority for President Trump and this Administration'' '-- announced new flexibilities that would allow meal-service programs to remain active even while schools were closed due to coronavirus. And CMS, after meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence, announced that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans could now waive co-payments for coronavirus tests and treatment. But according to recent Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, ''Trump's incompetence'' in dealing with the pandemic was akin to ''a neon sign going like, 'I stink at my job. Yeah, I am a dummy! Ok?' by Donald Trump.'' On March 11, The Trump administration announced that health savings accounts could be used to cover coronavirus testing and treatment without co-payments. That same day, the president directed the Treasury Department to allow coronavirus-impacted individuals and businesses to defer the payment of taxes that they owed. But in the words of former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat: ''We got a guy in the White House who doesn't know anything about patriotism, doesn't know anything about empathy.'' On March 12, Trump instructed the Small Business Administration to make available some $50 billion in low-interest disaster loans for businesses impacted by the virus. That was the same day that Joe Biden parroted an already-debunked Democratic talking point when he said: ''By cutting our investment in global health, this administration has left us woefully unprepared for the exact crisis we now face.'' Biden was referring to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), to which the United States had contributed $600 million in 2015. The Washington Free Beacon explains: ''As the initial funding dwindled in early 2018, reports emerged suggesting the Trump administration would scale back GHSA operations in all but 10 countries. But the cuts never happened, and the Trump administration's proposed 2021 budget includes an increase in the GHSA's annual appropriation.''
Did Mr. Biden ever apologize for his premeditated, malicious lie? Don't be ridiculous. For Biden's purposes, his lie about Trump and the GHSA achieved its objective with flying colors: Many Americans who heard him articulate the falsehood will undoubtedly never find out that not a single syllable of it was true. They'll just remember the urgent-sounding tenor in Biden's voice. What more could a lifelong congenital liar ask for? On March 12 as well, the Trump administration increased the flexibility of unemployment insurance programs, so as to allow workers impacted by the coronavirus to benefit from them. At that point, Hillary Clinton decided that she could raise the bar of statesmanship to new heights by tweeting sarcastically: ''I know this is all hard for you, @realdonaldtrump, so let me spell it out.'' She then proceeded to list a series of anti-coronavirus measures that, contrary to her false implication, President Trump had already enacted. Finally, Mrs. Clinton informed Trump that he might do a better job of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic if he were to try, for a change, ''giving a damn'' about the American people. That same day, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pronounced in the gravest of tones: ''More people are sick in America tonight because Donald Trump is president. More people are dead and dying in America tonight because Donald Trump is president.'' On March 13, President Trump authorized HHS to waive its existing rules and regulations so that healthcare providers could respond to the crisis with as few restrictions as possible. That same day, he directed the Energy Department to purchase '-- at a very favorable price '-- large quantities of crude oil for the National Strategic Reserve. Trump likewise directed the Education Department to waive interest payments on student loans held by the federal government. On March 14, the administration negotiated legislation to provide tax credits for businesses that chose to give paid leave to employees affected by the virus. And four days later, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would temporarily suspend foreclosures and evictions affecting families whose mortgages were insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But according to Michael Bloomberg, President Trump had thoroughly ''failed to prepare for a deadly pandemic '-- leaving Americans deeply unsettled'' as a result. The Trump administration has provided every state in the Union with increased flexibility to approve the establishment of coronavirus testing laboratories as well as drive-through testing sites. On March 14, it was announced that the administration was working with Google to develop a website designed to help Americans learn learn coronavirus prevention procedures, determine whether or not they needed a test, and, if so, where they could get one. Four days later, the administration launched a partnership with the Ad Council, various media networks, and a number of digital platforms to produce public service announcements about the coronavirus. In March as well, CMS dramatically expanded access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries, thereby enabling more patients to consult with their doctors remotely while avoiding potential exposure to the virus. But Joe Biden, in tones that were at once somber and outraged, lamented on March 15 that the World Health Organization had ''offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now,'' but Trump ''refused them.'' Unfortunately for Mr. Biden, this latest claim was no truer than any of his other malicious lies. Kaiser Health News quotes World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Margaret Harris as follows: ''No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States.'' On March 18, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. Navy would soon be deploying two medical ships to help support areas impacted by coronavirus. On March 19, the president signed into law a bill to not only ensure paid leave benefits to many Americans, but also to make free coronavirus testing available to anyone in need, including the uninsured. Moreover, that same bill supported nutrition programs such as the food stamp system. But during a speech on the Senate floor that very same day, Senator Tim Kaine chastised the president for engaging in ''inflammatory China-bashing'' and ''weeks and weeks of tweeting lies and misinformation about the virus, while the leaders of other nations were taking steps to make sure their populations could be safe.'' Former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took time to weigh in as well, condemning Trump's ''failure as a leader'' and depicting the president's supporters as nothing more than ''cult members'' who ''mindlessly follow a stern dictatorial father-figure who tells them what to do and think. Like, well, Nazis.'' On March 21, the FDA announced that it had approved a rapid coronavirus test that would require no training to administer and would yield results in less than an hour. On March 22, Trump asked multiple car companies to mass produce ventilators to help combat the pandemic. On that very same day, however, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio '-- another Democrat who had recently sought his party's presidential nomination '-- accused President Trump of refusing to ''lift a finger to help his hometown'' (New York) deal with with the coronavirus outbreak. ''I can't be blunt enough,'' said de Blasio. ''If the president doesn't act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.'' In a March 22 interview, Fox News host Mark Levin said to Dr. Anthony Fauci: ''There is this statement put up, [by] some in the press, [by] some in the opposition party of the president, that the president doesn't follow the science. Is the president following the science?'' After replying that in the daily Coronavirus Task Force meetings ''we make all of our decisions and recommendations that are based on the science,'' Fauci said:
''I have never in that room had a situation where I said, scientifically, this is the right thing to do and they said, don't do it. Or [I have never said] scientifically, this is the wrong thing to do, and they did it anyway. Then we get up and we present it to the president. And he asks a lot of questions. That's his nature. He is constantly asking the question, and I never, in the multiple times that I've done that ... He has never overruled me.''
And yet, on that very same day, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait published an article titled ''Trump Is Back to Waging War on Science, at the Worst Possible Moment.'' The piece concludes with this stinging indictment of the president: ''Public-health professionals have had nothing to offer him but facts and science. They never had a chance.''
The coordinated campaign of premeditated lies and smears that the Democrats and their media mouthpieces have been waging against President Trump ever since the word ''coronavirus'' first entered the American people's consciousness, has been obscene. But there is something else that also needs to be addressed. Have you noticed that even now '-- after the life-and-death dangers inherent in the Democrats' open-borders, catch-and-release immigration policies have been thoroughly laid bare by the current crisis '-- Democrats in public office have been utterly silent about those dangers? Have you noticed that they have not ventured even to speculate that perhaps President Trump's pre-coronavirus warnings about the need to regulate our nation's borders were well-founded and had absolutely nothing to do with racism? This is because the Democrat narrative never changes in any significant way. It merely makes minor adjustments for the sake of political expediency. So because right now it would be politically inconvenient to link racism to the type of border security that is very obviously a matter of life-and-death for many Americans, the Democrats have simply found a new way of framing their tried-and-true ''racism'' charade. Thus have we heard one Democrat after another intone their latest mantra-of-the-moment: the notion that Trump's use of the term ''China virus'' is damnable proof of his ''racism.'' The Democratic Party has devolved into something quite diabolical. Its very considerable energies are now spent on little more than a constant stream of frenzied efforts to cover their political foes in rhetorical bird droppings. Aside from that, the party has nothing to offer the American people.
* * *
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Commission President Under Real Pressure Over Corona Credibility Problem '-- Strategic Culture
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:14
The new EU commission president got her 30 day shutdown agreement from member states, but there are signs that her appointment was a real gaffe by euro federalists as it becomes clear that the EU is not in control of any virus contingency plans.
''Be careful what you wish for'' might be words some mutter when they think of the engagement of Germany's Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president last November. Traditionally the post of the powerful Commission president has always gone to an obscure, failed politician from an even obscurer EU member state, with perhaps the exception of Jacques Delors in the mid 80s, who, arguably, wasn't known much outside of France in that period.
But this German lightweight, with the unfortunate nickname of VDL (which in Britain conjures ideas of a sexually transmitted disease), broke the mould on failing to achieve anything while being in the federal government where even colleagues in Berlin opposed her nomination for the EU post on the ground of being sensationally unremarkable.
But the EU elite, the real powers in Brussels who have funny handshakes and whose sweaty palms are on the real powers over member states, like ''also ran'' candidates. This is seen as very much a positive thing when installing your own puppet in the top euro job.
Yet, given the EU's rancid if not delusional ideas of how to pull itself out of its own political crisis '' take more power, decentralise more away from member states, build stronger foreign policy and swell the budget considerably (presumably to pay for more fake news from journalists who are indirectly on the EU payroll) '' one would have thought that this old business model needed a second look. Surely, a heavyweight pro federalist leader with a guilt edged profile, which media lapped up, would have been the ticket? Someone like Tony Blair for example?
Dear Ursula's failure this week to garner support from EU member states to all stick to a single policy on the dreaded Corona Virus, rather than all develop their own policies on borders and national health initiatives, failed spectacularly though. If anything, it goes to show how weak and ineffective the EU is as, when tested under a crisis, the real confidence, the vote of confidence from national governments no less, just isn't there. It's like governments are saying we love the EU, we really do, and we see it as such a great thing'...but when the shit hits the fan, we'll take it from here, thanks.
On Sunday 15th of March, Germany moved to impose travel restrictions along most of its borders, without even bothering to informed its neighbouring countries. Several European Union members '-- including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Portugal and Denmark '-- had also taken moves to impose border restrictions, in some cases with little advance notification. Is any of this legal? What about Schengen?
This must have panicked Ursula who, on the Monday 16th, made the cringe-worthy plea through a video conference for calm and for everyone to do as the new EU Commission president wants. And so on the following day, she appealed to member states through a video conference for her 30 day travel ban proposal to be approved.
Finally the chaos was brought under control. But it was Germany's Angela Merkel who announced the news of an EU-wide 30-day shut down on non-EU citizens. Until that point, 27 member states went ahead with their own polices and almost certainly the move to agree on the Ursula proposal, was pushed through by Macron and Merkel as not only a common sense move, but also a political one to support the new European Commission president who for a number of days was really not on the ball.
And yet it didn't stop a number of EU member states continuing with their own internal border rules, which bypassed entirely the European Commission president.
But what no one saw coming was the extraordinary reaction from Serbia '' an EU candidate country '' whose president took the opportunity to more or less declare its loathing of Brussels, as it saw the proposal as a direct threat to its relations with China. Importantly, the draft of the text prohibits EU member states (and those in line to join the EU) seeking to acquire medical equipment outside of the EU (as well as exporting medical equipment out of the EU-27 block) which drew the wrath of the Serbian president, who more or less spat blood while taking about Brussels.
''European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy tale,'' he said at a conference which soon became vital on social media. ''The only country that can help us in this hard situation is the People's Republic of China. For the rest of them, thanks for nothing.''
President Aleksandar Vucic slammed the decision by Ursula to impose such measures and has practically begged the Chinese premier to help with medical equipment and doctors, as he sees no help whatsoever coming from other EU member states or even Brussels.
His move might well see Serbia's accession process slowed down or even annulled as the EU is quite a petulant beast and doesn't take kindly to accession countries who try to defy it. Turkey's bid to become an EU member state is put on the 'never-never' back burner of EU politics following a number of run ins with its headstrong leader Recep Erdogan who doesn't really buy the carrot-and-stick approach from Brussels.
Are we witnessing, via a bumbling management of Corona the meltdown of the EU's accession policy? Possibly. Other eastern European countries which are already in the block but also have a deep scepticism of Brussels may well take Serbia's lead and go ahead with their own plans to protect their own citizens, from taking China's help or others. So far, we are not only looking at a catastrophe from a pan-European health perspective but also the first signs of an illness within the Commission itself which keeps up some of its senior members late at night fretting about its fate: a dire lack of confidence of its president.
Ursula weathered the storm this time, due to Macron and Merkel's help but the move from the EU president is not nearly enough to save both the health epidemic and its implications towards EU economies but also a political crisis in Brussels. What she has done is too way too little and way too late. A number of emergency measures have also been taken to open up emergency funds to help companies threatened with collapse or for jobs. In Ireland alone, 140,000 jobs have been lost, for example with Spain's own central government coughing up a staggering 219 bn euros as a rescue package. That's 20% of its entire annual GDP. Compared to the few billion announced by the EU, this puts into perspective how the dithering EU neither has the ability to handle such crises '' as it never prepares for contingency plans as it fears this will make it look like the project is a failure [read euro bail outs] '' but also how it doesn't even have the funds. Or rather, it does have the funds if it didn't spend billions on propping up despots in African countries with 'humanitarian aid' which is linked directly to flows of immigrants leaving the region and ending up in Libya. Interestingly, Ursula has agreed that the EU commission needs to relax EU state aid rules during this emergency, which in practical terms means giving EU governments the green light to use their own taxpayers' money to rescue old, large companies '' hardly comforting news if you're a boss of a small firm facing losses and bankruptcy. What happened to the tomes and tomes of euro-garble about ''supporting SMEs'' which the Commission endlessly has harped on about for the last quarter century? Or jobs? The cats out of the bag.
Surely if the EU can just drop hugely important state aid rules which are the cornerstone of the single market, which the EU holds to dear, and it has no rescue plan for the small and medium sized enterprises which are surely going to go under, then really what role can we expect from the EU? Under the commission president Ursula, clearly not much. Or at least not much which amounts to anything more than just providing the office space for a talk shop for EU member states. If the EU can't even contain the virus and take measures to protect it though, what should we really make of its plans to forge ahead with an EU army with a bolder foreign policy agenda? In fact, all we need to do, to answer that question, is look at the mess created on the Turkish-Greek border as the EU's failed immigration and asylum policy wreaks havoc and drives home the point that the ''fairy tale'' of the EU as an international player is becoming recognised. In the coming months we will see EU member states abandon any directives from Ursula in Brussels and will take matters into their own hands. The dream of the euphemism of ''further integration'' [read decentralising power from member states to Brussels] which was parroted when the new commission took office at the end of 2019 will end up as European citizens' nightmare. If Ursula van der Leyen was considered to be the answer, the then question must have been a pretty stupid one.
State Dept. 'hauled in' Chinese ambo'--then put China 'on notice' for lying to world, blaming America for coronavirus - TheBlaze
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:03
The State Department hauled in the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to confront him over communist China's increased effort to blame America for the global coronavirus outbreak.
Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China increased significantly this week after top Chinese propagandist Zhao Lijian, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, publicly shifted blame for coronavirus onto America, claiming it "might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan."
According to Reuters, David Stillwell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, summoned Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the U.S., and delivered a very "stern representation," which resulted in the Chinese delegation becoming "very defensive."
CBS News confirmed the development:
A State Department official who spoke with Reuters said China wants to deflect criticism for "starting a global pandemic and not telling the world" '-- but the U.S. is putting China "on notice."
"Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous. We wanted to put the government on notice we won't tolerate it for the good of the Chinese people and the world," the official said.
Despite being responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, China has been working overtime to remake its image as the world's responsible global superpower, the New York Times reported in February.
From the Times:
The Chinese government silenced whistle-blowers, withheld crucial information and played down the threat posed by the new coronavirus,allowing an epidemic that has killed thousands to take hold across the country.Now the ruling Communist Party, facing a storm of anger from the Chinese public over its missteps, is trying to rehabilitate its image byrebranding itself as the unequivocal leader in the global fight against the virus....
Mr. Xi, China's most influential leader since Mao, has made it a priority to expand the country's economic and military might around the worldand to demonstrate that China can play the role of responsible superpower.
The coronavirus outbreak has undermined those global ambitions, and the propaganda push suggests the party might be worried about lastingdamage. And as the virus spreads to 56 countries and wreaks havoc on global markets, experts say the campaign could revive concerns aboutChina's secretive approach to managing the crisis.
The blame-shifting will likely backfire on China, resulting in demands to give the international community an honest accounting of where coronavirus originated and how the disease spread so quickly.
Lame Cherry: The Birth and Death of the Coronavirus Time Line
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:55
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.The Lame Cherry already produced an exclusive in the origins and transfer of Coronavirus, and has warned the Trump administration that they either will own the propaganda or the United States will be blamed for this outbreak.Once again this blog was proven right when the Chinese ambassador gave official voice to the charges coming out of the Iranian Republican Guard and the Chinese PLA that the United States was behind Coronavirus.This blog will once again set the narrative, beginning with this visual to explain the origins and the transfer of this virus. Previously I provided what a CIA White Paper would look like, and use that platform for you to follow the details. I want all of you non donating assholes to know as I have been saving your lives for years, that doing what I am doing is dangerous and deadly as you hide behind your keyboards. There is a great deal of effort involved to produce a "this just happened' scenario, as the real scenario is the act of multiple launches of a first strike biological weapon. This is more than criminals being hung. This is the stuff that starts world wars.Chinese diplomat accuses US Army of creating coronavirus epidemic in WuhanWhen you read the following, fully understand that the Chinese minister involved has seen the dissection of the Coronaviruses as there are two, has been informed as to the origins of this virus, as it contains the infamous American HIV and tuberculosis grafts, and the PLA is well aware of the genius of the American model, in a .........get this as a Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter as this has never been revealed previously.....When a biological weapon is released, there is not any way for a vacinne to ever be distributed in quantity in war or peace. The American model includes a controlled lethal strain which spreads by oral contact, and in order to contain the virus, which spreads through water  and excrement as cholera does, a second shedder virus is created, which is spread airborne and fluid contact, with a 15% critical rate, which is acceptable in biological 100% death warfare, to innoculate against the first lethal virus.This is the infamous L and S Strains China found, the Lethal and Safe Strains......and no in my knowing all things, I was not aware of that protocol of using humans as vaccine dispensers, to spread a cure, for a lethal biological weapon strain.It is pure genius.The chart flow is based on the original contracting for the virus.I will provide a simple time line for your simple minds.PHASE I The Islamocommunists of Iran contracted with a Dr. Germ of Switzerland to create a biological weapon to kill Saudi Sunni Muslims in the war that Obama started between Shia and Sunni.Israeli Mosaad alarmed at a nuclear Iran changing the balance of power in genocide of Arab Sunni, replaced the Swiss SARS, with one they created in the Israeli State, which would infect through sprays, but would not transmit in creating carriers.Saudi Arabia, sent the sample of Arabian SARS to the Dutch for testing.The Dutch sent the sample to Winnipeg Canada in the bioweapons lab there to dissect the virus.Chinese PLA stole the virus from the Canadian lab and sent it to Wuhan China.Wuhan China built from an Obama Clinton sanctioned Harvard professor a weapon's lab where the Arabian SARS was to be a white print for what would become Coronaviurs Wuhan.PHASE IIThe Chinese PLA in 2005 place a protocol to develop biological weapons as a first strike against the United States. Once crippled the PLA would invade and subdue the United States.The PLA's plague weapon, was to use Bat SARS, which humans did not have any immunity to. This Bat SARS would be transmitted through water supplies and not transfer out of the host, thereby making it attractive to kill Americans in their beds, not produce a nuclear retaliation as the PLA began an invasion of Alaska for oil, and in cyberwarfare and Chinese 5th columns established and brought into the United States cripple the US infrastructure and military, for the last phase of invasion.The PLA had created the Bat SARS, and was moving to vat production as PHASE III appeared.PHASE IIIElements of the world order in Europe were aware of what China was about to unleash in shattering the balance of power in the world, which would make Europe a vassal state, as much as Russia. They were aware through their intelligence wing in Mosaad that China had stolen an Israeli created "controlled virus" and were about to launch a first strike at India and the United States.Elements appeared in the same "contacts" which manage the shadowlands of the United States, in alerting this group that China was close on losing to President Trump's trade negotiations to go biological scorched earth.The American arsenal at Ft. Detrick is thorough and catalogued. Created samples were unofficially requested for plausible deniability, in the President was not informed, nor the cabinet, as the Pentagon was allowing this transfer which never happened, based upon the Chinese model of the Arabian SARS. It was a complex replica with hidden features which would not neutralize to PLA "remedies".Two virus were made available, the L strain in the water / excrement lethal and the S strain in the airborne inoculation strain.  Elements knew this would be a multi faceted operation, beyond blunting China and Iran for their attempt at changing the world order.The mirror virus were transferred to Europe and inserted into China Wuhan, where full vat production was ordered at two locations.Two "accidents" were created to neutralize the Chinese first strike at India and America, by infecting the Chinese first, and using the travel of the Chinese Lunar New Year to spread the contamination.Peking went into cover up mode, as this was a biological first strike weapon, and they knew it was lethal. They did not want the United States involved as thee Americans would understand this was a biological first strike weapon aimed at America.Contamination was allowed outside of China, in order for the other levels the elements were working in this complex operation. The United States was deliberately infected by elements, which Obama holdovers and the Pentagon assisted with, in order to innoculate the United States from this first strike biological weapon. The President was first made aware of the virus lethality and the roulette chances of 85% survival rate, but not the  origins. China losing control and knowing America was aware of the first strike manufacture, agreed to allow it's people to be used as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical experiments which would benefit other nations.PHASE IV is included in this in rudimentary form, as the virus spread was meant to punish China, Iran and Italy. Italy played a role in Arabian SARS for oil control in a new Italian Jewish led OPEC, which was a challenge to the balance of power.The virus is now in the process of genus created links, being deployed for the benefit of a European order, the order established form the chaos.Unless this narrative, which is based on the established facts prevails, the United States will be blamed for this, and the original bad actors in this, namely Iran will certainly retaliate as they were already in motion for terror events when the United States neutralized their chief terrorist.This concludes with the warning of the Farmer of Krems, who stated when a nuclear terror event struck the United States, the people of the world thought it was bad, but that the United States deserved it. That scenario would follow propaganda blaming the United States for Coronavirus.It must be established that Iran contracted for a biological weapon to genocide Arab Muslims. It must be established that the Chinese PLA had developed for production a biological first strike weapon against the United States and India for domination of the world.That must be established or the United States will become a pariah state, which the world will accept being lethally punished. Those who neutralized  the Iranian and Chinese first strike will to remain hidden to not become targets. The United States though must not become the target in any event.State Dept. 'hauled in' Chinese ambo—then put China 'on ... https://www.theblaze.com /news/state-department-hauled-in-chinese-ambassador-confronts-china-for-lying-to-world-blaming-america The State Department hauled in the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to confront him over communist China's increased effort to blame America for the global coronavirus outbreak. Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China increased significantly this week after top Chinese propagandist Zhao Lijian, the Ministry of Foreign AfOnce again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Nuff SaidagtG agtGagtG 
Lame Cherry: A Coronavirus War Game
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:48
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.I do not desire to waste time or repeat myself, but most of you are so lazy that you never assemble the data into the necessary order, so that you can understand what led to events, what events you are living and what events you will die in, in the future.Coronavirus began as a contracted bioweapon by Iran, from a Swiss lab run by Dr. Germ. The Mosaad got wind of this operation which was for Arabian SARS to kill off the Saudi Arabian people, so Iran would tip the balance of power.The Saudi's sent the virus to the Netherlands to study, and it ended up in Winnipeg Canada, where the Chinese PLA stole it, and it ended up in Wuhan China, in an Obama Clinton sanctioned Harvard bioweapons lab.After Donald Trump began resetting the American order, the PLA intitiated their 2005 agenda to cripple the United States by biological first strike and then invade, and conquer the rotting nation.The Chinese were about to go into vat production, when a European group, alerted the United States, and acquired by plausible deniablity a set of two Coronavirus which were more complicated than the Chinese Wuhan virusOne was a Type L, lethal, spread through feces or human matter, and the other was Type S, spread by human contact. The Chinese bioweapon meant to target America, Japan and India was replaced, and by two accidents released and spread through waterborne methodsThe time line was covered exclusively by this blog and no one has caught up yet, but the time line is progressing, and this blog will produce the present and future events.The Birth and Death of the Coronavirus Time Line https://lamecherry.blogspot.com /2020/03/the-birth-and-death-of-coronavirus-time.html As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter. The Lame Cherry already produced an exclusive in the origins and transfer of ...From the second phase of this, you have elected and hired some very intelligent people, just as the Chinese have had elevated gifted people who are not complete idiots either. It took the Chicoms in their cover up sometime to figure out that the virus was not their virus, that they had been had, that everyone knew they just attempted a war waging first strike on America and allies, which is kind of a major crime against humanity, worthy of nuclear strikes.China though knowing they had nothing to lose as they were losing everything, sent out plague carriers to bring this back into the United States and other areas.In the meantime, other groups seeing opportunities as the originators did, began moving with their own agendas.The United States Government was aware that Peking was making biological first strike weapons and was gearing up for war with China, and the Pentagon continues to shift for a future war, in which China is of large population, but limited advanced ability, as if after Coronavirus depression.I was the first to lay a framework to hold China responsible, and that meant going after the Chinese gold stores and held US debt, bought up in reparations, along with Chinese supply. The Americans must control the narrative or they will be blamed as China and Iran attempted or when planned crippling nuclear terrorism is unleashed on America, the world will think "America deserved that over Coronavirus intrigue".Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Says China Will Be Held Responsible For Coronavirus - Kerry Picket  ∞ kerrypicket China has been cashing in, or China has been attempting to raise revenue, as it's paper tiger economy is falling apart. No matter what China is stating, they have not contained this epidemic. Reports of over 20 million cell phone accounts disappearing, means 20 plus million Chinese died. China has 1.4 billion people, 20 million or 100 million are not a burn point where Corona will stop. So China is too big yet for Coronavirus, but China needs to make money to not implode from within as economics are the biggest problem for China at this point.China cashes in off coronavirus, selling Spain $467 million in supplies, some of them substandard #FoxNews  ∞ fox 80% of Rapid Coronavirus Tests China Sent to Czech Republic Faulty  ∞ max  China though is teaching the world in part the real communist utopia. Peking has been looting stores in other nations for itself, and for shipping to other nations. The problem is that China has even less quality control now, and masks they shipped to the Czech Republic all were worthless.The phase which this blog stated was part of Chinese reparations, is their supplies. China is being depleted of supplies, as Peking attempts to bribe loyalty from a world which when it discovers that China was responsible for a first strike biological weapon to take over the world.China Used Its Global Companies To Suck Other Countries Dry Of Medical Supplies  ∞ thenationalpulse  Thee American People, and therefore President Donald Trump have faced three plague spreaders.The first is the group who released this counter measure in Wuhan, which have an agenda for European rule of the world with a crippled America for sometime.The second group is the PLA which is desperate to save itself, as the US has the Chicom targeted now after this act of war, and the PLA is sending out plague spreaders.(The US is not nor is Europe against this plague spread, as the S strain is the inoculation cure. 15% lethal, but with critical care or Chloroquine treated, this rate will drop to almost zero, with little need of hospital care.)The third group are globalists who view this virus as a way to grab control and financial reward through vaccines, as in Bill Gates.The fourth group is what I would term Singlaub's children. They would be like UBI in collecting virus in China, spreading it there to destabilize China for Taiwan, and spreading it in America for profit.President Trump Vs. Bill Gates on Treatment: Fauci Has A $100 Million Conflict of Interest - National File  ∞ nationalfile  As you can understand, there are numbers of intelligence agencies and war game planners on every side in this multi sided projection who all have agendas and now see opportunity. The same group at Homeland which was trying to smear White People in the White Nationalists, have been linking the Corona chaos to White People again, in order to crack down on them, when no threat exists.The same is true for the myriad of "examples" of Chinese spreading the Coronavirus caught on digital. Do you think that the PLA would hire such inept people or be able to coerce people who are infected in the west to stand around and get caught on video? That is doubtful.So that projects this was a Mockingbird operation to project Chinese treachery, on known Chinese treachery which intelligence can not produce as it would burn assets, so these look to be Singlaub's children helping out.  Chinese intentionally Spread Coronavirus - Spit on Food - ElevatorsI had hoped in this that President Vladimir Putin's early containment would have spared Russia, as the world would benefit from Russian stability.Moscow shuts down all non-essential shops & restaurants to stop spread of Covid-19R The deliberate spread of this virus continues to the great harm of the global stability and it continues to degrade every power, so power will be centralized and a centralized response will ensue in the projections.Where Coronavirus was being initiated as a first strike biological weapon, and as a counter strike, it has moved into counter counter strikes to a mutant evolution of Coronavirus as a surgical strike weapon as additional players seek to exploit this virus. The projection of this in human forensic psychology is fascinating as everyone wants this virus to gain an advantage, but the virus has a limited shelf life in the numbers of infected threat to exploit populations into panic. Once Coronavirus has spread to the burn out point, it will lose all attraction, but by that point the damage will have been inflicted and then nations will resort to more conventional ruin to gain advantage, and that will bring the Great Eurasian War.Coronavirus may have taught the world one thing, and that is nuclear strikes or super clean weapons are more attractive, but they do not produce the Corona Effect to rapidly gain vast stores of finance, power and control.This is once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Nuff SaidagtGagtG
President Trump Vs. Bill Gates on Treatment: Fauci Has A $100 Million Conflict of Interest - National File
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:45
President Donald Trump is fighting to find a medical solution for Coronavirus in the short term, expressing hope that the anti-malaria drug Chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine can help patients suffering from the Chinese virus.
The truth is that President Donald Trump is locked in an intense power struggle with Bill Gates, who is pushing his vaccines, which will not be available to the public until after November's election. Gates has a lot of pull in the medical world, he has a multi-million dollar relationship with Dr. Fauci, and Fauci originally took the Gates line supporting vaccines and casting doubt on Chloroquine.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID, a division of National Institutes of Health, NIH) director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is represented by the Aurumn Speakers Bureau, initially criticized Trump's hopeful assessment of Chloroquine, saying in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper that ''There's no magic drug for coronavirus right now,'' and lectured, ''Let me put it into perspective for the viewers .. there has been anecdotal non-proven data that it [chloroquine] works'... but when you have an uncontrolled trial you can never definitely say that it works.''
But now Fauci has changed his tune and launched a public relations campaign huddling closer to Trump. Fauci said that he would definitely prescribe Chloroquine for patients. ''Yeah, of course, particularly if people have no other option. These drugs are approved drugs for other reasons. They're anti-malaria drugs, and they're drugs against certain autoimmune diseases like lupus. Physicians throughout the country can prescribe that in an off-label way. Which means they can write it for something it was not approved for.''
Fauci is changing his tune as the true behind-the-scenes story is coming to light:
Bill Gates Cast Doubt on Chloroquine And Said He Is Running A Study On It
Here is what Gates said regarding Chloroquine in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session:
''There are a lot of therapeutic drugs being examined. This is one of many but it is not proven. If it works we will need to make sure the finite supplies are held for the patients who need it most. We have a study going on to figure this out. We also have a screening effort to look at all the ideas for Therapeutics because the number being proposed is very large and only the most promising should be tried in patients. China was testing some things but now they have so few cases that that testing needs to move to other locations,'' Gates said.
Gates Is Funding Coronavirus Vaccine Candidates That Would Compete With Chloroquine, And Dr. Fauci's Agency Is Co-Partnering On The Project
The company Moderna is working on a Coronavirus vaccine, which they expect will go into clinical trials in April. Dr. Fauci has heaped praise on Moderna and said that a vaccine is the only way to definitively assure the end of the virus. Gates is working on multiple Coronavirus vaccine projects.
The New Eastern Outlook journal reported:
''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'...
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.''
New Eastern Outlook journal passage ends
The Hill reported:
''Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone that fast,'' according to Fauci.
While it is uncertain that Moderna's answer is the solution, Fauci notes that the only surefire way to stop an outbreak is to develop a vaccine. Moderna manufactures drugs around messenger RNA molecules that carry instructions to reprogram cells in the body to operate differently and beneficially. Currently, its genetic technology has not created a vaccine for humans.
The first study of the vaccine will take place at NIAID. If it is successful, a second trial would feature closer to hundreds of people. Pending the results of future studies and regulations, the vaccine may not be readily available until next year, Fauci said.
Hill passage ends
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reported in 2016 on Gates' relationship with Moderna:
''Moderna Therapeutics said today it received an initial $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new affordable combination of messenger RNA''based antibody therapeutics geared toward preventing HIV infection.
The grant is intended for use in the antibody combination's preclinical study and a Phase I clinical trial. Gates Foundation's $20 million funding could potentially grow into a total $100 million commitment'--including the HIV antibody project'--toward development of additional mRNA-based treatments for various infectious diseases, Moderna said.
''The foundation's mission to help all people lead healthy and productive lives is well aligned with Moderna's mission to deliver on the promise of transformative mRNA science to bring new medicines to patients,'' Moderna CEO St(C)phane Bancel said in a statement.
Moderna said the development effort would be led by its infectious disease''focused venture company, Valera'...''
Fauci Is Tight with Bill Gates
''He's very good about not overpromising,'' Gates said of Fauci in 2018 as Gates worked on a universal flu vaccine. NIAID Council minutes from 2019 show Fauci's agency identifying a Gates Foundation workshop as being of interest. Gates met with Fauci in 2017 ''to discuss research opportunities in global health.''
Fauci hung out with Gates in 2018 at an NIH workshop:
Fauci shaking hands with Bill Gates pic.twitter.com/ANJ67F3lA1
'-- Patrick Howley (@HowleyReporter) March 24, 2020
Gates Admitted That He Stopped President Trump's Planned Vaccine Safety Commission With Robert Kennedy Jr. in the Early Days of the Trump Administration
March 2017@RealDonaldTrump confronted Bill Gates on the safety of vaccines when he was considering a safety commission headed by @RobertKennedyJr to look into the ill effects of vaccines.
Gates said, ''No, that's a dead end. That would be a bad thing. Don't do that.''
/1 pic.twitter.com/AxbwoQuaqq
'-- 2ndfor1st (@2ndfor1st) February 1, 2020
In October 2019, Fauci Announced A Partnership Between the Gates Foundation and Fauci's Agency, In Which The Gates Foundation Pledged To Spend $100 Million
The American Journal of Managed Care reported on October 28, 2019:
''The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced plans to invest at least $100 million over the next 4 years to develop gene-based therapies for 2 diseases: HIV and sickle cell disease (SCD). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) will also contribute $100 million to the goal of advancing these potential cures, with an aim toward providing affordable, globally available treatment that will be accessible to patients in low-resource settings.
According to the NIH, the collaboration between the organizations will focus on 2 key areas. First, it will identify potential candidate cures for preclinical and clinical evaluation, and second, it will define long-term opportunities to partner with organizations in Africa'...
''This collaboration is an ambitious step forward, harnessing the most cutting-edge scientific tools and NIH's sizable global HIV research infrastructure to one day deliver a cure and end the global HIV pandemic,'' said NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in a statement announcing the initiative. ''We are taking into account those with the greatest need at the foundation of this effort, to ensure that, if realized, this exceptional public health achievement will be made accessible to all.''
Dr. Fauci Is Speaking At The World Vaccine Congress in September Alongside A Coterie of Public Sector and Private Sector Folks From WHO, CDC, FDA, Merck, Pfizer, etc.
The event is in Washington, D.C.
Fauci is a Hillary Clinton Admirer
Dr. Fauci, supports Hillary Clinton: pic.twitter.com/25qiVvklCH
'-- HRHPrincessPR (@HRHPrincessPR) March 20, 2020
Fauci and fellow Coronavirus response team member Deborah Birx Have Democrat and Globalist Elite Friends Including Gates and Nancy Pelosi
pic.twitter.com/IBOk2gM4Z2
'-- FreedomIsn'tFree'­¸'­¸'­¸ (@4EverAPatriot) March 24, 2020
FAUCI and HILLARY! I repeat, FAUCI and HILLARY! pic.twitter.com/QmpWKJ61sp
'-- Patrick Howley (@HowleyReporter) March 24, 2020
Behind Trump's Reversal on Reopening the Country: 2 Sets of Numbers - The New York Times
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:25
An estimate of the number of possible deaths and polling that showed a cautious public changed, for now, the president's approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arriving at a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday. Credit... Al Drago for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- The numbers the health officials showed President Trump were overwhelming. With the peak of the coronavirus pandemic still weeks away, he was told, hundreds of thousands of Americans could face death if the country reopened too soon.
But there was another set of numbers that also helped persuade Mr. Trump to shift gears on Sunday and abandon his goal of restoring normal life by Easter. Political advisers described for him polling that showed that voters overwhelmingly preferred to keep containment measures in place over sending people back to work prematurely.
Those two realities '-- the dire threat to the country and the caution of the American public '-- proved decisive at a critical juncture in the response to the pandemic, his advisers said. The first of those two realities, the deadly arc of the virus, has been known for weeks even if disregarded by the president when he set his Easter target. But the second of the two upended Mr. Trump's assumptions about the politics of the situation and restrained, for a moment at least, his eagerness to get back to business as usual.
The president's reversal may prove to be an important pivot point in the effort to curb the pandemic, one that in the view of public health officials averted a greater catastrophe. Mr. Trump's abrupt change of heart reflected a volatile president who has veered from one message to another, at points equating the virus to ordinary flu that will ''miraculously'' go away and at others declaring it an all-out war endangering the country.
His move came as additional governors took action to stop the spread of the virus. With new orders on Monday from the governors of Arizona, Maryland and Virginia, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia, more than half of the 50 states and three out of four Americans are or will soon be under the directive to remain at home.
They took that action as the number of cases in New York climbed past 66,500 and the number of deaths surpassed 1,200, by far the most of any state. Layoffs continued apace, with Macy's announcing it would furlough a ''majority'' of its 125,000 workers. Gap said it would do the same for 80,000 store employees in the United States and Canada.
In the past two days, Mr. Trump has dispensed with the assertion that the cure could be worse than the disease and circled back closer to the tenor of the warnings he has gotten from health advisers. Rather than lift the restrictions he had outlined by April 12, he extended them to April 30 and said on Monday that they ''may be even toughened up a little bit,'' although a national stay-at-home order like those in New York and California was ''pretty unlikely, I would think, at this time.''
At Monday's briefing, Mr. Trump recycled his line from a couple of weeks ago putting the virus ahead of the economy among his concerns. ''The economy is No. 2 on my list,'' he said. ''First, I want to save a lot of lives.''
Indeed, he again accentuated the starkest projections given to him by public health officials, noting that more than two million Americans could have died in the absence of any measure, perhaps to set expectations so that any eventual death toll below that can be cast as a victory.
But advisers said he was struck by the political surveying that indicated that the public wanted the restrictions to continue long enough to beat back the virus for fear that letting up too soon would simply reinvigorate the outbreak.
''There's an acknowledgment that there's no getting 'back to normal' if the virus is still a threat,'' said Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster. ''And for the most part, we are seeing people supportive of leaders at the state and federal level, even if there is frustration about an initially slow response. However, if there's a rush to reopen, the virus surges and people feel like the sacrifices they've made so far have been for naught, I can see that changing.''
In a survey conducted by John and Jim McLaughlin, who were pollsters for Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, 52 percent of Americans preferred a full national shutdown requiring everyone other than those deemed essential to stay at home as opposed to 38 percent who favored universal testing and isolating only those demonstrated to be infected with the virus.
In a piece on Newsmax, the conservative website run by a friend of the president's, that appeared the day before Mr. Trump's reversal, the McLaughlins wrote that the sentiment for a national shutdown prevailed in every region of the country and even among those who said they could not afford to be out of work for a month or less.
A survey released by the Pew Research Center on Monday showed that roughly nine in 10 Americans believe that restrictions on international travel, cancellation of sporting and entertainment events, school closures and limits on gatherings of 10 or more people were necessary responses to the pandemic.
''One of the things that the discourse needs to help the country move forward is what are the dynamics that get you to that transition point to begin to re-engage the economy at that scale,'' said David Winston, another Republican pollster. ''What you're seeing at a policy level, at a political level and at an individual level is trying to understand what all those elements are.''
The president's swerving messages came during a period when he had no fully installed White House chief of staff to guide him and run his operation. He fired Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, on March 6 and named Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a close Republican ally, to replace him. But Mr. Meadows waited more than three weeks to actually resign his House seat, making it official only at 5 p.m. Monday, and will formally start his new job on Tuesday.
In the interim, Mr. Meadows has been spotted in the West Wing and has attended meetings, but he has only begun to assemble his team, and many holdovers in the White House are nervous about job security as they try to focus on the virus. Michael McKenna, the deputy legislative director, resigned under pressure last week after being accused of making an offensive statement in what some saw as a precursor to a broader shake-up.
Mr. Meadows will bring with him Ben Williamson, his congressional chief of staff, and John C. Fleming, an assistant commerce secretary and Republican former congressman from Louisiana, both of whom will serve him as senior advisers. Other new hires are expected to follow.
Mr. Trump often whipsaws back and forth as aides compete for his ear and offer conflicting advice. The president's Easter target for reopening came after some of his advisers expressed concern about the devastating effects on the economy wreaked by the widespread closures and urged him to consider making changes to the social distancing measures.
The president's complaint about the cure and his aspiration to pack the churches by Easter followed.
But then came troubling images from around the country, and especially New York City, where Elmhurst Hospital Center, near his childhood home in Queens, was overwhelmed with patients and where temporary hospital tents were being erected in Central Park. The images were on television and in The New York Post, which he still reads every day. As in 2017, when Mr. Trump was moved to order a surgical airstrike on Syria after seeing horrifying footage of a lethal gas attack, the images helped get him to a new place, officials said.
Mr. Trump also said he now knew people who had been hospitalized because of the coronavirus, without naming them, and seemed almost shocked that his own associates had been affected. ''In one case, he's unconscious in a coma and you say: How did that happen?'' Mr. Trump said on Monday.
The larger picture fell to the public health advisers, who provided Mr. Trump with a grim prognosis in a meeting on Sunday before his announcement extending social distancing guidelines. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House response coordinator, showed the president models of how many people across the country could be affected if more stringent measures were not maintained.
''He looked at them, he understood them, and he shook his head and said, 'I guess we got to do it,''' Dr. Fauci said on CNN on Monday. That meeting appeared to resonate with Mr. Trump, officials said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close adviser to the president, also said soon before Mr. Trump reversed course that he was counseling the president to look at the arc of the virus. Mr. Graham said the president needed to be focused on a defensive approach to the virus in the spring, taking measures such as the ones he ultimately favored, to be prepared to combat a resurgence in the fall.
Even so, Mr. Trump has continued to paint a rosy picture about the government's response in the face of widespread criticism. During a conference call with governors on Monday, Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, who briefly ran for the Democratic nomination to challenge Mr. Trump this fall, asked the president about the lack of availability of testing for those who had contact with infected Americans.
''I haven't heard about testing in weeks,'' Mr. Trump insisted, according to an audiotape of the call provided to The New York Times. He added, ''We've tested more now than any nation in the world. We've got these great tests and we're coming out with a faster one this week.'' And he concluded, ''I haven't heard about testing being a problem.''
During his briefing for reporters later in the day, Mr. Trump characterized the governors as praising him. ''I think for the most part they were saying thank you for doing a great job,'' he said.
Some Republicans saw a virtue in Mr. Trump's reversal on reopening the country because of his credibility with his own base, which polls have shown to be somewhat less alarmed about the virus than Democrats.
''Because President Trump initially seemed anxious to open up the economy, his position delaying that should resonate with his base of voters,'' said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster. ''It will probably have the impact of making those who want it opened sooner a little more patient.''
Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Jonathan Martin contributed reporting from Washington.
Updated March 24, 2020
How does coronavirus spread?It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.
Is there a vaccine yet?No. The first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine began in mid-March. Such rapid development of a potential vaccine is unprecedented, but even if it is proved safe and effective, it probably will not be available for 12 to18 months.
What makes this outbreak so different?Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions '-- not just those with respiratory diseases '-- particularly hard.
What should I do if I feel sick?If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
How do I get tested?If you're sick and you think you've been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there's a chance '-- because of a lack of testing kits or because you're asymptomatic, for instance '-- you won't be able to get tested.
What if somebody in my family gets sick?If the family member doesn't need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there's space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don't forget to wash your hands frequently.
Should I wear a mask?Experts are divided on how much protection a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf, can provide for people who aren't yet sick. The W.H.O. and C.D.C. say that unless you're already sick, or caring for someone who is, wearing a face mask isn't necessary. And stockpiling high-grade N95 masks will make it harder for nurses and other workers to access the resources they need. But researchers are also finding that there are more cases of asymptomatic transmission than were known early on in the pandemic. And a few experts say that masks could offer some protection in crowded places where it is not possible to stay 6 feet away from other people. Masks don't replace hand-washing and social distancing.
Should I stock up on groceries?Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Can I go to the park?Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don't live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.
Should I pull my money from the markets?That's not a good idea. Even if you're retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year's worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.
What should I do with my 401(k)?Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions '-- don't! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you're at least saving as much as you can to get that ''free money.''
CDC to set up a coronavirus 'surveillance and data collection system' - Business Insider
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:24
The CDC will launch a new "surveillance and data collection system" to track the spread of coronavirus in the US, per the coronavirus relief bill signed into law Friday. The agency would receive emergency funding as part of the bipartisan stimulus package. Of that, $500 million will go public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization. Tracking the spread of the virus will be a balancing act for the agency, which will have to navigate privacy laws as it expands its surveillance.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.President Donald Trump signed into law a sweeping stimulus bill that will pump emergency funding into the CDC to combat the coronavirus, including a system to gather data on how the virus is spreading.
The CDC's new funding is part of an emergency stimulus package that provides $2 trillion in funding to boost government health programs and stabilize the American economy during the coronavirus crisis.
Of the funding allocated to the CDC, the stimulus sets aside at least $500 million for public health data surveillance and modernizing the analytics infrastructure. The CDC must report on the development of a "surveillance and data collection system" within the next 30 days. While it's not clear what form that surveillance system will take, the federal government has reportedly expressed interest in aggregating data that can be gleaned from tech platforms and smartphone use to monitor movement patterns.
Other countries have already turned to high-tech surveillance systems in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. China rolled out a mandatory smartphone app that asks citizens questions about their level of exposure to people who have demonstrated symptoms, and automatically orders certain users to quarantine themselves. Singapore has issued a similar app that uses Bluetooth to detect people's proximity to those who have been exposed to coronavirus and warns them to get tested if they come in close contact.
If launched in the US, a smartphone app for tracking people's health would have to comply with privacy laws like HIPAA, which prevents the sharing of people's health information between hospitals, the government, and third parties.
More broadly, a CDC surveillance system could aim to help the US speed up testing for the people who are the most at risk of COVID-19. The US lags behind most other developed countries in coronavirus testing.
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Hundreds of tourists smash out of Kiev airport after refusing to enter coronavirus quarantine | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:22
The 238 Ukrainians had arrived at the airport after being stranded in VietnamExtraordinary footage shows them forcing their way past officers in hazmat suitsUkrainian authorities demanded the tourists go into quarantine for two weeksThis would have been for free in basic facilities or at a cost of £550 per personMost refused and instead made their way home independently Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?By Will Stewart And Harry Howard For Mailonline
Published: 10:21 EDT, 30 March 2020 | Updated: 10:44 EDT, 30 March 2020
Hundreds of Ukrainian tourists broke out of Kiev airport refusing to go into state-organised coronavirus quarantine after flying in from Vietnam.
The 238 Ukrainians, who had been stranded in Vietnam due to the coronavirus outbreak, arrived in their capital city after being repatriated from Ho Chi Minh.
Extraordinary footage shows them forcing their way past disease control officers in hazmat suits.
Hundreds of Ukrainian tourists broke out of Kiev airport refusing to go into state-organised coronavirus quarantine after flying in from Vietnam. Extraordinary footage shows them forcing their way past disease control officers in hazmat suits
The Ukrainian authorities demanded that the tourists should go into quarantine at airport hotels for two weeks.
This would either have been for free in basic facilities or at a cost of £550 per person for smarter facilities.
Buses were waiting at the airport to to take the tourists to the state-run quarantine.
Most refused and instead made their way home independently.
The 238 Ukrainians, who had been stranded in Vietnam due to the coronavirus outbreak, arrived in their capital city after being repatriated from Ho Chi Minh. The Ukrainian authorities demanded that the tourists should go into quarantine at airport hotels for two weeks
'Police and the National Guards were called in but they were not much of a help,' said an onlooker.
Police made clear that the tourists were now expected to isolate for two weeks at home.
There were also reports that passengers on two repatriation flights from Bali staged a sit-in rather than be herded into quarantine at the airport.
One report said they had sat for nine hours on the aircraft.
There have been 480 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ukraine, with 11 reported deaths.
It comes after Ukrainian former footballer Aindriy Shevchenko compared the coronavirus pandemic to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which occurred in his homeland of Ukraine in 1986.
Shevchenko has remained indoors for the past 10 days and stressed that it is important to follow the orders given by the government.
Shevchenko told Sky Sports: 'I have been shut in for 10 days but I am doing well. We can do nothing but respect the orders given by the government and let the medical professionals do their enormous job as well as they can.
Buses were waiting at the airport to to take the tourists to the state-run quarantine. Most refused and instead made their way home after breaking out of the airport
'They are the true heroes and I thank them. I lived through a similar situation in Ukraine, with the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl in 1986.
'Stupid behaviour must give way and it must be understood that each one of us can contract the virus and be a danger to other people.
'I want to salute every Italian and tell them that I am very close to them, we will all get through this together and I hope that this all will end very soon.'
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Russia's Rosneft stops operations in Venezuela - Business & Economy - TASS
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:47
Russia's government acquires assets of company in this country
Russia's Rosneft stops operations in Venezuela, sells assets related to functioning in that country.
A company owned by Russia has acquired Rosneft's assets in Venezuela, the cabinet's press office told TASS on Saturday.
"The government of the Russian Federation has acquired assets in Venezuela from Rosneft. A company 100% owned by the Russian Federation has become the owner," the press service said.
"What's about to happen this summer and fall will change the world's history." - Prepare For Change
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:45
Take a look at what is going on around you. Does it look or feel familiar? The Universe has been preparing those who have already awakened for a large-scale event'...and this is it!
Take a bit of time to remember your own personal awakening process before you really understood what was happening. Now multiply it. This is the time to take all you have practiced and put it to good use. Ask The Universe to show you the truth of the situation and adjust accordingly. You know how to bring Unconditional Love and Light to any situation. Is it time to begin!!!
''Greetings. Everything is going to be alright. The future is a beautiful place. But you will need some training in order to get there'...''
''The lab-created Coronavirus was a cover-up of a planetary coup through the mass mandatory vaccination dark agenda. Now it has become the biggest covert U.S. Intelligence operation that the world has ever seen. This mass 158,000-arrests operation will remove and capture the biggest evil and corrupted politicians, celebrities, and CEOs, including global elites and bankers such as George Soros, U.N. officials, and the founders of GRETA, inc.''
''WE SHALL SEE: This morning at 4:30 a.m., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was served a criminal indictment by the U.S. for corporate and financial crimes. Media owners were instructed to brainwash everyone that Trudeau and his wife have the Coronavirus and that they won't be leaving their house for a while
Tom Hanks was arrested 48 hours ago for pedophilia and he is currently being kept in a hotel room in Australia, refusing to fly back to the USA. The next celebrity arrests will be Celine Dion, Madonna, Charles Barkley, and Kevin Spacey. All will claim Coronavirus infections
Italy's airports have been completely shut down, as over 80 Vatican and financial officials have been served the same criminal indictments for financial crime, pedophilia, child trafficking, and sex abuse
The United Emirates have completed mass arrests of their own Royal Family and affiliates
Convicted Hollywood rapist Harvey Weinstein agreed to a deal in exchange for his testimony against hundreds of top Hollywood celebrities and their involvement in the drug business, pedophilia, and child trafficking. Instead of a 55-year sentence, he only received a 23-year sentence. In exchange, he provided testimonies against some of the biggest and most powerful names, including Prince Andrew of the U.K., former president Bill Clinton, former vice president Joe Biden, Tom Hanks, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Sheen, Bob Saget, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Steven Spielberg, Podesta, NXIVM and PIZZAGATE sex trafficking clubs, and hundreds more who all were directly involved with Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein was similarly allowed to make a deal and have his suicide in prison faked in exchange for his testimony
CEOs of some major world corporations have been indicted/arrested, and some have been forced to resign '-- all in the last 30-60 days '-- such as the CEOs of the NBA, IBM, Lockheed Martin, T-Mobile, Tinder, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Hinge, OKcupid, Match, Hulu, MedMen, L brands like Victoria Secret bath and body works , Harley Davidson, Bill Gates from Microsoft/Foundation, Intel, Mastercard, McDonald's, Cesar Awards, Disney, the Vatican Chief of Police; etc. Approximately 700-800 more resignations are coming in the next 3 months.
President Trump will win the 2020 elections, and arrests of former U.S. presidents will occur in early 2021. All major arrests will be portrayed by the media as accidental or as conspiracy theories. All arrested individuals will be given ''Rommel Death'', meaning that they will have a choice between their death being portrayed to the public as a suicide or an accidental death in return for assurances that his or her reputation will remain intact, (think John McCain ed.) or, alternatively, they can choose to face a criminal trial that would result in public disgrace
Some top religious leaders will be arrested or forced to resign, and some will suddenly get ''sick.'' (Just the JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon) The Vatican will be the first, and the Pope will be removed in 2020. Production of human extracted Adrenochrome will be revealed, and Hollywood and the Vatican will be exposed as being directly responsible for that
Coming up there will be a 2-month complete shutdown of the world's most common operations, such as schools, the stock exchange, some banks, airports, shipping, travel, events, galas, expos, sport games, sport championships, music award ceremonies, NBA/NHL/Baseball games, and ship cruises. There will be food shortages and staged electricity power loss. Gas prices will go down, food costs will go up, insurance will go up, gold and silver stocks will fall, and many corporations will either go bankrupt or take a significant financial loss, such as in the case of what's about to happen to Air Canada, Disney, and Coca-Cola.
Welcome to the Great Awakening. What's about to happen this summer and fall will change the world's history.''
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Disclaimer: We at Prepare for Change (PFC) bring you information that is not offered by the mainstream news, and therefore may seem controversial. The opinions, views, statements, and/or information we present are not necessarily promoted, endorsed, espoused, or agreed to by Prepare for Change, its leadership Council, members, those who work with PFC, or those who read its content. However, they are hopefully provocative. Please use discernment! Use logicalthinking, your own intuition and your own connection with Source, Spirit and Natural Laws to help you determine what is true and what is not. By sharing information and seeding dialogue, it is our goal to raise consciousness and awareness of higher truths to free us from enslavement of the matrix in this material realm.
The Storm is upon us: Adrenochrome users among the rich and famous going down '' Wake Up To The Truth
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:41
Mar 23 Editor, cairnsnews
The video below will change your outlook on life foreverThe sick and demented individuals involved in child pornography and ritual, satanic abuse of young children are being rounded up one by one across the world. Hollywood celebrities have featured prominently in the crack down along with their colleagues in crime coming from the ranks of politics, media, police, public service and clergy including the Pope.
Tom Hanks' recent isolation in a Gold Coast hospital after catching corona virus allegedly was caused by him ingesting virus-infected Adrenochrome, a substance derived from the oxidation of adrenaline found in the human body. It is supposed to be a fountain of youth for users. Numerous other Hollywood personalities also have caught the virus. The substance is not approved by the Food and Drug Authority for use by humans. This begs the question: What clandestine activities did Hanks get into on the Gold Coast while filming there for four months? Who are the Australian notables involved in these activities?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrenochrome
Interestingly Adrenochrome has been commercially available from the city of Wuhan in China for many years. Wuhan of course is from where the Cov19 virus originated after it was stolen from a Canadian laboratory by two Chinese scientists in 2018.
Investigators have alleged Adrenochrome is harvested from some of the 800,000 children who are reported as missing in the United States each year.
Trump has started draining the Washington swamp and his tentacles have reached to Australia where a number of people have been arrested for involvement in a world-wide, horrific, young, child porn business.
This video from our US correspondent Alex Bruce will shake you to your soul. We can only pray Trump is able to clean up the putrid mess. It is notable that Hilary Clinton confidante and former Labor (Democrat) Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has a column in News Ltd publications.
Will Gillard and her Australian compatriots go down with the Clintons?
This video is suitable for adults only. You won't be the same again after viewing it.
https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/witch-hunt-the-storm-is-upon-us/
Witch hunt: the storm is upon usfrom Alex Bruce, Forbidden News TV
I just got off the phone with my friend, who's a retired Marines Special Forces Lieutenant who was just briefed for over an hour by a 3-Star General. What he was told sounds like reports I've been seeing on social media that I've discounted. I know the following sounds starry-eyed and trite, even. For his part, he told the General that he'd believe it when he saw it '' but here goes:
The coronavirus was a Globalist ploy that failed and has been hijacked by the Trump Administration to be used as cover to keep people inside and to prevent collateral damage during a military op of mass arrests. Some targets are very violent and they will fight back. For your safety, it's best to stay inside.
The operation is live. Arrests are happening in Southern California now. It's being overseen by NAVSPEC. They will arrest 160,000 people in 90 days, including members of the mainstream media and Barry Soetoro.
They're starting now by taking down Antifa, MS-13, the mafia, drug gangs and other mercenaries hired by Soros and used by the Dems/Deep State.
These mercenaries were going to conduct mass riots and mayhem after the election but this is being stopped. There will soon be Martial Law, maybe as soon as this Monday.
Thousands have been arrested in Italy already.
The situation is ''fluid'' but it's more or less like this:
You may have noticed that during Trump's daily coronavirus updates, that starting around the 14th or the 15th, the Presidential Seal was removed from the podium. That seal represents the US Corporation, of which Trump was elected the President and for which he was drafted as a corporate raider to take it over and to restore the Republic. Trump will not be President after January 2021. Or most probably not.
There will be a financial reset '' the end of the dollar/petrodollar.
The the assets of criminal banksters, Rothschilds, The Committee, etc. who've been stealing from us for decades are being seized. We will be repaid. The IRS and the Fed will be abolished and after all of this shakes out, we will only pay consumption taxes of between 7%-15%.
Everyone will be financially better off when all is said and done.
We will be informed of a lot of things that have been kept secret; medical breakthroughs, suppressed information about alternative energy and the truth about extraterrestrial life.
Everyone will be given a credit card to buy a free energy device and we will never have to pay the electric company again.
I know this all sounds like the NESARA emails I used to get and that it's even more fantastical than the ''hopium'' we've been hearing from QAnon and on the X22 Report and other YouTube channels but I swear, this is what someone I've known for 5 years, a retired SpecOps Marine just told me.
Today's video by Where We Go 1 We Go All gives many details that indicate that this is, indeed The Storm.
https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/witch-hunt-the-storm-is-upon-us/
Stay-at-home order: Fake cops set up roadblock, stop drivers
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 23:16
Police impersonators set up a roadblock on a Colorado highway and stopped drivers to ask why they were out during the state's coronavirus stay-at-home order.
The operation was reported to Greeley police by a woman who said she was stopped around 4:50 a.m. Friday on the Highway 34 business route, between Loveland and Greeley.
She said people wearing yellow vests directed cars into an area marked with traffic cones. Three or four silver cars were parked nearby, some with red and blue flashing lights on their dashboards, Greeley police Cmdr. Rafael Gutierrez said Sunday.
The woman was questioned by a man in a dark uniform who was wearing a gas mask and had a baton and pepper spray on his belt. The woman saw no badges or logos on the people or their cars.
''The individual asked to see her license, insurance and registration, and demanded explanation as to why she was violating COVID-19 law,'' Gutierrez said. ''He told the woman she could get charged with a violation for being out. And apparently he showed her something she thought looked like a ticket but it was never given to her.''
After about 10 minutes, the man let the woman leave, Gutierrez said. The woman told police she was the first of about half a dozen cars that she saw directed into the roadblock.
Greeley police did not conduct the roadblock, and they found no other agencies conducting such an operation at that time. Additionally, no law enforcement officer checked the woman's name or license plate through official channels, Gutierrez said.
''We are actively pursuing an investigation on this and hopefully we can figure out who they are and get an explanation for their actions, and if they are doing it for criminal reasons then we can pursue the appropriate charges against them,'' he said.
Gutierrez said he'd heard of one similar incident in the past week in the Fort Collins/Greeley area, and another was reported in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
In the Aurora incident, on Wednesday, a woman was pulled over late at night by a man in a dark Ford Crown Victoria with red and blue lights. The man, wearing a dark blue uniform without a badge, questioned her about why she was out during the stay-home order.
In another unsanctioned enforcement action, in Maine, neighbors reportedly felled a tree and used it to block the driveway of a home where they believed coronavirus patients were living.
Colorado's stay-at-home order allows residents to make trips that are essential for daily life, like grocery shopping, caring for sick relatives or going to the pharmacy. Those who work at businesses deemed essential are also allowed to be out and about.
Law enforcement agencies across the state have said they will issue multiple warnings to residents who violate the order before issuing any citations, and some, like Denver police, have said they do not intend to stop vehicles to check for compliance.
Woman allegedly spits on cop: 'Now all you need is a lime'
Opinion | The Religious Right's Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response - The New York Times
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 20:08
Trump's response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies.
By Katherine Stewart
Ms. Stewart is the author of ''The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.''
March 27, 2020President Trump participated in a prayer before speaking at the Evangelicals for Trump kick-off rally at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami in January. Credit... Tom Brenner/Reuters Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.
At least since the 19th century, when the proslavery theologian Robert Lewis Dabney attacked the physical sciences as ''theories of unbelief,'' hostility to science has characterized the more extreme forms of religious nationalism in the United States. Today, the hard core of climate deniers is concentrated among people who identify as religiously conservative Republicans. And some leaders of the Christian nationalist movement, like those allied with the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has denounced environmental science as a ''Cult of the Green Dragon,'' cast environmentalism as an alternative '-- and false '-- theology.
This denial of science and critical thinking among religious ultraconservatives now haunts the American response to the coronavirus crisis. On March 15, Guillermo Maldonado, who calls himself an ''apostle'' and hosted Mr. Trump earlier this year at a campaign event at his Miami megachurch, urged his congregants to show up for worship services in person. ''Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not,'' he said.
Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida mocked people concerned about the disease as ''pansies'' and insisted he would only shutter the doors to his packed church ''when the rapture is taking place.'' In a sermon that was live-streamed on Facebook, Tony Spell, a pastor in Louisiana, said, ''We're also going to pass out anointed handkerchiefs to people who may have a fear, who may have a sickness and we believe that when those anointed handkerchiefs go, that healing virtue is going to go on them as well.''
By all accounts, President Trump's tendency to trust his gut over the experts on issues like vaccines and climate change does not come from any deep-seated religious conviction. But he is perfectly in tune with the religious nationalists who form the core of his base. In his daily briefings from the White House, Mr. Trump actively disdains and contradicts the messages coming from his own experts and touts as yet unproven cures.
Not every pastor is behaving recklessly, of course, and not every churchgoer in these uncertain times is showing up for services out of disregard for the scientific evidence. Far from it. Yet none of the benign uses of religion in this time of crisis have anything to do with Mr. Trump's expressed hope that the country would be ''opened up and just raring to go by Easter.'' He could, of course, have said, ''by mid-April.'' But Mr. Trump did not invoke Easter by accident, and many of his evangelical allies were pleased by his vision of ''packed churches all over our country.''
''I think it would be a beautiful time,'' the president said.
Debatable: Agree to disagree, or disagree better? Broaden your perspective with sharp arguments on the most pressing issues of the week.
Religious nationalism has brought to American politics the conviction that our political differences are a battle between absolute evil and absolute good. When you're engaged in a struggle between the ''party of life'' and the ''party of death,'' as some religious nationalists now frame our political divisions, you don't need to worry about crafting careful policy based on expert opinion and analysis. Only a heroic leader, free from the scruples of political correctness, can save the righteous from the damned. Fealty to the cause is everything; fidelity to the facts means nothing. Perhaps this is why many Christian nationalist leaders greeted the news of the coronavirus as an insult to their chosen leader.
In an interview on March 13 on ''Fox & Friends,'' Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, called the response to Coronavirus ''hype'' and ''overreacting.'' ''You know, impeachment didn't work, and the Mueller report didn't work, and Article 25 didn't work, and so maybe now this is their next, ah, their next attempt to get Trump,'' he said.
When Rev. Spell in Louisiana defied an order from Gov. John Bel Edwards and hosted in-person services for over 1,000 congregants, he asserted the ban was ''politically motivated.'' Figures like the anti-L.G.B.T. activist Steve Hotze added to the chorus, denouncing the concern as '-- you guessed it '-- ''fake news.''
One of the first casualties of fact-free hyper-partisanship is competence in government. The incompetence of the Trump administration in grappling with this crisis is by now well known, at least among those who receive actual news. February 2020 will go down in history as the month in which the United States, in painful contrast with countries like South Korea and Germany, failed to develop the mass testing capability that might have saved many lives. Less well known is the contribution of the Christian nationalist movement in ensuring that our government is in the hands of people who appear to be incapable of running it well.
Consider the case of Alex Azar, who as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has had a prominent role in mismanaging the crisis. It seems likely at this point that Mr. Azar's signature achievement will have been to rebrand his department as the ''Department of Life.'' Or maybe he will be remembered for establishing a division of Conscience and Religious Freedom, designed to permit health care providers to deny legal and often medically indicated health care services to certain patients as a matter of religious conscience.
Mr. Azar, a ''cabinet sponsor'' of Capitol Ministries, the Bible study group attended by multiple members of Mr. Trump's cabinet, brought with him to Health and Human Services an immovable conviction in the righteousness of the pharmaceutical industry (presumably formed during his five-year stint as an executive and lobbyist in the business), a willingness to speak in the most servile way about ''the courage'' and ''openness to change'' of Mr. Trump, and a commitment to anti-abortion politics, abstinence education and other causes of the religious right. What he did not bring, evidently, was any notable ability to manage a pandemic. Who would have guessed that a man skilled at praising Mr. Trump would not be the top choice for organizing the development of a virus testing program, the delivery of urgently needed protective gear to health care workers or a plan for augmenting hospital capabilities?
Or consider Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and another ''cabinet sponsor'' of Capitol Ministries. As a former pediatric neurosurgeon, Mr. Carson brought more knowledge about medicine to his post than knowledge about housing issues. But that medical knowledge didn't stop him from asserting on March 8 that for the ''healthy individual'' thinking of attending one of Mr. Trump's then-ongoing large-scale campaign rallies, ''there's no reason that you shouldn't go.''
It is fair to point out that the failings of the Trump administration in the current pandemic are at least as attributable to its economic ideology as they are to its religious inclinations. When the so-called private sector is supposed to have the answer to every problem, it's hard to deal effectively with the very public problem of a pandemic and its economic consequences. But if you examine the political roots of the life-threatening belief in the privatization of everything, you'll see that Christian nationalism played a major role in creating and promoting the economic foundations of America's incompetent response to the pandemic.
For decades, Christian nationalist leaders have lined up with the anti-government, anti-tax agenda not just as a matter of politics but also as a matter of theology. Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, one of the Christian right's major activist groups, has gone so far as to cast food stamps and other forms of government assistance for essential services as contrary to the ''biblical model.'' Limited government, according to this line of thinking, is ''godly government.''
When a strong centralized response is needed from the federal government, it doesn't help to have an administration that has never believed in a federal government serving the public good. Ordinarily, the consequences of this kind of behavior don't show up for some time. In the case of a pandemic, the consequences are too obvious to ignore.
Katherine Stewart (@kathsstewart) is the author of ''The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.''
Germany aims to launch Singapore-style coronavirus app in weeks | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:36
Mon Mar 30, 2020 / 9:54 AM EDT
BERLIN BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany hopes to launch a smartphone app within weeks to help trace coronavirus infections, after a broad political consensus emerged that adopting an approach pioneered by Singapore can be effective without invading people's privacy.
Germans are deeply suspicious of digital surveillance, and the use of individual smartphone location data to track the spread of the pandemic would be illegal under national and European Union privacy laws.
But a fast-moving debate has yielded agreement across party lines that it would be useful and acceptable to track close-proximity Bluetooth 'handshakes' between smartphones.
That would resemble Singapore's TraceTogether app, which records the recent history of such contacts on a device. Should the smartphone's owner test positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness the coronavirus can cause, that data could be downloaded so that contact-tracing teams can quickly get in touch with others at risk.
"We are confident we can release the solution in the next few weeks," said the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecoms, Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI).
The HHI, one of Germany's institutes for applied research, said it was working with others across Europe to develop an app that would enable the proximity and duration of contact between people to be saved for two weeks on cell phones anonymously and without the use of location data.
"The prerequisite for such an application is full compliance with German data protection laws and usage on a voluntary basis," the HHI said in response to a Reuters inquiry.
The Robert Koch Institute, which is coordinating Germany's national coronavirus health response, welcomed the development work being done by the HHI but declined further comment.
PARADIGM SHIFT
The head of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, has warned that Germany is still at the beginning of the pandemic and its hospitals could find their capacity to treat patients exhausted. It has reported 57,298 coronavirus cases, with 455 deaths.
Health Minister Jens Spahn has called for an urgent debate on the use of smartphone technology to manage the coronavirus once containment efforts - which include school closures and bans on meeting in groups - have succeeded in 'flattening' the curve of new infections.
He has won support from the Social Democrats, the junior partner in Merkel's coalition government, and the opposition Greens, traditionally strong advocates of data privacy.
Germany's data protection commissioner, Ulrich Kelber, has supported the use of location and contact data shared on a voluntary basis, describing it as "incredibly useful".
Privacy advocates see no inherent contradiction between smartphone tracking and data protection and say that, done the right way, such contact tracing can make a valuable contribution to containing the coronavirus.
"Rapid contact tracing is a central precondition for it to be possible to loosen the current lockdown in the foreseeable future," academics Johannes Abeler and Matthias Baecker, and privacy campaigner Ulf Buermeyer, wrote for Netzpolitik.org here
(Editing by Timothy Heritage)
European Union is in 'Danger of Dying Out' - EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni - Sputnik International
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:27
Europe11:15 GMT 30.03.2020(updated 12:58 GMT 30.03.2020) Get short URL
Europe has become an epicentre of the coronavirus crisis, which has taken a huge toll on the EU's economy. The bloc's southern states and French President Macron insist that there needs to be an increase in the budget or a mechanism to assume common debt, but Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, is opposed to the idea.
EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni has warned that disagreements between member states over the bloc's economic measures aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak may doom the European project. "The European project is in danger of dying out. It is clear that if the economic differences between European countries, rather than shrinking in the face of a crisis like this, instead increase, it will be very difficult to keep the European project together", Gentiloni told Radio Capital.
The 65-year-old noted that it would be impossible for the bloc to reach a compromise without Germany.
The development comes after Berlin and other northern EU states rejected a proposal for a so-called "corona bonds scheme" tabled by nine countries, including Italy, Spain, and France. Under the proposal the European Union would create a joint borrowing system that would help countries cope with the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The case for such a common instrument is strong, since we are all facing a symmetric external shock, for which no country bears responsibility, but whose negative consequences are endured by all. And we are collectively accountable for an effective and United European response", the leaders of nine countries wrote in a letter.Germany and other north European states said no to the proposed system and instead recommended using the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a bailout fund that was established following the 2008 economic crisis.
This proposal angered southern EU members, which associate the ESM with the austerity conditions that were previously imposed on debt-stricken countries such Greece and Portugal. According to CNN, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Spanish Prime Minister Pedor Sanchez reportedly were outraged by the lack of measures discussed by the bloc.
"If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, there is a danger that the European house loses its foundation before the eyes of our citizens", Giuseppe Conte told Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper.Conte gave the EU a 10-day deadline to come up with a solution.
(C) REUTERS / Remo Casilli
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during a news conference due to coronavirus spread, in Rome, Italy March 11, 2020.
The ongoing rift between northern and southern EU members has also created division inside Germany. The country' President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged all members to join forces. "We must look beyond the next border fence. The virus has not nationality, and suffering does not stop at the borders", he said in a video posted on social media.
He was echoed by former Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who is now holding the post of the head of the European Commission. She said that Italy, which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic with almost 100,000 confirmed cases, is in crisis through no fault of its own, stressing that medium-sized businesses in the north of the country "need to be saved".
The head of the European Commission said that EU officials are currently working on policy measures that will be presented to leaders of member states in two weeks.
Myxomatosis - Wikipedia
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:29
Disease in rabbits caused by Myxoma virus
European rabbit with Lausanne strain of myxomatosis (West Yorkshire, UK)
Myxomatosis is a disease caused by Myxoma virus, a poxvirus in the genus Leporipoxvirus. The natural hosts are tapeti (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) in South and Central America, and brush rabbits (Sylvilagus bachmani) in North America. The myxoma virus causes only a mild disease in these species, but causes a severe and usually fatal disease in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Myxomatosis is an excellent example of what occurs when a virus jumps from a species adapted to it to a naive host, and has been extensively studied for this reason. The virus was intentionally introduced in Australia, France, and Chile in the 1950s to control wild European rabbit populations.
Cause [ edit ] Wild brush rabbit (
Sylvilagus bachmani) in Cupertino, California
Myxoma virus is in the genus Leporipoxvirus (family Poxviridae; subfamily Chordopoxvirinae). Like other poxviruses, myxoma viruses are large DNA viruses with linear double-stranded DNA. Virus replication occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell. The natural hosts are tapeti (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) in South and Central America, and brush rabbits (Sylvilagus bachmani) in North America. The myxoma virus causes only a mild disease in these species, with symptoms limited to the formation of skin nodules.[1]
Myxomatosis is the name of the severe and often fatal disease in European rabbits caused by the myxoma virus. Different strains exist which vary in their virulence. The Californian strain, which is endemic to the west coast of the United States and Baja in Mexico, is the most virulent, with reported case fatality rates of 100%. The South American strain, present in South America and Central America, is slightly less virulent, with reported case fatality rates of 99.8%. Strains present in Europe and Australia have become attenuated, with reported case fatality rates of 50%-95%. While wild rabbits in Europe and Australia have developed some immunity to the virus, this is not generally true of pet rabbits.[2]
Transmission [ edit ] Myxomatosis is transmitted primarily by insects. Disease transmission commonly occurs via mosquito or flea bites, but can also occur via the bites of mites, flies, and lice. The myxoma virus does not replicate in these insect hosts, but is physically carried by biting insects from one rabbit to another. Seasonality is driven by the availability of insect vectors and the proximity of infected wild rabbits.[3]
The myxoma virus can also be transmitted by direct contact. Infected rabbits shed the virus in ocular and nasal secretions and from eroded skin lesions. The virus may also be present in semen and genital secretions. Poxviruses are fairly stable in the environment and can be spread by contaminated objects such as water bottles, feeders, caging, or people's hands.[3] They are resistant to drying but are sensitive to some disinfectants.[4]
Clinical presentation in European rabbits [ edit ] European rabbit with Californian strain of myxomatosis, indicated by swollen eyelids and genitals (Santa Cruz, California)
The clinical signs of myxomatosis depend on the strain of virus, the route of inoculation, and the immune status of the host. Symptoms of the classic nodular form of the disease include a subcutaneous mass at the site of inoculation, swelling and edema of the eyelids and genitals, a milky or purulent ocular discharge, fever, lethargy, depression, and anorexia.
According to Meredith (2013), the typical time course of the disease is as follows:
Days after infectionClinical signs2-4Swelling at site of infection4Fever6Swelling of eyelids, face, base of ears, and anogenital area6Secondary skin lesions, including red pinpoint lesions on eyelids and raised masses on body6-8Clear ocular and nasal discharge that becomes mucopurulent and crusting7-8Respiratory distress8-9Hypothermia10Complete closure of eyelids due to swelling10-12DeathIn peracute disease with a highly virulent strain, death may occur within 5 to 6 days of infection with minimal clinical signs other than the conjunctivitis. Death usually occurs between days 10 and 12. Highly virulent strains, such as those present in North and South America, have essentially 100% case fatality rates.
In rabbits infected with attenuated, less virulent strains of the virus, the lesions seen are more variable and generally milder, and the time course is delayed and prolonged. Many rabbits will survive and the cutaneous lesions gradually scab and fall off, leaving scarring. A milder form of the disease is also seen in previously vaccinated domestic rabbits that have partial immunity. Vaccinated rabbits often present with localized scabbed lesions, frequently on the bridge of the nose and around the eyes, or multiple cutaneous masses over the body. They are often still bright and alert, and survive with nursing care.[1]
Respiratory symptoms are a common finding in rabbits that survive the first stages of myxomatosis. Mucopurulent nasal discharge occurs, leading to gasping and stertorous respiration with extension of the head and neck. Secondary bacterial pneumonia occurs in many cases. Chronic respiratory disease, such as nasal discharge, is common in surviving rabbits. Even in apparently recovered rabbits, it is not unusual to find lung lobes filled with fluid rather than air at necropsy.[3]
Since the 1970s an "amyxomatous" form of the disease has been reported in Europe which lacks the cutaneous nodules typical of myxomatosis. This form is clinically milder and generally nonlethal. Respiratory signs, including clear or purulent nasal discharge, predominate. Perineal edema, swollen eyelids, and purulent blepharoconjunctivitis are generally still present. This form has been observed in wild rabbits, but is significant mainly in farmed rabbits.[1]
Treatment [ edit ] At present, no specific treatment exists for myxomatosis. If the decision is made to attempt treatment, careful monitoring is necessary to avoid prolonging suffering. Previously vaccinated rabbits or those infected with an attenuated strain may recover given supportive care with fluids, food, and broad spectrum antibiotics. Cessation of food and water intake, ongoing severe weight loss, or rectal temperatures below 37 C (98.6 F) are reasons to consider euthanasia.[3]
Diagnosis [ edit ] Diagnosis of myxomatosis in European rabbits is often made on the basis of the characteristic clinical appearance. If a rabbit dies without exhibiting the classic symptoms of myxomatosis, or if further confirmation is desired, a number of laboratory tests are available. Historically these have included histopathology, electron microscopy, and virus isolation. Histopathologic examination of affected skin typically shows undifferentiated mesenchymal cells within a matrix of mucin, inflammatory cells, and edema. Intracytoplasmic inclusions may be seen in the epidermis and in conjunctival epithelium.[5] Negative-stain electron microscopic examination can also used for diagnosis due to the large size and distinctive structure of poxviruses. This method allows rapid visualization of poxviruses, but does not allow specific verification of virus species or variants.[6] Virus isolation remains the ''gold standard'' against which other methods of virus detection are compared. Theoretically at least, a single viable virus present in a specimen can be grown in cultured cells, thus expanding it to produce enough material to permit further detailed characterization.[7]
The more recent development of molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time polymerase chain reaction assays has created faster and more accurate methods of myxoma virus identification.[6] Real time PCR simplifies the diagnosis of myxomatosis by allowing nasal, ocular, or genital swabs to be quickly tested. It can also be used on paraffin-embedded tissue samples to confirm the presence of Myxoma virus and identify the viral strain.[8]
Prevention [ edit ] Vaccination [ edit ] Vaccines against myxomatosis are available in some countries. All are modified live vaccines based either on attenuated myxoma virus strains or on the closely related Shope fibroma virus, which provides cross-immunity. It is recommended that all rabbits in areas of the world where myxomatosis is endemic be routinely vaccinated, even if kept indoors, because of the ability of the virus to be carried inside by vectors or fomites. In group situations where rabbits are not routinely vaccinated, vaccination in the face of an outbreak is beneficial in limiting morbidity and mortality.[1] The vaccine does not provide 100% protection,[3] so it is still important to prevent contact with wild rabbits and insect vectors. Myxomatosis vaccines must be boostered regularly to remain effective, and annual vaccinations are usually recommended.[1]
In Europe and the United Kingdom a bivalent vectored vaccine called Nobivac Myxo-RHD[9] is available that protects against both myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. This vaccine is licensed for immunization of rabbits 5 weeks of age or older, with onset of immunity taking approximately 3 weeks. Protection against myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease has a duration of immunity for 12 months, and annual vaccination is recommended to ensure continued protection.The vaccine has been shown to reduce mortality and clinical signs of myxomatosis.[10]
Vaccination against myxomatosis is currently prohibited in Australia due to concerns that the vaccine virus could spread to wild rabbits and increase their immunity to myxomatosis. As feral rabbits in Australia already cause a great deal of environmental damage, this concern is taken seriously by the government.[11] Many pet rabbits in Australia continue to die from myxomatosis due to their lack of immunity.[12] There is at least one campaign to allow the vaccine for domestic pets.[13] The Australian Veterinary Association supports the introduction of a safe and effective myxomatosis vaccine for pet rabbits[14], and the RSPCA of Australia has repeatedly called for a review of available myxoma virus vaccines and a scientific assessment of their likely impacts in the Australian setting.[15]
Although myxomatosis is endemic in parts of Mexico and the United States, there is no commercially available vaccine in either of these countries. Information on recently reported cases in the United States is available from the House Rabbit Society.[16] In the United States the importation of vaccines is overseen by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, part of the Department of Agriculture.[17] There is at least one American company that makes a vaccine against myxomatosis, but its use is limited to research purposes.
Other preventive measures [ edit ] In locations where myxomatosis is endemic but no vaccine is available, preventing exposure to the myxoma virus is of vital importance. Even vaccinated rabbits need protection, as the vaccines are not 100% effective. The risk of a pet's contracting myxomatosis can be reduced by preventing contact with wild rabbits, keeping rabbits indoors (preferred) or behind screens to prevent mosquito exposure, and using rabbit-safe medications to treat and prevent fleas, lice, and mites. Any new rabbit that may have been exposed should be quarantined, and rabbits suspected of having myxomatosis should be immediately isolated until the diagnosis is ruled out.If the disease is confirmed all contaminated cages, dishes, or other objects should be disinfected with 10% bleach, 10% sodium hydroxide, or 1%''1.4% formalin.[18]
Use as a population control agent [ edit ] Rabbit and myxomatosis introductions around the world with dates
Myxoma virus was the first virus intentionally introduced into the wild with the purpose of eradicating a vertebrate pest, namely the European rabbit in Australia and Europe. The long-term failure of this strategy has been due to natural selective pressures on both the rabbit and virus populations, which resulted in the emergence of myxomatosis-resistant animals and attenuated virus variants. The process is regarded as a classical example of host-pathogen coevolution following cross-species transmission of a pathogen.[19]
Australia [ edit ] Rabbits around a waterhole in the myxomatosis trial site on
Wardang Island, Australia in 1938
Releasing the Myxoma virus in Australia
European rabbits were brought to Australia in 1788 by early English settlers (see Rabbits in Australia). Initially used as a food source, they later became feral and their numbers soared. In November 1937, the Australian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research used Wardang Island to conduct its first field trials of myxomatosis, which established the methodology for the successful release of the myxoma virus throughout the country.[20] In 1950, the SLS strain of myxoma virus from the South American tapeti (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) was released in Australia as a biological control agent against feral rabbits. The virus was at first highly lethal, with an estimated case fatality rate of close to 99.8%. Within a few years, however, this strain was replaced by less virulent ones, which permitted longer survival of infected rabbits and enhanced disease transmission. The virus created strong selection pressure for the evolution of rabbits resistant to myxomatosis. As rabbits became more resistant the viral strains responded by becoming less virulent.[2]
Europe [ edit ] In June 1952, Dr. Paul-F(C)lix Armand-Delille, the owner of an estate in northwestern France, inoculated two wild rabbits with the Lausanne strain of myxoma virus.[21] His intention was to only eradicate rabbits on his property, but the disease quickly spread to Western Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom.[22] Some dissemination of the virus was clearly deliberate, such as the introduction into Britain in 1953 and the introduction into Ireland in 1954.[23] Unlike in Australia, however, strenuous efforts were made to stop the spread in Europe. These efforts were in vain. It was estimated that the wild rabbit population in the United Kingdom fell by 99%, in France by 90% to 95%, and in Spain by 95%. This in turn drove specialized rabbit predators, such as the Iberian Lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle, to the brink of extinction.[24][25] As well as decreasing the wild rabbit population and the population of its natural predators, myxomatosis had significant impacts on the large rabbit farming industry, which produced domestic rabbits for meat and fur.[26] The Lausanne strain of the myxoma virus creates the formation of large purple skin nodules, a symptom not seen in other strains. As happened in Australia, the virus has generally become less virulent and the wild rabbit populations more resistant since then.[22]
South America [ edit ] Two pairs of European rabbits set free in 1936 at Punta Santa Maria resulted in an infestation that spread over the northern half of Tierra del Fuego. More rabbits were introduced in 1950 near Ushuaia by the Argentinian Navy and a private rabbit farmer. The rabbits quickly became pests, riddling the ground with holes and leaving it bare of grass. By 1953 the rabbit population numbered about 30 million. In 1954 Chilean authorities introduced a Brazilian strain of myxoma virus to Tierra del Fuego, which succeeded in bringing rabbits to very low population levels.[27]
Use as an evolutionary model [ edit ] Evolutionary history of the Myxoma virus in Europe and Australia
Given the importance of viral evolution to disease emergence, pathogenesis, drug resistance, and vaccine efficacy, it has been well studied by theoreticians and experimentalists. The introductions of myxoma virus into European rabbit populations in Australia and France created natural experiments in virulence evolution.[28] While initial viral strains were highly virulent, attenuated strains were soon recovered from the field. These attenuated strains, which allowed rabbits to survive longer, came to dominate because they were more readily transmitted. As the complete genome sequences of multiple myxoma strains have been published, scientists have been able to pinpoint exactly which genes are responsible for the changes in the myxoma virus's virulence and behavior.[29]
In fiction [ edit ] Myxomatosis is referred to as "the white blindness" by the rabbit characters of the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams, and in the story a rabbit chief had driven out all rabbits who seemed to be afflicted. In one of the novel's folk tales about the rabbit hero El-ahrairah, the transmission of the disease is explained to him by the lord of the rabbit underworld, the Black Rabbit of Inle ("it is carried by the fleas in rabbits' ears; they pass from the ears of a sick rabbit to those of his companions").[30]
References [ edit ] ^ a b c d e Meredith, Anna (2013). "Viral skin diseases of the rabbit". Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. 16 (3): 705''714. doi:10.1016/j.cvex.2013.05.010. PMID 24018033. ^ a b Kerr, Peter (2017). "Genomic and phenotypic characterization of myxoma virus from Great Britain reveals multiple evolutionary pathways distinct from those in Australia". PLOS Pathogens. 13 (3): e1006252. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006252. PMC 5349684 . PMID 28253375. ^ a b c d e Kerr, Peter (2013). "Viral Infections of Rabbits". Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. 16 (2): 437''468. doi:10.1016/j.cvex.2013.02.002. PMID 23642871. ^ "Disinfection". The Center for Food Security and Public Health . Retrieved 21 July 2019 . ^ Quesenberry, Katherine (2012). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery (Third ed.). Elsevier Saunders. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-4160-6621-7. ^ a b MacLachlan, James (2017). Fenner's Veterinary Virology, 5th Edition. Elsevier. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-12-800946-8. ^ MacLachlan, James (2017). Fenner's Veterinary Virology, 5th Edition. Elsevier. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-12-800946-8. ^ Albini, Sarah; Sigrist, Brigitte; G¼ttinger, Regula; Schelling, Claude; Hoop, Richard K.; V¶gtlin, Andrea (6 December 2011). "Development and validation of a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay" (PDF) . Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 24 (1): 135''137. doi:10.1177/1040638711425946. PMID 22362943. ^ "Nobivac Myxo RHD". MSD Animal Health . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "Nobivac Myxo RHD Data Sheet". European Medicine Agency . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "A Statement from the Chief Veterinary Officer (Australia) on myxomatosis vaccine availability in Australia". Australian Government Department of Agriculture . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "The Rabbit Sanctuary Myxomatosis Hotline". Myxomatosis . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "Myxo Campaign". Myxomatosis . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "Myxomatosis vaccination of pet rabbits". Australian Veterinary Association . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "Why can't I vaccinate my rabbit against Myxomatosis?". Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals . Retrieved 20 July 2019 . ^ "Myxomatosis in the US". House Rabbit Society . Retrieved 23 August 2019 . ^ "Veterinary Biologics". United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service . Retrieved 23 July 2019 . ^ Oglesbee, Barbara (2011). Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal (Second ed.). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-8138-2018-7. ^ MacLachlan, James (2017). Fenner's Veterinary Virology, 5th Edition. Elsevier. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-12-800946-8. ^ "Rabbits around a waterhole at the enclosed trial site at Wardang Island, 1938". National Archives of Australia . Retrieved 28 July 2019 . ^ Davis, Josh. "Darwin's rabbit is revealing how the animals became immune to myxomatosis". Natural History Museum . Retrieved 14 August 2019 . ^ a b Kerr, Peter; Liu, June; Cattadori, Isabella; Ghedin, Elodie; Read, Andrew; Holmes, Edward (6 March 2015). "Myxoma Virus and the Leporipoxviruses: An Evolutionary Paradigm". Viruses. 7 (3): 1020''1061. doi:10.3390/v7031020. PMC 4379559 . PMID 25757062. ^ Bartrip, Peter (2008). Myxomatosis: A History of Pest Control and the Rabbit. London, UK: Tauris Academic Studies. ISBN 978-1845115722. ^ Gil-Snchez, Jose Mar­a; McCain, Emil B. (14 October 2011). "Former range and decline of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) reconstructed using verified records". Journal of Mammalogy. 92 (5): 1081''1090. doi:10.1644/10-MAMM-A-381.1. ^ Snchez, Beatriz. "Action plan for the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) in the European Union" (PDF) . European Commission . Retrieved 14 August 2019 . ^ Cadogan, Stephen (23 March 2017). "How a thriving food industry faded away to nothing in the 1960s". The Irish Examiner. Cork . Retrieved 15 October 2017 . ^ Jaksic, Fabian (1983). "Rabbit and Fox Introductions in Tierra del Fuego: History and Assessment of the Attempts at Biological Control of the Rabbit Infestation". Biological Conservation. 26 (4): 369''370. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(83)90097-6. ^ Bull, James J.; Lauring, Adam S.; Condit, Richard C. (23 October 2014). "Theory and Empiricism in Virulence Evolution". PLoS Pathogens. 10 (10): e1004387. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004387. PMC 4207818 . PMID 25340792. ^ Burgess, Hannah M.; Mohr, Ian (12 April 2016). "Evolutionary clash between myxoma virus and rabbit PKR in Australia". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (15): 3912''3914. Bibcode:2016PNAS..113.3912B. doi:10.1073/pnas.1602063113. PMC 4839419 . PMID 27035991. ^ Cassidy, Angela (2019). Vermin, Victims and Disease: British Debates Over Bovine Tuberculosis and Badgers. Springer Nature. p. 178. ISBN 9783030191863 . Retrieved 11 November 2019 . Further reading [ edit ] Deane, C.D. 1955. Note on myxomatosis in hares. Bulletin of the Mammal Society of the British Isles. 3: 20.Fenner, Frank. 1965. Myxomatosis. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521049917.External links [ edit ] An interview with Frank FennerA Statement from the Chief Veterinary Officer (Australia) on myxomatosis vaccine availability in Australia
Marine Le Pen Says It's Reasonable to Question If COVID-19 Was 'Lab-Produced'
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:28
Citing the example of an artificial, lab-developed virus, the National Rally leader has asserted that it makes sense to doubt any statements about the place of origin of COVID-19.
President of the French right-wing party National Rally Marine Le Pen considers it fair to wonder whether the currently raging coronavirus has artificial origins and was intentionally designed in a lab.
''People's question about if its origins are natural or whether it is lab-produced is a reasonable one'', Le Pen told the radio station France Info.
The politician, who according to BFM-TV, opted to self-quarantine after allegedly contacting a coronavirus-infected person, went on to note that she personally doesn't stick to any concrete point of view.
''In history - and I know this because I do my best to be educated - there were a few diseases, which originated in laboratories, for instance, myxomatosis'', the politician remarked.According to a recent poll, about 40 percent of National Rally voters believe that the virus was really developed ''on purpose'', while only 15 percent consider its emergence to be ''accidental''.
Speculation has been running high in the media and on social networks over the origins of the novel type of the dangerous coronavirus.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he was looking into holding China "accountable" for the coronavirus pandemic, later replying to a Twitter message suggesting that "China will pay for this" with one word: ''correct'', he commented in the thread.
Earlier in February, Cotton did not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus may have been developed by the Chinese in a "superlaboratory", assuming that the damage from the virus could be "worse than Chernobyl''.
A Chinese official, in turn, has alleged that the US military may have shipped the coronavirus to Wuhan. "When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian wrote on Twitter, while the authorities circulated the statement dismissing the US senator's claims.
Separately, Trump has on a few occasions referred to COVID-19 as ''the Chinese virus", with many suggesting that it was intentional and picking up on it despite POTUS stressing straight away that he merely meant that it originated on Chinese soil.
According to China's Foreign Ministry, the country has offered assistance to 82 countries as well as the WHO and the African Union, namely in the provision of test kits, masks, etc., with the number of coronavirus cases remaining stable in the world's second biggest economy.
Chinese envoy to the United States Cui Tiankai argued that Washington first started the COVID-19 blame game, stressing that the Chinese side hasn't lowered statistics or tamped down on reports about the virus, but has opted to verify the data before making it public.
The disease, which was declared a pandemic by the WHO earlier in March, has been sweeping across the world for the past few months, with the total number of confirmed cases hitting 746,000 to date. The worst affected countries remain Italy and Spain, where the death tally is the biggest in the world, 10,779 and 7,340 respectively, per Worldometers.info.
Meanwhile, the US tops the ranking in terms of the number of overall confirmed coronavirus cases (142,793).
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Prestige Media - Relax about Biden
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:23
In the eternity since former Vice President Joe Biden turned his presidential campaign around by winning the South Carolina primary in a blowout '-- it was actually just a month ago '-- a lot of things have changed.
A pandemic has been declared. Deaths from the novel coronavirus have surged to more than 30,000 around the world and nearly 2,500 at home. The stock market has crashed, with the Dow dropping thousands of points. Much of the economy has been put through a sudden stop as millions of Americans have been asking to abide by public-health measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. Weekly unemployment claims have spiked to levels that dwarf numbers seen during the great recession of 2008-2009 and that could well augur a global depression to come. In response, Congress has passed the largest aid package in American history ($2 trillion) to soften the economic shock of it all.
It's been a momentous few weeks, but one thing has not changed: Biden is still overwhelmingly likely to become the Democratic Party's nominee for president, and he's still better positioned than any other candidate to defeat President Trump in November.
That's something that needs to be repeated over and over again '-- for several reasons.
For one thing, Democrats are worriers in the best of times, and a pandemic and economic collapse during the Trump administration is among the very worst of times. For another, the kinds of people who write about politics for a living tend not to be especially impressed by the verbally challenged, unideological, gaffe-prone septuagenarian pragmatist from Delaware, and their analysis of the race reflects their incredulity about his prospects. For yet another, over the last two presidential election cycles the party has been rocked by a rebellion on its leftward flank led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a lifelong democratic socialist, who has little chance of catching Biden in the delegate count but who is refusing to bow out of the race, leaving the frontrunner looking more vulnerable than he actually is.
Now mix all of these factors with the oddly apocalyptic holding pattern in which we find ourselves '-- most of the primaries scheduled for late March and April have been postponed to May and June '-- and we have a situation perfectly designed to provoke a freak out. This is exactly what we've been seeing over the last week or so.
First people asked where Biden had gone. With Trump giving daily briefings to the media about COVID-19, why was the presumptive Democratic nominee keeping such a low profile after his decisive primary victories in Michigan, Florida, and several other delegate-rich states? Then, when Biden started making his own somewhat low-tech statements from the basement of his home in Wilmington, Delaware, others worried that he looked small and sounded smaller '-- an impression that worsened when he began lapsing into verbal and cognitive chaos in televised interviews.
Then came the polls showing Biden leading Trump by as little as two points nationally '-- and inspiring maximal excitement in only 24 percent of those planning to vote for him, which might turn out to be a sign of the same kind of weakness that hobbled Hillary Clinton's campaign four years ago. (These concerns are intensified for some by contrasting these measures of enthusiasm with the much greater excitement among Republicans to vote for Trump's re-election.)
Finally, there's the new accusation that Biden sexually assaulted a Senate aide back in 1993. The story is circulating on numerous news sites but has yet to break into the prestige media. When and if it does, Biden will be thrust into a firestorm of scandal that could fatally damage him.
All of these perceived vulnerabilities are leading Sanders to stay in the race through this extended lull in the voting, ready to pounce as soon as Biden implodes, and also encouraging fantasies of some mysterious alternative mainstream candidate magically swooping in to take Biden's place. Over the past week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been the object of these daydreams, with his strong performance in his daily briefings about the coronavirus supposedly making for a stronger contrast to Trump than Biden's wan media appearances.
It sounds bad. Except for the fact that Biden remains, and is quite likely to remain, a very formidable candidate '-- and more formidable than any other Democrat around.
More than two dozen Democrats ran for president in this election cycle. Biden has dispatched them all, including Sanders. The Vermont senator may be refusing to formally bow out, but in their head-to-head competitions over the past month, Biden has bested him over and over again. Sanders wins the youth vote, and he does well among Latino voters out west, but that's about it. Biden wins African Americans and working-class whites and suburban voters by such wide margins that he has surpassed Clinton's 2016 showing against Sanders almost everywhere.
Nowhere has this been more obvious than in Michigan. Sanders famously beat Clinton there (very narrowly) four years ago. Yet Biden beat Sanders this year in the state by more than 16 percentage points '-- and also managed to best him in every single county in the state. (Biden accomplished the same feat in Florida.) That makes Biden a very strong candidate, and certainly a stronger one than Clinton was.
It may well be true that Biden himself inspires only mild levels of enthusiasm among voters when pollsters ask them about it in the abstract. But in reality, when faced with a choice between Biden and Sanders, voters have showed up in states across the country to express their support for the former vice president. That's a very good sign that they will do the same when his opponent is the far more widely loathed Republican in the White House. It's also important to keep in mind that Trump is benefitting at the moment from a rally-round-the-president effect from the coronavirus crisis. That bump, along with a few mildly scary head-to-head polls, is unlikely to persist through the next seven months. (And even now Biden still leads Trump in aggregate head-to-head polling by 5.8 points.)
As for the possibility of the Biden candidacy being consumed by a sexual scandal, it will depend on whether the alleged victim can offer any kind of corroboration to back up her claims about an event 27 years in the past '-- and if anyone else comes forward with similar accusations. If the latter happens, Biden could be in trouble. But if not, a single unsubstantiated claim from nearly three decades ago is unlikely to wound a candidate running against a flagrant misogynist who brags about his own serial assaults on women.
Biden might not be any Democrat's idea of a perfect candidate. But more factions of the fractious party like him than anyone else around. That makes Biden something very close to a generic Democrat with the broadest possible appeal '-- which could make him a fearsome opponent to take on a president as polarizing and deeply disliked as Donald Trump.
At a time when there's so much to be worried about, Democrats would be well advised to relax about Joe Biden.
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Yamiche Alcindor on Twitter: "President Trump today at the White House said to me: ''Be nice. Don't be threatening.'' I'm not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady. Stay focused.
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:57
@ Yamiche President Trump today at the White House said to me: ''Be nice. Don't be threatening.''I'm not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward.
Ida Bae Wells @ nhannahjones
5h You wish you had an ounce of her skill and credibility, or that anyone even knew your name. I don't care what your political leanings, if you call yourself a journalist then you know what happened yesterday is unacceptable. Have some respect and grow up.
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Coronavirus tests: Methods, availability, and accuracy
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:47
Most tests for the new strain of coronavirus involve taking a swab sample for analysis.
The virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19).
Developing reliable tests for the virus is essential to slow its spread.Currently, these tests are for people at risk of developing severe COVID-19. For example, healthcare professionals will likely prioritize testing for older adults who may have the infection.
This article will discuss how COVID-19 tests work and who is receiving them.
Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
Share on Pinterest It is possible to test for coronavirus by taking a swab sample.Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.There are several ways to test for the new strain of coronavirus. Most are either molecular or serological tests.
Molecular testsMolecular tests look for signs of an active infection.They usually involve taking a sample from the back of the throat with a cotton swab. The doctor then sends the sample off for testing.
The sample will undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. This type of test detects signs of the virus's genetic material.
A PCR test can confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19 if it identifies two specific SARS-CoV-2 genes. If it identifies only one of these genes, it will produce an inconclusive result.
Molecular tests can only help diagnose current cases of COVID-19. They cannot tell whether someone has had the infection and since recovered.
Serological testsThese tests detect antibodies that the body produces to fight the virus. These antibodies are present in anyone who has recovered from COVID-19.
The antibodies exist in blood and tissues throughout the body. A serological test usually requires a blood sample.
Serological tests are particularly useful for detecting cases of infection with mild or no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently developing a serological test for SARS-CoV-2, and they are looking for blood samples from anyone who has had COVID-19. The samples would be taken at least 21 days after symptoms first developed.
There are different options for testing.
Public testsIn the United States, 91 public health laboratories have completed verification to test for COVID-19.
Testing is available in all 50 states, plus the District of Colombia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. To get a test, the CDC recommend contacting the state health department.
For people with Medicare, most of whom are 65 or older, the prices of these tests vary from $35''52, depending on the state.
It is important to note that these tests are currently limited to people in danger of serious illness. Those at risk include:
people with severe symptomspeople with underlying health conditionspregnant womenolder adultsHome testsHome tests for COVID-19 are currently in development.
The U.S. government is working with the Gates Foundation and others to develop home tests. These tests involve taking a sample at home and sending it off to a laboratory to check for signs of the virus.
There are different ways to collect swab samples. First, it is important to determine the most effective and safe method of home testing.
Some companies are already offering home testing kits. However, it is currently not possible to guarantee the safety or reliability of these kits.
COVID-19 tests are new, and assessing their accuracy is challenging.
PCR tests may produce false negatives, failing to identify evidence of SARS-CoV-2.
Sometimes false negatives result from human error or problems with the procedure. Giving the test too early or late, for example, can lead to a false negative.
The accuracy of similar tests for influenza is generally 50''70%.
As of March 23, 2020, there have been 4,649 tests by CDC laboratories and 75,263 tests by public health laboratories in the U.S.
These figures refer to the number of specimens tested, rather than the number of people. Some people give multiple samples for testing.
The true figure is higher, due to a delay in official reporting.
The U.S. has been slower than other countries to take up COVID-19 testing. Accounting for population size, the U.S. is administering far fewer tests than many European and some Asian countries.
For example, the U.S. has administered around 314 tests per 1 million people. The same figure for the United Kingdom is 960, while for Germany it is around 2,023 and for South Korea it is 6,148.
The U.S. is also administering almost ten times fewer tests than Canada.The low rates of testing in the U.S. mean that more people are likely to have COVID-19 than national figures suggest.
Anyone with the following symptoms should contact a healthcare provider:
a coughshortness of breatha fever Tests are in short supply and are only available for people at risk of severe illness. A doctor will determine whether a person's symptoms necessitate a test.Anyone with a chronic health condition and anyone over the age of 60 should receive a test.
Most people who develop COVID-19 have a relatively mild form of the disease, which does not require specialist treatment in a hospital.Mild symptoms may include a fever, a cough, a sore throat, tiredness, and shortness of breath, which may last 1''2 weeks.
Other people who have the infection may experience no symptoms.
For some people, COVID-19 is a severe illness. The risk is higher for people who are older or who have chronic health conditions, such as diabetes.
Vader on Twitter: "@ChrisBlec @JBmastercrypto @8bitbytebit @adamcurry We need to have antibody tests, so immune people can go back to work." / Twitter
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:42
I didn't say they changed the model. The model is being proven to be based on illogical assumptions. Ferguson acknowledges in the thread you linked that the UK model is based on essentially zero precautions being taken.
View conversation · 1. Ferguson didn't "adjust the number down from 500k to 20k" which is what Brix said. Their model always said on the assumption of no intervention, deaths may total 500k and, with active social distancing measures, much less.
View conversation · I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm disagreeing with governments and media consistently using the worst-case models as their headlines without adding the context that "these numbers reflect worst case without any precautions being taken and no medical advances happening".
View conversation ·
Germany will issue coronavirus antibody certificates to allow quarantined to re-enter society
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 10:53
Researchers to test thousands for immunity as Berlin plans exit strategy for pandemic lock down
German researchers plan to introduce coronavirus 'immunity certificates' to facilitate a proper transition into post-lockdown life, as Chancellor Angela Merkel's handling of the crisis has led to a boost in the polls.
The antibodies will indicate that the test participants have had the virus, have healed and are thereby ready to re-enter society and the workforce. The researchers plan to test 100,000 members of the public at a time, issuing documentation to those who have overcome the virus.
The researchers will use the information to determine how to properly end the county's lockdown, including re-opening schools and allowing mass gatherings.
The immunity certificates are part of a research project being carried out at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig in coming weeks which will conduct blood tests to look for antibodies produced against the novel coronavirus in the general public, reports German magazine Der Spiegel.
''Those who are immune can then be given a vaccination certificate that would, for example, allow them to be exempt from any (lockdown-related) restrictions on their work,'' said Gerard Krause, the epidemiologist leading the project.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has seen her approval ratings rise over her handling of the crisis Credit : Fabian Strauch/dpa The test will give researchers a better idea of how many people have contracted the virus, with indications in Germany and elsewhere that large proportions of the population may have contracted it without knowing.
The test is also an improvement on existing blood tests which would indicate a degree of immunity to coronaviruses, but not specifically to Covid-19.
The project is yet to receive final approval but is expected to go ahead in April, with the first wave of results ready by the end of the month.
Despite having the fifth highest number of infected cases anywhere in the world, Germany has one of the lowest death rates '' which has been at least in part credited to the government's proactive testing regime.
A German military plane yesterday took patients from eastern France, one of the worst-hit areas in the country, to Germany. A small group of patients from eastern France and Lombardy, in northern Italy, are already being treated in Germany.
The government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in public support for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has experienced a boost in the polls since the outbreak started.
On Sunday, her approval ratings were between 32 and 35 percent '' a six to seven percent increase on ratings before the pandemic hit.
Support for Mrs Merkel's governing CDU-SPD coalition has also risen, while the standing of the far-Right Alternative for Germany party has falled below ten percent in recent days.
Polling released on Sunday shows the governing coalition is enjoying a majority for the first time since June 2018.
Troubling Questions Emerge About FBI's Strzok; Father Worked in Africa for Companies Linked to, Funded by CIA '' True Pundit
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 10:45
Embattled FBI Agent Peter Strzok, embroiled in the spying and wiretapping scandal of President Trump, grew up in Africa for a stint while his father worked for companies that have long been linked as operational and funding cut-outs for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to records.
Now, as the spying and wiretapping scandal of the FBI has implicated former CIA Director John Brennan and Barack Obama's CIA, questions have emerged about the FBI Strzok's connections to the CIA. And that of his family too. The Inspector General is probing many facets of FBI corruption, along with House and Senate committees. That includes CIA involvement in the FBI spying scandals. And Strzok's alleged role as a clandestine liaison between FBI and CIA.
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True Pundit reported Brennan's involvement in Sept. 2017 and now '-- nine months later '-- others are asking questions about the FBI's involvement with the CIA with what amounts to an apparent clandestine operation to unseat President Trump '-- or make sure he was never elected in the first place.
The FBI's Strzok bragged in internal FBI text messages about obtaining a CIA coin '' often awarded for meritorious service to intelligence agents '-- from and personally signed by former CIA Director John Brennan in 2017. Now Strzok is accused of working with CIA cut-out Stefan Halper to set traps for Trump associates.
How did Strzok know John Brennan and what was his involvement with FBI operations linked to Trump campaign skullduggery? FBI and CIA operations are separated for a reason.
Peter Strzok Sr.. the father of the FBI's Peter Strzok, served 21 years in the Army before taking a post in Africa for Catholic Relief Services, a charity with bonafide international links to the CIA and funding from the United Nations. According to records, Strzok worked for CRS staring in 1981 and lived abroad with his family a young Peter in Africa. Prior to taking the position in Africa, the elder Strzok worked in Vietnam, the Middle East and specifically Iran for an unknown U.S. contractor.
Strzok stayed in Iran until Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was installed in 1979 in the hope of stabilizing the tumultuous region and political climate during the American hostage crisis as well, records show. After leaving Iran, Strzok took the African post with CRS. But it was not Strzok's first U.S.-backed mission in Iran. In a recent 2016 article in the Fayetteville Observer, he detailed an earlier mission in Iran '-- as well as his navigating Russian influence in that country '-- predating his private work in Iran by nearly two decades. Strzok wrote:
''In 1965, I was an Army engineer captain assigned to the U.S. Military Mission to Iran. Fresh out of Persian language studies at Monterey, California, one of my jobs was to accept civic action schools being built from funds accrued from sales by Iran of food aid provided by the U.S. These schools were being built in border areas, concentrating on nomadic groups such as the Kurds, Balouch, Turkoman, Azeris and Afghans, under the theory that educated nomads tend toward sedentary living with reduced security concerns. One was built in Marivan, a Kurdish village hard up against the Iraqi border. In October 1965, I flew from Tehran, in a de Havilland Otter, to meet with contractors and Tehran Engineer District staff, to turn over the Marivan school for transfer to the government to Iran.''
The program Strzok headed in Africa for CRS in the 1980s was funded by federal aid to and from USAID, records show. USAID maintains it is an independent aid organization, however its history is entwined and entangled deeply with the CIA. Just like Catholic Relief Services. Both organizations have embedded covert CIA operatives in international outposts to carry out operations ranging from intelligence gathering to covert Ops.
The CIA funds various covert operations through various front organizations including known CIA operations groups which funnel funds to ''various non-governmental agencies'' (NGOs) which then use such funds to achieve American intelligence objectives worldwide.
Often criticized for its involvement with the U.S. intelligence apparatus, CRS is a documented CIA-linked NGO. And USAID is the government-funded equivalent.
The CRS program in Africa headed by Strzok provided school lunches to children and helped teach local how to farm and raise cash crops, according to reports.
Archived 1983 newspaper article of Strzok Sr.'s work in Africa
The elder Strzok has never tried to hide his involvement with CRS. In fact in the 1980s, he often boasted about the work he was doing in Africa, as well as the fact Peter Jr. was living in Africa before he came stateside at age 12 to enroll in prep school in the United States, according to records.
Now, however, his son's involvement in an apparent intelligence plot aimed at harming Trump's political career has thrust the elder Strzok's career into the spotlight.
The FBI's Strzok served as Chief of the Counterespionage Section during the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server, rising to become the Deputy Assistant Director of the division. He led the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
In 2017, Strzok was the top FBI agent assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of alleged collusion of Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government. But Strzok was fired from Mueller's team when damaging text messages between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page surfaced where the duo were highly critical of Trump. Often, they ridiculed Trump.
After working with USAID-funded programs for CRS in Africa, the elder Strzok stayed active in Africa for the last 30 years running the Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations, records show. The non profit group, founded by the elder Strzok, has focused on working with rural organizations in Africa and Haiti, according to the corporation's 2009 tax return filed with the IRS.
In 2010, Strzok's IRS tax filing said his Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations organized meetings with University of Minnesota agencies and ''forest product enterprises to provide safe, low cost fuel to Haitian earthquake victims.
''Organized / provided briefings to World Bank & Inter-American bank staff on program of action'' for Haitian earthquake victims.''
According to tax returns available for Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations, the non-profit's income, expenses, revenue and assets between 2007 and 2010 were all under $2,000 US.
In 2003-2004, the group provided grants to schools in northern Iraq for improvements, according to tax returns. That year, the group took in $32,000 in contributions and revenue along with an apparent $5,000 grant from the USDA, filings show.
In a data sheet included with the tax return, Strzok said the Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations was ceasing operations, after 19 years. (See attachment.) The data sheet detailed Strzok's involvement in international aid for decades. Tax returns for the group prior to 2001 were not available. The group did recommence operations after 2004 based on tax returns filed from 2007 through 2010, records show.
In 2013, Strzok Sr. was quoted by a TV news station reporting on African poverty and identified him as president of the Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations.
Argo by True Pundit on Scribd
CBS News Caught Using Footage from an Italian Hospital to Describe Conditions in New York City (VIDEO)
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:44
by Jim Hoft March 29, 2020 Emergency Room Footage on CBS Matches Footage from Italian Hospital!
This is footage from SKY News on March 22 from Italy.
And here is footage from CBS News during their New York City report on March 25.
CBS News painted a dire picture from New York City this week in their coronavirus coverage.
On Wednesday morning CBS aired this footage from a New York hospital.
The footage matches SKY News video from inside an Italian hospital from Sunday March 22.
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Honderdduizenden Chinese mondmaskers teruggeroepen uit Nederlandse ziekenhuizen | NOS
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:03
Een groot deel van de mondmaskers die de Nederlandse overheid uit China heeft ge¯mporteerd, is ondeugdelijk. Omdat de maskers al waren verdeeld over ziekenhuizen, heeft het ministerie van Volksgezondheid een terugroepactie gehouden.
Het gaat om bijna de helft van een partij van 1,3 miljoen zogeheten FFP2 maskers, 600.000 stuks. Zorgverleners gebruiken die bij de behandeling van ernstig zieke patinten met een covid-infectie. Ondeugdelijke maskers brengen artsen en verpleegkundigen in gevaar.
De maskers zijn afgekeurd, omdat ze niet aan de veiligheidseisen voldoen. Ze passen niet goed om het gezicht of hebben membranen die niet goed functioneren, de hele fijne filters die virusdeeltjes moeten tegenhouden.
"De mondkapjes die niet voldoen zijn teruggehaald", aldus het ministerie van Volksgezondheid tegenover de NOS. Het ministerie kan niet met zekerheid zeggen of geen enkele arts zo'n mondkapje heeft gedragen.
Eigen initiatief ziekenhuizenEen aantal ziekenhuizen heeft de maskers op eigen initiatief laten testen door TNO. De partij maskers was over de ziekenhuizen verdeeld zonder dat ze getest waren om te zien of ze wel aan de kwaliteitseisen voldoen.
"Toen ze bij ons in het ziekenhuis geleverd werden heb ik die maskers meteen afgekeurd", vertelt een betrokkene uit een ziekenhuis dat een partij ondeugdelijke maskers heeft binnengekregen. "Als die maskers niet goed afsluiten dan kunnen de virusdeeltjes er gewoon langs. Wij gebruiken ze niet. Dat is onveilig voor onze mensen."
TNO mag geen informatie verstrekken over de uitkomsten en resultaten van de testen. "Dat is contractueel vastgelegd", laat een woordvoerder weten.
Bedroevende kwaliteitDe afgekeurde mondmaskers zouden volgens een bron van bedroevende kwaliteit zijn. Niet van FFP2-kwaliteit en ook niet van het mindere veiligheidsniveau FFP1. "Op zijn best een soort FFP0,8", aldus deze bron.
"Wij hebben 2400 van die mondkapjes ontvangen. Die staan nog in de opslag, we hebben er niet een van gebruikt", zegt een woordvoerder van het Radboud umc. Daar zag men dat de kapjes niet goed aansloten op het gezicht.
Een woordvoerder van het Catharina Ziekenhuis in Eindhoven zegt dat de zending ook meteen is afgekeurd. "Dit staat niet op zich, er is veel troep op de markt. Er zijn mensen die proberen te profiteren van de huidige crisis, tegen hoge prijzen."
Steriliseren als kunstgreepDe bron vertelt dat de terugroepactie halsoverkop is gestart om de onveilige maskers zo snel mogelijk uit de roulatie te halen. Verschillende andere artsen die nauw betrokken zijn bij de bestrijding van de corona-uitbraak maken zich zorgen om de verspreiding over het land van onveilige beschermingsmiddelen.
Er bestaat al langer een tekort aan goede mondmaskers. Daarom nemen ziekenhuizen hun toevlucht tot noodoplossingen. Ze steriliseren al gebruikte maskers en doen die dan opnieuw voor.
Schriftelijke reactie ministerie van VWSHet ministerie stelt in een schriftelijke reactie aan de NOS dat er men en macht gewerkt wordt om te voorzien in de behoefte aan beschermingsmiddelen die in de hele wereld schaars zijn. "Door deze tekorten kunnen we in een situatie terechtkomen dat er alleen nog maar beschermingsmiddelen beschikbaar zijn die niet aan de hoogste standaarden voldoen. Dat speelt in alle landen."
"Afgelopen zaterdag is een eerste zending afkomstig van een Chinese fabrikant deels uitgeleverd. Het gaat hier om maskers met een KN95-kwaliteitscertificaat. Het ministerie van VWS ontving een eerste signaal dat bij inspectie de kwaliteit van deze zending niet voldeed aan de criteria. Een deel van deze zending is uitgeleverd aan zorgaanbieders, de rest van de lading is direct on-hold gezet en is niet verder verspreid."
"Ook een tweede test wees uit dat de maskers niet voldeden aan de kwaliteitsnorm. Er is nu besloten om deze hele zending niet meer in te zetten. Nieuwe zendingen zullen een extra test ondergaan."
Later op de dag gaf het ministerie in een aanvullende reactie aan dat de ondeugdelijke partijen door de ziekenhuizen zelf eruit zijn gepikt. Zij hebben dat laten weten aan de inspectie en die heeft vervolgens de mondkapjes ingenomen.
Het ministerie kon alleen niet met zekerheid zeggen dat geen enkele arts zo'n mondkapje heeft gedragen of dat er de afgelopen week, voordat de inspectie ingreep, deze mondkapjes niet zijn ingezet.
Het ministerie van VWS heeft op advies van het Amerikaanse CDC, dat is de pendant van ons RIVM, de Chinese kwaliteitstandaard KN95 voor mondkapjes goedgekeurd. Dat meldde de minister eerder deze week in een brief aan de Tweede Kamer.
How to safely end social distancing and ease the Covid-19 pandemic - Vox
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:56
The failures of the United States' initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic are already well established: We were too slow to recognize the threat of the disease and too slow to get diagnostic testing in place, and were ill prepared for the strain on our health care system.
But now, largely, we're doing something right: social distancing.
The outright lockdowns of movement in some cities, as well as the less severe policies in place across the country, can slow the spread of the pandemic. And per at least one poll, people are, by and large, complying.
Christina Animashaun/Vox Frustratingly, though, we must be patient in our isolation. The impacts of social distancing lag in case-count data and may take a few weeks to show up. Right now, there are infections out there, in the public, that were seeded long before these orders came into effect. It can take 10 days or more between when a person is infected and when they show symptoms '-- during which they can spread the virus to others.
The social distancing measures in place also aren't airtight, so these infections will still seed some others. And just the cases that are already out there are expected to overrun hospitals.
It's important to recognize it could be months until it's safe to lift social distancing restrictions. And the timeline might vary depending on where you live and when the virus strikes the hardest.
We need social distancing because it slows the spread of the disease to manageable levels. When that happens, we can move to a more sustainable mitigation strategy. But we'll need to be careful. Just look at Hong Kong: After a month of strong control measures, including social distancing, cases are on the rise again, perhaps fueled by residents returning from abroad.
Know this: Ceaseless social distancing is not the only way to end this outbreak. And President Trump paints a false choice between saving lives and saving the economy. We can find a balance. It's just that the current orders of social distancing would need to be replaced by a comprehensive, extremely ambitious plan.
Epidemiologists have been telling me about what it would take to end social distancing safely while fighting the spread of Covid-19. It isn't easy. It will require an immense amount of leadership, coordination, and more sacrifice. It would take a sort of moonshot-level effort. But the tactics they outline aren't unfamiliar. They're textbook epidemiology '-- they just need to be scaled up to a level never really seen before.
''We really do need a Manhattan Project effort to get this stuff in place in really a two- or three-month period,'' Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, says.
We need social distancing across the country, and we need to keep it in place for some weeks, if not months, to buy time. If social distancing works, is enacted broadly, and is kept up, the number of new infections could decrease. It would give us a pause in the action, to potentially move on from social distancing to a more targeted pandemic strategy. Right now is the time to get plans ready so when that pause comes, we can make things right.
Why we can't open the country back up soon: It's too dangerousIt's understandable that some '-- maybe most '-- people want life to go back to normal already. Trump is anxious too, saying he hopes to reopen the country by Easter, April 12.
But that could be dangerously too soon. ''It's a nightmare scenario for epidemiologists and health care workers,'' says Tara Smith, who studies emerging infectious diseases at Kent State University. ''Imagine the mixing of populations that would happen at Easter if given the 'all clear' '-- people who may be carrying the virus without knowing it, hugging their loved ones, spending hours in close contact, and then everyone going back home afterward.''
As when a doctor asks you to consult them before ending a medication, we cannot end social distancing abruptly and without expert advice. (Think about when you're on a course of antibiotic medication '-- you have to complete the whole regimen of pills even when you start feeling better. Social distancing is a little like that.)
And like vaccines, the distancing isn't just for you (although data shows that all age groups and people without preexisting risk factors can fall critically ill from the disease). It crucially protects vulnerable people from the disease. Without it, they become vulnerable again.
''If we all just went right back to how things were before, transmission would start again with the same intensity,'' says Caitlin Rivers, a professor at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. ''It's hard to experience so many restrictions, and so many hardships, and not feel like it's not working. We need to recognize that we are doing the right things. You just have to be a little bit patient.''
Getty Images From sledgehammer to scalpel It's worth remembering why we're in this situation. ''The facts remain that we wasted a lot of time in terms of ramping up testing,'' Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, says. Testing in an outbreak provides two functions. One is to diagnose those who are sick. The other is surveillance: to see where the virus may be lurking, especially in cases where symptoms are mild or don't manifest at all. The US has barely had enough testing capacity to test the sickest, let alone the capacity to do surveillance. Many doctors are telling patients with milder symptoms to just stay home and not get a test.
''Social distancing is basically a sledgehammer,'' Konyndyk, who has worked on past outbreaks, like Ebola, says. ''You're just stopping everything and hoping that in the process you will also slow transmission.'' What we need to do, he says, is turn that sledgehammer of social distancing into a scalpel: widespread testing and contact tracing.
''The classic epidemiological approach to controlling disease is not to shut down society; it's to target the people you know to have the disease and understand who they're spreading it to,'' Konyndyk says. ''We can't do that right now because we don't have enough testing to know who has the disease.''
Not only do we need more testing, we also need testing that can be completed within minutes. ''I would just be so happy if we had rapid diagnostics,'' Saskia Popescu, a hospital epidemiologist in Phoenix, Arizona, says. ''If you've ever been to an urgent care, when they do a flu test, in many cases it takes, like, 10 minutes. So if we can move to more of a rapid diagnostic where it's a very, very quick turnaround, then we can make sure that those people go home and isolate themselves.'' Currently, it can take days to get a diagnostic test back, and people may not be sure of what to do while they wait.
These rapid tests are in the works. But we're going to need other kinds of testing, too. We're also going to need serology '-- testing of people's blood. That way, we can figure out who has already had the disease and is now immune and can safely return to be in contact with others in society. (Though scientists still need to do more work in determining what immunity looks like in any given person.)
We need to figure out who is going to do the testing and tracing''The first piece of the moonshot is what we're doing now, and will hopefully sustain, which is mass social distancing to do the sledgehammer to bring down the numbers,'' Konyndyk says. ''Once you bring down the numbers back to a manageable level,'' he says, we need to go back to some textbook epidemiology.
Once there's widespread testing, there needs to be a huge team of public health workers in place to trace the contacts of those who test positive. Everyone who tests positive or who has come into contact with someone who tests positive then needs to be put into quarantine or isolation, to not spread the virus any further. This is how authorities routinely beat outbreaks '-- even of incredibly infectious diseases like measles.
In South Korea, this work was aided by technology. Authorities used GPS data from people's cellphones to figure out whom they may have been in contact with. The GPS data may prove more reliable than their memory. ''We need to take a good look at what South Korea has done, and what people here are willing to accept as far as some of those intrusions of public health into their normal lives, their privacy,'' Smith says. Also helpful would be ''a forecasting function for the ebb and flow of the disease at the community level,'' Konyndyk says. The country already has tools to forecast flu outbreaks. We could adapt them for Covid-19. With such a forecasting tool, ''we could see an upsurge in cases, and then dial the social distancing back up,'' he says.
Even aided by technology, this work would require an enormous number of workers. ''It's very labor-intensive to find contacts of people who are sick,'' Rivers says. ''A part of this part of what we do with contact tracing is to check on them every day to see if they have become sick.'' Keeping some measures of social distancing in place might make this work easier, too: If people have fewer places to go, fewer crowds to assemble in, there will be fewer contacts to track.
Konyndyk suggests this effort would take ''tens of thousands of people, maybe more.''
So these are the questions our leaders need to be asking now: Who will do this work? Will it be the National Guard? Could we employ and train laid-off workers from the concurrent economic crisis to provide support? ''I think there's lots of options, but starting with the vision and the strategy is kind of where we should begin,'' Rivers says.
And right now these experts don't see that vision coming from the federal government. By and large, the response to this outbreak is in the hands of state and local leaders. But ''you want the federal government laying out, 'Here's the strategy, here's the path,' and getting the ball rolling,'' Konyndyk says.
And even in this aggressive test-and-trace scenario, there could be many disruptions to our lives. It could mean a lot of people still under quarantine orders. Some level of general social distancing might also still need to be put in place. Perhaps, for example, schools could reopen but adults would still be encouraged to telework, and sporting events and other mass gatherings would be canceled. It's not the case that everything could go back to normal. It's the case that we could let some things go back to normal. Social distancing is a treatment we'd need to gently taper off. (We'd also need to be vigilant about the possibility we still could import new cases from abroad.)
Researchers at the Imperial College of London suggested another way to taper off in a paper last week: pulsing. That is, we can relax social distancing policies when hospitals seem to be managing cases, and ramp them up when ICU beds are in short supply. But this isn't ideal. ''How would life look like if went on, and then we went off, and then on, and off, I think it would be hard to envision how life would unfold under that scenario,'' Rivers says. This likely wouldn't end the pandemic, but it would spread its pain over a longer period.
In any case, we'll probably have to take a step-wise approach off social distancing and see how we can best balance it with returning to some small slice of normal life. In time, we'll learn how to achieve that balance. For now '-- and because there are just so many things about this virus that are still not known '-- we need to stay put.
Getty Images We still need drugs and, ultimately, a vaccine. Patience is needed here, too. The ultimate goal in stopping a pandemic is a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent people from getting the virus. The good news is that these are already being tested. The bad news is that it could take a year or more to prove they are safe and effective. ''Honestly, I think the vaccine in 12 to 18 months is a moonshot,'' Smith says.
In the meantime, we might be able to find a treatment sooner. The World Health Organization is currently facilitating a multinational clinical trial, testing medicines '-- and combinations of medicines '-- to treat Covid-19. If scientists do discover ''drugs that decrease the ICU time by 20 to 30 percent, that would add up,'' Omer says, and ease the strain on hospitals. But even those drugs wouldn't necessarily stop the outbreak.
''It would be really great, I think, for saving lives,'' Rivers says. ''But you wouldn't really expect it to slow transmission at all.'' People could still be getting sick and spreading the virus. And we would need to be vigilant, and patient, in this scenario, too. Even if we reduce the risk of severe disease and death, if we increase the number of cases, more people can still get sick and die.
This is the time to prepare '-- and to get it rightThe scientists I spoke to for this piece all understand the extreme weight and burden of social distancing. ''The economic concerns have real impact on health,'' Omer says. ''It's not that we're being cavalier about this stuff.'' The economic ramifications of the pandemic are only adding to existing mental health strain. The scientists want it to end too.
But a balance is needed. ''I don't want to turn the economy back on in a way that just nukes our hospital system, and that's what we would do right now'' if we abruptly ended social distancing, Konyndyk says.
So whatever time we buy with social distancing we need to use wisely. We need to ramp up production of critical hospital supplies; we need to establish supply chains for the massive testing regime that will be needed. We need to train more people to help. And we can do this. ''Amazon was born in this country, UPS was created in this country, and we are teaching supply chain logistics in every management school, and we can't have a stable supply chain of personal protective equipment?'' Omer says. Clearly, we can '-- and need to '-- do better.
But all this requires leadership. President Trump is not using the full power of his office to make sure companies produce the needed supplies. If anything, he frequently uses his office to downplay the harms of the virus and hawk unproven cures.
Right now, we still have a chance to reduce the amount of harm this virus could cause. How? ''Let's figure out testing, let's get enough PPE [personal protective equipment] for first responders,'' Smith says. ''Let's get enough swabs. Let's buy more ventilators, build more ventilators '-- to have this second chance at not messing things up.''
We need to do this as a nation. While the pandemic is now hitting the New York region the hardest, it will in time likely hit other cities hard as well.
The greatest power we have right now is patience. It's not easy to muster in the face of such sacrifice. And at times, it can feel ineffective. But where you find it, drink it in. Currently, it's likely our best chance at a cure.
The Netherlands has recalled 600,000 coronavirus face masks it imported from China after discovering they were faulty
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:11
(C) Jack Taylor / Getty The Netherlands has asked hospitals to give back around 600,000 face masks it imported from China. It found that the masks were failing to meet safety requirements, Dutch media reported. The masks were failing to stop coronavirus particles pass through, the report said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Dutch government has recalled over half a million face masks it imported from China after discovering that they were faulty.
The Netherlands said on Saturday that it had asked its hospitals to return around 600,000 face masks which health professionals are using to treat patients of the coronavirus.
"The mouth masks that are not satisfactory have been retrieved," Holland's Ministry of Health told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
The NOS reported that the faulty masks fail to meet safety requirements because they did not fit on the faces of doctors and nurses and were failing to prevent particles of the COVID-19 virus passing through.
One hospital worker quoted by the NOS said: "When they were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected those masks... If those masks do not close properly, the virus particles can simply pass. We do not use them.
"That is unsafe for our people."
The Netherlands, like its European neighbours, has introduced strict social distancing measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mark Rutte moved to close all bars, restaurants, and schools.
It had reported 9,762 confirmed cases of the virus and 639 deaths linked to it at the time of writing.
It is not the only European country to report receiving faulty equipment from China.
Microbiology experts in Spain this week said that rapid coronavirus tests that the country bought from the Chinese state are not consistently detecting positive cases.
Studies on these tests found that they had only 30% sensitivity, meaning they correctly identified people with the virus only 30% of the time, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pa­s.
Medical professionals in the Czech Republic have also said that rapid tests from China were not working properly.
Follow the latest news in the UK as Johnson's government combats the coronavirus.
Coronavirus: Emptied by postponed surgeries and new restrictions, central Ohio hospitals anticipate patient surge - News - The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:53
Max Filby The Columbus Dispatch @MaxFilbySunday Mar 29, 2020 at 5:20 AM
As cases of COVID-19 increase across the state, central Ohio health-care providers are planning for the best and worst case scenarios. Doctors described the current status as being something of a calm before the storm.
Dr. Matthew Exline barely saw another person as he walked the halls of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center last week.
Waiting rooms were mostly empty and Exline, medical director of the medical intensive-care unit, joked that he took his first-ever solo ride in an elevator at the hospital.
The medical center has about 16,000 employees spread over more than 7 million square feet in 100-plus buildings. But last week, it was mostly empty as officials at the Wexner Medical Center and hospitals across the region prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients.
"It's eerily quiet,'' Exline said. ''I was in the hospital seeing patients and it feels very empty.''
>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more stories on coronavirus here. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.
Hospitals across central Ohio have mostly banned visitors and postponed elective procedures, leaving typically bustling areas of the facilities nearly vacant.
Though things seem serene now, doctors are worried about how much they'll have to ramp up hospital operations when the surge happens, Exline said. They feel prepared, he said, yet the wide-ranging possibilities of how the pandemic could play out in Ohio is concerning.
Ohio doctors have had the benefit of making adjustments based on what the hardest-hit hospitals in New York City and Seattle have encountered. That kind of lead time has kept everything ''very calm'' so far, Exline said.
"It's sort of like when you get a really bad forecast,'' Exline said. ''You hope the storm goes a little north or south of where you are. You're hoping you don't get as much snow.''
In anticipation of the storm, area hospitals have made drastic changes.
Visitors are permitted for only those patients who are nearing the end of their lives, or to be with children or visit new mothers. Even in those cases, patients are usually allowed to have only one person accompany them.
Doctors are asking patients to call if they feel ill instead of coming in for a visit. That way, a doctor can keep schedules clear for coronavirus patients and send people who might have the disease to a drive-through testing site. It also keeps medical personnel at the hospital from having to use masks and gowns that might be needed later.
Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine also halted all non-urgent surgeries in Ohio to free up resources.
A lot of hospital preparation has focused on preserving supplies of personal protective equipment for doctors who will be on the frontlines treating COVID-19 patients. Many hospitals are running ''critically low'' on such things as gloves, gowns and masks, said OhioHealth spokesman Mark Hopkins.
That means hospitals are getting creative.
Nearly every area health-care provider will rely more on technology so they can continue appointments with patients from a distance. OhioHealth will use up to 500 iPads to communicate with COVID-19 patients.
The iPads can be used even with hospitalized patients, so doctors and nurses don't have to use protective gear to enter rooms more often than necessary. The health-care providers are also moving IV pumps outside the doors of patients' rooms so they can be switched and controlled without going inside.
Ohio State is asking its medical center employees to use one mask all day. Workers are provided bags to put their masks in when they are not using them during a shift, Exline said.
PrimaryOne Health has asked its nurses and doctors to be more conscientious about using personal protective equipment. They should be using masks only when dealing with someone who might be highly contagious, said Dr. Jeffery Marable, chief clinical officer for PrimaryOne.
"We're trying to preserve the limited number of supplies that we have,'' Marable said.
As hospitals in Seattle and New York City are slammed by COVID-19 patients, central Ohio's health-care providers are busy but not in the typical sense, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for OhioHealth.
Instead of seeing patient after patient, Vanderhoff said doctors and hospital leaders have spent the past several weeks on conference calls and in video chats putting together contingency plans for the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Inside OhioHealth's COVID-19 command center, Vanderhoff and others are focused on getting the hospital system through the pandemic. They're approaching problems such as the shortage of protective gear, where to put patients as they recover and whether trauma surgeons can be redeployed to provide critical care.
''We're viewing this right now as the expected preparatory phase. We've had to make a major shift,'' Vanderhoff said. ''I have been just terribly impressed by the caring and the commitment of our frontline providers ... It has just amazed me.''
As the situation surrounding the virus has intensified for the general public, medical professionals have felt the pressure. It's natural for health-care workers dealing with this once-in-100-years crisis to feel stressed, said Charleta Tavares, CEO of PrimaryOne.
Managing that anxiety and potential burnout among health-care workers during the pandemic presents yet another challenge. Vanderhoff said they're telling workers: ''You're human, too, and you need to focus on your health and wellness.''
Despite the anxiety that's accompanied the pandemic, morale among staff at area hospitals and doctors' offices is pretty high, Exline, Vanderhoff and Marable all said. Doctors who often perform elective operations are volunteering their time and service to help in other ways, they said.
And the crisis, they said, seems to be strengthening the sense of community among health-care workers. That will come in handy as cases spike because they will have to look out for one another, Exline said.
''One thing I've been impressed by is the amount of support we've got for each other ... that really helps the morale,'' Exline said. ''The other thing we're looking at is making sure no one is going to be in the line of fire for too long. No one can maintain that level of vigilance and attention to detail forever.''
mfilby@dispatch.com
@MaxFilby
Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back. - The New York Times
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:27
The deceptively edited video that purported to show Joseph R. Biden Jr. endorsing President Trump's re-election bounced relentlessly around the internet, falsely painting the former vice president as too confused to know what office he was running for or whom he was vying to run against.
The doctored video didn't originate with one of the extremist sites that trade in left-bashing disinformation. It was posted on Twitter by Mr. Trump's own social media director. From there, it collected shares, retweets and likes from the social media accounts of the president, his eldest son and the multitudinous conservative influencers and websites that carry his message to voters' palms hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second.
The video, based on a speech Mr. Biden gave earlier this month, registered five million views in a day before his campaign responded '-- with statements to the press and cable interviews that largely focused on persuading Facebook to follow the example of Twitter, which had labeled the content ''manipulated media.'' A direct social media counterattack, aides said later, would have risked spreading the damage.
Yet the Biden camp would have been hard-pressed to mount a proportional response had it tried: Mr. Biden has only 4.6 million Twitter followers to Mr. Trump's 75 million, 1.7 million Facebook fans to Mr. Trump's 28 million, and nothing resembling the president's robust ecosystem of amplifying accounts.
And so the video circulated unimpeded, reaching an audience that would have made it America's No. 1 television show by the old-fashioned standards of Nielsen.
As Mr. Biden closes in on his party's nomination, that digital mismatch underscores one of the Democrats' biggest general-election challenges: They are up against a political figure who has marshaled all the forces of the modern web to refract reality and savage his opponents. Yet they are starting from a deficit, struggling to regain their once-formidable online edge.
Now closing this technological divide has taken on deepening urgency, with public life shut down against the threat of the coronavirus. Already, Mr. Biden's allies have expressed anxiety about his ability to break into the national conversation around the pandemic as it reverberates from the president's daily briefings to social media feeds.
Image Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a campaign event in Houston. Democrats are making big efforts to regain some of their digital dominance this election cycle. Credit... Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times If modern politics is increasingly digital politics, today even more so.
In the three years since Hillary Clinton's humiliating 2016 defeat, the Democrats have been urgently scrambling to reorder the digital equation, an all-hands-on-deck effort that has drawn a range of new donors, progressive activists and operatives together with veterans of the tech-forward Obama campaigns and the old-line contributors and party regulars of the Bill Clinton era.
So far, the Democrats and their allies have produced new apps to organize volunteers and register voters, new media outlets to pump out anti-Trump content and a major new data initiative to drive what the party hopes will be the biggest voter-mobilization effort in its history.
But while Mr. Trump and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, have brought conservatives together to build a technological juggernaut for 2020, the Democratic effort has been slowed by the party's deep-rooted rivalries and divisions.
It has been marked by tension between longtime strategists and party officials, who believe the party need not reinvent the wheel, and moneyed Silicon Valley newcomers who speak of ''innovation cycles,'' ''risk capital'' and ''disruption'' and view the old guard as financially invested in a losing model.
There is lingering resentment over who is at fault for the party's sorry digital state '-- whether former President Barack Obama left behind an aging and insufficient party infrastructure as his priorities shifted to his own legacy, or Mrs. Clinton failed to continue the party's trend of innovation. For their part, many of Senator Bernie Sanders's adherents are loath to play with what they deride as ''the establishment.''
Then there is the raging debate about whether to fight Mr. Trump and his digital forces meme for meme, falsehood for falsehood, troll attack for troll attack, or to appeal instead to the electorate's better angels.
In interviews with more than 30 leaders across all the factions, Democrats and progressives were cautiously optimistic that their technological machinery would be in fighting shape for the general election. None, though, said it was yet where it needed to be.
It will almost certainly fall to Mr. Biden to bring it all together.
Of all the major Democratic candidates, he was the least digitally advanced '-- more ''memed'' than meme-maker. A party mainstay who rose in politics when the platforms to master were The Wilmington Evening Journal, WPVI-TV and the U.S. Postal Service, he has neither the online army of Mr. Sanders, the selfie-savvy style of Senator Elizabeth Warren nor the prodigious digital content studio of Michael R. Bloomberg.
Mr. Biden's digital lag was in part due to his financial lag, a situation that has reversed as he has amassed a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead.
He spent the last week ramping up his digital operation as the Covid-19 crisis mounted. And he recently made an important move, hiring a new campaign manager, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, a veteran of the Obama and Beto O'Rourke campaigns and a key operative behind some of the digital rebuilding after 2016. ''We are going to have the most integrated, most effective data and digital operation that we have seen on the progressive side because of the foundation and the work that has been done over the last several years,'' she said in an interview.
Still, just days into the job, Ms. O'Malley Dillon acknowledged that, given the pandemic and the unpredictability of the Trump presidency, ''We're walking into terrain we've never seen in our lifetimes.''
The Humbling of 2016The Democrats emerged from 2016 with two distressing realizations: They had no effective answer to Mr. Trump's overwhelming information war machine, and their big-data systems were suddenly anachronistic.
It was a humbling development for the Democrats, who had practically invented online politics with Howard Dean's web-centric 2004 primary campaign and Mr. Obama's 2012 use of algorithmic data analytics
Four years later, Mrs. Clinton's brain trust discovered that she was inheriting a system held together with ''bubble gum and shoelace,'' as Nellwyn Thomas, her deputy analytics chief, put it in an interview.
The campaign rushed to shore up the party's aging hardware and software, she said. Even then, the system could be so slow and prone to outages that aides would circulate an indie rock ballad about it.
''It was unreliable, it broke, it crashed,'' said Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager.
As for the data itself, Mrs. Clinton later called it ''mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong.''
Part of the Democrats' technological degradation could be attributed to brain drain. Many of Mr. Obama's 2012 digital operatives found jobs in Silicon Valley or started their own companies.
But in interviews, Democrats also argued that Mr. Obama had not adequately worked to rebuild the party for his successors. After 2012, he started his own competing political operation, Organizing for Action, and Democrats complained he was slow to share his valuable data and email lists.
''Obama effectively left the party alone for eight years,'' said Mr. Dean, a former Democratic Party chairman, adding that such neglect was not uncommon among second-term presidents.
Mr. Obama has acknowledged failing ''to rebuild the Democratic Party at the ground level,'' as he told ABC in 2017, explaining that he had been focused on presidential responsibilities at a time of war and economic recovery.
But there was another reason, come 2016, that Mr. Trump and his party were reigning technologically supreme '-- their superior navigation of the major change that a series of court decisions brought about during the Obama presidency.
Those rulings had freed corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to spend unlimited sums on elections, as long as they did not coordinate with candidates or political parties, which were bound by strict donation limits to prevent undue influence.
Conservatives moved swiftly to capitalize on that change.
They placed a high priority on obtaining as much data about voters as possible '-- who they were and what motivated them.
Building cutting-edge big-data systems can be prohibitively expensive for today's political parties. Not so for billionaire donors like the Koch brothers, who joined with others to back a private data firm called i360. They plied it with cash, along with data from advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity.
The Republican Party set up a competing private company with a similar model, operating outside the regulated campaign-finance environment. Called Data Trust, it proved integral to the Trump campaign's success.
And they built up their online ecosystem, with the hedge fund investor Robert Mercer backing Breitbart News, a site that became hugely influential in 2016 as it lionized Mr. Trump and eviscerated his critics.
The Democrats' adaptation to the new campaign-finance world was more diffuse. Two major donors, Mr. Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, built their own miniature political parties, first in the service of their own causes '-- gun control for Mr. Bloomberg, climate change for Mr. Steyer '-- and then their own candidacies.
And after the debacle of 2016, a thousand different engine companies responded to the political equivalent of a five-alarm fire.
Silicon Valley money and expertise washed into Democratic politics. New players included the LinkedIn financier Reid Hoffman and Laurene Powell Jobs, inheritor of the Apple fortune of her late husband, Steve Jobs.
The party's new chairman, Tom Perez, hired as his chief technical officer a senior engineer from Uber and Twitter, Raffi Krikorian.
An early focus was matching the Republicans on data. Mr. Krikorian pursued a Democratic version of the Republicans' Data Trust, to be called Datum. The plan threatened to rip apart whatever cohesion the party and its allies had left.
At the heart of the dispute was an approach that would have seen the state parties lose control of their individual voter files, which are both a source of income '-- they sell their data to outsiders '-- and a hedge against dwindling influence. The state parties saw the plan as evidence that the tech people misunderstood basic party mechanics. The tech people saw the pushback as evidence that too many were wedded to outmoded ways.
Ultimately, a longtime party strategist, Mary Beth Cahill, brokered a compromise, with help from Ms. O'Malley Dillon, now Mr. Biden's campaign chief. All users '-- outside groups, parties and candidates '-- would continue to own their data but would share it with a privately owned repository, the Democratic Data Exchange. Anyone who put data in could take data out.
Mr. Dean, who serves as the exchange's chairman, said it had raised about half of its $12 million budget from donors he would not name. People familiar with its finances, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said one prominent contributor was Ms. Powell Jobs.
Organizers acknowledge that the exchange is not as robust as i360, Data Trust or what Mr. Krikorian envisioned. Still, Mr. Dean said, it would be '' better than anything anyone invented on the Democratic side before.''
Mr. Krikorian, frustrated with what he viewed as the party's reluctance to adapt, left last year to join Ms. Powell Jobs's ''social change'' firm, the Emerson Collective. Ms. Thomas, the former Clinton aide, took over for him, focused on rebuilding the systems that had bedeviled her team in 2016.
Finding a Way ForwardLast September, as activists were laying plans for a climate strike in New York City, a progressive digital strategist had an idea: capture cellphone location data to collect the phone numbers of protesters in Lower Manhattan.
The technique, known as geofencing, would provide valuable information for 2020. But the donors backing the march vetoed the idea as intrusive and potentially unethical, said the strategist, David Goldstein.
Right-wing allies of the Trump campaign had no such qualms. They organized their own geofencing effort, sucking up the phone numbers of many of the estimated 60,000 protesters, according to a person familiar with the effort who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The plan, the person said, is to target potential Democratic voters with messages undercutting the party's candidate.
The Democrats' debate over the strategy and ethics of building an information war machine to rival Mr. Trump's had been gathering force, and rancor, since the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama between the far-right candidate Roy S. Moore and the Democrat Doug Jones
Mr. Jones won. But an intense debate broke out a year later when The New York Times reported that progressive groups had experimented with Russian-style trolling tactics to suppress Mr. Moore's turnout, one using fake accounts.
Many on the left decried the experiments as imitating the worst aspects of forces they were trying to defeat.
''There are people who '-- the ultimate bad for them is a negative mention in The New York Times,'' Mr. Goldstein said. ''To me, the ultimate bad is losing.''
Another initiative went more smoothly, at least at first. It was called Acronym; among its backers were the Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Powell Jobs.
Its founder, Tara McGowan, the 2016 digital director of the main Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA, concluded that Democrats had failed to adjust to a new media environment where ''everyone is getting their information at all times of day across all sorts of channels.''
So she created a digital news consortium, Courier, with sites in key 2020 states. She started her own PAC, Pacronym, to attack Mr. Trump across the web, and, in a coup, hired the Facebook specialist assigned to Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign.
But Acronym faced an existential challenge after a firm it backed, Shadow, won the rights to tabulate the Iowa caucus results, only to see its app fail to produce a final outcome. While Ms. McGowan's donors and board stuck with her, a new round of hand-wringing about the party's technology ensued.
The party's hopes turned to Mr. Bloomberg and the tech-driven operation he vowed to use against Mr. Trump, win or lose. Earlier this month, he announced he was folding his digital tent along with his campaign.
A Lonely PledgeA trans-Atlantic group called the Alliance of Democracies last year issued a ''Pledge for Election Integrity,'' forswearing the use of disinformation, troll networks and deceptively edited content.
The online list has nearly 200 signers from the European Union but only one from the United States '-- Mr. Biden.
Last week, the loneliness of Mr. Biden's pledge was apparent as a false document purporting to show he had tested positive for Covid-19 began circulating on Twitter among Trump supporters, on 4Chan and in far-right Telegram groups.
Mr. Biden's digital director, Rob Flaherty, said the campaign would respond forcefully when a false attack threatened to reach critical mass, and would keep pressing social media platforms to police false content. (Facebook ultimately agreed to label the deceptive Biden video partly false.) But, he said, the campaign would stick to Mr. Biden's own pledges. ''You ask people, what does 'fight fire with fire' mean?'' he said. ''They net out at 'lie,' and we're just not going to do that.''
(That said, the Washington Post ''Fact Checker'' ruled that a Biden ad attacking Mr. Trump this month used manipulated video.)
Without anything resembling Mr. Trump's digital echo chamber, Mr. Biden aides will largely rely on his network of supporters to spread their defenses and forward their own counterattacks.
Part of that network is already kicking in.
Ms. McGowan's PAC has begun a $5 million Facebook ad campaign attacking Mr. Trump's pandemic response.
The Democratic Data Exchange, which can help Mr. Biden's team identify those who might be susceptible to false information about the candidate, says it is nearing data-sharing deals with several outside groups.
An app called Outvote is connecting the Biden campaign to potential volunteers and donors '-- the sort of help it will need if coronavirus measures keep people indoors for months.
For its part, Mr. Biden's campaign ramped up its digital video production '-- gaining 16 million views '-- as he unveiled a new podcast and newsletter.
''I'm still getting used to this virtual world we're campaigning in,'' he said in the newsletter. ''Our campaign is trying a whole lot of new stuff.''
Belgium: Migrants resist, spit on police as they reject coronavirus measures - Voice of Europe
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:26
Immigrants in Belgium aren't very happy with the measures imposed to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and they're taking their frustrations out on the police.
Officers have been charged with making people aware of the new social distancing proscriptions. On Friday evening in Schaerbeek, Brussels, police spotted a group of four young ''ethnic minorities'' who were not abiding by the regulation. They stopped the youngsters to remind them of the new rules and asked for their identity papers, according to a report at SCEPTR.
The immigrants didn't like this, and one of them began calling for others on the street to protest the ''police brutality.'' In response, more and more immigrants came and surrounded the officers, who called for backup out of concern that the situation was getting out of hand. The police forced the bystanders to disperse in accordance with the social distancing rules, using tear gas against those who resisted. In the end, the man who had started shouting was arrested and the others in the group were fined.
Also, on Thursday afternoon, police pulled over a car that was travelling in Wommelgem because it was carrying four passengers, which is also against the coronavirus measures. One of the passengers became angry and began insulting the officers and spitting on them. When the police tried to place a mask on his face for their protection, he resisted violently and told them he was infected with the coronavirus. The man was arrested, but he continued spitting at officers even after he was put in a holding cell, according to another report by SCEPTR.
That evening, a 38-year-old man from Antwerp also became aggressive with officers at a routine traffic control stop. When they put him in handcuffs, he spat in the face of one of them, claiming to have the coronavirus.
Both men were brought before the Public Prosecutor, who has asked for them to be arrested.
-Immigrants violently defy coronavirus quarantines in Germany, Hungary-https://t.co/HKz79Pf51x
'-- Voice of Europe 🌍 (@V_of_Europe) March 19, 2020
Such incidents are becoming common all over Belgium '-- and not only there. Similar reports have emerged from Germany, as previously reported by Voice of Europe, as well as in the UK, where Tommy Robinson intervened to protect an elderly couple who were being coughed on.
VIDEO: Tommy Robinson confronts ''youths'' who purposefully coughed on elderly couplehttps://t.co/5gPS3fPdMo
'-- Voice of Europe 🌍 (@V_of_Europe) March 24, 2020
The American Dream Is Alive. In China. - The New York Times
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:22
Imagine you have to make a bet.
There are two 18-year-olds, one in China, the other in the United States, both poor and short on prospects. You have to pick the one with the better chance at upward mobility.
Which would you choose?
Not long ago, the answer might have seemed simple. The ''American Dream,'' after all, had long promised a pathway to a better life for anyone who worked hard.
But the answer today is startling: China has risen so quickly that your chances of improving your station in life there vastly exceed those in the United States.
China
The richest
grew much
richer
+1500%
+1000%
+500%
Incomes for
the poorest
Chinese grew
United States
+200%
Incomes for the poorest
Americans fell
+100%
0%
20th
40th
60th
80th
100th
5th
Poorer
Income percentile
Richer
China
The richest in
China grew
much richer
+1500%
+1000%
Incomes for
the poorest
Chinese grew
+500%
U.S.
+200%
+100%
0%
20th
40th
60th
80th
100th
5th
Poorer
Income percentile
Richer
Source: World Inequality Database
By JAVIER C. HERNNDEZ and QUOCTRUNG BUI NOV. 18, 2018
China is still much poorer over all than the United States. But the Chinese have taken a commanding lead in that most intangible but valuable of economic indicators: optimism.
In a country still haunted by the Cultural Revolution, where politics are tightly circumscribed by an authoritarian state, the Chinese are now among the most optimistic people in the world '-- much more so than Americans and Europeans, according to public opinion surveys.
What has changed?
Most of all, an economic expansion without precedent in modern history.
Eight hundred million people have risen out of poverty. That's two and a half times the population of the United States.
1.2 billion people
1.0
Not in poverty
0.8
0.6
0.4
In poverty
0.2
2015
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
1.2 billion people
Not in poverty
0.6
In poverty
0.2
1990
2002
2015
Source: The World Bank. People in poverty live at or below $1.90 a day.
Not only are incomes drastically rising within families, but sons are outearning their fathers. That means expectations are rising, too, especially among China's growing middle class.
Life expectancy has also soared. Chinese men born in 2013 are expected to live more than seven years longer than those born in 1990; women are expected to live nearly 10 years longer.
''It feels like there are no limits to how far you can go,'' said Wu Haifeng, 37, a financial analyst who was born to a family of corn farmers in northern China and now earns more than $78,000 a year. ''It feels like China will always be strong.''
China used to make up much of the world's poor. Now it makes up much of the world's middle class.
Source: World Inequality Database
There are risks, of course, and no guarantees that China's rise will continue indefinitely.
A prolonged economic slump could inflict major damage. And experts warn that China could fall into the middle-income trap '-- in which growth and earnings plateau '-- if it fails to address high corporate debt levels or doesn't do more to encourage innovation. Demography is also a ticking bomb: China is racing to get rich before it gets old.
Yet for now, the economic arc seems ever upward.
Like the United States, China still has a yawning gap between the rich and the poor '-- and the poorest Chinese are far poorer, with nearly 500 million people, or about 40 percent of the population, living on less than $5.50 a day, according to the World Bank.
But by some measures Chinese society has about the same level of inequality as the United States. Here are the world's major countries ordered by inequality and income mobility.
Finland
Denmark
20%
Norway
Germany
Canada
How much a child's
income is determined
by their parents'
Sweden
Netherlands
Japan
40%
Spain
China
Italy
60%
Brazil
South Africa
India
80%
Egypt
More equal
60
50
40
30
100%
Level of inequality
(Gini coefficient)
Finland
Norway
20%
How much a child's
income is determined
by their parents'
Sweden
Japan
China
40%
60%
South Africa
India
80%
circles scaled
by population
Egypt
60
50
40
30
Level of inequality
(Gini)
Today, the economic output per capita in China is $12,000, compared with $3,500 a decade ago. The number is far higher in the United States, $53,000.
Yet few analysts doubt where the bigger increases will come. Here's how modern China's per-capita G.D.P. growth compares so far:
United States
$50k per capita G.D.P.
$40k
Japan
South Korea
$30k
$20k
China
$10k
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
Number of years since each country reached China's per-capita G.D.P. in 1993
United States
$50k per capita G.D.P.
$40k
Japan
$30k
$20k
China
$10k
40
80
120
160
Number of years since each country reached China's per-capita G.D.P. in 1993
In 2011 U.S. dollars. | Source: Maddison Project.
China's progress is especially remarkable given how the government has used social engineering to restrict where people live and how many children they have. Loosening those constraints could accelerate income growth.
This is why many people now talk about ''the Chinese Dream.''
Xu Liya, 49, once tilled wheat fields in Zhejiang, a rural province along China's east coast. Her family ate meat only once a week, and each night she crammed into a bedroom with seven relatives.
Then she attended university on a scholarship and started a clothing store. Now she owns two cars and an apartment valued at more than $300,000. Her daughter attends college in Beijing.
''Poverty and corruption have hurt average people in China for too long,'' she said. ''While today's society isn't perfect, poor people have the resources to compete with rich people, too.''
Iris Zhao contributed research.
An earlier version of a chart on economic inequality used an older estimate of inequality in China. Based on the most recent World Bank data, economic inequality in China is roughly the same as in the United States, not slightly less.
How Bad Regulation, Bureaucracy Slowed The Fight Against Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus '' Issues & Insights
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:12
Amid all the political name-calling and finger-pointing over who's to blame and how to attack the Wuhan coronavirus, one thing surprisingly gets little mention at all: regulation. But bad regulation not only slowed our response, it likely added to our death count.
We're happy to note that in recent days and weeks, President Trump has helped ease the regulatory burden of our response to the coronavirus, pushing Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, our main health agencies, to bend, suspend and in some cases upend useless rules.
But that doesn't mean every useless regulation was excised from the rulebooks. Or that our major health care regulators made good decisions with the billions of dollars entrusted to them for basic research.
Far from it. And the coronavirus pandemic and the public panic that ensued is a case in point. To be blunt, U.S. health care regulatory agencies mishandled the crisis.
Indeed, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) fumbled the ball early when it came testing for the Wuhan coronavirus, largely because of bad regulations.
''Even now, after weeks of mounting frustration toward federal agencies over flawed test kits and burdensome rules, states with growing cases such as New York and California are struggling to test widely for the coronavirus,'' the New York Times noted in a March 11 story. ''The continued delays have made it impossible for officials to get a true picture of the scale of the growing outbreak, which has now spread to at least 36 states and Washington, D.C.''
The Times highlights Dr. Helen Chu, who early on had taken swabs from the noses of patients in Washington State who seemed to be suffering from a particularly nasty virus. She proposed to local, state and federal officials testing those swabs for unusual coronavirus infections.
Instead, the CDC told Dr. Chu she'd have to get FDA approval for her test. The FDA nixed it because the lab she worked in wasn't ''certified'' to conduct such tests, something that takes months to do.
So early data that could have helped fight what later became a raging pandemic weren't available. All because a bureaucracy went strictly by the book.
Worse still, as the virus began spreading, the CDC told health officials only to use a test it had created. Only one problem: the test was faulty.
As the MIT Technology Review noted earlier this month, ''The first testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control had a simple fault, and red tape prevented other labs from creating their own.''
So instead of massive testing and a clear understanding of the scope of the pandemic, we got panic instead.
Going back in time, other bureaucracies dropped the regulatory ball in other ways.
The National Institutes of Health, the agency that largely oversees America's public health research, is one example. After the SARs and H1N1 epidemics earlier in this century, NIH had more than a decade to get prepared for this one.
It didn't do a very good job, as American Thinker Deputy Editor Andrea Widburg recently noted. Despite repeated warnings by researchers, the NIH dithered in preparing for a nasty outbreak such as the one we're having now.
Instead, it wasted resources on health issues of marginal importance at best.
Dr. Paul Bracken, a renowned public health professor and researcher at Yale University, estimated in a speech to the NIH in 2016 that as much as 87.5% of health research (much of it funded by the NIH) is either wasted or inefficient. The implication: the NIH was failing at its job by misspending and misdirecting a then-$40 billion-a-year research budget.
As investigative journalist John Solomon recently noted, instead of spending money on major health threats, NIH has wasted resources on such things as studies of drunken monkeys and overweight lesbians, the impact of TV and gas generators on Vietnamese villages, and research that sought to answer the pressing question of whether 21- to 30-year-olds would lose more money gambling if they drank booze.
Meanwhile, NIH also went Hollywood, throwing away money on a 12-part soap opera on the sex lives of HIV patients, and funding hip-hop songs to see if they would encourage kids to eat healthier.
Do you feel safer now?
The point is, our main regulatory, research and policy-making agencies at the national level are divorced from their true mission: To protect Americans. Their actions arguably contributed to the current quarantine and to the rising deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus across the country.
And the regulatory dysfunction isn't just about pandemics. A study two years ago found that ''the total cost of healthcare regulatory compliance for the average-sized hospital is about $47,000 per bed, or $1,200 per patient.''
Think about that amount when you hear discussions about U.S. hospital ''capacity'' for handling a pandemic such as this. We'd have a lot more hospital capacity if we cut the regulatory costs of caring for seriously ill patients.
No, we're not anti-regulation or anti-government. And many of the agencies criticized have moved to correct their mistakes. But the fact remains, so many rules and actions by our health care bureaucracies make such little sense from a cost-and-benefit standpoint, that it's time for a major overhaul.
Luckily, President Trump took the heat for imposing a travel ban from China early on in the virus' spread, or things would be far worse. Sadly, many of our health care agencies didn't do so well. When this pandemic is over, it'll be well past time for a regulatory reckoning and restructuring of our federal health-care overseers. American lives depend on it.
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Coronavirus Strike: Amazon And Instacart Workers Walk Off Jobs : NPR
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:03
Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island and grocery deliverers for the Instacart app nationwide plan to walk off their jobs on Monday. They are demanding stepped-up protection and pay as they continue to work while much of the country is asked to isolate as a safeguard against the coronavirus.
The strikes come as both Amazon and Instacart have said they plan to hire tens of thousands of new workers. Online shopping and grocery home delivery is skyrocketing as much of the nation hunkers down and people stay at home, following orders and recommendations from the federal and local governments.
This has put a spotlight on workers who shop, pack and deliver these high-demand supplies. Companies refer to the workers as "heroes," but they say their employers aren't doing enough to keep them safe.
The workers are asking for a variety of things:
Amazon workers want their warehouse to closed for deep cleaning to keep them safe. Instacart's grocery deliverers are asking for disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, paid time off and better pay to offset the risk they are taking. Workers at Amazon's Staten Island facility have said that multiple people at the warehouse have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Some of them plan to walk off the job on Monday to pressure the company to close the warehouse for an extended deep cleaning.
At Amazon, which employs some 800,000 people, workers have diagnosed positively for COVID-19 in at least 11 warehouses, forcing a prolonged closure of at least one warehouse in Kentucky. The company says it's "taken extreme measures to keep people safe," including allowing unlimited unpaid leave time for employees who feel uncomfortable working.
Amazon says its decision on whether or for how long to close a warehouse for cleaning depends on where the sick workers was in the building, for how long, how long ago and other assessments. The company has also temporarily raised its pay by $2 an hour through April.
Instacart's army of grocery deliverers are not employees, but independent contracts. They say the company has not provided them with proper protective items like disinfectants, hazard pay of an extra $5 per order and a higher default tip in the settings of the app.
Instacart on Sunday said it would distribute supplies, including hand sanitizer, to more workers and that it would change some tipping settings, but did not address the paid sick leave for its contractors.
"Actions speak louder than words," Instacart worker Sarah Polito told NPR. "You can tell us that we're these household heroes and that you appreciate us. But you're not actually, they're not showing it. They're not taking these steps to give us the precautions. They're not giving us hazard pay."
Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online - GOV.UK
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 07:59
Specialist units across government are working at pace to combat false and misleading narratives about coronavirus, ensuring the public has the right information to protect themselves and save lives.
The Rapid Response Unit, operating from within the Cabinet Office and No10, is tackling a range of harmful narratives online - from purported 'experts' issuing dangerous misinformation to criminal fraudsters running phishing scams.
Up to 70 incidents a week, often false narratives containing multiple misleading claims, are being identified and resolved. The successful 'Don't Feed the Beast' public information campaign will also relaunch next week, to empower people to question what they read online.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
We need people to follow expert medical advice and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. It is vital that this message hits home and that misinformation and disinformation which undermines it is knocked down quickly.
We're working with social media companies, and I'll be pressing them this week for further action to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours which could cost lives.
When false narratives are identified, the government's Rapid Response Unit coordinates with departments across Whitehall to deploy the appropriate response. This can include a direct rebuttal on social media, working with platforms to remove harmful content and ensuring public health campaigns are promoted through reliable sources.
The unit is one of the teams feeding into the wider Counter Disinformation Cell led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, made up of experts from across government and in the tech sector.
The Cell is engaging with social media platforms and with disinformation specialists from civil society and academia, to establish a comprehensive overview of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation related to coronavirus.
The Culture Secretary will be contacting social media companies this week to thank them for their good efforts to date, assess the progress made and discuss what other potential measures can be put in place to ensure accurate, honest information consistently reaches users of their platforms.
Penny Mordaunt, Paymaster General said:
Holding your breath for ten seconds is not a test for coronavirus and gargling water for 15 seconds is not a cure - this is the kind of false advice we have seen coming from sources claiming to be medical experts.
That is why government communicators are working in tandem with health bodies to promote official medical advice, rebut false narratives and clamp down on criminals seeking to exploit public concern during this pandemic.
But the public can also help with this effort, so today we implore them to take some simple steps before sharing information online, such as always reading beyond the headline and scrutinising the source.
The public can help stop the spread of potentially dangerous or false stories circulating online by following official government guidance - the 'SHARE' checklist (see further information). This includes basic but essential advice such as checking the source of a story and analysing the facts before sharing.
Certain states routinely use disinformation as a policy tool, so the government is also stepping up its efforts to share its assessments on coronavirus disinformation with international partners. Working collaboratively has already helped make the UK safer, providing ourselves and our allies with a better understanding of how different techniques are used as part of malicious information operations - and how to protect against those techniques more effectively.
These measures follow recent advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which revealed a range of attacks being perpetrated online by cyber criminals seeking to exploit coronavirus earlier this month.
This included guidance on how to spot and deal with suspicious emails related to coronavirus, as well as mitigate and defend against malware and ransomware.
Further informationTo help the public spot false information the government is running the SHARE checklist and Don't Feed The Beast campaign here. This gives the public five easy steps to follow to identify whether information may be misleading:
Source - make sure information comes from a trusted source Headline - always read beyond the headline Analyse - check the facts Retouched - does the image or video look as though it has been doctored? Error - look out for bad grammar and spelling
The Marine Corps' Radical Shift toward China | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 07:27
March 25, 2020
Last July, General Berger electrified the national security community with planning guidance that proposed to align the Marine Corps with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) by making major changes to forces, equipment, and training. Though dramatic in concept, the guidance lacked specifics. General Berger has now provided those specifics, and they are as radical as the concepts. Gone are tanks and capabilities for sustained ground combat and counterinsurgency. Instead, the corps focuses on long-range and precision strike for a maritime campaign in the Western Pacific against China. But this new Marine Corps faces major risks if the future is different from that envisioned or if the new concepts for operations in a hostile environment prove more difficult to implement than the Marine Corps' war games indicate.
BackgroundFor many years, strategists have yearned to refocus the military services on the Pacific and China. China, with its growing economy, modernizing military, and evident desire to reassert regional hegemony, has loomed as the primary long-term challenge to the United States. The Obama administration talked about a ''rebalance'' to the Pacific but was unable to put many specifics against the concept before it was dragged back to Europe and the Middle East in 2014 with the Russian occupation of Crimea and ISIS's campaign in Syria and Iraq.
The Trump administration's NDS focused on great power competition with China or Russia, '--but China seemed to have priority. In 2019, acting secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan stated that DOD's focus was ''China, China, China.'' To meet this new challenge, the NDS called for changes in military forces: ''We cannot expect success fighting tomorrow's conflicts with yesterday's weapons or equipment.'' The NDS also signaled that modernization was more important than the size of the force, implying a willingness to get smaller in order to build the capabilities needed for great power conflict. However, the NDS was vague on specifics about what changes were required, and many observers criticized the administration for not making sufficient changes in subsequent budgets.
General Berger's Guidance General David Berger became commandant of the Marine Corps on July 11, 2019. He immediately published his Commandant's Planning Guidance , which laid out his vision for where the Marine Corps needed to go. New service chiefs typically produce such documents, but most are exhortations to seek excellence in the services' traditional missions and to implement a few targeted reforms that the new chief desires to focus on. General Berger's vision was different in that it implied major changes in many areas.
This vision aligned with the NDS and focused exclusively on China. This was not surprising since General Berger had commanded Marine forces in the Western Pacific. The vision sought to meld the Marine Corps' traditional ''force in readiness'' role with that of readiness for great power conflict: ''The Marine Corps will be trained and equipped as a naval expeditionary force-in-readiness and prepared to operate inside actively contested maritime spaces in support of fleet operations.''
Central to Berger's vision is the ability to operate within an adversary's (read China's) bubble of air, missile, and naval power (which the Marine Corps calls the weapons engagement zone, or WEZ). The concept is that the Marine Corps will be a ''stand-in force'' that will operate within this WEZ, not a stand-off force that must start outside and fight its way in. As the guidance states: ''Stand-in forces [are] optimized to operate in close and confined seas in defiance of adversary long-range precision 'stand-off capabilities.'''
One requirement to implement this concept is developing ''low signature, affordable, and risk worthy platforms'' because existing ships and aircraft are the opposite'--highly capable but expensive, few, and highly visible.
Another element of the concept is ''distributed operations,'' the ability of relatively small groups to operate independently rather than as part of a large force, as in previous wars. ''We recognize that we must distribute our forces ashore given the growth of adversary precision strike capabilities.'' Thus, small Marine forces would deploy around the islands of the first island chain and the South China Sea, each element having the ability to contest the surrounding air and naval space using anti-air and antiship missiles. Collectively, these forces would hem in Chinese forces, prevent them from moving outward, and ultimately, as part of a joint campaign, squeeze them back to the Chinese homeland.
A third element was institutional: the Marine Corps would leave sustained ground combat to the Army and focus on the littorals. Ground wars in the Middle East, North Korea, and Europe would be Army responsibilities.
The final element was political: General Berger judged that defense budgets are likely to be flat for the foreseeable future. ''My assumption is flat or declining [budgets], not rising'.... If [an increase] happens, great, but this is all built based on flat or declining [budgets].'' Thus, unlike in the previous five years, when rising budgets allowed new investment and stable force levels, trade-offs would now be necessary. If the Marine Corps wanted to invest in new capabilities, it had to cut some existing units.
The ImplementationGeneral Berger's guidance proposed new concepts and approaches but lacked specifics. At the time, he noted that the Marine Corps was conducting analysis and war games and would later lay out how it would implement the guidance. Details of that implementation are becoming clearer with a short press release, public statements by Marine officials, and a major report in the Wall Street Journal.
Implementation will be a 10-year effort that makes the radical changes that the guidance implied. The restructured Marine Corps will focus single-mindedly on a conflict with China in the Western Pacific, build capabilities for long-range and precision engagement in a maritime campaign, eliminate capabilities for counterinsurgency and ground combat against other armies, and get smaller to pay for the new equipment. The table below captures by element what the planning guidance said, what the Marine Corps has now, where it will move to, and what that means. (For a detailed discussion of current Marine Corps plans and structure, see CSIS U.S. Military Forces in FY 2020: Marine Corps. A few of the planning guidance items come from General Berger's December article in War on the Rocks.)
The RisksRadical change brings risks, and this effort is no different. Risks arise from the lack of hedging, the movement away from current operations, and the uncertain viability of the new war-fighting concepts. If the Marine Corps has misjudged the future, it will fight the next conflict at a great disadvantage or, perhaps, be irrelevant.
No HedgingWhen these proposed changes are fully implemented, the Marine Corps will be well structured to fight an island campaign in the Western Pacific against China. Although the NDS allows hedging against other adversaries and conflicts'--North Korea, Iran, counterterrorism'--the Marine Corps does not plan to do that. As General Berger stated in his guidance: ''[This] single purpose-built future force will be applied against other challenges across the globe; however, we will not seek to hedge or balance our investments to account for those contingencies.''
The lack of hedging means that the Marine Corps will not field the broad set of capabilities it has in the past. It will be poorly structured to fight the kind of campaigns that it had to fight in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The history of the last 70 years has been that the United States deters great power conflict and fights regional and stability conflicts. Although forces can adapt, as seen during the long counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East, there is a delay and an initial lack of expertise. The Marine Corps might plan to defer these conflicts to the Army, but that has not worked in the past. Army forces have been too small to keep the Marine Corps out of sustained ground combat.
Marine Corps officials have argued privately that other kinds of conflicts would be lesser included capabilities of this focus on high-end conflict in the Western Pacific. This is misplaced. History is littered with examples of militaries that prepared for one kind of conflict and then had to fight a very different kind of conflict. In the best circumstances, militaries adapt at the cost of time and blood. In the worst circumstances, the result is catastrophic failure.
For example, in the 1950s and early-1960s the U.S. Army focused on great power conflict in Europe against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. That Army then had to fight a counterinsurgency conflict in Southeast Asia. As Andrew Krepinevich argued , the Army was ''a superb instrument for combating the field armies of its adversaries in conventional wars but an inefficient and ineffective force for defeating insurgent guerrilla forces.''
The Army and Navy use their reserve components to hedge against unexpected demands. Thus, their reserve components do not look like the active component but are imbalanced. For example, most of the Army's medical, transportation, engineering, civil affairs, and psychological operations units are in the reserve component.
The new Marine Corps structure might have kept some tanks, towed artillery, bridging units, military police, or logistics in the reserves as a hedge against a future war involving ground combat against a national army or a counterinsurgency campaign. However, the plan does not include such hedges.
Moving Away from Current Operations Unacknowledged in this new Marine Corps approach, as it is across the entire department, is the tension between preparing for a conflict against a great power adversary and the need to maintain day-to-day commitments for ongoing conflicts, allied and partner engagement, and crisis response. The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has chosen capability overcapacity in its strategy documents. However, the press of operational demands has been unrelenting despite the DOD's intention to prioritize and cut back on them. This has pushed the other services'--especially the Navy and Air Force'--toward a high-low mix in order to cover both: advanced, and often very expensive, technologies for great power conflict and less expensive elements in relatively large numbers for less demanding threats. The Marine Corps has opted not to do this. Its smaller size will put stress on the remaining forces if deployments continue at the current level.
The Uncertain Viability of New War-fighting ConceptsThe final risk is whether this new war-fighting concept of distributed operations within the adversary's weapons engagement zone will work. The Marine Corps has sensibly conducted a lot of war-gaming and satisfied itself that the concept will succeed. However, as Marines note, the enemy gets a vote. Maintaining small and vulnerable units deep inside an adversary's weapons engagement zone will be challenging. Even small units need a continuous resupply with fuel and munitions. If that is not possible, or if the Chinese figure out a way to hunt these units down, the concept collapses.
A Process, Not a DestinationGen. Berger has indicated that this restructuring is not fixed and unalterable but a process where the destination is open to modification and revision. Thus, additional details will unfold and gaps in the current plan'--for logistics, the reserves, and amphibious ships, for example'--will be filled. This on-going process will also provide opportunities to reduce risk, and the Marine Corps should take advantage of that.
Mark Cancian is a senior adviser with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Commentary is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).
(C) 2020 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.
Just-in-Time Inventories Make U.S. Vulnerable in a Pandemic - WSJ
Sun, 29 Mar 2020 20:17
Like many big hospitals, the University of Utah Hospital carries a 30-day supply of drugs, in part because it would be too costly or wasteful to stockpile more. Some of its hepatitis vaccine supply has been diverted to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf, leaving it vulnerable should an outbreak occur closer to home. About 77 other drugs are in short supply because of manufacturing and other glitches, such as a drug maker shutting down a factory.
"The supply chain is horribly thin," says Erin Fox, a drug-information specialist at the Salt Lake City hospital.
In the event of a pandemic flu outbreak, that chain is almost certain to break. Thousands of drug-company workers in the U.S. and elsewhere could be sickened, prompting factories to close. Truck routes could be blocked and borders may be closed, particularly perilous at a time when 80% of raw materials for U.S. drugs come from abroad. The likely result: shortages of important medicines -- such as insulin, blood products or the anesthetics used in surgery -- quite apart from any shortages of medicine to treat the flu itself.
The very rules of capitalism that make the U.S. an ultra-efficient marketplace also make it exceptionally vulnerable in a pandemic. Near-empty warehouses are a sign of strong inventory management. Production of drugs takes place offshore because that's cheaper. The federal government doesn't intervene as a guaranteed buyer of flu drugs, as it does with weapons. Investors and tax rules conspire to eliminate redundancy and reserves. Antitrust rules prevent private companies from collaborating to speed development of new drugs.
Most fundamentally, the widely embraced "just-in-time" business practice -- which attempts to cut costs and improve quality by reducing inventory stockpiles and delivering products as needed -- is at odds with the logic of "just in case" that promotes stockpiling drugs, government intervention and overall preparedness.
A report issued last month by the Trust for America's Health, a public-health advocacy group in Washington, concluded that 40% of the states lack enough backup medical supplies to cope with a pandemic flu or other major disease outbreak.
"Most if not all of the medical products or protective-device companies in this country are operating almost at full capacity," says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "That's the reality of today's economy: just-in-time delivery with no surge capacity."
The U.S. government says it is trying to address the problem, elevating the possibility of a flu outbreak to a national security concern. Rajeev Venkayya, a special assistant to President Bush for biodefense, says the pandemic flu threat calls for a national response similar to a "moonshot," alluding to the successful 1960s Apollo program.
President Bush has vowed to spend $2.8 billion to help jump-start development of a next-generation cell-culture flu vaccine. Currently flu vaccine production relies on a decades-old process of growing viruses in individual fertilized chicken eggs. The viruses are inactivated to make a vaccine.
Cell-culture technology means the viruses are grown in living cells -- often mammalian kidney cells -- that multiply on their own. The technology is already used in producing vaccines against hepatitis, chickenpox and shingles. In theory, cell-culture technology should allow manufacturers to produce enough flu vaccine for every American within six months of the start of a pandemic.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently said it will allow companies to book revenue on sales of vaccines or bioterrorism remedies to the government, even if the companies hold onto the stockpile -- as the U.S. government often prefers. Under current accounting rules, companies must ship the product to record the revenue, a major disincentive for vaccine manufacturers.
Yet those steps largely fail to address weaknesses in the supply chain. The severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003 in Canada offers a case in point. When SARS hit, the country's largest nurses' union complained about a shortage of N95 masks after much of the existing supply was shipped to Asia, where the disease hit hardest.
These masks protect against contracting flu by filtering out at least 95% of certain airborne materials during normal breathing. Some nurses in Canada had to use less-protective masks when caring for SARS patients. Others were rationing the supply. In some cases, they were told to save their masks in plastic bags and reuse them from one shift to the next, Barbara Wahl, former president of the Ontario Nurses' Association, told a Canadian commission investigating SARS in 2003.
The main companies that manufacture the masks -- 3M Co. and Kimberly-Clark Corp. -- had to scramble to meet the sudden demand because, like many companies, they didn't have an existing stockpile.
The outbreak was relatively brief and limited in location -- a minor blip compared with what would likely happen with pandemic flu.
'Albertson's Syndrome'Supply-chain breakdowns are one reason the economy could go into a tailspin should there be a pandemic flu outbreak. A Congressional Budget Office study of the economic impact of a severe pandemic, released late last year, estimated a nearly $700 billion hit to the U.S. economy, or about a 5% decline in economic output during a one-year span, about equal to a medium-sized recession.
One significant concern is what Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, described in an interview as the "Albertson's syndrome," referring to the grocery-store chain. At the first sign of panic, all supplies disappear from shelves, something that routinely happens when there is the threat of even a modest storm.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food retailers and distributors, estimates that the time it takes for manufacturers and wholesalers to deliver on a retailer's order has shortened to fewer than four days from nearly eight days in 1999. Respondents to an association survey "are targeting even shorter cycle times of three days," the survey said. Rick Blasgen, a former ConAgra Inc. executive and chief executive of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, says food retai