Art for episode 1235

1235: Coronafest

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 7m
April 19th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Kris Baron of the Carson Valley, Jesse Dean, Jonathan Walker, Anonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Tim of the Tunnels, Dame of The Crystal Core, Tristan "Onion"Martens, Aaron Cole, David Naus, Stephanie Symonds, Connor and Christina at beach view farm

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

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TODAY
How the HCQ should be reported
Meticulous and Orderly, Germany Can Handle a Pandemic
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 06:33
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Trump must have JFK kill switch file. Or something like that
Data & Models
Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report | CDC
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 23:28
All data are preliminary and may change as more reports are received.
A description of the CDC influenza surveillance system, including methodology and detailed descriptions of each data component is available on the surveillance methods page.
Additional information on the current and previous influenza seasons for each surveillance component are available on FluView Interactive.
U.S. Virologic SurveillanceClinical Laboratories The results of tests performed by clinical laboratories nationwide are summarized below. Data from clinical laboratories (the percentage of specimens tested that are positive for influenza) are used to monitor whether influenza activity is increasing or decreasing.
Week 14 Data Cumulative since September 29, 2019(week 40) No. of specimens tested 22,324 1,303,970 No. of positive specimens (%) 180 (0.8%) 247,785 (19.0%) Positive specimens by type Influenza A 105 (58.3%) 132,461 (53.5%) Influenza B 75 (41.7%) 115,324 (46.5%) View Chart Data | View Full ScreenPublic Health Laboratories The results of tests performed by public health laboratories nationwide are summarized below. Data from public health laboratories are used to monitor the proportion of circulating viruses that belong to each influenza subtype/lineage.
Week 14 Data Cumulative since September 29, 2019 (week 40) No. of specimens tested 356 81,392 No. of positive specimens 35 43,456 Positive specimens by type/subtype Influenza A 31 (88.6%) 24,822 (57.1%) (H1N1)pdm09 28 (96.6%) 22,324 (92.6%) H3N2 1 (3.4%) 1,780 (7.4%) Subtyping not performed 2 718 Influenza B 4 (11.4%) 18,634 (42.9%) Yamagata lineage 0 (0.0%) 238 (1.6%) Victoria lineage 0 (0.0%) 14,198 (98.4%) Lineage not performed 4 4,198 While influenza B/Victoria viruses predominated earlier in the season, during recent weeks, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have been reported more frequently than B/Victoria viruses nationally and in all surveillance regions. For the season, A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are the predominant virus nationally. Regional and state level data about circulating influenza viruses can be found on FluView Interactive.
The predominant virus also varies by age group. Nationally, for the season overall, influenza B viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among persons 5-24 years, while influenza A viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among persons 0-4 years and 25 years and older. In the most recent three weeks, influenza A viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses in all age groups.
View Chart Data | View Full ScreenAdditional virologic surveillance information for current and past seasons:Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: National, Regional, and State Data or Age Data
Influenza Virus Characterization CDC performs genetic and antigenic characterization of U.S. viruses submitted from state and local health laboratories using Right Size Roadmap submission guidance. These data are used to compare how similar the currently circulating influenza viruses are to the reference viruses used for developing new influenza vaccines and to monitor evolutionary changes that continually occur in circulating influenza viruses. Antigenic characterization data are based on an animal model (influenza-naive ferrets), and do not reflect pre-existing protection provided by past influenza infections and vaccinations. Additional antigenic characterization studies involving people vaccinated with current influenza vaccines are conducted later in the season; these data account for pre-existing protection in different populations against circulating influenza viruses. Genetic and antigenic characterization data are not used to make calculations about vaccine effectiveness (VE). CDC conducts VE studies each year to measure the benefits of flu vaccines in people. Interim estimates of 2019-2020 flu vaccine effectiveness have been released.
CDC genetically characterized 2,463 influenza viruses collected in the U.S. from September 29, 2019, to April 4, 2020.
Virus Subtype or Lineage Genetic Characterization Total No. of Subtype/Lineage Tested Clade Number (% of subtype/lineage tested) Subclade Number (% of subtype/lineage tested) A/H1 896 6B.1A 896 (100%) A/H3 510 3C.2a 480 (94.1%) 2a1 480 (94.1%) 2a2 0 2a3 0 2a4 0 3C.3a 30 (5.9%) 3a 30 (5.9%) B/Victoria 965 V1A 965 (100%) V1A 0 V1A.1 60 (6.2%) V1A.3 905 (93.8%) B/Yamagata 92 Y3 92 (100%) CDC antigenically characterizes a subset of influenza viruses by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) or neutralization based Focus Reduction assays (FRA). Antigenic drift is evaluated by comparing antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses. CDC antigenically characterized 547 influenza viruses collected in the United States from September 29, 2019, to April 4, 2020. These data are not used to make calculations about vaccine effectiveness (VE). CDC conducts VE studies each year to measure the benefits of flu vaccines in people.
Influenza A Viruses
A (H1N1)pdm09: 212 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and 175 (82.5%) were antigenically similar (reacting at titers that were within 4-fold of the homologous virus titer) to cell-propagated A/Brisbane/02/2018-like reference viruses representing the A(H1N1)pdm09 component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines. The decrease in the percent of A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses similar to A/Brisbane/02/2018 is due to some of the recent viruses selected for testing having a single amino acid change that is antigenically distinguishable in antigenic assays using ferret sera. Similar viruses were observed last season as well and these represented a small proportion of virus circulating. We have observed an increase in the proportion of H1N1pdm09 viruses with this change late in the US season. A (H3N2): 86 A(H3N2) viruses were antigenically characterized by FRA with ferret antisera, and 40 (46.5%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated A/Kansas/14/2017-like reference viruses representing the A(H3N2) component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.Influenza B Viruses
B/Victoria: 201 B/Victoria lineage viruses, including viruses from both co-circulating sub-clades, were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and 120 (59.7%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated B/Colorado/06/2017-like reference viruses representing the B/Victoria component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines. B/Yamagata: 48 B/Yamagata lineage viruses were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and all 48 (100%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated B/Phuket/3073/2013-like reference viruses representing the B/Yamagata component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.CDC also assesses susceptibility of influenza viruses to the antiviral medications including the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and the PA endonuclease inhibitor baloxavir using next generation sequence analysis supplemented by laboratory assays. Viruses collected in the United States since September 29, 2019, were tested for antiviral susceptibility as follows:
Antiviral Medication Total Viruses* A/H1 A/H3 B/Victoria B/Yamagata Neuraminidase Inhibitors Oseltamivir Viruses Tested 2,433 885 502 954 92 Reduced Inhibition 1 (0.04%) (0.0%) (0.0%) 1 (0.1%) (0.0%) Highly Reduced Inhibition 4 (0.2%) 4 (0.5%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) Peramivir Viruses Tested 2,433 885 502 954 92 Reduced Inhibition (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) Highly Reduced Inhibition 5 (0.2%) 4 (0.5%) (0.0%) 1 (0.1%) (0.0%) Zanamivir Viruses Tested 2,433 885 502 954 92 Reduced Inhibition 2 (0.1%) (0.0%) (0.0%) 2 (0.2%) (0.0%) Highly Reduced Inhibition (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) PA Endonuclease InhibitorBaloxavir Viruses Tested 2,541 884 584 978 95 Reduced Susceptibility (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) A total of 556 additional viruses (211 A(H1N1)pdm09, 32 A(H3N2), and 313 B) collected in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin were analyzed for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors by pyrosequencing assay. Three (1.4%) of the 211 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses tested had the H275Y amino acid substitution in the neuraminidase and showed highly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir and peramivir. No molecular markers associated with reduced or highly reduced inhibition by neuraminidase inhibitors were detected in A(H3N2) and type B viruses tested.
Outpatient Illness Surveillance ILINet Nationwide during week 14, 3.9% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.4%.
ViewChart Data (current season only) | View Full Screen
On a regional level, the percentage of outpatient visits for ILI ranged from 2.4% to 10.0% during week 14. All regions decreased in percentage of outpatient visits for ILI compared to last week, but all regions reported a percentage of outpatient visits for ILI above their region-specific baselines.
ILI Activity Map Data collected in ILINet are used to produce a measure of ILI activity* by state.
During week 14, the following ILI activity levels were experienced:
High '' the District of Columbia, New York City, and 19 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin)Moderate '' four states (Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Washington)Low - 12 states (California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia)Minimal - Puerto Rico and 15 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming)Data were insufficient to calculate an ILI activity level from the U.S. Virgin Islands.Among the 21 jurisdictions with high ILI activity, ILI increased relative to the previous week in two, remained stable in two and declined in 17. Sixteen of the jurisdictions with high ILI activity also had clinical laboratory data available and in those, the percent of specimens testing positive for influenza decreased in all but one.
Additional information about medically attended visits for ILI for current and past seasons:Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: National, Regional, and State Data or ILI Activity Map
Geographic Spread of Influenza as Assessed by State and Territorial EpidemiologistsThe influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses but does not measure the severity of influenza activity.
During week 14, the following influenza activity was reported:
Widespread '' 11 states (Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin)Regional '' Puerto Rico and 19 states (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Washington)Local '' the District of Columbia and 12 states (Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming)Sporadic '' the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven states (California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York and Oregon)No Activity '' one state (Rhode Island)Guam did not report.Additional geographic spread surveillance information for current and past seasons:Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive
Influenza-Associated HospitalizationsThe Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states and Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states.
A total of 19,802 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported by FluSurv-NET sites between October 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020; 14,309 (72.3%) were associated with influenza A virus, 5,379 (27.2%) with influenza B virus, 59 (0.3%) with influenza A virus and influenza B virus co-infection, and 55 (0.3%) with influenza virus for which the type was not determined. Among those with influenza A subtype information, 3,806 (94.5%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and 223 (5.5%) were A(H3N2).
The overall cumulative hospitalization rate was 68.2 per 100,000 population, which is higher than all recent seasons at this time of year except for the 2017-18 season. Rates in children 0-4 years old and adults 18-49 years old are now the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing the rate reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Hospitalization rates for school-aged children are higher than any recent regular season but lower than rates during the pandemic.
View Full Screen
The highest rate of hospitalization is among adults aged '‰¥ 65, followed by children aged 0-4 years and adults aged 50-64 years.
Age Group 2019-2020 SeasonCumulative Rate per 100,000 Population Overall 68.2 0-4 years 94.1 5-17 years 24.6 18-49 years 35.6 50-64 years 90.2 65+ years 179.7 Among 3,433 hospitalized adults with information on underlying medical conditions, 92.3% had at least one reported underlying medical condition, the most commonly reported were cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorder, obesity, and chronic lung disease. Among 569 hospitalized children with information on underlying medical conditions, 48.5% had at least one underlying medical condition; the most commonly reported was asthma. Among 600 hospitalized women of childbearing age (15-44 years) with information on pregnancy status, 27.2% were pregnant.
View Full Screen Additional hospitalization surveillance information for current and past seasons and additional age groups:Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: Rates by Age or Patient Characteristics
Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data available on March 26, 2020, 10.0% of the deaths occurring during the week ending March 28, 2020 (week 13) were due to P&I. This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 7.1% for week 13.
View Chart Data | View Full Screen
While the percent of all deaths due to P&I has increased during weeks 9-13 (7.4-10.0%), the percent of all deaths with Influenza listed as a cause have decreased (from 1.0% to 0.7%) over this same time period. The increase in pneumonia deaths during this time period are likely associated with COVID-19 rather than influenza.
Additional pneumonia and influenza mortality surveillance information for current and past seasons: Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive
Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Four influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season between weeks 7 and 14 (the weeks ending February 15, 2020 and April 4, 2020) were reported to CDC during week 14. Two were associated with influenza A viruses, and one was subtyped as an A(H1N1)pdm09 virus. Two were associated with influenza B viruses, and neither had a lineage determined.
Of the 166 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season and reported to CDC:
104 deaths were associated with influenza B viruses, and 25 had a lineage determined; all were B/Victoria viruses. 62 deaths were associated with influenza A viruses, and 36 were subtyped; 35 were A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, and one was an A(H3) virus.
View Full Screen
Additional pediatric mortality surveillance information for current and past seasons:Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive
Additional National and International Influenza Surveillance Information
FluView Interactive: FluView includes enhanced web-based interactive applications that can provide dynamic visuals of the influenza data collected and analyzed by CDC. These FluView Interactive applications allow people to create customized, visual interpretations of influenza data, as well as make comparisons across flu seasons, regions, age groups and a variety of other demographics. To access these tools, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Monthly surveillance data on the prevalence of health-related workplace absenteeism among full-time workers in the United States are available from NIOSH at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/absences/default.html
U.S. State and local influenza surveillance:Select a jurisdiction below to access the latest local influenza information
World Health Organization: Additional influenza surveillance information from participating WHO member nations is available through FluNet and the Global Epidemiology Reports.
WHO Collaborating Centers for Influenza located in Australia, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States (CDC in Atlanta, Georgia).
Europe: For the most recent influenza surveillance information from Europe, please see WHO/Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control at http://www.flunewseurope.org/.
Public Health Agency of Canada: The most up-to-date influenza information from Canada is available at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fluwatch/
Public Health England: The most up-to-date influenza information from the United Kingdom is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports
Any links provided to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.An overview of the CDC influenza surveillance system, including methodology and detailed descriptions of each data component, is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm.
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Shut Up Slaves
We see how the second amendment protects the first. Not so in EU!
China
Food Supply
Meat Cutter BOTG
I work for a smaller USDA inspected meat locker with 25ish
employees. We're a drop in the bucket compared to the large slaughterhouses but
nonetheless we have a USDA inspector and I know the system.
My initial Covid concern was that the USDA would pull their
inspectors and we'd be largely shut down (Not For Sale only). The USDA,
fortunately, had the good sense not to cripple our meat supply and kept us
open...so far.
https://www.keloland.com/keloland-com-original/south-dakota-meatpacking-plant-becomes-the-number-one-hotspot-in-america/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_KELOLAND_News
These close quarters slaughterhouses with hundreds if not
thousands of employees are rampant with Coronavirus. Our inspector has quietly
told me that one of the other big local plants refused to shut down despite
multiple confirmed employee cases. To make matters worse an INSPECTOR was
confirmed positive and our inspector was worried that he was going to get
pulled to cover that infected plant as well...potentially exposing us. Believe
me when I tell you these plants are/will be shut down and the food supply will
disappear.
We've been checking in with our regular truck drivers from
our retail suppliers. One of our drivers has been delivering for us for decades
and has never seen their warehouses this empty. Everyone is scrambling to meet
demand and there's not enough meat to go around as is. When these plants get
shut down there is no excess sitting in warehouses...our freezers are the same
way. When we cut a beef or hog it is picked up as soon as it is frozen...that's
not normally the case and you can't even find a deep freezer for sale.
The coverage has been phenomenal gentlemen! My wife is
actually listening for the first time...you are bringing us HOPE and a positive
message. She knows about the WHO, Gates, and the whole racket... Keep it up and
with her new blessing I will no longer be a douchebag!
A meat cutter
Another Smithfield Food plant has been struck by the coronavirus | TheHill
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 23:50
April 18, 2020 - 05:14 PM EDT By Kaelan DeeseThe Health Department in Bladen County, N.C., confirmed that another Smithfield Foods processing plant reported one or more positive cases of the novel coronavirus.
The department's director, Teresa Duncan, said agencies both local and national are working to protect public health and ensure the safety of employees while further mitigating the spread of the virus, according to a press release obtained by local outlet WECT.
"The health and well-being of the employees is our first priority," said Duncan.
The health department's release did not indicate an exact number of cases confirmed at the plant, but the county affirmed there are some cases.
Saturday afternoon, a public relations representative for Smithfield said in an email to WECT that the company will not confirm any positive cases of COVID-19 at their facilities out of respect for their employees' legal privacy.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced about Smithfield Foods plants in Missouri and Wisconsin that had reported cases of the virus as well.
A plant in Sioux Falls, S.D, which closed indefinitely on April 12, reportedly had 518 infected employees, with one death as a result of the coronavirus infection.
Testing
Fauci Friday briefing long explanation of testing resources
The key metric is downward positive with upward testing. That percentage.
23andMe data could be used to develop a bio weapon specifically for us citizens
Ministry of Truth
VIDEO - CDC SCARY OREGON PSA Numbers - Play and Read
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 07:17
STORIES
For Mark Meadows, the Transition to Trump's Chief of Staff Is a Hard One - The New York Times
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 08:44
Mark Meadows has officially been President Trump's fourth White House chief of staff for less than three weeks.
In that time, he has shaken up the communications office, angering supporters of the press secretary he chose to replace. He has tried to put in place other speedy changes, hoping to succeed where his three predecessors failed. He has hunted aggressively for leaks.
But administration officials say he has been overwhelmed at times by a permanent culture at the White House that revolves around the president's moods, his desire to present a veneer of strength and his need for a sense of control. It is why, no matter who serves as chief of staff, the lack of formal processes and the constant infighting are unavoidable facts of life for those working for Mr. Trump.
In the case of Mr. Meadows, it has not helped him with his White House colleagues that the former North Carolina congressman, who has a reputation for showing his emotions, cried while meeting with members of the White House staff on at least two occasions. One instance was in the presence of a young West Wing aide; another time was with the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
On both occasions, Mr. Meadows was discussing staffing changes, according to the people with knowledge of the events. A White House spokesman declined to comment on either meeting. A person close to Mr. Kushner said he denied that any such episode involving him ever took place.
Mr. Trump is said to have faith in Mr. Meadows and is sometimes responsive to his suggestions. Unlike the president's history with his three previous chiefs of staff, the two had a personal relationship before Mr. Meadows resigned from Congress to take the job in the White House. But administration officials said that Mr. Trump sees emotion as a sign of weakness.
Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said, ''The White House is fully focused on supporting the president's mission of defeating the coronavirus, saving American lives, and getting the country back to work '-- and Mark Meadows has already proven to be a tremendous asset in that effort.''
This article is based on interviews with seven administration officials and others familiar with the events.
While in Congress, Mr. Meadows's penchant for displaying emotion and showing a sense of his humanity was part of his appeal to some of his colleagues. As chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, composed of the most conservative members of Congress, he was often at war with Democrats and Republicans like John A. Boehner, the former Republican speaker of the House, whom the caucus deemed too moderate.
But he was also known for establishing constructive relationships with people with whom he clashed ideologically.
''Mark Meadows has a live intellect and emotional life,'' said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, who had a good relationship with Mr. Meadows when he served as a congressman. ''Again, I consider many of his ideological commitments just indigestible, but we try to find the humanity in our colleagues and he is someone with a mind and a heart, that's just undeniable.''
But neither quality is necessarily an asset in the Trump White House, where the president likes to project strength at all moments.
A former businessman and real estate developer, Mr. Meadows bonded with Mr. Trump early in the administration and helped push his agenda increasingly to the right. When Mr. Meadows announced that he would step down from Congress, it immediately prompted speculation that he would join the White House.
He was brought in by Mr. Trump as part of a staff shake-up just as the administration was overwhelmed by the fast spread of the coronavirus in the United States and struggling with equipment and testing shortages.
In the middle of the crisis, Mr. Meadows is trying to reorganize the White House staff. People close to him insisted Mr. Meadows's nature was not to fire people willy-nilly, but they said that was what he was doing nevertheless.
He is also talking about other changes, two people familiar with the planning said, such as reorganizing the speech-writing team '-- currently a stand-alone office led by Stephen Miller '-- under the umbrella of the communications department. That discussion has met with some resistance, although one person with knowledge of the changes under consideration said the idea was to synthesize different departments that do not always work in tandem.
At the same time, his grip on the White House is hardly tight. Mr. Meadows was caught off guard when the press office on Tuesday night blasted out a lengthy list of people who had been selected to be part of one of the groups advising Mr. Trump on reopening the country, according to two people briefed on the matter. That had happened at the direction of Mr. Kushner, who has played a leading role in the White House's response to the virus, according to the people with knowledge of what took place.
The list turned into something of a debacle on Wednesday, with one corporate executive after another telling reporters they had learned they were on it when their names were announced. Some said they had never agreed to be a part of the effort.
Even Mr. Meadows's allies have described him as reeling from the reality that working for the president is different from being Mr. Trump's phone confidant.
But by all accounts, Mr. Meadows does have several fans in the White House, some of whom had seen the tenure of his predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina who was also a member of the Freedom Caucus, as dysfunctional and irreparably damaged in Mr. Trump's eyes during the impeachment inquiry.
During West Wing meetings, Mr. Meadows has been more willing to assert himself and convey a sense of command than Mr. Mulvaney had been over the past several months, three administration officials said. And they said that even though his personal style was not to come in and make wholesale changes, he was doing what the president wanted.
But the way he handled one of the first changes he made in his new job '-- tapping Kayleigh McEnany to replace Stephanie Grisham as press secretary '-- angered some allies of Ms. Grisham who remained. They said that Mr. Meadows let staff members learn about the changes from news reports without explaining how he would bring in his own allies to serve in specific roles.
Ms. Grisham is now the chief of staff to Melania Trump, the first lady.
Former colleagues in Congress do not sound optimistic about Mr. Meadows's chances for success in his new role.
''So far, Mark has been able to get along with people even when he strongly disagrees with them,'' Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said of Mr. Meadows's lengthy career. He declined to elaborate on how that might work now.
''I can see why the president and his staff would be very drawn to Mark Meadows,'' Mr. Raskin said. ''My worry for Mark is that the president is drawn to him as a person of quality, but now that he has him, he may just chew him up and spit him out the way he has done with so many people he has brought in to work for him.''
Updated April 11, 2020
When will this end?This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: ''How will we know when to reopen the country?'' In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.
How can I help?The Times Neediest Cases Fund has started a special campaign to help those who have been affected, which accepts donations here. Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)
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.
Should I wear a mask?The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don't need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.
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.
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. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.
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 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 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.''
Covid Bullcrap dot Com
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 08:30
Covid Bullcrapby Adam CurryHere is the chart NOW being used to track covid-19 for opening up the USA (April 16 2020)
Source
Coronavirus Australia: Push for more Australians to use COVID-19 tracing app
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 08:12
The app, which he said would be downloaded by Australians voluntarily, would enable the information about their movements to be "uploaded immediately to the public health unit", whereas the manual tracing process could take days.
The push came as the number of Australians to have contracted the coronavirus hit more than 6500 and the death toll to rose to 65.
Professor Kelly said Australia "continues to do well" when contrasted with the "mind-boggling" global tally of more than two million cases and 143,000 deaths, but that vigilance was needed - especially if citizens wanted to regain some aspects of their former lifestyles.
Mr Morrison said in a radio interview on Friday morning that for the tracing app to be effective, 40 per cent of Australians would need to download it - double the share that used a similar app in Singapore.
He would not rule out making it compulsory for all Australians to download the app - and carry the phone at all times - if sufficient voluntary take-up was not achieved.
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"My preference is not to do that; my preference is to give Australians a go at getting it right," Mr Morrison said.
"That's my objective, that's my plan A, and I really want plan A to work."
He called on Australians to support the initiative "as a matter of national service" akin to buying war bonds, saying that while many would ordinarily never download such an app, "this is not an ordinary time".
"If you download this app, you will help save someone's life," Mr Morrison said.
He said the app would not be used to prosecute people who had breached isolation or quarantine requirements.
Professor Kelly said authorities would "start with voluntary and we'll see how we go."
"I've always been a believer in the Australian people making the right decision so I think the voluntary approach at first is the way to go," he said.
"We have work to do to make sure this is good and safe and cover off privacy concerns."
Asked about the controversy in Tasmania over a healthcare worker accused by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of lying to contact tracers investigating the outbreak in the state's north-west Tasmania - a claim that has been hosed down by state authorities - Professor Kelly said: "I will definitely at this point encourage people to be honest and help with contact tracing."
"It is a crucial way we can get to the bottom of what happens and to prevent others from developing illness and crucially, and this has happened as well again in north-west Tasmania, to make sure we are protecting the most vulnerable people in the community, including those in residential aged care," he said.
Professor Kelly said authorities would be carefully considering which sectors to lift restrictions in over the next month, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's suggested the retail industry could be reopened for business.
"I think a gradual reintroduction of as much as we can get to normal life in Australia would be most welcome," he said.
"Of course the cafes and restaurants and so forth are an important part of our social fabric and we will be looking closely at that."
Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletterGet our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day's crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald's newsletter here and The Age's here.
Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
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Michigan manbaby protest: Wait, we thought conservatives were "rugged individuals" | Salon.com
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 07:33
On Wednesday, a crowd of right-wing nuts '-- complete with their oversized but underworked utility vehicles, Confederate flags, guns and other such overcompensation accoutrements '-- descended on the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, to whine about the temporary pause to dinners at Applebee's and accidental brushfires at gender-reveal parties. The deep fear of emasculation driving the protest was not particularly subtle at this protest, as the crowd chanted "Lock her up" at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who is accused of no other crime other than making deeply insecure men fuss about a woman in power.
The ostensible purpose of the protests was to pressure Whitmer to relax some of the restrictions on businesses and movement under the coronavirus lockdown. In reality, of course, this is happening because a bunch of Fox News-loving Trump supporters have been poisoned by propaganda that has convinced them the coronavirus is overblown or a hoax, all being spread by the libs to destroy Trump's chances at re-election.
Well, that, and the fact that they're a bunch of sexists who hate having a female governor, which goes a long way toward explaining why the Michigan protest was bigger than others in Ohio or North Carolina, whose governors are male.
The immense Trump propaganda infrastructure is marshaling these folks for one simple reason: This crisis is Trump's fault, and he desperately needs someone to blame for his failures, which have led to the spread of the virus and the collapse of the economy. So these numbskulls are being organized to protest the governors who are trying to clean up Trump's mess, which is a little like protesting the doctors who are treating patients who got sick because Trump refused to do anything serious to limit the spread of the virus.
Oh wait '-- they did that, too, by blocking ambulances trying to take patients to the hospital.
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The protest is incoherent. Everyone wants to reopen the economy, but the main reason we can't is because Trump, in his incompetence and malice, has persistently refused to take steps to institute the widespread testing that's necessary before lockdowns can be eased. If these conservatives want the economy to restart, they should stay home, stop watching Fox News and give money to any Democrats running for anything, because the only way this country can survive this is with competent leadership that's willing to do what needs doing.
That incoherence goes even deeper than the immediate idiocy of blaming the people who are trying to fix the problem instead of the orange menace in the White House who caused it. These protests also lay bare the larger incoherence of the right-wing mythology that conservatives are rugged individualists who are tougher and better prepared than those supposedly soft, effete liberals in the big cities.
Right-wingers love to talk a big game about how tough they are, compared to the avocado-toast-eating class, but what Wednesday's protest revealed was a bunch of spoiled brats ready to fall apart in the face of even the slightest inconvenience.
Rosanne Ponkowski, one of the protest's organizers, complained to the Daily Beast, "We can't take our boats on the water if they have an engine" and added, "We can't buy paint and go paint our house."
Other massive infringements on liberty: The inability to buy patio furniture, Legos or bug spray. It's not easy to hire somebody to mow the lawn. You literally can't make this stuff up.
What is immediately clear is that these "rugged individuals" fall apart completely at the first sign of even the slightest hardship. For all the History Channel documentaries about World War II they might consume, they aren't exactly the hard-bitten warriors they dream themselves to be. Instead, they're a bunch of whiny babies who have spent their entire lives in the consumer bubble, and react to the prospect of giving up fishing for a few months as if their legs were being forcibly amputated.
Turns out that these individuals are, in fact, highly dependent on the communities they live in, so much so that a few weeks of needing to curtail shopping and socializing has led to a total meltdown.
The obvious truth here is that times are hard on everyone. That's especially true for the 22 million Americans who've filed for unemployment, the more than 600,000 who are sick, and the families of the nearly 30,000 people who have died from this virus. But there's plenty of room to feel compassion for the rest of us who are going stir-crazy, who are fighting with family members or who are suffering from social isolation.
Hell, there's nothing wrong with being grumpy that you can't get your garden planted in time this year or that you can't go fishing. People deserve pleasure, especially during a crisis when the small things are often what keep us going. State governments should certainly strive to write quarantine regulations that strike a balance between public heath needs and ordinary people's desire to find joy in their daily lives.
But it's really rich for the self-proclaimed "rugged individuals" of America to be such big, whiny babies in the face of this.
We're forever hearing from right wingers how the rest of us need to toughen up a little. People on food stamps just need to "get a job," even though most food assistance recipients already have one. If millennials can't afford to buy houses, it's because they're over-indulged hipsters who eat too much avocado toast. (Reality: They're trapped by soaring housing costs and saddled with too much student debt.) A woman who doesn't want to be forced into childbirth should have just kept her legs shut.
Right-wing America have little sympathy for millions of their fellow citizens who face real hardship, but an endless amount of self-pity because they have to skip a fishing trip. No wonder they love Trump, a man who can't be bothered to care about Americans dying, but is in full-blown panic mode because he might not get re-elected.
In reality, this pandemic has exposed how we're all in this together and none of us are "rugged individuals." We need those health care workers and grocery store employees and teachers. We are all dependent on each other, not just for the basic necessities of life, but the luxuries like boating and gardening. Right wingers have spent decades denying this fact, clinging to their Ayn Rand fantasies that they're not dependent on the rest of us and are under no obligation to pay their taxes or by treating others with decency and compassion.
But it turns out that conservatives are more dependent on the system that all the people they deplore as weak, so much so that a minor interruption in their daily life causes a full-blown temper tantrum like the one we witnessed in Michigan this week. More are coming, we can be sure of that.
Opinion | Trump Is Asking Us to Play Russian Roulette With Our Lives - The New York Times
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 06:26
Are we really going to bet that we can go back to life as normal without proper coronavirus tracking in place?
April 18, 2020President Trump in the White House briefing room on Thursday. Credit... Doug Mills/The New York Times ''LIBERATE MINNESOTA!'' ''LIBERATE MICHIGAN!'' ''LIBERATE VIRGINIA.''
With these three short tweets last week, President Trump attempted to kick off the post-lockdown phase of America's coronavirus crisis. It should be called: ''American Russian roulette: The Covid-19 version.''
What Trump was saying with those tweets was: Everybody just go back to work. From now on, each of us individually, and our society collectively, is going to play Russian roulette. We're going to bet that we can spin through our daily lives '-- work, shopping, school, travel '-- without the coronavirus landing on us. And if it does, we'll also bet that it won't kill us.
More specifically: As a society, we will be betting that as large numbers of people stop sheltering in place, the number of people who will still get infected with Covid-19 and require hospitalization will be less than the number of hospital beds, intensive care units, respirators, doctors, nurses and protective gear needed to take care of them.
Because it is clear that millions of Americans are going to stop sheltering in place '-- their own President is now urging them to liberate themselves '-- before we have a proper testing, tracking and tracing system set up. Until we have a vaccine, that kind of system is the only path to dramatically lowering the risk of infection while partially opening society '-- while also protecting the elderly and infirm '-- as Germany has demonstrated.
And as individuals, every person will be playing Russian roulette every minute of every day: Do I get on this crowded bus to go to work or not? What if I get on the subway and the person next to me is not wearing gloves and a mask? What if they sneeze? Do I get in the elevator at the office if there is another person on it? Do I go into the office lunchroom or not? Do I stop for a drink at this bar, where the stools are six feet apart, or that crowded one my friends chose? Do I use this toilet or that drinking fountain? Do I send my kid back to school or not? Do I stay in a hotel? Ride an airplane? Let the plumber in? Do I go to the doctor to check that strange lump or not?
What will be so cruel about this American version of Russian roulette is how unfair it will be. Some people will have no choice but to take the subway or the bus to work. Some people will have to send their kids back to school because they can't afford to stay home from work. Some bosses will demand that their employees show up to reopen their workplace, but some of those employees may be afraid to come back. Do you fire them? Do they bring a lawsuit against you if you do, or do they go on Twitter and post a picture of how closely together you forced them to work '-- six inches apart, not six feet?
This is the state of play when you have a president who one minute is responsibly issuing sober guidelines for when and how people should go back to work, and the next minute is telling states that they are responsible for getting the testing, tracking and tracing units that we need in place and then, in the third minute, is inciting people on Twitter to ''liberate'' their workplaces, cities and beaches '-- even though none of the conditions are in place to do so safely.
''Liberate''? Think about the use of that word. We were not in jail! We were not doing something wrong! We were doing what our president, governor, mayor, and national epidemic experts told us to do: behave responsibly and shelter in place to break the transmission of this virus.
Trump was cynically trying to curry favor with his base by implying that the Democratic governors, following his own national guidelines, were unfairly locking people up, depriving them of their livelihoods. Is there anything more irresponsible that this president could do, after weeks of complimenting the American people for how they pulled together and sacrificed to shelter in place '-- patriotically doing their part to bend the curve of this virus?
So, folks, forget about all those White House briefings. You don't have to tune in another day. When the president is calling on governors to ''let their people go'' before comprehensive testing facilities are in place, he is basically saying that, until there is a vaccine, we are betting on herd immunity. Achieving herd immunity requires that more than two-thirds of a community be immune, a process that could involve many more deaths, if proper preparations are not in place.
That may work out for some places and people. It may not. I do not know. Every choice in dealing with this virus is fraught with huge tradeoffs between saving lives and saving the economy that sustains lives. I just know three things:
First, this is the bet Trump is urging you to make in his ''liberate'' tweets '-- when he should be ordering out the National Guard and mobilizing American industry to get testing everywhere.
Second, this bet will fall very unfairly and unevenly in our society, when so little testing and tracing is in place.
And third, if this is the future, every business, restaurant, hotel, theater, sporting facility, factory, nonprofit and government office needs to ask itself: What does my business look like when, on the best days, the responsible people coming to my door will be wearing a mask, gloves, distancing six feet apart and volunteering to have their temperature taken before they enter, and the irresponsible ones won't be? How do I handle that? Whom do I serve? What kind of business will I really have? Because that will be our economy until we have a vaccine or have established herd immunity.
Bottom line, my fellow Americans: Your president is telling you that you're on your own to make these decisions. And if this strategy works, you can be sure that he will take credit. And if it doesn't, you can be sure that he will tweet that it was all Anthony Fauci's idea.
The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead - The New York Times
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 06:24
The coronavirus is spreading from America's biggest cities to its suburbs, and has begun encroaching on the nation's rural regions. The virus is believed to have infected millions of citizens and has killed more than 34,000.
Yet President Trump this week proposed guidelines for reopening the economy and suggested that a swath of the United States would soon resume something resembling normalcy. For weeks now, the administration's view of the crisis and our future has been rosier than that of its own medical advisers, and of scientists generally.
In truth, it is not clear to anyone where this crisis is leading us. More than 20 experts in public health, medicine, epidemiology and history shared their thoughts on the future during in-depth interviews. When can we emerge from our homes? How long, realistically, before we have a treatment or vaccine? How will we keep the virus at bay?
Some felt that American ingenuity, once fully engaged, might well produce advances to ease the burdens. The path forward depends on factors that are certainly difficult but doable, they said: a carefully staggered approach to reopening, widespread testing and surveillance, a treatment that works, adequate resources for health care providers '-- and eventually an effective vaccine.
Still, it was impossible to avoid gloomy forecasts for the next year. The scenario that Mr. Trump has been unrolling at his daily press briefings '-- that the lockdowns will end soon, that a protective pill is almost at hand, that football stadiums and restaurants will soon be full '-- is a fantasy, most experts said.
''We face a doleful future,'' said Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, a former president of the National Academy of Medicine.
He and others foresaw an unhappy population trapped indoors for months, with the most vulnerable possibly quarantined for far longer. They worried that a vaccine would initially elude scientists, that weary citizens would abandon restrictions despite the risks, that the virus would be with us from now on.
''My optimistic side says the virus will ease off in the summer and a vaccine will arrive like the cavalry,'' said Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University medical school. ''But I'm learning to guard against my essentially optimistic nature.''
Most experts believed that once the crisis was over, the nation and its economy would revive quickly. But there would be no escaping a period of intense pain.
Exactly how the pandemic will end depends in part on medical advances still to come. It will also depend on how individual Americans behave in the interim. If we scrupulously protect ourselves and our loved ones, more of us will live. If we underestimate the virus, it will find us.
More Americans may die than the White House admits. Image Refrigerated trucks were used as mobile morgues on Randall's Island in New York. Credit... Misha Friedman for The New York Times Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, is arguably the leading cause of death in the United States right now. The virus has killed more than 1,800 Americans almost every day since April 7, and the official toll may be an undercount.
By comparison, heart disease typically kills 1,774 Americans a day, and cancer kills 1,641.
Yes, the coronavirus curves are plateauing. There are fewer hospital admissions in New York, the center of the epidemic, and fewer Covid-19 patients in I.C.U.s. The daily death toll is still grim, but no longer rising.
The epidemiological model often cited by the White House, which was produced by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, originally predicted 100,000 to 240,000 deaths by midsummer. Now that figure is 60,000.
While this is encouraging news, it masks some significant concerns. The institute's projection runs through Aug. 4, describing only the first wave of this epidemic. Without a vaccine, the virus is expected to circulate for years, and the death tally will rise over time.
The gains to date were achieved only by shutting down the country, a situation that cannot continue indefinitely. The White House's ''phased'' plan for reopening will surely raise the death toll no matter how carefully it is executed. The best hope is that fatalities can be held to a minimum.
Reputable longer-term projections for how many Americans will die vary, but they are all grim. Various experts consulted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March predicted that the virus eventually could reach 48 percent to 65 percent of all Americans, with a fatality rate just under 1 percent, and would kill up to 1.7 million of them if nothing were done to stop the spread.
A model by researchers at Imperial College London cited by the president on March 30 predicted 2.2 million deaths in the United States by September under the same circumstances.
By comparison, about 420,000 Americans died in World War II.
The limited data from China are even more discouraging. Its epidemic has been halted '-- for the moment '-- and virtually everyone infected in its first wave has died or recovered.
China has officially reported about 83,000 cases and 4,632 deaths, which is a fatality rate of over 5 percent. The Trump administration has questioned the figures but has not produced more accurate ones.
Fatality rates depend heavily on how overwhelmed hospitals get and what percentage of cases are tested. China's estimated death rate was 17 percent in the first week of January, when Wuhan was in chaos, according to a Center for Evidence-Based Medicine report, but only 0.7 percent by late February.
In this country, hospitals in several cities, including New York, came to the brink of chaos. Officials in both Wuhan and New York had to revise their death counts upward this week when they realized that many people had died at home of Covid-19, strokes, heart attacks or other causes, or because ambulances never came for them.
In fast-moving epidemics, far more victims pour into hospitals or die at home than doctors can test; at the same time, the mildly ill or asymptomatic never get tested. Those two factors distort the true fatality rate in opposite ways. If you don't know how many people are infected, you don't know how deadly a virus is.
Only when tens of thousands of antibody tests are done will we know how many silent carriers there may be in the United States. The C.D.C. has suggested it might be 25 percent of those who test positive. Researchers in Iceland said it might be double that.
China is also revising its own estimates. In February, a major study concluded that only 1 percent of cases in Wuhan were asymptomatic. New research says perhaps 60 percent were. Our knowledge gaps are still wide enough to make epidemiologists weep.
''All models are just models,'' Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, science adviser to the White House coronavirus task force, has said. ''When you get new data, you change them.''
There may be good news buried in this inconsistency: The virus may also be mutating to cause fewer symptoms. In the movies, viruses become more deadly. In reality, they usually become less so, because asymptomatic strains reach more hosts. Even the 1918 Spanish flu virus eventually faded into the seasonal H1N1 flu.
At the moment, however, we do not know exactly how transmissible or lethal the virus is. But refrigerated trucks parked outside hospitals tell us all we need to know: It is far worse than a bad flu season.
The lockdowns will end, but haltingly.No one knows exactly what percentage of Americans have been infected so far '-- estimates have ranged from 3 percent to 10 percent '-- but it is likely a safe bet that at least 300 million of us are still vulnerable.
Until a vaccine or another protective measure emerges, there is no scenario, epidemiologists agreed, in which it is safe for that many people to suddenly come out of hiding. If Americans pour back out in force, all will appear quiet for perhaps three weeks.
Then the emergency rooms will get busy again.
''There's this magical thinking saying, 'We're all going to hunker down for a while and then the vaccine we need will be available,''' said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
In his wildly popular March 19 article in Medium, ''Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance,'' Tomas Pueyo correctly predicted the national lockdown, which he called the hammer, and said it would lead to a new phase, which he called the dance, in which essential parts of the economy could reopen, including some schools and some factories with skeleton crews.
Every epidemiological model envisions something like the dance. Each assumes the virus will blossom every time too many hosts emerge and force another lockdown. Then the cycle repeats. On the models, the curves of rising and falling deaths resemble a row of shark teeth.
Surges are inevitable, the models predict, even when stadiums, churches, theaters, bars and restaurants remain closed, all travelers from abroad are quarantined for 14 days, and domestic travel is tightly restricted to prevent high-intensity areas from reinfecting low-intensity ones.
The tighter the restrictions, experts say, the fewer the deaths and the longer the periods between lockdowns. Most models assume states will eventually do widespread temperature checks, rapid testing and contact tracing, as is routine in Asia.
Even the ''Opening Up America Again'' guidelines Mr. Trump issued on Thursday have three levels of social distancing, and recommend that vulnerable Americans stay hidden. The plan endorses testing, isolation and contact tracing '-- but does not specify how these measures will be paid for, or how long it will take to put them in place.
On Friday, none of that stopped the president from contradicting his own message by sending out tweets encouraging protesters in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia to fight their states' shutdowns.
China did not allow Wuhan, Nanjing or other cities to reopen until intensive surveillance found zero new cases for 14 straight days, the virus's incubation period. Compared with China or Italy, the United States is still a playground.
Americans can take domestic flights, drive where they want, and roam streets and parks. Despite restrictions, everyone seems to know someone discreetly arranging play dates for children, holding backyard barbecues or meeting people on dating apps.
Partly as a result, the country has seen up to 30,000 new case infections each day. ''People need to realize that it's not safe to play poker wearing bandannas,'' Dr. Schaffner said.
Even with rigorous measures, Asian countries have had trouble keeping the virus under control.
China, which has reported about 100 new infections per day, recently closed all the country's movie theaters again. Singapore has closed all schools and nonessential workplaces. Japan recently declared a state of emergency. (South Korea has struggled at times, too, but on Sunday reported only eight new cases, the first single-digit increase in two months.)
Resolve to Save Lives, a public health advocacy group run by Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the former director of the C.D.C., has published detailed and strict criteria for when the economy can reopen and when it must be closed.
Reopening requires declining cases for 14 days, the tracing of 90 percent of contacts, an end to health care worker infections, recuperation places for mild cases and many other hard-to-reach goals.
''We need to reopen the faucet gradually, not allow the floodgates to reopen,'' Dr. Frieden said. ''This is a time to work to make that day come sooner.''
Immunity will become a societal advantage.Imagine an America divided into two classes: those who have recovered from infection with the coronavirus and presumably have some immunity to it; and those who are still vulnerable.
''It will be a frightening schism,'' Dr. David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special envoy on Covid-19, predicted. ''Those with antibodies will be able to travel and work, and the rest will be discriminated against.''
Already, people with presumed immunity are very much in demand, asked to donate their blood for antibodies and doing risky medical jobs fearlessly.
Soon the government will have to invent a way to certify who is truly immune. A test for IgG antibodies, which are produced once immunity is established, would make sense, said Dr. Daniel R. Lucey, an expert on pandemics at Georgetown Law School. Many companies are working on them.
Dr. Fauci has said the White House was discussing certificates like those proposed in Germany. China uses cellphone QR codes linked to the owner's personal details so others cannot borrow them.
The California adult-film industry pioneered a similar idea a decade ago. Actors use a cellphone app to prove they have tested H.I.V. negative in the last 14 days, and producers can verify the information on a password-protected website.
As Americans stuck in lockdown see their immune neighbors resuming their lives and perhaps even taking the jobs they lost, it is not hard to imagine the enormous temptation to join them through self-infection, experts predicted. Younger citizens in particular will calculate that risking a serious illness may still be better than impoverishment and isolation.
''My daughter, who is a Harvard economist, keeps telling me her age group needs to have Covid-19 parties to develop immunity and keep the economy going,'' said Dr. Michele Barry, who directs the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University.
It has happened before. In the 1980s, Cuba successfully contained its small AIDS epidemic by brutally forcing everyone who tested positive into isolation camps. Inside, however, the residents had their own bungalows, food, medical care, salaries, theater troupes and art classes.
Dozens of Cuba's homeless youths infected themselves through sex or blood injections to get in, said Dr. Jorge P(C)rez vila, an AIDS specialist who is Cuba's version of Dr. Fauci. Many died before antiretroviral therapy was introduced.
It would be a gamble for American youth, too. The obese and immunocompromised are clearly at risk, but even slim, healthy young Americans have died of Covid-19.
The virus can be kept in check, but only with expanded resources.
The next two years will proceed in fits and starts, experts said. As more immune people get back to work, more of the economy will recover.
But if too many people get infected at once, new lockdowns will become inevitable. To avoid that, widespread testing will be imperative.
Dr. Fauci has said ''the virus will tell us'' when it's safe. He means that once a national baseline of hundreds of thousands of daily tests is established across the nation, any viral spread can be spotted when the percentage of positive results rises.
Detecting rising fevers as they are mapped by Kinsa's smart thermometers may give an earlier signal, Dr. Schaffner said.
But diagnostic testing has been troubled from the beginning. Despite assurances from the White House, doctors and patients continue to complain of delays and shortages.
To keep the virus in check, several experts insisted, the country also must start isolating all the ill '-- including mild cases.
In this country, patients who test positive are asked to stay in their homes but keep away from their families.
Television news has been filled with recuperating personalities like CNN's Chris Cuomo, sweating alone in his basement while his wife left food atop the stairs, his children waved and the dogs hung back.
But even Mr. Cuomo ended up illustrating why the W.H.O. strongly opposes home isolation. On Wednesday, he revealed that his wife had the virus.
''If I was forced to select only one intervention, it would be the rapid isolation of all cases,'' said Dr. Bruce Aylward, who led the W.H.O. observer team to China.
In China, anyone testing positive, no matter how mild their symptoms, was required to immediately enter an infirmary-style hospital '-- often set up in a gymnasium or community center outfitted with oxygen tanks and CT scanners.
There, they recuperated under the eyes of nurses. That reduced the risk to families, and being with other victims relieved some patients' fears. Nurses even led dance and exercise classes to raise spirits, and help victims clear their lungs and keep their muscle tone.
Still, experts were divided on the idea of such wards. Dr. Fineberg co-wrote a New York Times Op-Ed article calling for mandatory but ''humane quarantine processes.''
By contrast, Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, opposed the idea, saying: ''I don't trust our government to remove people from their families by force.''
Even though limited human trials of three candidates '-- two here and one in China '-- have already begun, Dr. Fauci has repeatedly said that any effort to make a vaccine will take at least a year to 18 months.
All the experts familiar with vaccine production agreed that even that timeline was optimistic. Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, noted that the record is four years, for the mumps vaccine.
Researchers differed sharply over what should be done to speed the process. Modern biotechnology techniques using RNA or DNA platforms make it possible to develop candidate vaccines faster than ever before.
But clinical trials take time, in part because there is no way to rush the production of antibodies in the human body.
Also, for unclear reasons, some previous vaccine candidates against coronaviruses like SARS have triggered ''antibody-dependent enhancement,'' which makes recipients more susceptible to infection, rather than less. In the past, vaccines against H.I.V. and dengue have unexpectedly done the same.
A new vaccine is usually first tested in fewer than 100 young, healthy volunteers. If it appears safe and produces antibodies, thousands more volunteers '-- in this case, probably front-line workers at the highest risk '-- will get either it or a placebo in what is called a Phase 3 trial.
It is possible to speed up that process with ''challenge trials.'' Scientists vaccinate small numbers of volunteers, wait until they develop antibodies, and then ''challenge'' them with a deliberate infection to see if the vaccine protects them.
Challenge trials are used only when a disease is completely curable, such as malaria or typhoid fever. Normally, it is ethically unthinkable to challenge subjects with a disease with no cure, such as Covid-19.
But in these abnormal times, several experts argued that putting a few Americans at high risk for fast results could be more ethical than leaving millions at risk for years.
''Fewer get harmed if you do a challenge trial in a few people than if you do a Phase 3 trial in thousands,'' said Dr. Lipsitch, who recently published a paper advocating challenge trials in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Almost immediately, he said, he heard from volunteers.
Others were deeply uncomfortable with that idea. ''I think it's very unethical '-- but I can see how we might do it,'' said Dr. Lucey.
The hidden danger of challenge trials, vaccinologists explained, is that they recruit too few volunteers to show whether a vaccine creates enhancement, since it may be a rare but dangerous problem.
''Challenge trials won't give you an answer on safety,'' said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. ''It may be a big problem.''
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a virologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, suggested an alternative strategy. Pick at least two vaccine candidates, briefly test them in humans and do challenge trials in monkeys. Start making the winner immediately, even while widening the human testing to look for hidden problems.
As arduous as testing a vaccine is, producing hundreds of millions of doses is even tougher, experts said.
Most American vaccine plants produce only about 5 million to 10 million doses a year, needed largely by the 4 million babies born and 4 million people who reach age 65 annually, said Dr. R. Gordon Douglas Jr., a former president of Merck's vaccine division.
But if a vaccine is invented, the United States could need 300 million doses '-- or 600 million if two shots are required. And just as many syringes.
''People have to start thinking big,'' Dr. Douglas said. ''With that volume, you've got to start cranking it out pretty soon.''
Flu vaccine plants are large, but those that grow the vaccines in chicken eggs are not suitable for modern vaccines, which grow in cell broths, he said.
European countries have plants but will need them for their own citizens. China has a large vaccine industry, and may be able to expand it over the coming months. It might be able to make vaccines for the United States, experts said. But captive customers must pay whatever price the seller asks, and the safety and efficacy standards of some Chinese companies are imperfect.
India and Brazil also have large vaccine industries. If the virus moves rapidly through their crowded populations, they may lose millions of citizens but achieve widespread herd immunity well before the United States does. In that case, they might have spare vaccine plant capacity.
Alternatively, suggested Arthur M. Silverstein, a retired medical historian at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the government might take over and sterilize existing liquor or beer plants, which have large fermentation vats.
''Any distillery could be converted,'' he said.
Treatments are likely to arrive first.In the short term, experts were more optimistic about treatments than vaccines. Several felt that so-called convalescent serum could work.
The basic technique has been used for over a century: Blood is drawn from people who have recovered from a disease, then filtered to remove everything but the antibodies. The antibody-rich immunoglobulin is injected into patients.
The obstacle is that there are now relatively few survivors to harvest blood from.
In the pre-vaccine era, antibodies were ''farmed'' in horses and sheep. But that process was hard to keep sterile, and animal proteins sometimes triggered allergic reactions.
The modern alternative is monoclonal antibodies. These treatment regimens, which recently came very close to conquering the Ebola epidemic in eastern Congo, are the most likely short-term game changer, experts said.
The most effective antibodies are chosen, and the genes that produce them are spliced into a benign virus that will grow in a cellular broth.
But, as with vaccines, growing and purifying monoclonal antibodies takes time. In theory, with enough production, they could be used not just to save lives but to protect front-line workers.
Antibodies can last for weeks before breaking down '-- how long depends on many factors, Dr. Silverstein noted '-- and they cannot kill virus that is already hidden inside cells.
Having a daily preventive pill would be an even better solution, because pills can be synthesized in factories far faster than vaccines or antibodies can be grown and purified.
But even if one were invented, production would have to ramp up until it was as ubiquitous as aspirin, so 300 million Americans could take it daily.
Mr. Trump has mentioned hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin so often that his news conferences sound like infomercials. But all the experts agreed with Dr. Fauci that no decision should be made until clinical trials are completed.
Some recalled that in the 1950s inadequate testing of thalidomide caused thousands of children to be born with malformed limbs. More than one hydroxychloroquine study has been halted after patients who got high doses developed abnormal heart rhythms.
''I doubt anyone will tolerate high doses, and there are vision issues if it accumulates,'' Dr. Barry said. ''But it would be interesting to see if it could work as a PrEP-like drug,'' she added, referring to pills used to prevent H.I.V.
Others were harsher, especially about Mr. Trump's idea of combining a chloroquine with azithromycin.
''It's total nonsense,'' said Dr. Luciana Borio, a former director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council. ''I told my family, if I get Covid, do not give me this combo.''
Chloroquine might protect patients hospitalized with pneumonia against lethal cytokine storms because it damps down immune reactions, several doctors said.
That does not, however, make it useful for preventing infections, as Mr. Trump has implied it would be, because it has no known antiviral properties.
Several antivirals, including remdesivir, favipiravir and baloxavir, are being tested against the coronavirus; the latter two are flu drugs.
Trials of various combinations in China are set to issue results by next month, but they will be small and possibly inconclusive because doctors there ran out of patients to test. End dates for most trials in the United States are not yet set.
Goodbye, 'America First.'Previously unthinkable societal changes have taken place already. Schools and business have closed in every state, and tens of millions have applied for unemployment. Taxes and mortgage payments are delayed, and foreclosures forbidden.
Stimulus checks, intended to offset the crisis, began landing in checking accounts this week, making much of America, temporarily, a welfare state. Food banks are opening across the country, and huge lines have formed.
A public health crisis of this magnitude requires international cooperation on a scale not seen in decades. Yet Mr. Trump is moving to defund the W.H.O., the only organization capable of coordinating such a response.
And he spent most of this year antagonizing China, which now has the world's most powerful functioning economy and may become the dominant supplier of drugs and vaccines. China has used the pandemic to extend its global influence, and says it has sent medical gear and equipment to nearly 120 countries.
A major recipient is the United States, through Project Airbridge, an air-cargo operation overseen by Mr. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
This is not a world in which ''America First'' is a viable strategy, several experts noted.
''If President Trump cares about stepping up the public health efforts here, he should look for avenues to collaborate with China and stop the insults,'' said Nicholas Mulder, an economic historian at Cornell University. He has called Mr. Kushner's project ''Lend-Lease in reverse,'' a reference to American military aid to other countries during World War II.
Dr. Osterholm was even blunter. ''If we alienate the Chinese with our rhetoric, I think it will come back to bite us,'' he said.
''What if they come up with the first vaccine? They have a choice about who they sell it to. Are we top of the list? Why would we be?''
Once the pandemic has passed, the national recovery may be swift. The economy rebounded after both world wars, Dr. Mulder noted.
The psychological fallout will be harder to gauge. The isolation and poverty caused by a long shutdown may drive up rates of domestic abuse, depression and suicide.
Even political perspectives may shift. Initially, the virus heavily hit Democratic cities like Seattle, New York and Detroit. But as it spreads through the country, it will spare no one.
Even voters in Republican-leaning states who do not blame Mr. Trump for America's lack of preparedness or for limiting access to health insurance may change their minds if they see friends and relatives die.
In one of the most provocative analyses in his follow-up article, ''Coronavirus: Out of Many, One,'' Mr. Pueyo analyzed Medicare and census data on age and obesity in states that recently resisted shutdowns and counties that voted Republican in 2016.
He calculated that those voters could be 30 percent more likely to die of the virus.
In the periods after both wars, Dr. Mulder noted, society and incomes became more equal. Funds created for veterans' and widows' pensions led to social safety nets, measures like the G.I. Bill and V.A. home loans were adopted, unions grew stronger, and tax benefits for the wealthy withered.
If a vaccine saves lives, many Americans may become less suspicious of conventional medicine and more accepting of science in general '-- including climate change, experts said.
The blue skies that have shone above American cities during this lockdown era could even become permanent.
Updated April 11, 2020
When will this end?This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: ''How will we know when to reopen the country?'' In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.
How can I help?The Times Neediest Cases Fund has started a special campaign to help those who have been affected, which accepts donations here. Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)
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.
Should I wear a mask?The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don't need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.
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.
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. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.
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 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 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.''
Scientists: Chinese Coronavirus Pandemic May Have Started in September
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 05:46
The first cases identified of the Wuhan coronavirus may have occurred south of Wuhan in September, a team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge found. The South China Morning Post reported the findings on Thursday.
In a newly published study, which has not been peer-reviewed, researchers investigating the virus's origin analyzed global viral samples and concluded that the virus must have first infected humans between September 13 and December 7.
''The virus may have mutated into its final 'human-efficient' form months ago, but stayed inside a bat or other animal, or even human, for several months without infecting other individuals,'' University of Cambridge geneticist Peter Forster, one of the study's researchers, said.
''Then, it started infecting and spreading among humans between September 13 and December 7, generating the network we present in [the journal] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS].''
According to the SCMP, the team analyzed the strains using a phylogenetic network '-- ''a mathematical algorithm that can map the global movement of organisms through the mutation of their genes.'' As of Thursday, they were still trying to pinpoint the exact location of ''patient zero'' and said to be hoping for help from scientists in China. However, some early signs were prompting them to look into areas south of Wuhan, where they say coronavirus infections were first reported in December.
Wuhan, in central Hubei province, is widely agreed to be the origin of the Chinese coronavirus. The Chinese government has taken the position that the virus originated in a U.S. Army laboratory, a claim no scientists have substantiated with any evidence.
''What we reconstruct in the network is the first significant spread among humans,'' Forster said.
The Wuhan coronavirus's origin has become a hotly debated issue. Beijing has promoted a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was manufactured and introduced to China by the American army.
This week, a Fox News
report said there was ''increasing confidence'' that the Wuhan coronavirus likely originated from a biosafety laboratory in Wuhan, China, quoting unnamed sources in the U.S. government.
David Icke | Private hospitals taken over by the NHS in fight against coronavirus at the cost of hundreds of millions of pounds are 'sinfully empty' - leaving hundreds of the country's top doctors 'bored' and 'twiddling their thumbs' - YES, SO ARE THE OTH
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 05:33
'Private hospitals taken over by the
NHS at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds to fight the
coronavirus pandemic are 'sinfully empty', medics have told The Mail on Sunday.
Senior clinicians at private hospitals claim hundreds of the country's best doctors have been left 'twiddling their thumbs' during the outbreak '' putting people's health at risk from other illnesses and postponed operations.
Last month, 8,000 beds in private hospitals across the country were taken under public control. NHS England said 20,000 fully qualified staff in the hospitals, including 700 doctors, were needed to battle Covid-19.
But on Saturday night, one London-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon said: 'What we are seeing at the moment is a sinful and shocking mass of empty private hospitals and empty beds.
'Most of them are gathering dust, with a whole load of doctors twiddling their thumbs. And it's costing the NHS millions.'
The surgeon said only 'emergency' and 'time-critical' operations were being allowed at his hospital, adding: 'I have a waiting list of 25 people who need major operations right now. One with severe arthritis is crying out in pain every night, unable to sleep.
'I was asked, ''Is there anything you can do?'' I had to say ''Nothing'', and advised her to take painkillers.'
A second medic said his hospital was 'fairly empty and under used' while another said he was 'pretty bored'. 'I am unsure if the hospitals are being used in the most efficient way,' he admitted.
A fourth doctor said private hospitals in north London were 'largely empty' despite repeated offers to help out with patients from overrun NHS wards.'
Read more:
Private hospitals taken over by the NHS in fight against coronavirus at the cost of hundreds of millions of pounds are 'sinfully empty' - leaving hundreds of the country's top doctors 'bored' and 'twiddling their thumbs' - YES, SO ARE THE OTHERS BECAUSE IT'S A SCAM Did you like this article?Thank you for your vote!
Pelosi: Lawmakers 'very close' on bipartisan agreement for additional PPP funding | TheHill
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 00:08
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Nancy PelosiLady Gaga calls WHO chief a 'superstar' McCarthy says he supports incorporating hospital funding into small business aid package Trump criticizes Pelosi over stalemate on small business loan funds MORE (D-Calif.) said Congress is ''very close'' to a deal on additional funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
"We're close. We have common ground," Pelosi said in an interview with ABC News set to air Sunday on "This Week.''
The PPP included in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last month provided $350 billion in funding for loans to aid businesses impacted by the coronavirus if they commit to paying their employees.
Pelosi's comments come as the program's coffers ran dry Thursday and the Senate adjourned without reaching an agreement on the terms of the fourth coronavirus relief package.
Congressional Democrats have been negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Steven Terner MnuchinMcCarthy says he supports incorporating hospital funding into small business aid package 13 things to know for today on coronavirus On The Money: Millions wait for virus relief checks in major test for IRS | Senate misses deadline to replenish small-business loan program | Fresh produce goes to waste as coronavirus snarls supply chains MORE about the amount of additional money that will go into the program in the next stimulus bill.
The two parties have been at odds because Republicans want to pass a "clean" bill that would only include $250 billion in additional money for the PPP. Democrats want to add in another $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for states and a boost in food assistance funding in addition to money for small business loans.
"I think we're very close to agreement," Pelosi told ABC News.
On Friday, Senate Democrats called for the SBA to produce more complete data showing where funding was allocated as their skepticism grows about whether the money has been dispersed in an equitable way.
"As Congress works to provide critical funding for these programs, we write to ask that you provide additional data and information about how loans and grants have been distributed," the senators said.
At a White House briefing on Saturday, Trump called on Congress to replenish the small business relief fund saying that "funding is now fully drained. It's out. It's gone."
"Lawmakers must stop blocking these funds and replenish the program without delay," Trump said.
"The Democrats have to come on board. I used to read that these were Democrat programs, not Republican. Seems to have switched around a lot, hasn't it, huh? Switched around a lot. The Republicans want it. I think the Democrats probably do too, but they also want other things that are unacceptable."
Gravitational waves reveal unprecedented collision of heavy and light black holes | Science | AAAS
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 00:05
The gravitational waves from a black-hole merger typically ripple at twice the frequency that the black holes go around each other.
LIGO/T. Pyle By Adrian ChoApr. 18, 2020 , 5:20 PM
Researchers with the world's gravitational wave detectors said today they had picked up vibrations from a cosmic collision that harmonized with the opening notes of an Elvis Presley hit. The source was the most exotic merger of two black holes detected yet'--a pair in which one weighed more than three times as much as the other. Because of the stark mass imbalance, the collision generated gravitational waves at multiple frequencies, in a harmony Elvis fans would recognize. The chord also confirms a prediction of Einstein's theory of gravity, or general relativity.
Such mismatched mass events could help theorists figure out how pairs of black holes form in the first place. ''Anything that seems to be at the edge of our predictions is most interesting,'' says Chris Belczynski, a gravitational theorist at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, who was not involved in the observation. But the one event is ''not quite in the regime where you can tell the different formation [routes] apart.''
Physicists first detected gravitational waves in 2015, when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a pair of detectors in Washington and Louisiana, spotted two black holes spiraling into each other, generating infinitesimal ripples in spacetime. Two years later, the Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy, joined the hunt, and by August 2017, the detectors had bagged a total of 10 black hole mergers.
All involved pairs of black holes with roughly equal masses, says Maya Fishbach, a physicist and LIGO member at the University of Chicago. But on 12 April 2019, the three detectors detected a black hole merger 2.4 billion light-years away in which one weighed 30 solar masses and the other just eight, says Fishbach, who reported on the event at the American Physical Society's online April meeting. ''This is the first event in which we can confidently say the mass-ratio is not one,'' she says.
Ordinarily, two spiraling black holes pump out gravitational waves concentrated at a single frequency: double the rate at which they orbit each other. That doubling arises because of the matched masses of the black holes. Every half orbit they return to a position that's effectively identical to their original one. But if the black holes have distinctly different masses, then general relativity predicts that they should also generate weaker waves at higher frequencies, or overtones.
The next-strongest note sung by the pair should vibrate at three times the orbital frequency, or one and half times the main gravitational-wave frequency. If the main frequency were a C on a piano, the overtone would be the next higher G'--a perfect fifth, and the interval of the first two notes in the melody of Elvis Presley's hit ''I Can't Help Falling in Love with You.'' That is what the LIGO and Virgo researchers detected, says Maximiliano Isi, a physicist and LIGO member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who also spoke at the meeting. The overtone rang roughly as loudly as predicted by general relativity, Isi says. "Einstein prevails again."
Such oddball events might help researchers figure out how the black holes pair in the first place. That's a puzzle because it's not obvious how such big black holes can form so close together. Theorists have two general ideas. The pairs could originate from a pair of orbiting massive stars, which each collapse into black holes at the ends of their lives. Alternatively, in so-called dynamical models, the black holes might form completely separately and find each other across space and time, a scenario more likely in globular clusters, the dense clumps of stars found in the outer reaches of galaxies.
Either scenario can probably account for the mismatched black holes in this event, Belczynski says. ''If it [the mass ratio] had been 10-to-1 I would have bet on the dynamical models,'' he says, as binary star systems generally don't form with such skewed ratios. Fishbach agrees that the single event isn't enough to rule out one scenario or the other. But she says that if LIGO and Virgo spot more mismatched events, the statistical distributions could suggest which scenario is more likely.
However, the event could have a more complex origin, says Emanuele Berti, a gravitational wave astronomer at Johns Hopkins University. The fact that the one black hole is so much heavier than the other and appears to be spinning fast suggest that it, too, was the product of a merger. ''It looks quietly like the product of a multiple-generation merger,'' he says.
More peculiar collisions might be waiting among the dozens of recorded events that researchers have yet to analyze. LIGO and Virgo's observing run 3, which went from 1 April 2019 until 26 March, picked up 56 new gravitational wave events, more than five times the previous total. LIGO and Virgo researchers had hoped to finish a global analysis of roughly half that data set by now, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed them, says Patrick Brady, a physicist at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and spokesperson for the LIGO scientific collaboration. Belczynski says he's anxious to see those results. ''I'm just sitting here with my students, my entire group, waiting for this paper.''
Proposed: $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Checks And Canceled Rent And Mortgage Payments For 1 Year
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 23:34
Omar (D-MN), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Getty Images
The CARES Act provided a lifeline for taxpayers and small businesses. But as a one-time cash payment, many fear that it didn't do enough to support taxpayers in one of our country's greatest times of need. Especially in light of the fact that many people still have not received their stimulus checks .
To address this, Congressional leaders have made two separate proposals, one that would provide Americans over the age of 16 with a $2,000 monthly check for up to 12 months, and one that would cancel rent and mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
Let's take a deeper look:
Proposal #1: $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Check
Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced the Emergency Money for the People Act. This Act, if passed, would provide additional cash payments to Americans who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Money for the People Act would provide a $2,000 monthly payment to every qualifying American over the age of 16 for up to 12 months.
This would include individuals who were left out of the CARES Act, such as some high school and college students and adults with disabilities who were ineligible to receive the stimulus check because they were claimed as a dependent on another tax return.
Monthly Stimulus Payments Would Be Easier to Receive
Not everyone has a bank or a home address. To address this, the Emergency Money for the People Act calls for individuals to get this money through direct deposit, check, pre-paid debit card, or mobile money platforms such as Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal.
$2,000 Monthly Stimulus Check Eligibility:
Every American age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month. Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive at least $4,000 per month. Qualifying families with children will receive an additional $500 per child '' for up to three children. Those who had no earnings, were unemployed, or are currently unemployed would also be eligible for the stimulus even if they didn't file a tax return. Those who were not eligible in 2019 or 2018 but would be eligible in 2020, could submit at least two consecutive months of paychecks to verify income eligibility. You can learn more on Rep. Khanna's website or read the full bill here .
Proposal #2: Cancel Rent & Mortgage Payments Through The Coronavirus Emergency
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. This Act, if approved, would call for a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, or up to one year.
The bill would include:
Full rent payment forgiveness for your primary residence Full mortgage payment forgiveness for your primary residence No accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners No negative impact on their credit rating or rental history. It would establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses It would create an optional fund to finance the purchase of private rental properties to increase the availability of affordable housing. The bill would be retroactive to March 13, 2020, and would last for one year, unless extended. Renters and homeowners who made payments during April 2020 would be reimbursed for their payments.
No Double-Dipping Allowed. The bill would only allow taxpayers to receive coverage for their primary residence. It would not cover second homes, vacation homes, or other non-primary residences. Those who have both a mortgage and also rent a home would have to choose the home for which they would want to receive financial relief.
Landlords and Mortgage Companies Would be Covered Through a Fund Managed Through the Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Department of Housing and Urban Development would create a relief fund for lenders and landlords to cover the lost rental and mortgage payments they would have received.
To receive these funds, lenders and landlords would be required to follow federal guidelines for fair lending and renting practices for five years.
You can learn more on Rep. Omar's website , or read the full proposal here .
MORE FROM FORBES IRS Sends Stimulus Checks To Dead Taxpayers. Do They Need To Be Repaid? By Ryan Guina Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website. I am a veteran, writer, and entrepreneur. I served six years on active duty, then took an 8-year break from the military to work in the civilian sector and start an
'... Read More I am a veteran, writer, and entrepreneur. I served six years on active duty, then took an 8-year break from the military to work in the civilian sector and start an online business. Today, I run the websites CashMoneyLife.com and TheMilitaryWallet.com, I serve in the Air National Guard, I write about financial independence, and I help military members, veterans, and their families understand and take advantage of their benefits.
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Protesters decry stay-at-home orders in Maryland, Texas and Ohio capitals | Protest | The Guardian
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 23:30
Show caption Protesters against the state's stay-at-home order demonstrate in Austin. Photograph: Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters
Protest A day after Donald Trump encouraged Americans to protest against strict public health measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus, rallies were held in state capitals in Maryland, Texas and Ohio, with more planned for next week in other states.
Hundreds of people stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, chanting ''Fire Fauci!'' as part of a protest organized by the conspiracy theory site InfoWars. Anthony Fauci is the top public health expert on the White House coronavirus taskforce.
In Maryland, protesters stayed inside their cars and honked their horns as they drove around the capital, Annapolis, to demand that Governor Larry Hogan ''reopen Maryland''. In Columbus, Ohio, hundreds of protesters gathered, some chanting ''We are not sheep''.
The protests demanding governors reverse shutdown orders have been boosted by rightwing media outlets and by the president, who tweeted on Friday ''Liberate Minnesota!'' and ''Liberate Michigan!'' in the wake of a protest in Michigan that drew thousands of people.
Trump calls protesters against stay-at-home orders 'very responsible' Widespread shutdowns to prevent the spread of coronavirus have left many Americans unemployed, worried that their small businesses will not survive the next few months of the crisis, and afraid of deepening economic problems. But those actually taking to the streets to protest against public health measures represent a minority opinion, according to a recent poll.
Two-thirds of Americans fear that state governments will lift restrictions on public activity too quickly, compared with only one third who worry they will not do so quickly enough, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of nearly 5,000 American adults.
Republicans were evenly divided on the issue, with 51% saying they were concerned about restrictions being lifted too quickly, the poll found.
In Texas, even the InfoWars contributor who organized the rally estimated that it had attracted, at most, a few hundred people.
In Maryland, organizers of the ''Reopen Maryland'' protest asked supporters to stay in their cars and keep their messaging respectful. Local news outlets shared footage of streets in Annapolis filled bumper-to-bumper with cars, many of them honking their horns. Some participants flew American flags and many scrawled protest messages on their windows.
''We are petitioning our governor, Larry Hogan, to immediately reopen our state's business, educational and religious institutions,'' the protest organizers wrote in an online letter, arguing that, while coronavirus was a serious public health concern, ''the economic, social and educational disruption caused by shutdowns is guaranteed to cause significant, even greater, harm''.
Demonstrators drive though downtown Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters One local resident who participated in the protest wrote that he wanted to show up so the governor ''hears both sides'' of the debate over how long to keep shutdown measures in place, and said he had seen hundreds of other cars participating.
''Right now it seems to be all shutdown, without consideration for those who are hurt by it. That does include me,'' Tony, a 35-year-old personal trainer from Elkridge, Maryland, told the Guardian in a Twitter message. He declined to give his last name.
With gyms closed for weeks, Tony said, he has not been able to work, and as an independent contractor, he and similar workers have few support systems during the shutdown. If public parks had remained open , he said, he could hold socially distant fitness training sessions outside.
''It just seems like nonsense that spaces are closed that would be really minimal risk to open,'' he wrote, saying the choice showed ''a lack of balance''.
Tony wrote he believed some shutdown measures should stay in place, like keeping crowded club and stadium venues closed, but he wanted to see some businesses reopen, perhaps at reduced capacity.
In Texas, where the anti-shutdown protest was organized by conspiracy theorists, the rhetoric was more extreme, with an organizer referring to the ''coronavirus hoax,'' and the ''narratives'' of the ''Deep State''.
Alex Jones, the InfoWars founder, stood at the center of a packed crowd of hundreds of people on Saturday afternoon and bellowed into a bullhorn, praising attendees for resisting tyranny. Few of the Texas protesters were wearing masks.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaking to a crowd of hundreds of people in Austin, Texas, at a protest organized by another InfoWars personality. Theme: "You Can't Close America." pic.twitter.com/0onNIZvj3O
'-- Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) April 18, 2020 ''I see a bunch of healthy Americans out here who don't seem to be afraid of a virus,'' said Owen Shroyer, the InfoWars personality who organized the protest, according to footage of the protest livestreamed on Periscope.
Shroyer's Twitter account was reportedly suspended this week after he shared posts about the protest.
''If I want to go out to the gym or the club, or a restaurant, I'm not going to wear a mask,'' Shroyer said. ''Neither am I!'' a woman shouted back at him.
Shroyer suggested that if thousands of Americans held protests against the shutdown all over the country, they would be able to see that ''the the virus doesn't spread like they told us''. He referred to ''the coronavirus hoax'' on the livestream, then added that while there was a real virus, ''the hysteria, the shutdown,'' was the hoax.
A spokesperson for the Texas state police did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether there had been any arrests or citations at the rally.
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The New COVID-19 Authoritarians Will Only Give Up Power If They Fear Blowback | Mises Institute
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 19:43
The New COVID-19 Authoritarians Will Only Give Up Power If They Fear BlowbackIt was autumn 1989. Momentous things were taking place in the world.
The Berlin Wall had fallen. The people of the Eastern Bloc had succeeded at getting to the West through Hungary. The firm line between east and west was wavering. The situation was moving away from the course that...
It was autumn 1989. Momentous things were taking place in the world.
The Berlin Wall had fallen. The people of the Eastern Bloc had succeeded at getting to the West through Hungary. The firm line between east and west was wavering. The situation was moving away from the course that Warsaw Pact communist governments had charted: that their populations must remain captive within the borders of the Communist Bloc.
It was unclear whether this social contagion for freedom would spread into Czechoslovakia.
But then November 17, 1989, arrived, a day etched in history. This was Students Day, a legal holiday. Everything had to close under government fiat. People were off school and off work. But some folks were agitated about prior government actions which many saw as abuses.
When the government gave the people of Czechoslovakia that day off, it was like a match to tinder. The small flame grew into a big one.
It was a revolution noted for its bloodlessness. The Velvet Revolution, we call it today, leaning on what the Czechs called it. People, for as far as the eye could see, gathered in a giant square in Prague and called for the ouster of their government.
In the face of the idea that saying the wrong words politically could be toxic to one's health, much like in America today, some did not resort to speaking words against their government. They merely pulled their keys out of their pockets and jingled them.
The message was clear.
Imagine tens of thousands of people jingling their keys at once.
Imagine the horror that would fill you, as a member of the communist government, looking out the window at a crowd, visible as far as the eye could see, and knowing that this delicate sound being made by each individual, growing into a horrifying sound in unison, called for your ouster.
What could a government minister, sitting at their desk, overlooking the square, even have imagined that sound to have been the first time it arose?
How ominous. How threatening. How deeply horrifying it must have been to peer out that window. The day of reckoning had finally arrived.
At that moment, a question was answered for them: what is the last thought that goes through a tyrant's head? That is the thought that flashed through theirs as they realized what that sound was: reckoning. It had finally arrived. Were the government ministers thinking those thoughts as the keys jingled below them?
The people of Czechoslovakia remained largely peaceful.
By the end of the year, Czech dissident Vaclav Havel, who had been in prison earlier that year, would be installed in Prague Castle. The beloved Alexander Dubcek, the Slovak hero of the 1968 Prague Spring, would be his right-hand man.
The present-day American state's response, in ways, goes beyond the communism of even the USSR. The Soviets actually wanted their economy to work. They wanted to beat the West. Churches remained open and remained an important part of society, both for political use, and because the people wouldn't have it any other way.
But just as the communists of Eastern Europe didn't back down until they were forced to, the lockdowns of today won't stop unless government officials fear resistance.
There is a chance right now, with many unhappy Americans and many idle hands, much like Students Day, November 17, 1989, to tell the government ''no more.''
Will they be pushed out of office? Will it be peaceful? I don't know. Time will tell.
But it is time for this to stop. And daily, more people grow angry at being lied to as they witness the mass destruction of their country and culture in the spring of 2020.
It wasn't the jingling of keys that escorted the evil communists from power in 1989. It was the threat of what all those people jingling keys could do if those in power did not step aside.
Retaining political influence depends dearly on timing. Some of those communists who knew when to step aside, who knew how to apologize, had prosperous careers long after the revolution, some to this very day.
In sharp contrast, the far more stubborn Nicolae Ceausescu of regional neighbor Romania was put to death by a firing squad on December 25, 1989.
We have reached a point where government officials have yet to admit that there is a real cost in terms of life and health that comes with bringing the economy to a standstill. And these same politicians and experts have yet to show that the benefits of their lockdowns are greater than the costs imposed. The models have been shown to be wrong.
Everyone is entitled to a mistake. But to continue making the same mistake repeatedly, destroying lives, amounts to malice.
In my daily life, I am increasingly seeing my country turn into a tinderbox that the disconnected leaders, elected and unelected, cannot imagine and must not toy with. To do so is dangerous for us all.
Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Today is the day for the government-imposed lockdowns to stop.
Did You Read April's Beige Book?On April 15, the Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book. This is the third of the eight yearly Beige Books, which are released prior to scheduled Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The book is just under thirty pages long and provides a ''summary of commentary...
On April 15 , the Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book. This is the third of the eight yearly Beige Books, which are released prior to scheduled Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The book is just under thirty pages long and provides a ''summary of commentary of current economic conditions'' for the period from February 25 to April 6, 2020. The report does not quantify any of the Fed's data but instead uses qualitative and anecdotal information from various members of each district's community, such as bank directors, businesses, and economists, as well as ''market experts, and other sources,'' according to the report.
The FAQ on the Fed's website answers further questions and explains that this information ''supplements the data and analysis used by Federal Reserve economists and staff to assess economic conditions.'' See below for two highlights from the national summary that begins the report:
AtlantaEconomic activity declined, and the labor market deteriorated due to COVID-19. Non-labor costs remained stable. Retail sales for non-discretionary products grew as sales of non-essential items fell. Tourism and hospitality contacts reported significant declines in activity. Housing activity softened, and commercial real estate decelerated. Manufacturing declined, but new orders held steady. Banking activity was mixed.
ChicagoEconomic activity declined, but the intensity of decline varied by industry. Consumer spending decreased sharply; business spending, construction and real estate activity, and manufacturing production decreased moderately. Retail and hospitality payrolls plunged. Wages edged up and prices were little changed. Financial conditions deteriorated substantially, as did prospects for agricultural income.
It is interesting to consider these two summaries within the context of the twelve districts, for which there are similar individual summaries and high-level anecdotes, even though the Fed's likely aim was to provide more depth to the analysis.
These excerpts exemplify the tone of the report and are exactly as described in the prefatory remark, both qualitative and anecdotal. How interviews and sentiments help central bankers determine the optimal money supply and interest rate needed, remains unclear. If it is any consolation, at least the Fed's FAQ tries to explain this repetitive nature, noting that in 2017 there was a redesign:
To a degree, the redesign also standardizes the content in the reports from each Federal Reserve district while preserving the ability of each to highlight its regional economy's unique features.
The value of this data is questionable not because the collection method is unknown to the public or because it is qualitative and anecdotal, but because this information is used in conjunction with the Tealbooks A and B (formerly the Bluebook and Greenbook) to help central bankers centrally plan the economy. The Tealbooks contains a lot of the valuable quantitative data that the Fed relies upon. According to the Fed's description, the books are officially titled the ''Report to the FOMC on Economic Conditions and Monetary Policy'' and ''contain in-depth analysis of current economic and financial conditions and projections, along with background and context on monetary policy alternatives.''
If anyone would like to see what's included in the Tealbook they will likely have to wait a while, considering that the latest release on the Fed's website is from 2014 and may include redacted information. At that blazing rate, we probably won't know what the Fed considered for this latest Beige Book until sometime around 2026!
The Kantian Origins of Mises's PraxeologyTo trace the epistemological basis of praxeology, it is necessary to understand that Ludwig von Mises, "takes from Kant his central conceptual and terminological distinctions, as well as some fundamental Kantian ideas about the nature of human knowledge" (Hoppe, Economic Science and the Austrian...
To trace the epistemological basis of praxeology, it is necessary to understand that Ludwig von Mises, "takes from Kant his central conceptual and terminological distinctions, as well as some fundamental Kantian ideas about the nature of human knowledge" (Hoppe, Economic Science and the Austrian Method (2007), p. 17). It is therefore obligatory to review the Kantian postulates.
According to Kant, although experience induces thought, and as such is located previous to all knowledge in time, this does not mean that all knowledge comes from experience. This is because the truth of knowledge (the existence of experience) is not determined by experience. Consequently, knowledge that is dependent on experience is different from that which is not. The first is called a posteriori knowledge, the second a priori knowledge.1
A priori knowledge necessarily comes from the understanding2 and therefore enjoys a strict universality, its validity determined by the principle of noncontradiction. This is unlike the a posteriori knowledge, which, coming from sensations, only offers "a merely assumed and comparative universality (through induction), so that, properly speaking it must be formulated: so far as we have observed until now, no exception has been found to this or that rule" (Kant, Cr­tica de la rzon pura (The Critique of Pure Reason) (2002), p. 99). That is, experience shows us something as it is but does not indicate that it cannot be otherwise.
Likewise, Kant offers a second classification, this time by the relationship between the subject and the predicate in a trial (i.e., statement or proposition). Judgments in which the predicate is contained in the subject are called analytical or explanatory, since the predicate is a part of the subject concept. Likewise, judgments in which the predicate is not contained in the subject are called synthetic or extensive, because the predicate cannot be extracted from a decomposition of the subject concept.
By virtue of the classifications set out above, Kant proposes the main characteristic of his philosophy: a priori synthetic judgments. In these judgments, the subject and predicate, as well as their linkage, derive from a proposition that is conceived as valid in itself. For the human mind, the denial of these judgments results in ''nonsense.'' The human being (understood as a being that thinks'--and acts) conceives them as inherent to himself. As such, these judgments constitute the pure representation of an object (that which is external to the human being) and establish the constant relations between objects.3
But Kant, according to Hoppe (2007), although he gave indications, did not give an answer on how the synthetic judgments a priori are adjusted to the environment.4 But Ludwig von Mises, as an exceptional Kantian, resolves this question by recognizing that ''both human thought and action depend on the same root: they are products of the human mind'' (Mises, "Ciencia social y ciencia natural" ("Social Science and Natural Science") (2006), p. 278). As Hoppe explains:
We must recognize that such necessary truths are not simply categories of our mind, but that our mind is one of people who act. Our mental categories have to be understood as ultimately based on categories of action'....As categories of action, they have to be mental things as well as characteristics of reality. Because it is through action that mind and reality come into contact. (Hoppe 2007, p. 20)
And:
The epistemology that proposes the existence of a priori true synthetic propositions becomes a realistic epistemology. Since it is understood as ultimately based on categories of action, the abyss between the mental and the real, external and physical world is overcome'....With his recognition of action as the bridge between mind and external reality, he has found a solution to the Kantian problem of how a priori true synthetic propositions can be possible. (Hoppe 2007, p. 20)
Here are the origins of Mises's praxeology,5 a theoretical and systematic science of a priori that aspires to formulate theorems of a purely formal and general nature about human action through logical deduction6 from the axiom of action'--''man acts'''--a proposition evident in itself (Mises, Los fundamentos ºltimos de la ciencia econ"mica (2012), p. 29). In that order of ideas, having already determined the main categories of human action, the praxeological work extends to make imaginary constructions in order to determine the special forms that action can take.7 To carry out this work, experience is a very useful tool, serving as a guide for the curiosity of the praxeologist.8
As of Late March, Weekly Mortality Data Has Yet to Show a SurgeInformation on total deaths through March 28 shows no indication of a general surge in deaths in the United States. It's quite possible we'll see April's total mortality begin to show levels well above normal, but the weekly data we have so far show no indication of this.
We now...
Information on total deaths through March 28 shows no indication of a general surge in deaths in the United States. It's quite possible we'll see April's total mortality begin to show levels well above normal, but the weekly data we have so far show no indication of this.
We now have data up through week 13 (the week ending March 28) for this year, as can be found here. As of April 15, the week 13 data is not yet quite complete, although the CDC lists that data as 93 percent complete.
The missing data may yet slightly push up these totals, but given that data from hard-hit New York, New Jersey, and Michigan is already accessible for week 13, big increases from the current total are unlikely. After all, week 13's total would need to increase by 27 percent just to match 2019's week 13, as can be seen here (week 1 is the column on the left for each year. Week 13 is the column on the right):
The average for the first thirteen weeks of the year during 2020 is 53,529. That's below 2019's average of 57,928, and well below 2018's average of 60,115. This is not surprising, since the 2017''18 flu season was especially deadly.
For additional context, I have broken out New York State. Here we do finally see a surge in total deaths during week 13.
New York was at clearly elevated levels at the end of March, although total deaths remained below what was reported during week 2 of 2018. But even with this late-month surge, total average deaths for the first thirteen weeks of the year were down in New York when compared to 2017, 2018, and 2019. If we assume New York's week 13 total points toward its high reported COVID-19 numbers, we will likely see a surge in weeks 14 and 15.
On the other hand, Colorado, an alleged "emerging area of concern" shows no signs of a surge in total deaths. In fact, week 13 in Colorado was near a multiyear low for total deaths. For the first thirteen weeks of the year, the 2020 average (815 deaths per week) was higher than the 2019 average of 795 per week, and higher than 2018's average of 801 per week.
Unless COVID-19 was present in Colorado long before many experts insist is possible, the higher death totals have mostly occurred before COVID-19 had time to spread. The first four weeks of 2020, for example, were already at elevated levels, and the very high total of 865 people recorded during week 8 occurred in late February.
Of course, it is entirely possible that total deaths are pushed down by social distancing practices. With fewer vehicles on the road, there are fewer auto accidents. Diseases other than COVID-19 might be spread less often as well. On the other hand, economic collapse exacerbated by social distancing may be leading to more suicide and stress-related health problems. The extent to which these various factors contribute to overall mortality is unknown, and may never be known. Moreover, the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is unreliable since deaths are increasingly attributed to COVID-19 even when no test is performed and when other serious medical problems are present. But what does appear evident is that deaths due to COVID-19, at least so far, have not been sufficient to increase total mortality to a level that significantly exceeds what has been seen in the past decade.
Jeff Deist on "Part of the Problem"On this episode of Part Of The Problem, Dave Smith interviews Jeff Deist. Dave and Jeff discuss the future of a Post COVID-19 world; how rights once taken are rarely given back; and how a free market would be better prepared for a crisis than our system of regulation.
On this episode of Part Of The Problem, Dave Smith interviews Jeff Deist. Dave and Jeff discuss the future of a Post COVID-19 world; how rights once taken are rarely given back; and how a free market would be better prepared for a crisis than our system of regulation.
Can "Special Drawing Rights" Save the World?On Tuesday in an interview with Reuters, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gita Gopinath, said that one hundred countries seek pandemic aid. This was only a few weeks after the managing director of the very same IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, said in an emergency...
On Tuesday in an interview with Reuters, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gita Gopinath, said that one hundred countries seek pandemic aid. This was only a few weeks after the managing director of the very same IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, said in an emergency statement that the IMF is ready to deploy all of its $1 trillion lending capacity. So far they have been making good on their promises, providing $114.49 million to Niger, $115.3 million to Burkina Faso, and $389 Million to El Salvador in just one day, as an example of financial aid packages to come.
This poses various economic problems, namely the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism, which Mises talked about in Human Action. Under this scenario, the question one must ask is: why did Niger ''only'' get $114 million while El Salvador received $389 million? Whether this was determined by a single economist or was a decision by an "expert committee," we must consider how such an allocation could have been made in a way that was not completely arbitrary or simply based on guesswork.
Supranational organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank raise numerous questions about sovereignty, freedom, and liberty; however, the economics of these organizations also deserve attention. What happens when the IMF runs into a liquidity issue and finds that it is short on funds to lend to member countries?
Enter the SDRFor those unfamiliar with precisely what special drawing rights (SDR) are, a definition can be found on the IMF's factsheet. The problem is that this definition is not very enlightening:
The SDR serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations. The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. SDRs can be exchanged for these currencies.
According to the IMF, the SDR is not a currency, but like a currency it can be created out of thin air and exchanged for the currencies of other countries. The exchange may be voluntary, but not always, because ''if required, the IMF can also designate members to buy SDRs.''
Per Georgieva's emergency statement:
And we are looking at other available options. Several low- and middle-income countries have asked the IMF to make an SDR allocation, as we did during the Global Financial Crisis, and we are exploring this option with our membership.
If the IMF does exhaust its $1 trillion lending capacity, it could simply issue more SDRs and allocate them among member nations and then instruct some nations to buy SDRs from others using their own currencies. A Financial Times article agrees that a new issuance of SDR is vital to helping poor countries, using an argument that can only be described as anticapitalist in nature:
Help must indeed be forthcoming. This is a moral duty and a practical necessity. The pandemic and its economic outcomes will only be defeated if they are defeated everywhere. But how? A large part of the answer is ''with money'', as in rich countries. Worries about moral hazard are absurd.
What does this all mean for the average American? According to the same article, it probably means nothing, since:
Some will argue that a big new issue of SDRs would be inflationary. Yet, set against the monetary expansions now under way, even SDR 1tn is negligible.
In 2020, it does not matter if the economic advice comes from the head of the IMF, a prominent economist, or from a financial news article. The answer is always the same. Whatever the issue is, the economic panacea championed by anyone unfamiliar with Austrian economics is always creating more money. Whether it be a housing crisis, a debt crisis, or global pandemic, the only real question is ''How much?'' In 2021, when central bank balance sheets across the world are at unfathomable levels and interest rates are still zero bound, will the masses finally learn, or will they just demand more money?
Las Vegas's New Football Stadium Is on Its Way to Becoming the "Bailout Bowl"The stadium naming curse is well known. Enron Field, Adelphia Coliseum, and MCI Center are just a few examples of bankruptcy following a company's name adorning its home team's stadium or arena. Financial trouble typically comes after the name is attached and the team plays some games...
The stadium naming curse is well known. Enron Field, Adelphia Coliseum, and MCI Center are just a few examples of bankruptcy following a company's name adorning its home team's stadium or arena. Financial trouble typically comes after the name is attached and the team plays some games.
In the newest case, the company is struggling before a game has been played. Last August, Allegiant Airlines inked a deal with the NFL's used-to-be Oakland, used-to-be Los Angeles, used-to-be Oakland (again), and now Las Vegas Raiders for the naming rights to the new 65,000-seat and partially taxpayer-funded stadium, which sits along I-15 in Clark County, Nevada.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) reported, ''experts with experience on similar deals say Allegiant is likely paying between $20 million and $25 million in cash and in-kind services a year to put its name on the building.''
Raiders owner Mark Davis let this slip at the time, ''I look forward to learning a lot more about the Allegiant brand. We've got 30 years ahead of us, so let's make the best of it.''
Allegiant may be wishing it hadn't made a thirty-year deal. Eli Segall writes in today's LVRJ that ''Allegiant Air's parent is burning through at least $2 million in cash per day and hundreds of workers are taking two-month leave at half pay as the carrier grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.''
March revenues were down 40''45 percent from a year ago and its prospects are likely to get much worse. The company is applying for funding from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program to keep its doors open. Meanwhile, ''management expects flying capacity for April and May to drop 80 percent to 90 percent from the same period last year and is 'continuously' re-evaluating its flight schedule 'in light of low demand for future bookings,''' Segall reports.
Allegiant (ALGT) stock has fallen from $183 plus per share in December to a close below $80 today. The company sported over $457 million in cash at year end: a couple hundred days' worth at the current burn rate, excluding a payment to the Raiders, of course.
Allegiant Stadium may work out like New York's Citi Field, known in the years after the 2008 financial crisis as Bailout Ballpark. CNBC reported,
On the heels of announcing a naming deal that cost Citigroup $20 million a year over 20 years, the company was forced to take $45 billion in government bailouts and saw its stock price drop nearly 94 percent from its November 2006 levels. Because of the heavy taxpayer support given to Citigroup, lawmakers began urging the company to scrap the names rights deal. But the company stuck with its plans, and has managed to avoid bankruptcy.
Allegiant Stadium will likely be the Bailout Bowl, with construction requiring $750 million of taxpayer largesse and now more government bailout money required for the Bowl's name holder to pay its Raiders bill.
Americans Have No Savings. Thank (in Part) the Fed.Two weeks ago, during a March 17 address to the nation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, President Donald Trump asked that Americans work from home, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.
And last week, on March 27, Trump signed a stimulus...
Two weeks ago, during a March 17 address to the nation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, President Donald Trump asked that Americans work from home, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.
And last week, on March 27, Trump signed a stimulus package of over $2 trillion dollars to provide relief to an economy on the precipice of collapse.
The aid package includes handouts and loans to individuals, small businesses, and other distressed industries.
Despite Trump's allegedly ''having created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country'' just before the markets tanked, massive and immediate government intervention was the only thing left to forestall a total collapse.
Or so we were told.
So why can't the greatest economy in the world handle a temporary shock without needing trillions of dollars injected just to stay afloat?
Central banks' war on savers is one reason.
Using central bank''created fiat money introduces a dilemma. Because of inflationary monetary policy, Americans have long been forced to select from among three undesirable options:
A) Save. Hold the central banks' paper money and be guaranteed a loss of at least 2 percent in purchasing power every single year (assuming the 2 percent inflation standard).
B) Consume. Spend Federal Reserve notes on immediate goods and services to get the most out of current purchasing power.
C) Speculate. Try to beat the central banks' planned price inflation, seeking a higher return by investing in higher-risk asset markets.
With businesses and Americans defaulting on their rent and other obligations only days into the collapse, the problem is clear: few have any savings'...and why should they, when saving their money at negative real rates of return has been a sucker's game?
Lack of sound money, or money that doesn't maintain its purchasing power over time, has discouraged savings while encouraging debt-financed consumption.
American businesses and individuals are so overleveraged that once their income goes away, even briefly, they are often left with no reserves at all.
Meanwhile, small-time savers who can't get big returns from making high-risk investments have a lot to lose. Although it is true to some that small 2 percent-per-year losses can go easily unnoticed, over just ten years 2 percent price inflation amounts to a loss of nearly 20 percent in purchasing power.
Needless to say, this makes it harder to save and maintain one's standard of living.
Now, with central banks slashing short-term interest rates even more, and with the Fed moving rates to zero, the dollar has been further destroyed as a method of preserving savings. (And negative nominal interest rates could be coming next.)
Inflationary economic policy, absent the guardrails of sound money, has created a situation with an obvious and deadly conclusion: that many Americans lack savings to protect themselves against downturns.
This situation isn't necessarily the fault of the people, but rather of a system in which discouraging and punishing savers is a crucial tenet.
The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the White House are trying to reassure the public that everything is ''under control,'' that ''the U.S. economy's fundamentals are still strong,'' and that the economy will skyrocket once COVID-19 is taken care of. What if they're wrong?
Five Ways Policymakers Get Cause and Effect BackwardThere are many reasons why socialism fails everywhere and every time it is tried. One primary reason is the propensity of socialists to confuse the cause and effect relationship. Due to this confusion, the remedies put forth by socialists and Keynesians try to solve the effect instead of...
There are many reasons why socialism fails everywhere and every time it is tried. One primary reason is the propensity of socialists to confuse the cause and effect relationship. Due to this confusion, the remedies put forth by socialists and Keynesians try to solve the effect instead of tackling the cause. It is analogous to treating symptoms instead of the disease.
In this article, I will highlight this tendency with a few examples and show how government does damage to society through misguided actions arising out of this confusion between cause and effect.
One: Economic Growth Is Stimulated By Increasing the Circulation of Money In a healthy economy, more money circulates in the economy because consumers buy more products and businesses invest more to produce new products and services.
Cause = healthy economy
Effect = higher circulation of money
Keynesians, however, assume the relationship holds in reverse. That is, they think that higher rates of economic growth can be generated by promoting faster circulation of money. Thus follows the misguided Keynesian prescriptions of ultralow interest rates, quantitative easing, capital injections, bailouts, and deficit spending to combat recessions.
Two: Eliminating Cash Transactions Leads to Higher Economic Growth Recently, the government of India imposed on its people a misguided policy called ''demonetization'' in an effort to promote a ''cashless economy.'' The logic is as follows: in developed nations, people mostly use electronic monetary transactions with relatively few cash transactions. Therefore, eliminating cash transactions and forcing people to use electronic transactions will lead to healthier economic conditions similar to those of developed nations.
In truth, in poor nations people predominantly use cash because monetary transactions are too low in value to justify investment in infrastructure to support electronic transactions. As an economy grows and people get wealthier, the average cash transaction will be high enough to justify electronic transactions. So, the relationship is the other way around. Higher economic growth leads to elimination of cash transactions.
The misguided policy of the Indian government is leading to disastrous economic consequences for poor people in India, who rely on small cash transactions in their daily lives.
Three: Deadly Diseases Lead to Poor Economic Growth and Higher Poverty Rates In what regions of the world are people least affected by diseases like malaria, dengue and cholera? Developed nations. Even in nations with high poverty rates, people who are well off are less susceptible to these diseases, because they can afford medicines, hospital care, and prevention measures such as mosquito repellents and environments free of stagnant water, where mosquitos can breed.
Eliminating diseases does not lead to economic growth. Many deadly diseases such as smallpox and polio have been eliminated. Many charitable organizations invest in disease prevention and health improvement initiatives. The Gates Foundation invests heavily in reducing infant mortality in India. Jimmy Carter has been successful in raising billions of dollars for health education and disease prevention in Africa. Yet these initiatives and billions of dollars make little difference in improving the macroeconomic conditions in poor nations.
What Africa and India need are conditions that stimulate rapid economic growth. As people become richer they can afford better medical care and better living conditions that help them fight diseases and stay healthier.
Diseases do not cause poverty. Poverty is the reason for the higher prevalence of deadly diseases.
Four: Proliferation of Small Firearms is Impeding Economic Development in Africa Peter Thum, an American entrepreneur and ''humanitarian,'' was so appalled by the proliferation of guns and other small firearms in Africa that he started a company called Founderie 47 to tackle the problem. His company buys small firearms from Africans, destroys them, and uses the recycled parts to make high-end designer watches and jewelry that sell at prices ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. The funds thus obtained help in the procurement and destruction of thousands more weapons.
Behind Thum's venture is the assumption that the proliferation of firearms is causing the youth of Africa to participate in destructive civil wars instead of engaging in economic activity that will improve the well-being of Africans.
Brilliant idea? Not so fast! Peter Thum's got it backwards. The reason the youth of Africa are picking up firearms is because they don't have jobs. In other words, lack of economic development is the reason for the proliferation of firearms, not the other way around.
Believe it or not, given a choice between a decent job and joining a group of militants, almost all people will choose jobs.
Five: Illiteracy leads to PovertyWhat is the most important thing that India needs to eliminate poverty? ''Education,'' replied a friend of mine. By ''education'' he meant formal school and college education.
Most people in India believe that lack of education is why poor people are unable to escape poverty. So, the Indian government, which is always dominated by socialists regardless of which party is in the majority, allocates billions of rupees towards providing schooling and college education at a highly subsidized cost. As people get better education, they can get jobs and thus escape poverty. Right?
Wrong! Take Cuba and Nicaragua, for example. The communist governments of these countries launched massive campaigns to eliminate illiteracy. They were successful in almost eliminating illiteracy decades ago. Yet, Cuba and Nicaragua today are among the poorest nations in the world, with per capita GDP rankings of 128 and 165.
This is another example of socialists confusing the cause and effect relationship. Illiteracy in Cuba and Nicaragua was high because of poverty. As people's economic conditions improve, they prefer to obtain better education for their children. This is what happened in the four Asian tigers'--Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore'--over the latter half of the twentieth century.
Treat the Disease, Not the SymptomsIlliteracy, the prevalence of deadly diseases, violent civil wars, and uncontrolled population growth are all effects of poverty, which stems from low economic growth. They are not the causes of low economic growth. All of them can be eliminated by creating conditions for rapid economic growth.
The easiest and fastest way to achieve high economic growth rates is through free enterprise systems and free markets. Let's create free market conditions, such as less centralized government control (democratic and dictatorial), and more free trade. Good things will follow.
Medical Mask Resellers Punished in Canada Recently here in Vancouver, Canada, medical mask resellers were punished by authorities, with their inventory seized and fines imposed. This is the second time resellers have been punished in recent weeks. This action is the exact opposite of what the government should do if it wants to...
Recently here in Vancouver, Canada, medical mask resellers were punished by authorities, with their inventory seized and fines imposed. This is the second time resellers have been punished in recent weeks. This action is the exact opposite of what the government should do if it wants to see an increase in supply of medical masks to people who need them.
A local mayor, Brad West, has called the acts of the resellers to "egregious, so irresponsible, so selfish and so motivated by greed." It is this writer's contention that unless the resellers stole those masks, it is the actions of local authorities which are egregious and irresponsible. West is presuming that those who buy those masks have no legitimate need for them. The CDC now states that wearing masks helps reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. How is it that the voluntary selling, and buying, of medical masks to protect you and your family is considered egregious and irresponsible?
The commercial actions of resellers, if anything, help boost supply of those masks to the consumer market. Retails stores and pharmacies are out of inventor,y because their supplier can't ostensibly meet retail demand. Now, a reseller, through his own resourcefulness and researching of the wholesale market, has come upon a supplier who is willing to provide inventory to him. The reseller contacts the supplier and arranges for the purchase and shipment of those masks. He allocates time and energy to make this transaction, taking certain risks that the masks might not arrive in a timely manner or might be withheld by customs, or otherwise might not be delivered by a deceitful and unscrupulous wholesaler.
For his time and effort, the reseller is paid a profit (i.e., wages) over the wholesale price. His customers get hold of masks in a time when all store shelves are empty. The more resellers there are, the more orders are given to wholesalers and manufacturers, and the more of the product is made available to the consumer market. As demand gets satiated, prices eventually come down.
What the government has done is effectively shut down productive distribution and reseller channels, which are vital and very necessary in ensuring that retail customers get what they want. They have disincentivized entrepreneurs from going out and sourcing suppliers who can help satisfy demand.
And to make a bad situation even worse, the government has shut down a source of income for entrepreneurs who are now out of work due the lockdown and must now rely on employment insurance and other forms of government welfare, putting an even greater strain on government coffers (i.e., taxpayer money).
When will government ever learn?
The Fed's New Asset-Buying Programs: Nationalization of Financial Markets?That central banks are distorting markets is no longer a surprise to anyone. But the current pandemic succeeded in what the financial crisis of 2008 failed to achieve, namely to put the Federal Reserve's balance sheet under political control. The Federal Reserve aims to intervene in financial...
That central banks are distorting markets is no longer a surprise to anyone. But the current pandemic succeeded in what the financial crisis of 2008 failed to achieve, namely to put the Federal Reserve's balance sheet under political control. The Federal Reserve aims to intervene in financial markets to limit losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the collateral risks of such a decision outweigh the benefits pursued.
With the supply shock caused by the forced shutdown, the Federal Reserve felt the need to intervene decisively in the functioning of the markets. If reducing the interest rate by 150 basis points only temporarily calmed the markets, the Fed decided to use all the instruments at its disposal. Thus, it initiated repo programs worth about $1 trillion dollars a day and new quantitative easing (QE) programs. But in addition to all this, new programs have been introduced that will be used to act directly on some segments of the financial market.
In this way, we have seen the introduction of "Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility," marking the first time the Fed has included exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the purchasing programs; the "Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility," buying corporate bonds directly from the issuer; or "Main Street Business Lending Program," which aims to loan directly to small-to-medium enterprises, most probably through an agency of the state. But in order to carry out these operations, the Federal Reserve needed a "waiver," which it obtained after concluding a collaboration with world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, Inc. BlackRock Inc. will act as an investment manager for two special-purpose vehicles (SPVs), these being legal entities created for a specific purpose. Since the Fed does not have the legal right to purchase securities that do not have government guarantees, BlackRock and special-purpose vehicles were a solution. At the same time, BlackRock will be the investment manager of a vehicle responsible for the acquisition of mortgage- and commercial property''backed assets issued by certain government agencies, as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae.
In this way, BlackRock will act through SPVs in both primary and secondary markets of corporate bonds or ETFs. The problem is represented by the way these acquisitions are financed, here being the danger of nationalization of financial markets. The New York Fed will fund these vehicles on behalf of the Treasury, with the Treasury actually owning these securities. In this way, the Fed's balance sheet will come under political influence, the Treasury having the decision-making power, determining what exactly will be purchased and in what volume. Thus, the involvement of politics in the acquisition of corporate bonds, besides the fact that it will accentuate the misallocation of resources, with many bonds being purchased from companies considered too big to fail, will create all the premises of a nationalization, the price system being severely affected. In this way, we will witness sharp increases in capital market indices and the continuation of speculative bubbles facilitated by the extremely low interest rates. The lack of an economic readjustment, together with the direct financing of capital-consumption companies, will lead to serious economic imbalances.
Not all the technical details of the Fed-Treasury-BlackRock collaboration are known, but one thing is certain: the financial market will not be the same, and Japanification will eventually reach the American economy.
Tobacco, vaping industries craft coronavirus sales strategy - Los Angeles Times
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 16:57
Tobacco, vaping industries see business opportunites in coronavirus
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
By Emily Baumgaertner Staff Writer
Running low on surgical masks during the pandemic? You can get two for free by ordering a Moti Piin, a battery-powered vaping pen, from the company's online shop.
Or buy sleek cartridges from Smok, another e-cigarette brand, and earn chances to win disposable gloves and up to 10,000 masks.
''COVID19 RELIEF EFFORT'' blasts the ad of another online shop offering two-for-one e-liquid vials. Buyers at another shop get 19% off nicotine e-juices if they enter the code COVID-19.
As the global pandemic strains the world's inventory of medical supplies, the tobacco and vaping industries are taking advantage of a unique opportunity, offering freebie protective gear, doorstep deliveries and festive pandemic-themed discounts. Some players have donated ventilators and mounted charity campaigns.
The tobacco companies insist they are simply doing their part to help during the crisis. But the coronavirus-related marketing has been criticized by anti-smoking advocates who call it hypocritical and potentially dangerous. They note that people with lungs damaged by smoking are at an elevated risk if they catch the virus, and that vaping has been linked to a growth in tobacco use, particularly among teens.
''It's as if they don't realize they're in the business of destroying lungs,'' said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. ''It literally takes your breath away. It makes the word 'hypocrisy' feel feeble.''
Researchers have long known the dangers of tobacco products, which kill more than 8 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking weakens a person's ability to fight off respiratory infections and drives up their risk of developing the types of chronic lung conditions that underlie many of the most severe coronavirus cases.
Health officials are adding the pandemic to their long list of reasons that people should quit. E-cigarettes can be efficient carriers of the virus, they note. They are often passed around and shared; smokers frequently touch their face and mouth. The smoke and vapor that waft through the air could spread infectious particles to people and surfaces nearby, say scientists.
But the American Vaping Assn. circulated an editorial in late March that urged state officials to lift bans of online e-cigarette sales, arguing that online sales promote safety because it keeps people from making trips outside their home. Continued access to e-cigarettes prevents people from relapsing back into smoking cigarettes, they added.
In one doorstep delivery promotion, a woman beams as she opens her vaping package, her fists raised in the air. In another, hand-in-hand models ask customers to help ''build a community with a shared future for humanity.''
''Hurry and save today,'' an Instagram ad said, with the hashtags #corona, #quarantine, #vapenation.
Research published in American and Chinese journals already suggests that tobacco users often fare worse with coronavirus infections. The effects of vaping on a case of COVID-19 are less conclusive, but scientists say a surge of lung infections tied to the habit last summer gives them reason for worry. ''Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape,'' the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, warned in a statement last month.
The tobacco industry has used the moment to enhance its public image, especially with charitable giving. The world's biggest tobacco company, Philip Morris International, donated 50 ventilators to the government of Greece, which has one of the highest smoking rates in Europe. The country has seen 2,100 cases of COVID-19, and at least 100 people have died.
The company, which holds 40% of the Greek tobacco market, did not appear to publicize its donation and did not respond to an inquiry from The Times.
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia has asked tobacco companies to take on a similar role and supply respirator masks in the United States.
Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, announced a $1-million relief investment to help support vulnerable residents surrounding its headquarters in Richmond, Va., and other regions where manufacturing takes place. ''Caring for each other and doing what's right is core to our company,'' Jennifer Hunter, the company's senior vice president for corporate citizenship, said in a statement.
Altria said in a statement that its companies were ''working to protect their employees, consumers and communities from the virus.''
Meanwhile, vape manufacturers and retailers are donating bottles of hand sanitizer to local police and fire departments across the country, according to the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association.
Individual vaping companies did not respond to inquiries from The Times.
In Los Angeles, smoke shops have been among the businesses most resistant to orders that they close. Los Angeles prosecutors have filed criminal charges against two smoke supply establishments, accusing them of refusing to comply with the city's strict Safer at Home order intended to slow the spread of the virus.
On the store shelves, N95 respirators and hand sanitizer tubes are stacked beside glass bongs and e-liquids. ''TIMES ARE TUFF,'' one shop's signage read. ''WE GOT YOU.''
''We had a smoke shop that just refused to close,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said. ''And even when police officers were there, they said, 'Forget you' '-- probably not in as nice words '-- 'we're not going to do it.''' He said the city was going to move to shut off the shop's power.
Unexpectedly high numbers of younger people have become severely ill from the virus, and some experts suspect a link to vaping. ''The COVID-19 crisis should be a wake-up call that your age doesn't matter if your lungs are compromised,'' Myers said.
Most of the companies' websites still include legally required disclaimers about age restrictions. But the flavors range from Oatmeal Cookies and Yogurt Drink to Blueberry Parfait and Watermelon Rush, a colorful cartridge displayed in its promotion next to a bright glass of juice. The Food and Drug Administration attempted to ban such flavors years before the trend ballooned among teenagers, only to have the plan rejected by top White House officials, a Times investigation found last year.
There may be a silver lining to e-cigarette sales during the extended quarantine. It's much harder for addicted teenagers to keep the habit a secret, Myers said.
''Tens of thousands of parents are likely realizing for the first time: Their kids are definitely still vaping.''
Thousands of Americans backed by rightwing donors gear up for protests | US politics | The Guardian
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 16:48
Show caption Many of the rallies have been inspired by a protest at the Michigan state capitol. Photograph: Matthew Dae Smith/AP
US politics Thousands of people are preparing to attend protests across the US in the coming days, as a rightwing movement against stay-at-home orders, backed by wealthy conservative groups and promoted by Donald Trump, continues to take hold.
Your life has changed for the worse, and admitting it can help you cope | Nyadol Nyuon Conservative activists are demanding governors lift orders designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, despite the recommendations of public health officials. Trump, who has clashed with Democratic governors over how soon to reopen the US economy, tweeted his support on Friday, in an unprecedented endorsement of civil disobedience by a sitting president.
Many of the planned rallies have been inspired by a protest at the Michigan state capitol on Wednesday, which was attended by thousands.
Armed protesters demand an end to Michigan's coronavirus lockdown orders '' video Yet while organisers claim the protests are grassroots- and people-driven, a closer look reveals a movement driven by traditional rightwing groups, including one funded by the family of Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos.
The rallies have drawn comparisons to the Tea Party movement, which sprang into life in 2009 following the election of Barack Obama and was driven in part by Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by rightwing donors Charles and David Koch.
As with the Tea Party, the anti-stay-at-home movement has been promoted by a rightwing media eager for the economy to reopen, including Fox News which on Friday aired a segment on protests in Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota. Two minutes later, Trump tweeted to his 77.4 million followers the need to ''liberate'' those states.
'They seem very responsible to me': Trump defends anti-lockdown protesters - video A majority of Americans support the lockdowns, with a Pew Research Center poll finding that 66% are concerned state governments will lift restrictions on public activity too quickly. But protests, helped by media coverage, have spread around the country.
The two groups behind the ''operation gridlock'' rally in Michigan on Wednesday have ties to the Republican party and the Trump administration.
The Michigan Freedom Fund, which said it was a co-host of the rally, has received more than $500,000 from the DeVos family, regular donors to rightwing groups.
The other host, the Michigan Conservative Coalition, was founded by Matt Maddock, now a Republican member of the state house of representatives. The MCC also operates under the name Michigan Trump Republicans, and in January held an event featuring several members of the Trump campaign.
''Absolutely the Michigan event was a huge inspiration and it was a huge success,'' said Evie Harris, organizer of a ReOpen Maryland protest planned for the state capitol on Saturday.
''That was the model for our event.''
Thousands drove to the Michigan state capitol in Lansing, while the Michigan Freedom Fund purchased Facebook advertising to promote the rally. Protesters, many waving Trump campaign signs, honked their horns and chanted for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to end the stay-at-home rules.
The protest was covered exhaustively by the rightwing media. Harris said her Facebook following grew from ''700-800 people'' to more than 15,000 members following the Michigan rally, inspiring her to organize ''Operation Gridlock Annapolis'' for Saturday.
Harris said her group had support from some elected officials in Maryland, but declined to name them.
While ReOpen Maryland might not have funding from rightwing advocacy groups, it appears to be linked to at least four other ''reopen'' organizations.
''Government mandating sick people to stay home is called quarantine,'' ReOpen Maryland said. ''However, the government mandating healthy citizens to stay home, forcing businesses and churches to close is called tyranny.''
That text is identical to text on Facebook pages calling for rallies in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Virginia. ReOpen Virginia aims to hold its own ''gridlock'' rally on Wednesday '' again inspired by the conservative-funded Michigan event.
Despite ReOpen Virginia billing itself as a ''grassroots group of people and small business owners'', founder Kristen Lynne Hall said the idea for the protest came from the organizers of the ''Lobby Day'' demonstration earlier this year.
That demonstration was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group that has donated tens of thousands of dollars to politicians.
Hall, who said Candace Owens, a rightwing activist and favorite of Trump, had been in touch to discuss the event, said the president's tweet about ''liberating'' Virginia was ''great''.
''It could be spreading the movement,'' she said. ''Any support is appreciated right now.''
A decade ago, the Tea Party movement billed itself as ''grass roots'', despite receiving money from the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the conservative organization FreedomWorks.
Jenny Beth Martin, who founded the Tea Party Patriots group, promoted this week's Michigan protest. The Tea Party Patriots also supported the protest, in messages to its 200,000 Twitter followers.
Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog, said the similarities between the Tea Party and ReOpen movements went further, with rightwing media boosting both.
US using coronavirus pandemic to unlawfully expel asylum seekers, says UN Fox News ran favorable coverage of the Michigan rally and hosts including Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro endorsed the protest.
''Fox gave the Tea Party a phenomenal amount of attention and promotion,'' Gertz said. ''It really sort of boot-strapped it to another level, and made it a political force, and we see something similar happening with these anti-stay-at-home order movements.''
Gertz said he was not ''simply'' concerned with ''the conservatives having a strong election the next time out''.
''It's a real chance for devastating consequences with regard to the coronavirus,'' he said.
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Supply change: Japan to fund firms to shift China production | Japan News | Al Jazeera
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 16:43
Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.
The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.
The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.
China is Japan's biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.
That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government's panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.
''There will be something of a shift,'' said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. ''Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.'' Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.
Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.
It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's years-long effort to restore relations with China.
''We are doing our best to resume economic development,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. ''In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.''
The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.
In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.
Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.
Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.
Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.
Pennsylvania State Senate votes to override governor's stay-at-home order
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 12:42
(C) Zach Gibson/Getty Images A demonstrator holds a sign Thursday at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia. ReOpen Virginia, End The Lockdown VA and Virginians Against Excessive Quarantine gathered to protest continuing stay-at-home restrictions.
The Pennsylvania State Senate on Wednesday sent a bill that would partially lift the lockdown on most of the state's businesses to Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) desk.
The measure, Senate Bill 613, would require the governor's office to align with federal guidelines in determining which businesses will be allowed to reopen during the pandemic, allowing all those that can safely operate with mitigation strategies under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency guidelines.
The measure passed the senate 29-21 Wednesday after passing the state House 107-95 Tuesday.
The Republican senate also approved a bill that would allow county governments to implement their own plans to reopen independent of the state's plan.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee condemned the move, which comes the same day protesters in Michigan and Ohio demonstrated in favor of reopening without observing social distancing guidelines.
"The Pennsylvania GOP has a storied history of passing irresponsible legislation, but even I'm surprised they've stooped so low," DLCC President Jessica Post said in a statement. "Republicans have sent the message loud and clear: they don't care about Pennsylvania families or the lives that will be lost should this legislation become law. The GOP's focus should be on saving lives, not saving the stock market."
State Rep. Mike Jones (R) told WGAL, a local NBC affiliate, that the process by which businesses apply for waivers in the state lacked transparency.
"I think the waiver process has been extremely inefficient. We're concerned it's been very unfair. The problem is it's also not been made public," he told the outlet. "Those are the big three that virtually every other state in the nation, including many of the surrounding states, continue to operate, and it's coming at the expense of our state."
Wolf has not said whether he will sign the measure but has said he will consider it. Earlier this week he joined a compact of northeastern governors including the governors of Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut to develop a regional plan for reopening when it is deemed appropriate.
Coronavirus runs roughshod over debt-laden belt and road projects | South China Morning Post
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 12:28
Published: 12:05am, 15 Apr, 2020
Updated: 1:34am, 15 Apr, 2020
San Francisco cancels gay pride parade over coronavirus fears
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 12:24
April 18, 2020 | 11:26am
Enlarge Image Large crowds gathered at Civic Center Plaza during San Francisco Pride in 2019. Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
For the first time since its inception, San Francisco announced its famed gay pride parade and festivities, held on June 27 and 28, will be canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
''Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified in recent weeks, and the organization has concluded that the risks to public health of a large-scale gathering such as Pride preclude this year's production of the annual event,'' the Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride wrote in an open letter this week announcing the cancellation.
''This was not a decision we arrived at lightly,'' Executive Director Fred Lopez said in the letter. ''Since the coronavirus first emerged, we have held out hope that the situation would shift and we would be able to gather later this year.
''Well before the first shelter-in-place order, our team began to balance our excitement for Pride 50 and evaluate possible alternatives. With heavy hearts, we have decided not to go forward with the Parade and Celebration in 2020.''
4 workers died from coronavirus at a Tyson Foods poultry plant | TheHill
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 11:47
As multiple pork processing facilities across the country shutter due to an increasing number of coronavirus outbreaks among workers, poultry plants may be next.
A poultry processing plant in southwest Georgia has reported four employee fatalities as a result of coronavirus infections, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The owner of the chicken processing plant is Tyson Foods, which recently closed its pork processing facility in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after multiple employees contracted the novel virus.
Earlier this week, two workers from the Columbus Junction facility died from complications with the virus.
Company spokesman Gary Mickelson told AP that three of the employees worked directly in the facility in Camilla, Ga., and the fourth employee worked in a supporting role outside the plant.
He did not say how many employees total have tested positive for the coronavirus.
''We realize everyone is anxious during this challenging time and believe information is the best tool for combating the virus,'' Senior Vice President of Human Resources Hector Gonzalez for Tyson Foods reportedly said in a statement. ''That's why we're encouraging our team members to share their concerns with us, so we can help address them.''
The company told AP that they have implemented new safety procedures in the Camilla location, including taking employees' temperatures and requiring face coverings during work.
The union representing 2,000 workers at the Camilla plant, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said that many other employees are ''sick or in quarantine.''
AP notes that the union has further asked poultry plants to require employees to quarantine themselves for the standard 14 days and pay them sick leave when exposed to coworkers who tested positive for the coronavirus.
It also called for facilities to be shut down for 72 hours for mandatory cleanings if an employee tests positive.
Aside from Tyson Foods, pork industry leader Smithfield Foods shut down its large Sioux Falls plant location due to coronavirus concerns.
'Save the fourth emergency service': Culture secretary urges people buy a paper as press struggles amid coronavirus crisis | The Independent
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 11:41
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has asked the public to help protect what he called the country's fourth emergency service '' newspapers.
The minister pleaded with people across the UK to ''add one small thing'' to their to-do list and buy a paper as he admitted the coronavirus pandemic had caused the ''biggest existential crisis'' in the history of the press.
National and regional titles have seen advertising revenues plummet and circulation decline amid the Covid-19 crisis.
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''Newspapers are at heart of the British media and essential to its vibrant mix,'' the MP for Hertsmere wrote in The Times. ''People across the country are rising to the coronavirus challenge and I suggest we all add one small thing to our to-do list: buy a paper.''
He added that he had instructed the country's 100 biggest brands to end so-called ad-blocking, the practice in which companies demand their adverts are not placed next to articles about certain subjects '' in this case Covid-19.
Mr Dowden wrote: ''National, regional and local newspapers are under huge financial pressure, largely because of plummeting commercial advertising on their printed pages and websites.
''Falling demand for advertising has also been exacerbated by something called keyword blocking, where advertising linked to specific keywords is prevented from being served on papers' web pages. Some major UK brands and parts of the advertising industry are blocking adverts appearing next to coronavirus-related news stories'...
''So today I am asking companies and the advertising industry to act and do all they can to resolve this issue. I have written to the 100 biggest brands in the UK to urge them to review their advertising policies and check they are not inappropriately blocking adverts from appearing next to news providing a vital public service.''
The intervention came after two of the UK's biggest publishers cut wages for staff in efforts to mitigate the crisis.
The Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail, Metro and the i newspapers, has imposed a pay cut on all staff earning over £40,000 a year.
And Reach, owner of the Mirror and Express as well as hundreds of regional newspapers, said all staff would see a pay cut of at least 10 per cent.
No hype, just the advice and analysis you need
Belt and Road Debts to China Skyrocket Under Coronavirus Lockdown
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 11:01
Countries already deeply indebted to Beijing through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) face increasing economic hardship caused by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
China uses the BRI to establish economically predatory infrastructure projects across the globe, expanding its sphere of influence. Chinese loans fund infrastructure projects in over 100 developing nations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America through the BRI, an initiative estimated to be worth $8 trillion.
According to the Center for Global Development (CGD), 15 out of 68 BRI partner countries face a significant risk of debt distress due to economic challenges caused by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Many countries around the world have practically shut down their economies in an effort to comply with mandatory government lockdowns meant to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, significantly disrupting global supply and demand chains. For heavily indebted countries like China's BRI partners '' already struggling before the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic '' the looming economic recession may spell disaster.
In Africa, Niger and Angola will likely encounter difficulties. Ecuador, run by pro-China socialists for much of the decade, and Venezuela, rapidly approaching failed state status, are among the more at-risk Latin American countries. The study noted that smaller economies in Asia such as Laos, Cambodia, and the Kyrgyz Republic may also fall deeper into debt.
Experts estimate that developing countries' ''hidden debts'' to China totaled $380 billion before the emergence of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
BRI loans often require debtor nations to use specific Chinese contractors and materials for their infrastructure projects, in a practice known as circular lending. These Chinese contractors include Huawei, ZTE, China Harbor Engineering, and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). China demands massive amounts of collateral for loans, crafting a ''debt trap'' for impoverished nations.
In 2017, Sri Lanka handed over a port to China in an effort to pay off its BRI debts. Having defaulted on BRI loans to Chinese firms, the nation formally surrendered the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, in a deal that threatens Sri Lanka's sovereignty.
The warning for BRI-member economies comes as Chinese state media recently criticized the U.S. and Europe for wanting to restart their economies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
''An economic shutdown can be more detrimental to the ruling parties of the U.S. and European countries than the pandemic,'' an editorial in the People's Daily, an official Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper, claimed on Tuesday.
''For the U.S., it is a capitalist country after all, where maintaining economic activities is given higher priority than humanitarianism and is the basic way to keep society running,'' the author added.
Google to start reducing Nest camera quality to help ease the strain on broadband networks - The Verge
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 10:49
Google may start adjusting the quality of video captured by your Nest security camera to help ease the strain put on broadband networks. The company is making the changes at a time when more people than ever are using internet-connected devices at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
''To answer the global call to prioritize internet bandwidth for learning and working, in the next few days we're going to be making a few changes,'' Google said in a statement to The Verge. ''We believe these changes have the potential to help make it easier for communities to keep up with school, work, and everything in between.'' Nest users on Twitter first reported receiving an email from Google announcing the changes.
Google will reduce your Nest's camera quality if your bandwidth settings are higher than the default
If you're in the US and your Nest's camera quality and bandwidth settings are higher than the default, Google will be rolling those settings back to the default, the company tells The Verge. If your settings are lower than the default, they will remain the same. Regardless of what your quality and bandwidth settings are, no other settings on your Nest camera will change, the company says.
And if you want to revert your quality and bandwidth settings back to the way you had them before, you can do that, according to Google. That might be something you want to do if you actively rely on your Nest camera to keep track of what's going on around your home, as reduced video quality may make it harder for you to make out what's happening on your Nest video feed.
If you don't change your settings after Google reduces the quality, the company plans to roll the settings back to the way you had them before once networks are less inundated with traffic, Google says.
You might also see changes with Ambient Mode slideshows from Nest displays, Chromecast, and Cast devices '-- as Google is reducing the rotation interval and the resolution of photos in those slideshows globally, the company tells The Verge.
Reducing how much bandwidth its Nest devices use isn't Google's first move to help ease the amount of traffic on broadband networks '-- the company reduced YouTube's default video quality to standard definition (480p) on March 24th. Amazon, Apple, and Netflix have also reduced video their quality in Europe to help keep broadband networks working smoothly, while Sony has reduced download speeds for its PlayStation Network in both Europe and the US.
Coronavirus ends China's honeymoon in Africa - POLITICO
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 10:14
But that decadeslong quest for influence in Africa was gravely challenged last week when a group of disgruntled African ambassadors in Beijing wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi to complain that citizens from Togo, Nigeria and Benin living in Guangzhou, southern China, were evicted from their homes and made to undergo obligatory testing for Covid-19.
''In some cases, the men were pulled out of their families and quarantined in hotels alone,'' the note, seen by POLITICO, said.
The incident, which caused widespread discontent both within Africa and among the diaspora after videos posted on social media showed people of African descent being evicted from their homes, resulting in a rare diplomatic showdown between Chinese and African officials.
It also broke a long-standing tradition of Africa voicing its problems with China '-- the continent's biggest trade partner '-- behind closed doors.
In one incident, Nigeria's speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, posted a video of himself summoning Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian to his office where he expressed his displeasure about a Nigerian man being evicted from his home.
While nobody expects China to lose its place as Africa's biggest bilateral lender and trade partner, analysts and African diplomats say there is a distinct possibility of lasting damage. Reluctance from China to endorse a G-20 decision to suspend Africa's debt payments until the end of the year has exacerbated the sense of frustration, they said.
''There is a lot of tension within the relationship. I think both of these issues are the newest manifestations of long-term problems,'' said Cobus van Staden, a senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs. ''Africa's official response [to its citizens in China] took into account popular sentiment a lot more than it usually would have.''
Some scholars have documented how politicians in Africa have boosted their electoral base by mobilizing anti-Chinese sentiment, while many ordinary people perceive China's success in the region as a threat to their own well-being.
Although China's government and the billionaire founder of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, have been among the most generous and eager members of the international community to assist Africa in fighting Covid-19, Beijing's overtaking of the World Bank as the biggest single lender to Africa has made it less inclined to write off the money it is owed. The Chinese government and the China Development Bank lent more than $150 billion to Africa between 2000 and 2018, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
U.S. officials, including Tibor Nagy, assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, have strongly condemned the treatment of Africans in China, resulting in China snapping back at Washington by accusing it of sowing unnecessary discord between the pair.
Chinese officials have moved quickly to seal the emerging rift. Ambassador Liu Yuxi, Beijing's head of mission to the African Union, released a photo of himself giving a socially distanced elbow bump to his African counterpart '-- while distancing the Beijing government from the authorities in Guangzhou.
At the same time, Zhang Minjing, political counselor at the mission, downplayed the controversy in comments to POLITICO. Beijing had ''championed'' a debt initiative agreed upon by the G-20, he said, and is ''committed to taking all possible steps to support the poor.'' As for the recent tumult in Guangzhou, he said, ''the rock-solid China-Africa Friendship will not be affected by isolated incidents.''
''China is against any differential treatment targeting any specific group of people. China and Africa are good brothers and comrades-in-arms. We are always there for each other come rain or shine,'' he added.
But there are also growing concerns in Beijing that its multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects in places such as Zimbabwe have now ground to a halt because of the coronavirus. Not only are engineering personnel unable to travel to the continent, but construction materials are running low as supply chains dry up.
Africans are going to need all the help they can get. After years of rapid growth, the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said sub-Saharan Africa's gross domestic product would shrink this year by 1.6 percent due to the effects of the coronavirus, low oil prices and poor commodity prices. In Ethiopia alone, the government has estimated that 1.4 million jobs will be lost over the next three months, according to a document seen by POLITICO, roughly 3 percent of the workforce. Africa has recorded 17,701 coronavirus cases and 915 deaths '-- a toll that will likely climb rapidly, and likely underestimates the scale of the continent's predicament.
So far, the rest of the world has done little to help. On Monday, the IMF granted $215 million in initial debt relief to 25 African countries '-- a relative pittance compared with the vast sums those countries owe. On Wednesday, G-20 nations, which include China, the U.S., India and others, did offer to suspend debt payments until the end of 2020 despite calls from French President Emmanuel Macron to help African countries by ''massively canceling their debt.''
But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of four special envoys to the African Union to solicit G-20 support in dealing with the coronavirus, said Africa was still ''pushing for more.'' In an interview, Okonjo-Iweala said she believed ''China is coming along'' to provide Africa with debt relief across the board and not simply on a case-by-case basis. ''I don't believe it's against supporting African countries on this. I've heard actually to the contrary,'' she said. ''What we need from China is not a case-by-case examination, but an across-the-board agreement.''
Stephen Karingi, director of the trade division at the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Africa, said support from the international community should be ''weighed against the damage Covid-19 will cause'' in Africa. ''We think that 2020 and 2021 will be difficult and support should have that in mind or such a horizon,'' Karingi said.
How damaging the latest events will be to the political and commercial ties that have made China Africa's largest trading partner are unclear.
On the official level, there are signs that all will soon be forgotten. A senior African diplomat to the African Union, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, said, ''When it comes to China, I doubt we will see long-term problems.''
''They've got a lot invested on the continent, in the AU, in this city,'' the official added.
''They're everywhere. Realistically, I think it's important both sides understand why this is happening and try and resolve this mutually.''
Still, a host of African officials have made sure China does not get away lightly with its treatment of Africans living in China. Over the weekend, Moussa Faki, chairman of the African Union Commission, said he had ''invited'' the Chinese ambassador to the AU to express his ''extreme concern'' for the situation, while Chinese ambassadors in Nigeria and Ghana were summoned to give an explanation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said the ill treatment of African nationals in China was ''inconsistent with the excellent relations that exist between China and Africa, dating back to China's support during the decolonization struggle in Africa.''
A senior AU official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said Chinese officials were particularly alarmed by the public dimension of the incident that exploded on social media. But, the official said, many African nations were pleased by remarks delivered by Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Sunday in which he underlined ''the African side's reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals.''
Whether the people living on the continent forget so easily is another matter altogether.
''It's going to be contentious among those communities for a lot longer,'' said van Staden of the South African Institute of International Affairs.
Amazon Employees Plan Virtual Walkout Over Recent Firings
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 04:40
Photo: GettyAmazon employees are preparing an organized action for a collective digital ''sick-out'' to protest the recent firing of two employees who raised concerns over conditions in the company's warehouses and the lack of protections for workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice announced this week that it's asking employees to call in sick on Friday, April 24, after Amazon terminated outspoken critics Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who were both members of the group. On that Friday, AECJ will host a livestream with Cunningham and Costa as well as warehouse workers who will share their experiences with working in Amazon's facilities during the coronavirus crisis. In a blog post about the action, AECJ wrote that the firings were a ''gross misuse of power.''
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the walkouts other than to provide a statement on the firings.
G/O Media may get a commission
''We support every employee's right to criticize their employer's working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies,'' the spokesperson said. ''We terminated these employees for repeatedly violating internal policies.''
AECJ is making several demands of Amazon as part of the organized effort. In addition to calling for Amazon to reinstate willing workers who it fired, the group is asking the company to change its external communication policies; make permanent workplace improvements to its warehouse conditions, equity, and pay; and publicly disclose its protocols for tracking covid-19 cases among its warehouse workers.
The group is also asking Amazon to make commitments to climate-related initiatives, including by committing to zero emissions by 2030 as well as requiring Community Benefits Agreements for clean air and good employment opportunities at the company. Finally, the group is asking for Amazon to integrate Racial Equity Impact Assessments into its business decisions.
Prior to their termination, which was reported by the Washington Post earlier this week, Cunningham and Costa publicly criticized Amazon's warehouse conditions'--which have separately come under fire by U.S. lawmakers who say Amazon should be taking far more precautions to protect its workers than it's currently taking. Amazon's policies prohibit employees from talking about the business without executive approval, the Post said. At the time, both workers told the paper they were terminated over their criticism of the company.
Throughout the covid-19 crisis, Amazon has fired several employees who publicly castigated the company over conditions at its facilities. Those firings included Chris Smalls, a management assistant at the JFK8 facility in Staten Island who helped lead a protest over the issue.
In a leaked internal memo obtained by Vice News earlier this month, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky detailed an apparent smear campaign against Smalls. In the memo, Zapolsky wrote that Smalls was ''not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we're trying to protect workers.''
Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay ' The Register
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 16:30
Internal confidential documents belonging to some of the largest aerospace companies in the world have been stolen from an industrial contractor and leaked online.
The data was pilfered and dumped on the internet by the criminals behind the DoppelPaymer Windows ransomware, in retaliation for an unpaid extortion demand. The sensitive documents include details of Lockheed-Martin-designed military equipment '' such as the specifications for an antenna in an anti-mortar defense system '' according to a Register source who alerted us to the blueprints.
Other documents in the cache include billing and payment forms, supplier information, data analysis reports, and legal paperwork. There are also documents outlining SpaceX's manufacturing partner program.
The files were siphoned from Visser Precision by the DoppelPaymer crew, which infected the contractor's PCs and scrambled its files. When the company failed to pay the ransom by their March deadline, the gang '' which tends to demand hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to restore encrypted files '' uploaded a selection of the documents to a website that remains online and publicly accessible.
Visser is a manufacturing and design contractor in the US whose clients are said to include aerospace, automotive, and industrial manufacturing outfits '' think Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Tesla, Boeing, Honeywell, Blue Origin, Sikorsky, Joe Gibbs Racing, the University of Colorado, the Cardiff School of Engineering, and others. The leaked files relate to these customers, in particular Tesla, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and SpaceX.
When asked about the dump, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told us: "We are aware of the situation with Visser Precision and are following our standard response process for potential cyber incidents related to our supply chain.
"Lockheed Martin has made and continues to make significant investments in cybersecurity, and uses industry-leading information security practices to protect sensitive information. This includes providing guidance to our suppliers, when appropriate, to assist them in enhancing their cybersecurity posture."
Why is ransomware still a thing? One-in-three polled netizens say they would cave to extortion demands READ MORE Visser Precision did not respond to a request for comment on the leak. Tesla, SpaceX, and Boeing did not respond either.
This is not the first time the DoppelPaymer crew has publicly shared stolen confidential data after a victim failed to pay the ransom demands. In fact, the crooks have a regularly updated website full of internal documents belonging to organizations that didn't cough up, though admittedly most are significantly less interesting than the Visser Precision cache.
The dumps are intended to scare others who are infected with the ransomware into paying the group's demands. The Register will not be linking to the site.
For what it's worth, the DoppelPaymer gang vowed to lay off attacking hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether or not this promise was honored is another question.
While law enforcement agencies and security experts uniformly agree that paying a ransom demand is a bad idea and poor substitute for keeping offline backups and properly securing data, some experts have conceded that, when it's your corporate data on the line, caving in and paying up can be an option. ®
Scenarios for the Future ofTechnology and International Development.pdf (PDFy mirror) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:06
Reviewer: The Holy Ghost -
favorite favorite favorite favorite favorite - April 11, 2020
Subject: Thanks for the upload. And a message to the authors.
I give 5 Stars for the upload of it - but not to the content.I'm deeply disappointed by the modems of fear within the excuses displayed, while trying their best to dress it up as "class".I'm ashamed, at the lack of humility had by these authors, and the forgetfulness of their backwards ideals.I wonder, do they think their lives operate so much from the physical that they can see and feel and hear?And what levels of their own thoughts are they subjected to, and must less inspire of?A cat falling from a tree relaxes, and thus falls to land on its feet.All manner of control, and being controlling over the world, especially to such an extent of the lives of others - is only exactly show of cowardice, and void of any true reasonability had.And to the authors - if they so choose to find this laid here for them,plan yee as you may, authors, know that in your denial of Spirit you will only always find such plans and ill-designed ways will yield specific irony to valley humility to your dismay, and your regret, and shame, and agony all through-and-through found done by none other than thy-own-hand be found holding dagger-to-thy-own-gut.Consistent warning and signs were given, and ignored.Such blasphemes against the father, may be forgiven, and surely will be.Such blasphemes against the son, may be forgiven, and surely will be.But such against the Mother will not be forgiven on Earth nor in Heaven.Repent, now.
Coronavirus Outbreak May Have Started as Early as September, Scientists Say
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:05
(C) HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images A hotel worker disinfects the dining room of a hotel in Wuhan, China. The outbreak was first identified in the city and was linked to a seafood market following a cluster of cases at the end of last year. The coronavirus outbreak could have started as early as mid-September, and the Chinese city of Wuhan may not be where it began, a scientist looking at the origins of the disease has said.
Geneticist Peter Forster, from the U.K.'s University of Cambridge, is leading a research project to understand the historical processes that led to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, they hope to identify the first person who got the virus and served as the source for the initial outbreak. By analyzing networks, they have so far been able to chart the spread of the virus, including the genetic mutations, as it moved from China to Australia, Europe and the rest of the world.
They have created a network analysis using over 1,000 coronavirus genomes. This includes patient infection date and the "type" of virus the person was infected with. There are three types'--A, B and C. A is closest to the coronavirus found in bats and is thought to be the original human virus genome. This type was found in Chinese and American individuals, with mutated versions in patients from Australia and the U.S.
However, A was not the virus type found in most cases in Wuhan, the city in China where COVID-19 was first identified. Instead, most people there had type B. Researchers suggest there was a "founder event" for type B in Wuhan. Type C, the "daughter" of type B, is what was identified in early cases in Europe, as well as South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong'--but appears absent from mainland China.
Based on the data Forster and his colleagues have collected, the coronavirus outbreak appears to have started between September 13 and December 7. "This assumes a constant mutation rate, which is admittedly unlikely to be the case, and the time estimate could therefore be wrong," he told Newsweek. "But it is the best assumption we can make at the moment, pending analysis of further patient samples stored in hospitals during 2019."
He said it is possible the outbreak did not originate in Wuhan, as until January 17, almost all the isolates were type B. In Guangdong, a province about 500 miles from Wuhan, seven of the 11 isolates were type A. "These case numbers are small because few genomes are available for the early stage of the outbreak, before the Chinese New Year travel pre-January 25 would have started mixing patterns up geographically," Forster said.
He and colleagues published research into their network in PNAS on April 8.
The first known coronavirus case has been traced back to November 17. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, government data shows a 55-year-old from the Hubei province, which Wuhan is the capital of, was the first known case of COVID-19.
It is thought the virus jumped from an animal'--likely a bat'--into humans at some point. When and where this happened is not known. In December, the first cluster of cases was traced back to a seafood market in Wuhan, leading some to suggest this is where the virus first emerged. But as we learn more about the virus, this version of events appears less likely. A study published in the Lancet showed some of the first people infected with the virus did not have direct contact with the market.
Since these first cases at the end of last year, over two million people have been confirmed to have had COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, it has spread to 185 countries and regions, with almost 150,000 deaths recorded.
Identifying the original source of the virus, Forster said, is necessary to ensure it does not happen again. Understanding the different types of virus and what role they play in the spread of COVID-19 is "one of the urgent questions to be looked at," he said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC.Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)Hygiene advice
Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.Medical advice
Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.Mask and glove usage
Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.Do not reuse single-use masks.Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.Sign up to our newsletter and get Newsweek stories delivered to your e-mail
Governor Abbott to Outline Plan to Reopen State '' NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:02
Hours after President Trump outlined his guidelines for ''Opening Up American Again,'' North Texans emphasized safety before reopening.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called a press conference Friday at noon, where he is expected to speak about the economic response to the coronavirus. It will be streamed live at the top of this article.
At Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Plano, doors are closed and the sanctuary is empty.
LocalThe latest news from around North Texas.
For weeks, PastorIsiah Joshua's pulpit has turned virtual.
''That initself has been a blessing,'' he said.
Pastor Joshua has been streaming sermons since the shutdown began in March.
Churches would be among the first to reopen under President Trump's guidelines for ''Opening Up America Again.'' Despite possibly being allowed to reopen as early as next month, Pastor Joshua said he'll likely wait even longer until he's sure it's safe.
''Their [parishioners]safety and well-being means so much more to me than just bringing them back fortithes or for offerings or for the economy of the church to be better,'' PastorJoshua said.
Under phase one of the three-phase plan, "Places of worship can operate under strict physical distancing protocols."
But taproomslike TUPPS Brewery in McKinney could have to wait until phase two.
''That'shonestly very good news because we would like to get our fans back together,but we're watching what our president does, we're watching what our governordoes and really importantly we're watching what our mayor does,'' TUPPS Breweryowner Keith Lewis said.
Just daysafter insisting he has total authority to order states what to do, Thursdayafternoon the president told all 50 governors "you're going to call yourown shots."
In Austin,protesters peacefully gathered outside the governor's mansion Thursday,demanding Texas begin the process of reopening.
Judy Shelton - TRUMP FED NOMINEE Wikipedia
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 11:06
Judy Shelton is an American economic advisor to President Donald Trump.[1] She is known for her advocacy for a return to the gold standard and for her criticisms of the Federal Reserve.[2][3][4] Trump announced on July 2, 2019, that he would nominate Shelton to the Fed, and her nomination is currently pending in the Senate.[5][6][7]
Early life and education [ edit ]
Shelton attended Portland State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education.[8] Shelton also holds a MBA and Ph.D in business administration from the University of Utah.[8][9][10]
Politics [ edit ]
She worked at the Hoover Institution from 1985 to 1995.[4] She was on Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign.[4] In 2016, she was on the Ben Carson presidential campaign, but joined the Trump campaign in August 2016 after writing a supportive Wall Street Journal opinion editorial about Trump.[4]
In 2012, Judy Shelton joined TheGoldStandardNow.Org as a senior advisor.[11]
Prior to joining the Trump administration, she was the director of the Sound Money Project[12] at the Atlas Network. In a video interview with The Atlas Network she described currency counterfeiter Bernard von NotHaus as "the Rosa Parks of monetary policy."[13] She has donated to conservative candidates and causes.[4]
In 2000, she advocated for open borders with Mexico.[14]
In March 2018, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the United States director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[15][16] The Wall Street Journal reports that she was absent for 12 of 28 board meetings during her tenure.[17]
Views on monetary policy [ edit ]
Shelton is known as a critic of the Federal Reserve.[3][4] She said in 2011 that the Federal Reserve is "almost a rogue agency," and asked whether it could be trusted in having oversight of the dollar.[18] "She has called for a 0% inflation target, contradicting the bank's current 2% target.[19] She has written that a "fundamental question" of economics is "why do we need a central bank?"[20] Shelton has criticized the Federal Reserve's longstanding policy of independence from the White House, saying in 2019 interview that she saw "no reference to independence" in the Fed's authorizing legislation.[21] Shelton describes herself as "highly skeptical" of the Federal Reserve's "nebulous" dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. [22]
During the Obama years, she criticized the Federal Reserve's low interest rates.[23][24][25] During the Trump presidency, she advocated for the Federal Reserve to adopt lower interest rates as a form of economic stimulus. (Trump frequently criticized the Federal Reserve for not lowering interest rates.)[2][23][26] She supports the Republican Party's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the Trump administration's deregulative agenda.[4] Before Trump became president, she was a longtime advocate for free trade, but after he became president, she supported his administration's trade war with China.[4][14]
Shelton opposes federal deposit insurance. In her 1994 book "Money Meltdown," she writes that "Eliminating federal deposit insurance would restore the essential character of banking as a vehicle for channeling financial capital into productive investment while striving to meet the risk and timing preference of depositors.[27]
Shelton is a long-time proponent of pegging the value of the dollar to gold.[28] In 2019, she said that she hoped for a new Bretton Woods-style conference where countries would agree to return to the gold standard, saying, "If it takes place at Mar-a-Lago that would be great."[29] Mar-a-Lago is a club run by President Trump.
Shelton supports a highly integrated financial system, including a global common currency[30] and a universal gold reserve bank.[31]
Nomination to Federal Reserve [ edit ]
On July 3, 2019, President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to announce his intention to nominate Shelton and a regional Fed official, Christopher Waller, to the Federal Reserve board. His previous nominees, former presidential contender Herman Cain and economic commentator Stephen Moore, had withdrawn for lack of Senate support.[15][32] During the months in which Shelton was being considered for the post by Trump, she was a guest at Trump's D.C. hotel.[15]
During her February 2020 confirmation hearings, both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee expressed concerns about her writings and statements.[33][34][35]
Personal life [ edit ]
Shelton is married to Gilbert Shelton.[4] The Sheltons had eleven French Charolais cattle, six dogs and peacocks as of 2009.[36] Her husband is a former entrepreneurial banker in Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii who sold the businesses in the early 1980s. They have lived at Moss Neck Manor, a historic antebellum plantation house in Virginia, since 2005. The property borders Fort A.P. Hill.[36][37]
Bibliography [ edit ]
Judy Shelton (November 24, 2009). Money Meltdown. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-8846-0.
Judy Shelton (1989). The coming Soviet crash: Gorbachev's desperate pursuit of credit in Western financial markets. "The" Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-928581-7. [12]
References [ edit ]
^ "Fed faces Trump glare ahead of policy shake-up". Financial Times.
^ a b "Trump's potential Fed pick Judy Shelton wants to see lower rates 'as expeditiously as possible ' ". The Washington Post. 2019.
^ a b GmbH, finanzen net (May 22, 2019). "Trump's potential Fed pick is a critic of the central bank and supports near-zero interest rates | Markets Insider". markets.businessinsider.com . Retrieved May 31, 2019 .
^ a b c d e f g h i Smialek, Jeanna (May 21, 2019). "Trump Team Vets Fed Critic for Board Seat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved May 31, 2019 .
^ Harrison, Paul Kiernan and David. "Christopher Waller, Judy Shelton Are Trump's Latest Picks for Fed Board". WSJ.
^ Long, Heather (November 21, 2019). "Trump's Fed nominee Judy Shelton recently questioned the need for an independent central bank". Washington Post . Retrieved December 28, 2019 .
^ Collins, Peggy (February 3, 2020). "Senate to Hold Hearing for Fed Nominees Shelton, Waller Feb. 13". Bloomberg.
^ a b "The Coming Soviet Crash". C-SPAN. February 16, 1989. Retrieved on 3 July 2019.
^ "Judy Shelton, Ph.D".
^ "Q&A with Judy Shelton". C-SPAN. November 4, 2009. Retrieved on 3 July 2019.
^ Packard, Kathleen (January 11, 2012). "Economist and Author Judy Shelton Appointed as Senior Advisor to The Gold Standard Now". PRWeb.
^ a b "This Trump Economic Advisor Wants America to Go Back to the Gold Standard". Fortune.
^ Sound Money Project Interview Series: Dr. Judy Shelton (Full Version) , retrieved February 4, 2020
^ a b "Trump Fed nominee Judy Shelton once advocated for 'open borders' with Mexico". The Washington Post. 2019.
^ a b c Smialek, Jeanna (July 2, 2019). "Trump Taps Two Fed Nominees, One Conventional, the Other Not". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ Smialek, Jeanna (May 21, 2019). "Trump Team Vets Fed Critic for Board Seat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ Kiernan, Paul (July 25, 2019). "Prospective Fed Nominee Judy Shelton Resigned From EBRD Job". Wall Street Journal.
^ Andrew Kaczynski; Em Steck. "Trump's Fed pick Judy Shelton called the central bank 'almost a rogue agency' in 2011". CNN . Retrieved February 23, 2020 .
^ Heeb, Gina (June 8, 2019). "Trump's potential Federal Reserve nominee wants a 0% inflation target". Business Insider . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ Shelton, Judy (March 27, 2009). "Did the Fed Cause the Housing Crisis". Wall Street Journal . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ Mohsin, Saleha (November 21, 2019). "Trump's Fed Pick Judy Shelton Cast Doubt on Central Bank Independence". Bloomberg . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ Condon, Christopher (May 30, 2019). "Fed Hopeful Shelton Questions Value of Bank's Dual Mandate". Bloomberg . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ a b Yglesias, Matthew (June 5, 2019). "Judy Shelton's potential nomination to a Federal Reserve Board seat, explained". Vox . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ Shelton, Judy (May 13, 2015). "Reckoning for the Fed". TheHill . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ Shelton, Judy. "A Trans-Atlantic Revolt Against Central Bankers". WSJ . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ "Trump Taps Economists for Two Key Fed Positions". Time . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
^ Shelton, Judy (1994). Money Meltdown. Free Press. p. 305.
^ Guida, Victoria. "Trump Fed pick's push for gold troubles lawmakers". POLITICO . Retrieved July 28, 2019 .
^ "Fed candidate slams bank's 'Soviet' power over markets". Financial Times . Retrieved May 31, 2019 .
^ Shelton, Judy (July 16, 1999). "Global Markets Need Golden Rule". The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ Shelton, Judy (May 2015). "Gold and Government" (PDF) . Cato Institute . Retrieved February 4, 2020 .
^ "The Fed shouldn't be driving US economy, Trump advisor Judy Shelton says". December 7, 2016.
^ Timiraos, Nick; Chaney, Sarah (February 14, 2020). "Path to Confirmation Dims for Fed Nominee After Republican Objections". The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved February 17, 2020 .
^ Schneider, Howard; Dunsmuir, Lindsay (February 13, 2020). "Trump Fed nominee Shelton hits bipartisan skepticism in Senate hearing". Reuters . Retrieved February 22, 2020 .
^ "PN1422 '-- Judy Shelton '-- Federal Reserve System". Library of Congress. January 28, 2020 . Retrieved March 6, 2020 .
^ a b Freehling, Bill (November 14, 2009). "A worldview as seen from Moss Neck". The Free Lance''Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia: BH Media . Retrieved July 2, 2019 .
^ Sidersky, Robyn (April 12, 2015). "Moss Neck Manor is a hidden gem in Caroline County". The Free Lance''Star . Retrieved July 3, 2019 .
External links [ edit ]
Appearances on C-SPAN
"Judy Shelton". JSTOR.
Works by or about Judy Shelton in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
Coronavirus timeline shows politicians', media's changing rhetoric on risk of pandemic | Fox News
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 10:47
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As reporters looked on during a contentious White House briefing this week, President Trump stepped aside and played a brief video showing several media figures downplaying the coronavirus in January and February, including some personalities who now argue the president didn't act quickly enough.
Looking back, members of both parties have mud on their face for past predictions and assessments.
A timeline compiled by Fox News of coronavirus statements from journalists, world bodies, politicians and their senior advisers from January to March offers insights into how fluid and unclear the situation was. For example, Biden's top coronavirus adviser, Ron Klain, has variously praised and criticized China, and even encouraged travel to the country amid the outbreak.
The timeline also underscores the extent to which President Trump's rhetoric has changed, as he juggled a new trade deal with China and sought to project confidence even as the virus spread.
Soon after the coronavirus infected its first human in late 2019, China's government systematically hid key facts about the contagion and detained a doctor who tried to warn the public. The chronology begins here.
JanuaryJan. 4: The head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection warns that ''the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human."
Jan. 6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a "level 1 travel watch '-- the lowest of its three levels '-- for China's outbreak," according to the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. The CDC said the "cause and the transmission mode aren't yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people." The CDC also offered to send a team to China, but China declined.
Jan. 8: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares, ''Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China's increased capacity to manage new outbreaks."
Jan. 11: China reports its first coronavirus death.
Jan. 14: The WHO announces, ''Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.'' Meanwhile, according to The Associated Press, internal Chinese documents show that government officials acknowledged likely human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, and said they were following orders from the president of China to keep it under wraps.
Jan. 15: Trump and China sign "phase one" of a trade deal to rein in a historic and damaging trade war.
Jan. 17: The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security announce that travelers into the U.S. from Wuhan will undergo new screening at several major airports.
Jan. 19: The WHO hedges somewhat: ''Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown."
Jan. 22: Trump responds to whether he's concerned about a possible pandemic, ''No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine." Trump was referring to a resident from Snohomish County, Wash., who came back from China on Jan. 15 and was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Jan. 23: Vox publishes an article stating that travel bans to fight viruses "don't work." The article initially referred to the "Wuhan coronavirus," before being edited weeks later. The article's URL remains unchanged.
China seals off Wuhan, canceling plane, train and bus travel.
Residents wearing face masks purchase seafood at a wet market on Jan. 28 in Macau, China. (Getty Images)
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says in a Journal of the American Medical Association podcast that the U.S. wouldn't implement shutdowns of cities like what was occurring in China: ''There's no chance in the world that we could do that to Chicago or to New York or to San Francisco, but they're doing it. So, let's see what happens.''
Jan. 24: Trump tweets in praise of China's ''transparency." (On April 1, the Biden campaign mocked the president for the tweet, and claimed Biden "publicly" warned Trump not to trust China.)
Politico reports that the Trump administration held a briefing on the coronavirus for senators, but it was "sparsely attended" in part because it "was held on the same day as a deadline for senators to submit their impeachment questions."
''The initial thought from the Dems, I think, is that we were trying to distract from impeachment,'' a GOP Senate aide told Politico. The outlet added that a White House official "recalled feeling surprised at the 'incredibly' poor attendance, noting that it came 'even though the amount of concern expressed then was rather intense.'"
Jan. 26: "The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It's a very, very low risk to the United States," Fauci says on The CATS Roundtable. "It isn't something that the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about."
Jan. 27: The Biden campaign, including its top coronavirus adviser Ron Klain, praise China for being ''transparent'' and ''candid." Speaking to Axios, Klain asserts: "I think what you'd have to say about China is, it's been more transparent and more candid than it has been during past outbreaks, though still there's problems with transparency and candor." Even as he says there were "many" areas in which China hasn't been transparent, Klain asserts that China had helpfully released a "sequence of the virus." Klain goes on to say there isn't "any reason" for anyone to postpone essential travel to anywhere except the Wuhan area.
Jan. 28: Three days before Trump closes off most travel from China, Klain says he opposes that measure.
Jan. 30: CNN publishes a piece by Brandon Tensley entitled, "Coronavirus task force another example of Trump administration's lack of diversity." Tensley, who claims to cover the "intersection of culture and politics," was unable to offer medical analysis in the article.
The WHO declares a global health emergency, and the State Department issues advisories against traveling to China.
Jan. 31: Trump issues the "Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus." Later in the day, Biden campaigns in Iowa and tells the crowd that Americans ''need to have a president who they can trust what he says about it, that he is going to act rationally about it. ... This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria and xenophobia '' hysterical xenophobia '' and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.''
Also in the wake of the ban on Jan. 31:
An article in The New York Times quotes epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm as saying that Trump's decision to restrict travel from China was "more of an emotional or political reaction."The Washington Post runs a story quoting a Chinese official asking for "empathy" and slamming the White House for acting "in disregard of WHO recommendation against travel restrictions."Vox tweets: "Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No." The tweet was deleted weeks later.Canada's health minister Patty Hajdu, who would later say there was no reason to doubt Chinese coronavirus data, says the risk of the virus is "low" and that early-warning systems are working "exactly as they should." The "spread of the disease is contained," Hajdu claimed.Death counts indicated that 213 people had died and nearly 10,000 had been infected.FebruaryFeb. 2: "There's a virus that has infected 15 million Americans across the country and killed more than 8,200 people this season alone," CNN tweets. "It's not a new pandemic '-- it's influenza."
Meanwhile, New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweets: ''As we gear up to celebrate the #LunarNewYear in NYC, I want to assure New Yorkers that there is no reason for anyone to change their holiday plans, avoid the subway, or certain parts of the city because of #coronavirus."
Feb. 5: Over 5,000 passengers on two cruise ships in Asia are ordered into quarantine as the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus reaches 490.
The Senate acquits Trump on two counts of impeachment, in a widely expected result that dominated journalists' and politicians' attention for months.
Feb. 7: Barbot strikes again, assuring residents, "We're telling New Yorkers, go about your lives, take the subway, go out, enjoy life." City lawmakers have called for Barbot to be fired because of the comments.
Feb. 9: Mark Levine, the chair of New York City Council health committee and a Democrat, tweets: "In powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare, huge crowds gathering in NYC's Chinatown for ceremony ahead of annual #LunarNewYear parade. Chants of 'be strong Wuhan!' If you are staying away, you are missing out!"
Feb. 11: Klain, the Biden adviser, remarks that the evidence "suggests" the coronavirus won't be a "serious pandemic."
Feb. 13: "There are ZERO confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, and hundreds of Chinese restaurants that need your business!" the New York City mayor's office tweets. "There is nothing to fear. Stop by any Chinatown for lunch or dinner!"
Feb 14: France announces Europe's first coronavirus death.
Feb. 17: Fauci announces that the risk of coronavirus infection in the U.S. is "miniscule," according to USA Today. Fauci, one of the top experts in the field and a senior White House coronavirus adviser, also told the paper that people shouldn't wear masks unless they are contagious. (By April 3, Fauci appeared to endorse national stay-at-home orders.)
Feb. 18: In remarks at Joint Base Andrews, Trump states: "I think President Xi is working very hard. As you know, I spoke with him recently. He's working really hard. It's a tough problem. I think he's going to do '-- look, I've seen them build hospitals in a short period of time. I really believe he wants to get that done, and he wants to get it done fast. Yes, I think he's doing it very professionally. We're also working with him and helping him, as of the last few days, as you know." Pressed on whether he trusted China's coronavirus data, Trump responds, "Look, I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he's doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation."
Feb. 19: Iran reports two coronavirus cases '-- the country's first. Hundreds of passengers leave the Diamond Princess for the first time since the quarantine.
Feb. 23: Coronavirus infections surge in Italy and South Korea; authorities in Italy begin locking down towns.
Feb. 24: ''It's exciting to be here, especially at this time, to be able to be unified with our community,'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tells reporters as she visits San Francisco's Chinatown. ''We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people 'Come to Chinatown, here we are '-- we're, again, careful, safe '-- and come join us.'''
Also on Feb. 24, the White House submits a request to Congress for $2.5 billion in supplemental spending to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. The request includes $1.25 billion in new money, with the rest coming from unspent funds.
Feb. 28: At a campaign rally, Trump calls Democrats' criticisms of his coronavirus response "their new hoax." Biden and other Democrats then falsely accused Trump of calling the virus itself a hoax. Several fact-checkers, including The Washington Post, make clear that Trump was referring to the Democrats' response to the virus.
Feb. 29: The first coronavirus death in the U.S. is confirmed in Washington state.
MarchMar. 2: "Since I'm encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweets. "Here's the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see 'The Traitor' @FilmLinc. If 'The Wire' was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film."
Mar. 4: Barbot, the top New York City health official, declares, ''There's no indication that being in a car, being in the subways with someone who's potentially sick is a risk factor."
On CNN, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta downplay the virus.
''The flu right now is far deadlier," Cooper says. "So if you're freaked out at all about the coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu, and you can actually do something about it, and get a flu shot."
"15,000 people roughly have already died of the flu this season," Gupta responded. "Couple years ago, 60,000 people died of the flu."
Mar. 9: At a Fox News town hall, Bernie Sanders says he would not close the border, even if it were necessary to halt the spread of coronavirus. He then attacked Trump's "xenophobia."
Also on this day, Fauci remarks that going to campaign rallies may not be a bad idea: "You know, I can't comment on campaign rallies. It really depends. We are having as we all said '-- this is something in motion. This is an evolving thing. So I'm not sure what we're going to be able to say at the time we're going to have a campaign rally. If you're talking about a campaign rally tomorrow, in a place where there is no community spread, I think the judgment to have it might be a good judgment. [But] if you want to talk about large gatherings in a place you have community spread, I think that's a judgment call, and if someone decides they want to cancel it, I wouldn't publicly criticize them."
Mar. 11: Trump blocks most travel from continental Europe.
Meanwhile, Trump declares a national emergency, authorizing $50 billion in federal funds to go to the states.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Mar. 17: France imposes a nationwide lockdown. European Union leaders agree to mostly seal off the bloc for 30 days.
Mar. 23: Britain imposes a nationwide lockdown.
Mar. 24: India imposes a nationwide lockdown.
Mar. 27: A senior WHO official cuts off an interview after a reporter implies Taiwan, which is not a WHO member state, is independent of China. The official, Canadian doctor Bruce Aylward, initially pretended not to hear the question before terminating the Skype call with the reporter.
Trump signs a $2 trillion stimulus bill into law.
Mar. 30: Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. issue stay-at-home orders, joining other states. In all, approximately 265 million Americans are now under indefinite lockdown.
Did A Vaccine Experiment on US Soliders Cause "The Spanish Flu" Epidemic? - AGE OF AUTISM
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 23:49
We invite you to visit Kevin Barry's organization, First Freedoms, Inc.
By Kevin Barry, PresidentFirst Freedoms, Inc.
November 7, 2018
First in a series
The ''Spanish Flu'' killed an estimated 50-100 million people during a pandemic 1918-19. What if the story we have been told about this pandemic isn't true? What if, instead, the killer infection was neither the flu nor Spanish in origin? Newly analyzed documents reveal that the ''Spanish Flu'' may have been a military vaccine experiment gone awry. In looking back on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we need to delve deeper to solve this mystery.
Summary
The reason modern technology has not been able to pinpoint the killer influenza strain from this pandemic is because influenza was not the killer.More soldiers died during WWI from disease than from bullets.The pandemic was not flu. An estimated 95% (or higher) of the deaths were caused by bacterial pneumonia, not influenza/a virus.The pandemic was not Spanish.The first cases of bacterial pneumonia in 1918 trace back to a military base in Fort Riley, Kansas.From January 21 '' June 4, 1918, an experimental bacterial meningitis vaccine cultured in horses by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York was injected into soldiers at Fort Riley.During the remainder of 1918 as those soldiers '' often living and traveling under poor sanitary conditions '' were sent to Europe to fight, they spread bacteria at every stop between Kansas and the frontline trenches in France.One study describes soldiers ''with active infections (who) were aerosolizing the bacteria that colonized their noses and throats, while others'--often, in the same ''breathing spaces'''--were profoundly susceptible to invasion of and rapid spread through their lungs by their own or others' colonizing bacteria.'' (1)The ''Spanish Flu'' attacked healthy people in their prime. Bacterial pneumonia attacks people in their prime. Flu attacks the young, old and immunocompromised.When WW1 ended on November 11, 1918, soldiers returned to their home countries and colonial outposts, spreading the killer bacterial pneumonia worldwide.During WW1, the Rockefeller Institute also sent the antimeningococcic serum to England, France, Belgium, Italy and other countries, helping spread the epidemic worldwide.During the pandemic of 1918-19, the so-called "Spanish Flu" killed 50-100 million people, including many soldiers. Many people do not realize that disease killed far more soldiers on all sides than machine guns or mustard gas or anything else typically associated with WWI.
I have a personal connection to the Spanish Flu. Among those killed by disease in 1918-19 are members of both of my parents' families. On my father's side, his grandmother Sadie Hoyt died from pneumonia in 1918. Sadie was a Chief Yeoman in the Navy. Her death left my grandmother Rosemary and her sister Anita to be raised by their aunt. Sadie's sister Marian also joined the Navy. She died from ''the influenza'' in 1919. On my mother's side, two of her father's sisters died in childhood. All of the family members who died lived in New York City. I suspect many American families, and many families worldwide, were impacted in similar ways by the mysterious Spanish Flu.In 1918, ''influenza'' or flu was a catchall term for disease of unknown origin. It didn't carry the specific meaning it does today. It meant some mystery disease which dropped out of the sky. In fact, influenza is from the Medieval Latin ''influential'' in an astrological sense, meaning a visitation under the influence of the stars.
WHY IS WHAT HAPPENED 100 YEARS AGO IMPORTANT NOW?
Between 1900-1920, there were enormous efforts underway in the industrialized world to build a better society. I will use New York as an example to discuss three major changes to society which occured in NY during that time and their impact on mortality from infectious diseases.
1. Clean Water and Sanitation
In the late 19th century through the early 20th century, New York built an extraordinary system to bring clean water to the city from the Catskills, a system still in use today. New York City also built over 6000 miles of sewer to take away and treat waste, which protects the drinking water. The World Health Organization acknowledges the importance of clean water and sanitation in combating infectious diseases. (2)
2. Electricity
In the late 19th century through the early 20th century, New York built a power grid and wired the city so power was available in every home. Electricity allows for refrigeration. Refrigeration is an unsung hero as a public health benefit. When food is refrigerated from farm to table, the public is protected from potential infectious diseases. Cheap renewable energy is important for many reasons, including combating infectious diseases.
3. Pharmaceutical
In the late 19th century through the early 20th century, New York became the home of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University). The Institute is where the modern pharmaceutical industry was born. The Institute pioneered many of the approaches the pharmaceutical industry uses today, including the preparation of vaccine serums, for better or worse. The vaccine used in the Fort Riley experiment on soldiers was made in horses.
US Mortality Rates data from the turn of the 20th century to 1965 clearly indicates that clean water, flushing toilets, effective sewer systems and refrigerated foods all combined to effectively reduce mortality from infectious diseases BEFORE vaccines for those diseases became available.
Have doctors and the pharmaceutical manufacturers taken credit for reducing mortality from infectious disease which rightfully belongs to sandhogs, plumbers, electricians and engineers?
If hubris at the Rockefeller Institute in 1918 led to a pandemic disease which killed millions of people, what lessons can we learn and apply to 2018?
THE DISEASE WAS NOT SPANISH
While watching an episode of American Experience on PBS a few months ago, I was surprised to hear that the first cases of ''Spanish Flu'' occurred at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1918. I thought, how is it possible this historically important event could be so badly misnamed 100 years ago and never corrected?
Why ''Spanish''? Spain was one of a few countries not involved in World War I. Most of the countries involved in the war censored their press. Free from censorship concerns, the earliest press reports of people dying from disease in large numbers came from Spain. The warring countries did not want to additionally frighten the troops, so they were content to scapegoat Spain. Soldiers on all sides would be asked to cross no man's land into machine gun fire, which was frightening enough without knowing that the trenches were a disease breeding ground. Read more at First Freedoms.
The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was caused by an experimental vaccine? A conspiracy theory I hadn't heard of before... - RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 23:49
It's been a hundred years since the beginning of the great influenza pandemic of 1918. It was truly a monumental and horrific pandemic, lasting two years, infecting a half a billion people, and killing at least 50 million people worldwide, roughly 700,000 in the US, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. Known colloquially as the ''Spanish flu,'' the strain of influenza responsible for the pandemic was an H1N1 virus. The CDC notes that the pandemic was so severe that from 1917 to 1918, life expectancy in the United States fell by about 12 years, to 36.6 years for men and 42.2 years for women, also noting that there were high death rates in previously healthy people, including those between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, which was unusual because influenza typically attacks the very young and the very old more than it does young adults.
Not surprisingly, such a monumental loss of life due to influenza is an ''inconvenient'' fact of history to antivaxers who don't like the flu vaccine and argue that the flu is not a serious disease. Not surprisingly, they do everything they can to downplay the role of the influenza virus and blame those tens of millions of deaths on something other than the Spanish Flu. Alternatively, there are the oft-cited claims (by homeopaths) that homeopaths were much more successful at treating the flu during the pandemic than conventional doctors, a claim that is utter nonsense, but sure did pop up a lot during the last H1N1 pandemic in 2009, and that natural is better when it comes to influenza. After 2009, I thought I had heard all the Spanish Flu pandemic myths and conspiracy theories, but I was wrong.
The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918: Not due to the influenza virus?There is, however, one claim, one conspiracy theory, about the 1918 influenza pandemic that I had never heard before, or, if I had heard it, failed to remember it and have never blogged about it as far as I can tell. It's a claim I learned bout when I got up earlier than usual this morning to be greeted with a post on that wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism (AoA). It's by Kevin Barry, a lawyer who's helped promote the quacktastic ''CDC whistleblower'' conspiracy theory. Apparently now he's running something called First Freedoms, Inc., which advertises itself as being about ''human rights, civil rights, and religious freedoms,'' but, upon closer inspection, appears to be mostly about ''vaccine freedom,'' or the ''freedom'' for antivaxers to refuse vaccinations for their children. If you look at its menu (and look at your peril, as the website appears to have a misconfigured security certificate that will produce an warning message in your browser'--the things I do for my readers!), you'll see that it's about the Italian ''human rights'' complaint about vaccines, the ''CDC whistleblower'' conspiracy theory, the challenge to the law banning nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates in California, and the like. In any case, Barry's article is entitled Did A Vaccine Experiment on US Soldiers Cause ''The Spanish Flu'' Epidemic?
I had two questions upon reading that title. First, how is it that I haven't heard of or don't remember this conspiracy theory before? Second, Betteridge's law of headlines surely applies here. In any event, the AoA link only has the first half of Barry's quacktastic post; the rest can be found on his First Freedoms, Inc. website (FirstFreedoms.org, again, go there at your peril and only if you know what you're doing). I'll quote liberally as needed from the section on the actual website.
The article starts with this question:
The ''Spanish Flu'' killed an estimated 50-100 million people during a pandemic 1918-19. What if the story we have been told about this pandemic isn't true? What if, instead, the killer infection was neither the flu nor Spanish in origin? Newly analyzed documents reveal that the ''Spanish Flu'' may have been a military vaccine experiment gone awry. In looking back on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we need to delve deeper to solve this mystery.
No. Actually we don't. This is utter nonsense. But it's nonsense that's useful to unpack, because to those not versed in influenza and the history of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, it can sound plausible, convincing even. Let's take at the absolute dumbest bit of the conspiracy theory first. It's not the first thing that Barry mentions. Perhaps he realizes that it's so dumb that only true believers would accept it as the opening gambit and that it could only sound even partially plausible after other elements of the conspiracy theory were woven. First, he starts with something that is factual, but presented'...oddly:
While watching an episode of American Experience on PBS a few months ago, I was surprised to hear that the first cases of ''Spanish Flu'' occurred at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1918. I thought, how is it possible this historically important event could be so badly misnamed 100 years ago and never corrected?
Why ''Spanish''? Spain was one of a few countries not involved in World War I. Most of the countries involved in the war censored their press. Free from censorship concerns, the earliest press reports of people dying from disease in large numbers came from Spain. The warring countries did not want to additionally frighten the troops, so they were content to scapegoat Spain. Soldiers on all sides would be asked to cross no man's land into machine gun fire, which was frightening enough without knowing that the trenches were a disease breeding ground.
This is more or less correct. The pandemic started as World War I was entering its final phases. You can even go to Wikipedia and it will tell you that wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Papers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain, including the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII. This selective reporting created a false impression of Spain as having been especially hard hit, thereby giving rise to the pandemic's nickname, ''Spanish Flu''. If you don't trust Wikipedia, here's a good timeline from Popular Mechanics:
Though dubbed the Spanish flu, after millions of early deaths in Spain, the geographic origin of the disease remains unknown. Some hypothesize that it may have been circulating around the world for a few years before developing into a pandemic in 1918. The first confirmed outbreak in the United States, if not the world, was at an army base in northeastern Kansas on March 11, 1918. Just hours after the first soldier reported sick, dozens more began pouring into the infirmary. By the end of the day, hundreds of soldiers had fallen ill. Within a week 500 had come down with the fever.
The flu quickly spread across the country, where 2 million troops were mobilizing for the war in Europe. The soldiers carried the flu with them when they shipped out, introducing the virus to France, England, Germany and Spain. ''King George's Grand Fleet could not even put to sea for three weeks in May, with 10,313 men sick,'' reports Gina Kolata in her book Flu. The virus jumped to China, India, Japan and the rest of Asia. By summer it seemed to have played itself out.
Other sources note that the disease appears to have been circulating in Europe as early as 1917. In any event, what is described above was the first wave. Beginning in September, there was a second wave that appeared at Camp Devens, a US Army training camp near Boston, and at a naval base in Boston. This wave was worse than the first peaking from September through November and killing over 100,000 Americans in October alone. The third and final wave began in early 1919 but, while serious, wasn't as lethal as the second wave. In the US at least, the pandemic finally subsided in the summer of 1919.
Of course, to Barry the reason that the Spanish Flu is still often called the Spanish Flu has more to do with the powers-that-be misleading the sheeple as to the true cause of the disease:
It is possible that one of the reasons the Spanish Flu has never been corrected is that it helps disguise the origin of the pandemic. If the origin of the pandemic involved a vaccine experiment on US soldiers, then the US may prefer calling it Spanish Flu instead of The Fort Riley Bacteria of 1918, or something similar. The Spanish Flu started at the location this experimental bacterial vaccine was given making it the prime suspect as the source of the bacterial infections which killed so many.
It would be much more difficult to maintain the marketing mantra of ''vaccines save lives'' if a vaccine experiment originating in the United States during the years of primitive manufacturing caused the deaths of 50-100 million people.
''Vaccines save lives '... except we may have killed 50-100 million people in 1918-19'' is a far less effective sales slogan than the overly simplistic ''vaccines save lives.''
This, of course, brings us to Kevin Barry's conspiracy theory, which is that a vaccine for meningitis being tested at the time was the real cause of the pandemic disease (which, he claims, was not influenza, much less the H1N1 strain) that swept through the world and killed tens of millions in less than two years. Before Barry really gets going with his conspiracy theory, he trots out several of the usual antivaccine tropes, such as the the claim that mortality was decreasing from various vaccine-preventable diseases, thanks to clean water and sanitation. Of course, no one, least of all public health officials, downplays the importance of sanitation and clean, potable water in reducing the incidence of a number of diseases. For preventing the spread of waterborne diseases like cholera, for instance, clean water is essential. But many other vaccine-preventable diseases have little to do with sanitation. Measles, for instance, is primarily spread through air droplets from the respiration and coughing of infected individuals and is incredibly contagious. Only a vaccine can effectively block the spread of measles through a population.
Spanish Flu: Of course it had to be a vaccine!Let's delve into Barry's conspiracy theory further, where first he asserts that the disease that killed so many was not the flu or a virus, but bacterial. Adding to that, Barry next dives into a vat of burning stupid so intense and deep that we'd better hope that global warming doesn't cause its levels to rise any more than they already have:
Capitalizing on the ''flu'' part of Spanish flu helped vaccine manufacturers procure billion dollar checks from governments, even though scientists knew at the time that bacterial pneumonia was the real killer. It is not my opinion that bacterial pneumonia was the real killer '' thousands of autopsies confirm this fact. According to a 2008 National Institute of Health paper, bacterial pneumonia was the killer in a minimum of 92.7% of the 1918-19 autopsies reviewed. It is likely higher than 92.7%. The researchers looked at more than 9000 autopsies, and ''there were no negative (bacterial) lung culture results''.
'''... In the 68 higher-quality autopsy series, in which the possibility of unreported negative cultures could be excluded, 92.7% of autopsy lung cultures were positive for '‰¥1 bacterium. '... in one study of approximately 9000 subjects who were followed from clinical presentation with influenza to resolution or autopsy, researchers obtained, with sterile technique, cultures of either pneumococci or streptococci from 164 of 167 lung tissue samples. There were 89 pure cultures of pneumococci; 19 cultures from which only streptococci were recovered; 34 that yielded mixtures of pneumococci and/or streptococci; 22 that yielded a mixture of pneumococci, streptococci, and other organisms (prominently pneumococci and nonhemolytic streptococci); and 3 that yielded nonhemolytic streptococci alone. There were no negative lung culture results.'' (3)
Pneumococci or streptococci were found in ''164 of (the) 167 lung tissue samples'' autopsied. That is 98.2%. Bacteria was the killer.
Barry seems unaware that bacterial pneumonia is often the secondary cause of death in influenza; indeed, the majority of individuals who died of influenza during the pandemic succumbed to secondary bacterial infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, H. influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, and other organisms That's because influenza weakens the lung's defenses against pathogenic bacteria, which then superinfect the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Indeed, scientists have pointed out many times that bacterial pneumonia complicating influenza is a well-recognized severe manifestation of influenza and that it counted for many deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic.
In any event, this particular review of the subject notes that in the 1918 pandemic:
Experts now support the sequential infection hypothesis and believe that bacteria were secondary invaders to pulmonary tissues weakened by the influenza virus. They suggest that the scale and range of bacterial invaders was random, and in the case of large group outbreaks, depended on the occurrence of particular bacteria in the respiratory tract of persons at the time of infection and on their occurrence in contacts. The fatal outcome of influenza pneumonia was therefore determined partly by virally depressed local and general pulmonary resistance and partly by the virulence and nature of the invading bacteria. Brundage explains the high transmission rates in military camps and other crowded settings as due to 'cloud adults' '' affected persons who increased the aerosolisation of colonising strains of bacteria to other susceptible persons. Military personnel were deemed to be highly susceptible because of their closed community style living and their physically weakened state. In American civilian populations, attack rates and deaths were similar among younger adults and overall were approximately 28% for influenza with 30% of associated pneumonias being fatal.
Also remember that, at the time, it was not yet known which organism caused influenza, as the flu virus wouldn't be identified until 1933. However, influenza had a distinct clinical course that allowed doctors to identify it with high accuracy in infected individuals, and it's not as though nothing was known about influenza even 100 years ago. Quite a bit was. Indeed, by the end of 1918, scientists had discovered that influenza was not due to a strain of bacteria, as physician/bacteriologist Richard Friedrich Johannes Pfeiffer had reported two decades prior, but likely to viruses. They did this using the technique of the day, which involved filtering sputum from infected individuals with filters small enough to exclude bacteria but allow smaller viruses to pass and then testing that fluid by infecting volunteers. (Yes, that's how they did it.) Also, in 2005 the 1918 virus was identified from old clinical samples and completely sequenced.
So where do vaccines come into this conspiracy theory? Barry is more than happy to elaborate:
When the United States declared war in April 1917, the fledgling Pharmaceutical industry had something they had never had before '' a large supply of human test subjects in the form of the US military's first draft. Pre-war in 1917, the US Army was 286,000 men. Post-war in 1920, the US army disbanded, and had 296,000 men. During the war years 1918-19, the US Army ballooned to 6,000,000 men, with 2,000,000 men being sent overseas. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research took advantage of this new pool of human guinea pigs to conduct vaccine experiments.
And:
Between January 21st and June 4th of 1918, Dr. Gates reports on an experiment where soldiers were given 3 doses of a bacterial meningitis vaccine. Those conducting the experiment on the soldiers were just spitballing dosages of a vaccine serum made in horses.
The vaccination regime was designed to be 3 doses. 4,792 men received the first dose, but only 4,257 got the 2nd dose (down 11%), and only 3702 received all three doses (down 22.7%). A total of 1,090 men were not there for the 3rd dose. What happened to these soldiers? Were they shipped East by train from Kansas to board a ship to Europe? Were they in the Fort Riley hospital? Dr. Gates' report doesn't tell us.
An article accompanying the American Experience broadcast I watched sheds some light on where these 1,090 men might be. Gates began his experiments in January 1918. By March of that year, ''100 men a day'' were entering the infirmary at Fort Riley. Are some of these the men missing from Dr. Gates' report '' the ones who did not get the 2nd or 3rd dose?
'''... Shortly before breakfast on Monday, March 11, the first domino would fall signaling the commencement of the first wave of the 1918 influenza. Company cook Albert Gitchell reported to the camp infirmary with complaints of a ''bad cold.'' Right behind him came Corporal Lee W. Drake voicing similar complaints. By noon, camp surgeon Edward R. Schreiner had over 100 sick men on his hands, all apparently suffering from the same malady'...'' (5)
Gates does report that several of the men in the experiment had flu-like symptoms: coughs, vomiting and diarrhea after receiving the vaccine. These symptoms are a disaster for men living in barracks, travelling on trains to the Atlantic coast, sailing to Europe, and living and fighting in trenches. The unsanitary conditions at each step of the journey are an ideal environment for a contagious disease like bacterial pneumonia to spread.
Holy confusing correlation with causation, Batman! Yes, it was in March when the ''Spanish Flu'' first hit the recruits in Fort Riley. So why didn't it start to happen in late January, when this vaccine was first administered, if the vaccine was the cause of the disease? Did it also ever occur to Barry that the reason the soldiers who didn't get their second and third course of the vaccination became ill was because that was right when the flu was roaring through the barracks at Fort Riley and interrupting their receiving another dose of vaccine?
But, you say, what about all the outbreaks in Europe? Even if Barry's fantastical conspiracy theory were true, this would only account for how the ''Spanish Flu'' disease arose in the US and spread through the military rapidly, before making the jump to the civilian population. Of course, Barry has an explanation:
The United States was not the only country in possession of the Rockefeller Institute's experimental bacterial vaccine. A 1919 report from the Institute states: ''Reference should be made that before the United States entered the war (in April 1917) the Institute had resumed the preparation of antimeningococcic serum, in order to meet the requests of England, France, Belgium Italy and other countries.'' The same report states: ''In order to meet the suddenly increased demand for the curative serums worked out at the Institute, a special stable for horses was quickly erected '...'' (8)
Yep. Conveniently enough, an antimeningococcal serum was being sent to Europe. Of course, I can't help but note that this was a serum raised in horses and was thus not a vaccine. Barry can't even tell the difference between a serum and a vaccine!. As for the experimental meningococcal vaccine itself, the paper to which Barry refers (and whose experiments the scientifically clueless Barry describes as ''careless'') shows quite clearly that the serum used for the vaccine was heated to 65°C for 30 minutes to kill the bacteria and inactivate the autolytic ferment, noting that ''this temperature does not impair the antigenic properties of the organism and the intact cocci are less toxic than their autolyzed products. In other words, unless these scientists were utterly incompetent, there's no way for there to have been living bacteria in the serum. Even if there were, it's unlikely that every lot would have living bacteria in it. Barry also conveniently forgets that several species of bacteria were associated with secondary bacterial pneumonia complicating influenza, with meningococci being fairly uncommon. Heck, the very reference that Barry cited regarding secondary bacterial infections in the context of the flu didn't even mention meningococcus!
Add to that American troops arriving in the trenches and living in cramped quarters with close contact with each other (or so Barry continues to argue), and you have the perfect environment for influenza to spread. It's just that Barry argues that it's also the perfect environment for bacterial pneumonia to spread, which is true but rather irrelevant. Doctors knew enough at the time to figure out by early 1919 at the latest that it wasn't bacterial pneumonia causing the pandemic, and, even if they hadn't, we now know enough about influenza from further studies, later pandemics, and from sequencing the damned genome of the influenza virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic that it was the H1N1 strain of influenza virus that caused the pandemic. Barry is, quite simply, so wrong that he's not even wrong.
Conspiracy piled on conspiracyAs I neared the end of his epic bit of conspiracy mongering, Barry actually made me laugh out loud at his nonsensical silliness as I read the final passages of his take. Let's unpack his last few claims:
In 1918-19, the vaccine industry experimented on soldiers, likely with disastrous results. In 2018, the vaccine industry experiments on infants every day. The vaccine schedule has never been tested as it is given. The results of the experiment are in: 1 in 7 American children is in some form of special education and over 50% have some form of chronic illness. (12)
Yes, the vaccine industry used soldiers as experimental subjects for vaccines in 1918. No, the results were not disastrous, as the vaccine did not cause the Spanish Flu, no matter how much Barry might want to argue otherwise. Note his pivot, though, to falsely represent the current vaccine schedule, which is evidence-based, with experimentation on soldiers 100 years ago, and to falsely link that ''experimentation'' to an ''epidemic'' of neurodevelopmental disorders and chronic illness, a standard antivax trope.
In 1918-19, there was no safety follow up after vaccines were delivered. In 2018, there is virtually no safety follow up after a vaccine is delivered. Who exactly gave you that flu shot at Rite Aid? Do you have their cell number of the store employee if something goes wrong?
This is, of course, a fetid load of dingo's kidneys. There are both passive and active surveillance systems to detect adverse events due to vaccines, as I've discussed many times. Many states have systems that require anyone administering a vaccine to record it in a state database. Michigan has one.
Next up:
1n 1918-19, there was no liability to the manufacturer for injuries or death caused by vaccines. In 2018, there is no liability for vaccine manufacturers for injuries or death caused by vaccines, which was formalized in 1986. (13)
This is an even more fetid load of dingo's kidneys. It's also rather silly. After all, he's claiming that ''no liability'' for vaccine manufacturers was formalized in 1986 with the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act but that before that there was no liability. Neither are true. All the NCVIA did was require that those who think they are victims of vaccine injury use a special Vaccine Court first. They can still sue in federal court if they are unsuccessful in obtaining compensation from the Vaccine Court.
Next up:
In 1918-19, there was no independent investigative follow up challenging the official story that ''Spanish Flu'' was some mystery illness which dropped from the sky. I suspect that many of those at the Rockefeller Institute knew what happened, and that many of the doctors who administered the vaccines to the troops knew what happened, but those people are long dead. In 2018, the Pharmaceutical industry is the largest campaign donor to politicians and the largest advertiser in all forms of media, so not much has changed over 100 years. This story will likely be ignored by mainstream media because their salaries are paid by pharmaceutical advertising.
This is paranoid conspiracy mongering at its most loony. Start with the strawman that the ''Spanish Flu'' was some mystery illness that dropped from the sky. It might have felt that way when the flu first hit in 1918, but there has been a century of investigation since then, including the identification sequencing of the H1N1 influenza virus responsible for the 1918 pandemic. The reason Barry's ''story'' is being ignored by mainstream media is that the media tend to recognize a crackpot when they see one.
Finally:
The next time you hear someone say ''vaccines save lives'' please remember that the true story of the cost/benefit of vaccines is much more complicated than their three word slogan. Also remember that vaccines may have killed 50-100 million people in 1918-19. If true, those costs greatly outweighed any benefit, especially considering that plumbers, electricians, sandhogs and engineers did, and continue to do, the real work which reduces mortality from disease.
No, no, no, no, no. Vaccines did not kill 50-100 million people a hundred years ago. As I've explained above, Barry is peddling a truly quacky conspiracy theory in the service of his antivaccine beliefs. No one is denying that sanitation and clean water contribute greatly to public health. However, vaccines also contribute mightily and are arguably the single greatest public health intervention that has saved the greatest number of human lives of any medical or public health intervention. Barry is nothing more than an antivaccine conspiracy crank.
Flu Epidemic of 1918 - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical Society
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 23:44
In 1918 the United States was involved in World War I, but was also dealing with the outbreak of a deadly influenza epidemic. The first cases of the outbreak were recorded in Haskell County, Kansas, and Fort Riley, Kansas, where young men were being hospitalized for severe flu-like symptoms. A local doctor sent a report to the Public Health Service, but no one was sent to investigate the situation. On March 4, 1918, an outbreak appeared at Fort Riley, with as many as 500 soldiers hospitalized within a week. Within a month, however, the number of patients dwindled and it seemed that the flu had passed its course. Many of these soldiers were sent to Europe to help fight in World War I. While in Europe the disease mutated and became deadly. By May many reports of soldiers falling ill were reaching the U.S. It did not take long for the disease to spread from the soldiers to the civilian population of Europe, and then around the world. Few areas remained unaffected, and there were recorded outbreaks in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, as well as the Arctic and remote Pacific Islands.
The outbreak of 1918 was named the Spanish influenza. Although inaccurate, historians believe this name came from the lack of media censure in Spain when the disease hit. The virus mutated again and deaths were being reported in Boston, Massachusetts, by August. In September outbreaks were reported in California and Texas. By October 1918, 24 countries had reported cases of influenza, and many had several deaths. The Spanish influenza was different from other strains of the flu because of how quickly it passed from person to person and the age group it targeted. Most flu strains affect the very young, the elderly, and those without strong immune systems. The main victims of the Spanish influenza were aged from 20 to 40 and were typically healthy individuals.
In Fall 1918 the disease made its way back to Kansas and government officials were quick to take action against the spread of the disease. Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine was the secretary of the state board of health and began a campaign to keep the public in Kansas well aware and educated about the flu and what people could do to prevent it. However, despite these measures there were still hundreds of deaths reported in Kansas, and eventually health officers were forced to close individual cities. By closing schools, public gatherings, theaters, church services, and limiting the number of people in a store at a time, the government officials in Kansas hoped to limit the outbreak and prevent more people from becoming sick. Other countries were not so lucky, and although there is no official tally, it is estimated that the disease killed between 16 and 30 million people worldwide and was responsible for 675,000 deaths in the United States alone. The Spanish influenza was responsible for twice the number of casualties (both killed and wounded) of the United States in World War I, which totaled near 323,000.
A third and final wave of the epidemic hit in the spring of 1919, and many reported that it was so severe that people could wake up healthy and be dead by nightfall. By the end of spring the number of patients had dropped enough that officials lifted bans from their cities and states and people could resume school and church. Since the disease occurred at the same time as World War I, the epidemic was overshadowed. Although the epidemic only lasted a year, it left a large mark, both in America and worldwide.
Entry: Flu Epidemic of 1918
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: February 2020
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.
Facebook 'Fact Checker' Worked At Wuhan Biolab; Ruled Out Virus-Leak While 'Debunking' Articles | Zero Hedge
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 20:14
A Facebook fact checker who has 'debunked' articles suggesting that COVID-19 may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has a giant conflict of interest; she worked at the institute - which is now suspected of accidentally leaking the hyper-virulent virus which has killed over 130,000 people and cast the global economy into chaos.
Danielle Anderson, who works at Duke University's NUS Medical School lab in Singapore, also contributes to Science Feedback - which Facebook has been using to slap "False Information" labels on articles claiming that COVID-19 may have originated at the Wuhan institute - where Anderson worked with bat coronavirus.
A quick search of Anderson's publications reveals no fewer than nine collaborations with Dr. Peng Zhou - a Wuhan scientist experimenting on bat coronavirus (the mention of whom may result in a Twitter ban).
If you follow the info, you will find the Facebook fake fact-checker on the China Wuhan lab is a scientist who works/worked at China's Wuhan lab the past two years and says it is impossible that they would be sloppy because they are very careful! ðŸ‚ðŸ@Facebook https://t.co/Ldvu7He82v
'-- Sharyl Attkisson🕵¸''‚¸ (@SharylAttkisson) April 16, 2020Anderson has been adamant that the lab adheres to the highest standards of safety, and that COVID-19 simply couldn't have accidentally been leaked by her colleagues.
"I have worked in this exact laboratory at various times for the past 2 years. I can personally attest to the strict control and containment measures implemented while working there," Anderson writes in one such 'debunking' of a New York Post article that claims "China [is having] a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong" while Science Feedback cast doubt on the Post's claim that "evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
Except, they were carrying out SARS-CoV-2 research at that exact lab, according to new reports in the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Mail and Fox News.
An April 9 report in the Journal reveals that COVID-19 is genetically identical to a coronavirus found in a horseshoe bat "collected by hazmat-clad scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan."
While a Wednesday report from Fox News reveals that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that "patient zero" was an employee who became infected before spreading it throughout the community, according to 'multiple sources who have been briefed on the details.'
And while Anderson was busy covering for her corona-labmates with Facebook debunkings implicating the WIV, she went on national television to explain that the virus could have only come from outside the lab.
Anderson further peddled the now-debunked wet-market theory in a paper she co-wrote in The Lancet, which reads: "While recognising the tremendous effort by the China CDC team in the early response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak, the small number of team members trained in animal health was probably one of the reasons for the delay in identifying an intermediate animal(s), which is likely to have caused the spread of the virus in a region of the market where wildlife animals were traded and subsequently found to be heavily contaminated. Unfortunately, what animal(s) was involved in transmission remains unknown."
Any suggestion to the contrary is now deemed 'False Information' by Facebook, thanks to the highly conflicted Danielle Anderson and crew over at Science Feedback.
BREAKING: Drudge Report Appears to Have Been Sold | Sparta Report
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 19:46
It's no surprise to conservatives that Drudge Report has been a little different these past few months. The front page news site has taken a decidedly nevertrumper turn with extremely slanted coverage of President Trump and spreading ''doom porn'' for Republicans who still go to the site.
Rasmussen Reports stated this morning that there are rumors that Matt Drudge has sold the site and is in the final stages of the sale:
Well Matt Drudge seems to have confirmed it with his Twitter account homepage. Pay close attention to his bio:
[An astute reader noted that there a site referenced here was a fan site and not a site owned by Drudge or the Drudge Report. The Sparta Report apologizes and is putting NWC in timeout. On the upside, this puts us in the same league as the MSM in publishing FAKE NEWS '-- minus the apology for making a mistake, of course]
Back in August, Buzzfeed News mentioned Drudge was making major changes to his advertising. Some Twitter users have questioned whether the company in charge of the advertising may have actually bought the whole thing. The key bit:
During that period, Drudge cast off his advertising representative of close to 20 years, Intermarkets, in favor of a new and unknown company, Granite Cubed. It has no record in the digital ad industry, was only registered as a company in March of this year, and lists no staff or owners on its websites. Yet it just landed one of the biggest websites in the US.
''Any time a 20-year relationship comes to an end is certainly a surprising turn of events,'' said Jay Friedman, president of Goodway Group, a digital agency that specializes in programmatic media buying.
Corporate records show that Granite Cubed is owned by Margaret Otto. She and her husband, Adrian, have a business association with the Drudge family that goes back years. The couple acquired Refdesk, a reference website founded by Bob Drudge, Matt's father, in 2017. They also operated a company that began hosting the Drudge Report in 1999 and later added Breitbart as a customer. (The couple did not answer questions about whether they still own that hosting company or if it's still hosting Drudge or Breitbart.)
Adrian Otto is the technical director of Google Cloud. He told BuzzFeed News he is not involved with Granite Cubed. Upon joining Google in 2017 from Rackspace, he said, he ''stopped operating [his] other business interests'' and is no longer involved with ''hosting duties'' for other websites. Otto was previously listed as the technical contact in the domain registration of breitbart.com, and was thanked by name in the foreword to Andrew Breitbart's book about Hollywood.
Citizen Free Press has more, including details on Daniel Halper, who Drudge hired for the site and who was previously involved with'... The Weekly Standard.
If #NeverTrump is now in control of the Drudge Report, that would go a long way towards explaining the left-leaning editorial slant in recent months. I wonder if they planned to keep the sale secret in the hopes of using Drudge Report to influence the 2020 election and turn Republicans against Trump.
This post was last modified on December 12, 2019 7:50 PM
COVID-19: Genetic network analysis provides 'snapshot' of pandemic origins -- ScienceDaily
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 15:46
Researchers from Cambridge, UK, and Germany have reconstructed the early "evolutionary paths" of COVID-19 in humans -- as infection spread from Wuhan out to Europe and North America -- using genetic network techniques.
By analysing the first 160 complete virus genomes to be sequenced from human patients, the scientists have mapped some of the original spread of the new coronavirus through its mutations, which creates different viral lineages.
"There are too many rapid mutations to neatly trace a COVID-19 family tree. We used a mathematical network algorithm to visualise all the plausible trees simultaneously," said geneticist Dr Peter Forster, lead author from the University of Cambridge.
"These techniques are mostly known for mapping the movements of prehistoric human populations through DNA. We think this is the first time they have been used to trace the infection routes of a coronavirus like COVID-19."
The team used data from virus genomes sampled from across the world between 24 December 2019 and 4 March 2020. The research revealed three distinct "variants" of COVID-19, consisting of clusters of closely related lineages, which they label 'A', 'B' and 'C'.
Forster and colleagues found that the closest type of COVID-19 to the one discovered in bats -- type 'A', the "original human virus genome" -- was present in Wuhan, but surprisingly was not the city's predominant virus type.
Mutated versions of 'A' were seen in Americans reported to have lived in Wuhan, and a large number of A-type viruses were found in patients from the US and Australia.
Wuhan's major virus type, 'B', was prevalent in patients from across East Asia. However, the variant didn't travel much beyond the region without further mutations -- implying a "founder event" in Wuhan, or "resistance" against this type of COVID-19 outside East Asia, say researchers.
The 'C' variant is the major European type, found in early patients from France, Italy, Sweden and England. It is absent from the study's Chinese mainland sample, but seen in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
The new analysis also suggests that one of the earliest introductions of the virus into Italy came via the first documented German infection on January 27, and that another early Italian infection route was related to a "Singapore cluster."
Importantly, the researchers say that their genetic networking techniques accurately traced established infection routes: the mutations and viral lineages joined the dots between known cases.
As such, the scientists argue that these "phylogenetic" methods could be applied to the very latest coronavirus genome sequencing to help predict future global hot spots of disease transmission and surge.
"Phylogenetic network analysis has the potential to help identify undocumented COVID-19 infection sources, which can then be quarantined to contain further spread of the disease worldwide," said Forster, a fellow of the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research at Cambridge, as well as the University's Institute of Continuing Education.
The findings are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The software used in the study, as well as classifications for over 1,000 coronavirus genomes and counting, is available free at http://www.fluxus-technology.com.
Variant 'A', most closely related to the virus found in both bats and pangolins, is described as "the root of the outbreak" by researchers. Type 'B' is derived from 'A', separated by two mutations, then 'C' is in turn a "daughter" of 'B'.
Researchers say the localisation of the 'B' variant to East Asia could result from a "founder effect": a genetic bottleneck that occurs when, in the case of a virus, a new type is established from a small, isolated group of infections.
Forster argues that there is another explanation worth considering. "The Wuhan B-type virus could be immunologically or environmentally adapted to a large section of the East Asian population. It may need to mutate to overcome resistance outside East Asia. We seem to see a slower mutation rate in East Asia than elsewhere, in this initial phase."
He added: "The viral network we have detailed is a snapshot of the early stages of an epidemic, before the evolutionary paths of COVID-19 become obscured by vast numbers of mutations. It's like catching an incipient supernova in the act."
Since today's PNAS study was conducted, the research team has extended its analysis to 1,001 viral genomes. While yet to be peer-reviewed, Forster says the latest work suggests that the first infection and spread among humans of COVID-19 occurred between mid-September and early December.
The phylogenetic network methods used by researchers -- allowing the visualisation of hundreds of evolutionary trees simultaneously in one simple graph -- were pioneered in New Zealand in 1979, then developed by German mathematicians in the 1990s.
These techniques came to the attention of archaeologist Professor Colin Renfrew, a co-author of the new PNAS study, in 1998. Renfrew went on to establish one of the first archaeogenetics research groups in the world at the University of Cambridge.
Clips
VIDEO - Phil Murphy Wasn't Thinking of Bill Of Rights' in COVID Decree
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 07:41
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ) said he ''wasn't thinking of the Bill of Rights'' when he issued social distancing orders that barred mass religious gatherings to stop the possible community transmission of the coronavirus.
Murphy made his comments Wednesday night on Tucker Carlson Tonight explaining how his decision prioritized immediate action to be taken to stop the outbreak in a state that has become a the second-largest hotspot in the nation for Covid-19.
''So, you made that decision, and as I noted before, 15 congregants at a synagogue in New Jersey were arrested and charged for being in a synagogue together,'' Carlson said. ''Now, the Bill of Rights, as you well know, protects Americans, enshrines their right to practice their religion as they see fit and congregate together to assemble peacefully.''
''By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?'' the Fox News host then asked.
''That's above my pay grade, Tucker,'' the governor fired back. ''So, I wasn't thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all '-- first of all, we went to the scientists who said people have to stay away from each other.''
Carlson interjected: ''I can tell'' at the Murphy's comment about the Bill of Rights.
Murphy elaborated: ''That's the best thing we can do to break the back of the curve of this virus that leads to lower hospitalization and ultimately fatalities.''
Re-phrasing the question, Carlson upped the ante and outright claimed that Murphy's decree was unconstitutional: ''How do you have the authority to order something that so clearly contravenes the Bill of Rights of the United States? The U.S. Constitution, where do you get the authority to do that?''
''Well, here is the thing. We know we need to stay away from each other, number one. Number two, we do have broad authority within the state,'' Murphy said, alluding to the fact that churches, synagogues, and mosques must regularly comply with numerous state and local ordinances like fire codes, which also put public safety limits on how religious groups congregate. ''Number three, we would never do that without coordinating, discussing, and hashing it out with the leaders, the variety of the leaders of the faith of New Jersey. We are among, if not the most diverse state'...''
Not satisfied with that nuanced answer, Carlson asked the governor the same question for the third time.
''There is a deeper question here'...I'm just going to ask you one last time because it's important. I'm sure you've thought about this. You can't just come as the governor of a state, tell people who they can talk to when and where because the Constitution of the United States upon which all of this is based prohibits you from doing that, so you clearly decided that you could do it,'' the Fox News host riffed.
''Did you consult an attorney about this customer because this is a legal question as well as a medical one, isn't it?'' Carlson asked.
''I don't go to the men's room without consulting an attorney, so I guarantee you we did that,'' Murphy joked ahead of sharing a story about how he called up Newark, N.J. Cardinal Joe Tobin to voice concern about the risk of drive-through Holy Communion, which the governor noted had led to an outbreak via an asymptomatic priest in one community '-- precisely the threat that he was warning about.
Watch above, via Fox News.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]
VIDEO - Gov. Whitmer responds to "Stay at Home" Protest - YouTube
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 07:38
VIDEO - Barnaby Joyce raises privacy concerns over COVID-19 tracing app - YouTube
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 07:00
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Sun, 19 Apr 2020 05:37
VIDEO-CDC reviewing 'stunning' universal testing results from Boston homeless shelter
Sun, 19 Apr 2020 00:09
BOSTON '-- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now ''actively looking into'' results from universal COVID-19 testing at Pine Street Inn homeless shelter.
Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.
''It was like a double knockout punch. The number of positives was shocking, but the fact that 100 percent of the positives had no symptoms was equally shocking,'' said Dr. Jim O'Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which provides medical care at the city's shelters.
O'Connell said that the findings have changed the future of COVID-19 screenings at Boston's homeless shelters.
''All the screening we were doing before this was based on whether you had a fever above 100.4 and whether you had symptoms,'' said O'Connell. ''How much of the COVID virus is being passed by people who don't even know they have it?''
The 146 people who tested positive were immediately moved to two different temporary isolation facilities in Boston. According to O'Connell, only one of those patients needed hospital care, and many continue to show no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now "actively looking into" results from universal COVID-19 testing at Pine Street Inn homeless shelter.
''If we did universal testing among the general population, would these numbers be similar?'' said Lyndia Downie, president and executive director at the Pine Street Inn. ''I think there are no many asymptomatic people right now. We just don't know. We don't have enough data on universal testing to understand how many asymptomatic people are contagious.''
Hundreds of tests are now set to be conducted at additional Boston homeless shelters in the coming days.
''It tells you, you don't know who's at risk. You don't know what you need to do to contain the virus if you don't actually have the details or facts,'' said Marty Martinez, Boston's chief of Health and Human Services.
About 250 people are expected to be tested on Thursday and Friday at the men's Southampton Street shelter run by Boston Public Health Commission.
''Our goal within the next three or four days is to test everybody so we have a good understanding of who has it and who doesn't,'' added Martinez.
More than 900 isolation beds have been set up locally for people who are homeless. The majority of those beds have not yet been used, but local and state health officials aren't sure if that could change after more testing is complete.
(C) 2020 (C) 2020 Cox Media Group
VIDEO-Mayor Bill de Blasio on Twitter: "How do you report places that aren't enforcing social distancing? It's simple: just snap a photo and text it to 311-692. #AskMyMayor https://t.co/WQdCcVf1Rl" / Twitter
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 23:47
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VIDEO-Trump Says China Should Face Consequences For Knowingly Spreading Coronavirus, Unless It Was a 'Mistake'
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 23:28
President Donald Trump held his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Saturday speaking partially of the virus itself, partly hammering away at "fake news" and one New York Times reporter, and a good chunk of time criticizing China and how it handled the outbreak of COVID-19.
Asked whether there should be consequences to China if it was responsible for all of the virus spread, Trump said sure, unless it was a "mistake."
"If they were knowingly responsible, then certainly," Trump said. "But if they made a mistake, a mistake is a mistake is a mistake."
Trump did not indicate what those consequences would be, but said China "made many mistakes" along the way, and that China was against the United States closing off Chinese travelers in January once the virus began its spread. He said "this crisis could have been stopped in China."
"They didn't like the idea of closing off our country. They said it was a bad thing to do, actually, and they've since taken that back," Trump told reporters and TV audience. "But it was a very lucky thing that we did it. Very lucky. We would have had numbers that were very significantly greater. [Dr. Anthony] Fauci said that. He said it would have been very significantly greater had we not that.
"But it's still a very depressing subject, because there's a lot of death. If it were stopped very early on, at the source, before it started blowing into these proportions, you have 184 countries that would have been in a lot better shape."
Coronavirus cases have topped 2.3 million worldwide, with nearly 160,000 deaths around the globe by April 18. The United States leads all countries in both cases (734,000) and deaths (38,000).
Trump said the United States is "getting back."
About 10 minutes before that, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx displayed a series of graphs that showed a flattening of the virus curve in major hot spots and metropolitan areas in the United States. After that, she displayed a graph that showed the mortality rates of countries around the world. Belgium was the leader with a 45.2 percent mortality rate of coronavirus patients while the United States showed 11.24 percent. At the bottom of the graph was China, which showed 0.33 percent. (Note: China was the only country with an asterisk next to it)
"I put China on there so you could see how basically unrealistic this could be," Birx said. "When highly-developed health care delivery systems of the United Kingdom and France and Belgium, Italy and Spain, with extraordinary doctors and nurses and equipment, have case mortality rates [percentages] in the 20s and up to 45 in Belgium, which has an extraordinary competent health care delivery system and then China at 0.33?
"You realize these numbers, even though this includes the doubled number out of Wuhan. So I wanted really to put it in perspective, but I also wanted you to see how great the care has been for every American that has been hospitalized."
U.S. President Donald Trump points to an infographic during a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on April 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke about recent gains in the stock market reflect the success of his administrations handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty ImagesAs Birx went to her next slide graph, Trump interrupted her and had White House workers go back to the previous slide. The president pointed at Iran's 6.06 mortality rate, and then pointed at China's 0.33 rate, saying "does anybody believe this number?" to each country he spoke of.
Birx said it was important that during a new disease, or pandemic, to have transparency where the virus or disease originated.
"It's really important to have that level of transparency because it changes how we work as a nation," Birx said. "It allowed us to make an alert on March 15 out there that vulnerable individuals and the need to protect them, and my call out to millennials to really protect their parents.
"There's never an excuse to not share information. When you are the first country to have an outbreak, you really have a moral obligation to the world to not only talk about it, but provide that information that's critical to the rest of the world to really respond to this crisis."
Birx then thanked the European countries and doctors that battled COVID-19 and relayed information back to American health officials.
Trump opened for questions from reporters, and the first two were about the administration's constant mentioning of China, and whether the White House believed the data coming from China.
"Do you think that data is good," Trump asked one reporter. "Why didn't you people, the press, figure that out. Why do we have to put up a chart? The number is impossible."
Trump said China is "doing an investigation," but followed by saying the United States is conducting its own investigations.
Trump touted the United States conducting more than 4 million coronavirus tests, more than double the amount of any other country, and he said America has more than 10,000 ventilators in stockpile for who needs them most, whether it's a state or another country.
During an earlier portion of the briefing, Trump called out New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, saying she was a "third-rate reporter" and that they "exposed her" with a video earlier in the week to debunk "fake news."
Although Trump referred to Haberman as "fake," Haberman tweeted about 12 minutes before that the briefing had "no news."
VIDEO-BREAKING!!! Joe diGenova DISCUSS about the Declassified IG FOOTNOTES. - YouTube
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 19:50
VIDEO-Steven Lundgren on Twitter: "A new study in California shows 50 to 80 times the people have the antibody then tested positive for the #ChinaCoronaVirus @GovRonDeSantis Vid Clip by @AKA_RealDirty ThanQ https://t.co/dxCLVQwYlL" / Twitter
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 16:45
Replying to
@love4thegameAK @GovRonDeSantis @AKA_RealDirty In California Senator Richard Pan passed legislation REQUITING children be vaccinated before attending a public school. I wonder if those children will now test positive for COVID-19? Was that included in the vaccine? I do not trust Pan or vaccines.
VIDEO - (149) W.E.B. DuBois Speaks! Socialism and the American Negro (Full) - YouTube
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 14:52
VIDEO - Kayleigh McEnany sounds off on Pelosi: She's not putting Americans first - YouTube
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 10:54
VIDEO - Coronavirus: San Clemente Fills Skatepark With 37 Tons Of Sand After Skaters Ignore 'No Trespassing' Signs '' CBS Los Angeles
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 10:33
April 17, 2020 at 5:48 amSAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA) '-- A popular skatepark in San Clemente was filled with sand to discourage skaters from using it during the
coronavirus pandemic and to promote social distancing.
San Clemente had shut down all its parks and facilities on April 1 under the state's stay-at-home orders, but skaters ignored signs warning against trespassing at the Ralphs Skate Court, 241 Avenida La Pata.
Since park facilities have been closed city officials say they routinely saw people visit the skatepark, even by some children accompanied with their parents, according to the San Clemente Times. City officials told the newspaper they followed in the footsteps of other cities, and filled the skatepark with 37 tons of sand.
The nonprofit group that has raised money to support the skatepark, however, says the city made the decision to fill the skatepark with sand without notifying them first.
Comments (66)
VIDEO-Condoleezza Rice: China Wants To Shift The Narrative On COVID-19, Don't Let Them | Video | RealClearPolitics
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 22:11
Hoover Institution Fellow Condoleezza Rice speaks with Hoover's Tom Gilligan about the "reckoning" the Chinese Communist Party is likely to face over its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and both the public and private conversations U.S. officials should have with them. Rice primarily accuses China of a coverup of the early outbreak of the virus, which cost the world time that could have been used to prepare. It is "very hard to get answers from China," she said. "The Chinese did what authoritarians do," she said. "They silenced those who were trying to sound the alarm, they wanted time to create the narrative that would be blessed by the Communist Party of China, which means it probably had to go to Beijing before you could say anything. It is just the nature of the system. It is a real problem.""Can you imagine those people being silenced in the United States or Germany or Brazil?" she asked. "No... it would have been known that there was a problem.""The Chinese and trying to create a counter-narrative... to shift the narrative from their initial responsibility for not fessing up to what was happening, to 'We got on top of it and this is how we helped the world.' That's how they're going to shift the narrative. Don't let it happen."She concluded: "If you keep the focus on how this started, and China's role in that, they will be embarrassed by that. If you let them shift the narrative to all they've done sending out PPE, you're probably not going to make progress."
TOM GILLIGAN: You were the National Security Advisor during the SARS outbreak, what are the important similarities and differences between then and now?CONDOLEEZZA RICE: One of the unfortunate similarities is it is hard to get information out of China. With the SARS outbreak, we knew something had happened. it was very hard to get answers from China about what had happened, and that is, unfortunately, a recurring pattern this time around. It is probably the most troubling aspect of this crisis. It is kind of in the nature of the Chinese system -- an authoritarian system where control of information is power, control of the narrative is power, so we shouldn't be surprised that when this outbreak happened in Wuhan, they silenced the young physicians and medical students who were trying to sound the alarm. Can you imagine those people being silenced in the United States or Germany or Brazil? No. Somebody in the press would have picked up the story, it would have been known that there was a problem. But, the Chinese did what authoritarians do, they silenced those who were trying to sound the alarm, and they wanted time to create the narrative that would be blessed by the Communist Party of China, which means it probably had to go to Beijing before you could say anything. It is just the nature of the system. It is a real problem, and there is going to be a reckoning for China on this -- with its own population, which was angered by the lack of information -- and certainly, the international community should raise this with the Chinese very strongly, why we always get this response.QUESTIONS: "What sanctions, and how should China be held to account for this?" "What is the proper measured response to China and the CCP leadership, who clearly withheld information about the Wuhan virus in light of the hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of cost to the world?"CONDOLEEZZA RICE: There is a public part of this and a private part. This is the public part, over the next months is to let it be known that China responded in the way that it did. Or, didn't respond, I should say. The Chinese and trying to create a counter-narrative. "Well, when we found out about it, we got on top of it. Look at how quickly trough social distancing and quarantine, how quickly we recovered. And by the way, we've been helping the rest of the world by sending PPE and help and aid to all of the world." They're going to try to shift the narrative from their initial responsibility for not fessing up to what was happening, to we got on top of it and this is how we helped the world. That's how they're going to shift the narrative. Don't let it happen.We have to have a really honest assessment about where this started, how it started, when it started, when the Communist Party knew, and why they didn't get on it, that's the public part. The private part is: You have to go to the Chinese and say, "You can't keep doing this."You have to be a more responsible partner, a more responsible power, given your weight now in the international system. You're not just some little developing country that when something happens it doesn't have an impact. Your people travel, your people work in other countries. There are, apparently, a lot of Chinese workers in Italy at the time. Was that the transmission belt? We don't know for sure. But if we're going to get a handle on how this thing spread, China is such a big player and its people travel, work elsewhere, is a big part of the story...QUESTION: Is jawboning enough to get them to have a more correct attitude towards the World Health Organization, toward sharing scientific data that has an impact on the rest of the world? Or do you have to couple it with sanctions or tariffs or limiting trade. How would you, as former Secretary of State, think about something like that? I would certainly try the persuasion route first because I think if you keep the focus on how this started, and China's role in that, they will be embarrassed by that. If you let them shift the narrative to all they've done sending out PPE, you're probably not going to make progress.I would go to the U.N. Security Council and I would call a meeting. They'll try to veto anything that comes out of it. But I'd call a meeting and say the U.S. is going to share the information, maybe this is where we can bring the Europeans and others along, we're going to share the information on how this started. I would try that campaign first because I don't really think the U.S. economy and everyone is going to be trying to recover, I don't think we want to shock the system more with more sanctions and more trade wars while the system is trying to recover. So I'd certainly try that method first, let's call it "Calling Names" and send a message that what they did is unacceptable.
VIDEO-LotusOak on Twitter: "Dr. Stephen Smith, an infectious disease specialist, on using hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo to treat #COVID19 patients: "It's an absolute game changer'... I think this is the beginning of the end of the #pandemic. I'm
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 19:00
Dr. Stephen Smith, an infectious disease specialist, on using hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo to treat
#COVID19 patients:"It's an absolute game changer'... I think this is the beginning of the end of the
#pandemic. I'm very serious."
pic.twitter.com/QfIIMHrGXb
VIDEO-Lou Dobbs on Twitter: "FBI Corruption: @jsolomonReports says indictments may be coming this week in the FBI's corrupt handling of the sham Russia collusion investigation. #AmericaFirst #KAG2020 #Dobbs https://t.co/tVuBVXnr9b" / Twitter
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 18:49
If this comes true, I might actually die. ðŸ‚ðŸ
VIDEO-Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:10
VIDEO - Analyzing the Leaked Call from the SBA - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 11:43
VIDEO - Michigan governor dismisses massive protest as a 'political stunt' - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 11:10
VIDEO - Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 10:19
VIDEO-A&M COVID-19 modeling expert: 'We're still on the left side of the curve'
Fri, 17 Apr 2020 05:22
Posted: Thu 7:57 PM, Apr 16, 2020
COVID-19 models aren't perfect, but experts say they're better than nothing.
''We're like Boy Scouts'--always prepared,'' said Murray C´t(C), a team member on the newly formed Texas A&M Emergency Management Advisory Group and a leading researcher involved in the production of COVID-19 models for the Brazos County Health District.
''If public health is working really, really well, then you don't know that it's working because everything else is like it's supposed to be'--it's behaving how it's supposed to be behaving,'' C´t(C) added.
C´t(C) describes modeling as ''water moving from container to container to container,'' with those respective buckets being ''susceptible,'' ''exposed,'' ''infected,'' and ''recovered.'' Researchers like him watch for the rate at which the ''water'' of a community moves from bucket to bucket.
It's not an easy, nor always exact, science.
C´t(C) says there are a few reasons why modeling is difficult, but one of the main reasons is "clusters," or pockets of somewhat-contained infection that spreads through a close-knit area.
''The assumption is that everyone in the community would eventually be exposed and eventually be infected and eventually be recovered,'' said C´t(C). ''What we know in the presence of things like social distancing and shelter-in-place, that kind of takes us out of the susceptible and exposed and infected population, and so we end up seeing like we see in nursing homes across the country'--where we see pockets of infection that happen very quickly.''
Because of the difficulty in modeling, C´t(C) is hesitant to say when the ''peak'' of COVID-19 cases will hit the Brazos Valley.
''We don't know at this point,'' said C´t(C). ''As best as we can tell, we're still on the left side of the curve.''
In that same vein, C´t(C) was similarly wary of saying whether he believes May 1 is too soon to open the economy.
''I apologize for being wishy-washy, but I'm not sure,'' said C´t(C).
For the conversation with C´t(C) from First News at Four, see the video player above.
VIDEO-The real reason grocery shelves are empty
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 23:40
As Americans line up by the thousands at food banks, farmers are dumping gallons of milk and smashing eggs. Wall Street Journal reporter Jesse Newman explains why America's food supply chain isn't built for the coronavirus era. April 14, 2020
VIDEO-Obama's AG Eric Holder Slips Up And Admits It - Wants To Use Coron**irus To Change America For GOOD - YouTube
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 22:30
VIDEO-VICE News on Twitter: "''He's abandoned the role of the president of the United States.'''‹ Sen. Kamala Harris thinks that President Trump's failure to respond quickly to the coronavirus has made the crisis worse, causing economic destruction
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 22:27
Log in Sign up VICE News @ vicenews ''He's abandoned the role of the president of the United States.'''‹Sen. Kamala Harris thinks that President Trump's failure to respond quickly to the coronavirus has made the crisis worse, causing economic destruction and costing American lives.
pic.twitter.com/vKdLTPENap 6:42 PM - 16 Apr 2020 Twitter by: VICE News @vicenews Agit-Pop @ agitpopworld
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@vicenews @realDonaldTrump @realDonaldTrump's plan to *Open Up America Again*at a glance.
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@vicenews @joshuahersh he never actually took on the role or responsibility o being president-- only the title and security squad detail
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Joe DiGenova on Friday's declassified footnotes THOUSANDS OF SEALED INDICTMENTS.mp3
Sen. Kamala Harris thinks that President Trump’s failure to respond quickly to the coronavirus has made the crisis worse.mp3
Trump explains how the stock market is approving of the job we've done.mp3
Abbott Strike Force to Open Texas Advisory Committee - with ROSS PEROT.mp3
Trump answers quiestion about China's responsibility.mp3
Condoleezza Rice - China Wants To Shift The Narrative On COVID-19 Don't Let Them.mp3
Tedros WHO PSA.mp3
Covid -- states reopening CBS.mp3
covid 19 friday update DN.mp3
COVID Guatamale DN.mp3
COVID Nigeria DN.mp3
COVID Puerto rico.mp3
covid venezueal and chile DN.mp3
COVID WORLD TOUR AJ.mp3
Dr Dashak sayd covid is natural.mp3
eviction falunted DN.mp3
Locusts OnE AJP.mp3
Locusts two AJP.mp3
New DM opening logo.mp3
NYC report TwO DN.mp3
NYC report DN.mp3
odd covid wrap and NY report CBS.mp3
origin story ONe DN.mp3
origin story TWO.mp3
origin storya 1A.mp3
SBA out of money already.mp3
south dakota update smithfield DN.mp3
UHG profits DN.mp3
USAA BANK steals money.mp3
wuhan uopdate Revised devised DN.mp3
Amazon and covid DN.mp3
boeing back to work DN.mp3
Bolsinar in Brazil DN.mp3
California nurses suspended DN.mp3
Trump Fake News -1- Explaining clips on stage FBI crimes last TWO WEEKS.mp3
Trump Fake News -2- burns Maggie Haberman over Mark Meadows crying.mp3
Trump Fake News -3- Details sources and other means.mp3
Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same.mp3
Trump burns TMN journo reading question.mp3
Pence switches to influenza like symptoms data for corona virus.mp3
Birx influenza like ilness network explainer.mp3
CDC Director Redfield on the ILIN Reporting.mp3
peppy intro Jennifer Buchannan The View spoof.wav
Australia is geariing up or the corona virus tracking app.mp3
San Clemente Fills Skatepark With 37 Tons Of Sand After Skaters Ignore No Trespassing Signs.mp3
TUCKER - NJ Gov Phil Murphy Wasn’t Thinking of the Bill Of Rights When He Ordered Coronavirus Social Distancing Rules Against Mass Religious Gatherings.mp3
Gov Whitmer responds to Stay at Home Protest.mp3
Mayor Bill DeBlasio encourages snitching on neighbors will cell photos.mp3
Trump details his initial test in the nose hang a right.mp3
CDC reviewing ‘stunning’ universal testing results from Boston homeless shelter.mp3
Gov Ron DeSantis A new study in California shows 50 to 80 times the people have the antibody then tested positive for the corona virus.mp3
  • 0:03
    Adam curry
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    Jhansi Dvorak April 19-20 25th wedding
  • 0:09
    Gitmo Nation Media assassination episode
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    1235 this is no agenda in the morning
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    everybody
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    hi Adam Curry and for northern Silicon
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    Valley where they're forcing us to wear
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    face masks Jessi Dvorak is that in your
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    your rules you get away face masks
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    everywhere now not today but starting
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    soon really we already have that I think
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    we our face masks stuff is already in
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    place here we have the the new the new
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    guidelines we're opening up Texas is
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    going to be leading I'm very excited
  • 0:54
    we're getting out of jail yeah I noticed
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    you guys are evened out you weren't even
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    down for the count
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    yeah we're yeah we've been kind of
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    locked up before we do anything since I
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    figured we'd turn the tables for a
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    moment since every mainstream outlet is
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    at home and they're broadcasting from
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    their house
  • 1:14
    sounded like crass sounding like total
  • 1:17
    crap but that's what their broadly this
  • 1:19
    were their broadcasters all right yeah
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    why don't we show them how we can do
  • 1:27
    their job just as well you know the
  • 1:30
    studio audience the opening like the
  • 1:32
    view would like take the view for a
  • 1:34
    moment you know how they open up and
  • 1:36
    they've got all got all their their
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    topics and what's going on let's show
  • 1:40
    the view how no agenda does it and the
  • 1:44
    morning foundation on today's episode
  • 1:47
    the gentlemen of the No Agenda show will
  • 1:50
    spin
  • 1:50
    the United States to discover who's the
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    next to protest so exciting
  • 1:56
    also half the elites continuing to abuse
  • 1:59
    the terrible Rona data to take away our
  • 2:02
    Liberty now that President Trump has
  • 2:04
    outlined a three-stage plan those are
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    the facts of this world and halls a
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    render to them you pigs and human
  • 2:12
    clothing and you slaves should get used
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    to your crappy mac and cheese most of
  • 2:18
    your favorite restaurants are just not
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    going to make it that will have an
  • 2:22
    international perspective on how
  • 2:23
    countries outside of the US are
  • 2:25
    continuing to deal with Corona Corona
  • 2:27
    Corona of course there'll be plenty of
  • 2:30
    humor and media deconstruction to keep
  • 2:32
    your amygdala healthy now let's hear
  • 2:35
    from John Cedar Park and there we go
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    thank you Dave Jennifer I thought that
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    was pretty good developer chops
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    she totally totally gets it yes chops
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    that's exactly what it is well no sooner
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    had our show ended on Thursday but yes
  • 3:18
    we got the announcement with the
  • 3:19
    multistage approach to every state maybe
  • 3:23
    right down to the county level reopening
  • 3:25
    and rejoining American society however
  • 3:31
    amidst all the excitement about that a
  • 3:34
    fast one was pulled on us with the data
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    and no one really talks about it this is
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    where I'm waiting to see if you heard
  • 3:47
    anything about a lot well gone were the
  • 3:50
    models the health data org model was
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    gone the and that is the the Murray
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    model and gone were the other there was
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    no mention of the models nothing at all
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    we have a new chart and it happened just
  • 4:06
    think it was like a magic trick so well
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    performed because it happened right in
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    front of your eyes no one said anything
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    no one questions it
  • 4:16
    it started with pence after the
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    president did his typical thing how
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    great we are
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    and pence just threw it out there
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    governors at every level or health care
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    workers and our fellow Americans we've
  • 4:29
    saved lives
  • 4:30
    and every American should be comforted
  • 4:34
    by that and we can see it in the numbers
  • 4:36
    in the charts that I'll present today
  • 4:40
    these three maps track influenza-like
  • 4:43
    illness which in this instance is mostly
  • 4:47
    coronavirus across America the first map
  • 4:51
    reflects the total number of cases on
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    the week ending March the 28th the next
  • 4:57
    map reflects our data about the total
  • 5:00
    number of cases on the week ending April
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    4th and we stand here today with the
  • 5:07
    final map reflecting the total number of
  • 5:09
    cases across America as of April the
  • 5:12
    11th with these trends underway
  • 5:14
    President Trump has the White House
  • 5:16
    coronavirus task force to develop new
  • 5:18
    guidelines for opening up America again
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    now I'm real happy that we're gonna get
  • 5:23
    new guidelines for opening up America
  • 5:25
    again but these new trends
  • 5:27
    you can't just introduce a whole new
  • 5:29
    chart with different data and say it's a
  • 5:31
    trend Saveur created baby and I took the
  • 5:36
    liberty of posting this chart John so
  • 5:39
    you can take a look you can find it at
  • 5:41
    Co vid bullcrap calm somebody got smart
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    board I did that I did that Co
  • 5:50
    bullcrap calm so you definitely go there
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    and you can see this chart I'll bring it
  • 5:56
    up myself here and we're going to listen
  • 5:59
    to dr. Burks walk us through it now what
  • 6:01
    you're seeing here and visual for the
  • 6:04
    people who aren't seeing it is the
  • 6:06
    different influenza cases starting in
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    2012 a 2011 to 2009 to 2010 all the way
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    through to the current cycle and it's
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    interesting because this is the exact
  • 6:23
    chart that I got so much flak before
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    when I asked on the tweeters and Scott
  • 6:29
    Adams went berserk over the question I
  • 6:31
    said hey if this is the influenza for
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    2019 2020 it's dropping off the cliff
  • 6:38
    what happened and of course everybody
  • 6:41
    had a reason to question and lo and
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    behold this exact chart is now being
  • 6:44
    used as the trend line for getting rid
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    of it but has nothing to do with kovat
  • 6:50
    19 this is an established system it is
  • 6:54
    called the influenza like illness
  • 6:57
    reporting system or network which is
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    it's been in place for a long time and
  • 7:02
    doctors and have systems and ways to get
  • 7:05
    the information and very quickly very
  • 7:06
    easily proven over time which is exactly
  • 7:09
    what was lacking with coronavirus just
  • 7:11
    Chuck chatting everybody at marking
  • 7:14
    everybody up is died from corona virus
  • 7:17
    just propping it into some spreadsheet
  • 7:19
    somewhere more money in it of course
  • 7:20
    there's more money which is actually one
  • 7:23
    of the perhaps side reasons why they
  • 7:25
    might have done this Melissa listen to
  • 7:26
    dr. Burks explain what's going on here
  • 7:28
    no apology for disappearance of the
  • 7:31
    previous models or any of the the the
  • 7:33
    trends that we were waiting for or peak
  • 7:36
    or flattening the curve this is a
  • 7:37
    completely surged nice it's not even the
  • 7:40
    same data all right follow along at
  • 7:43
    kovat bullcrap calm in addition the CDC
  • 7:47
    has the influenza like illness net
  • 7:49
    distributed throughout the United States
  • 7:51
    very useful in the wintertime that first
  • 7:55
    peak is influenza B in the red that's
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    this season I showed you all the seasons
  • 8:00
    here so you could see the seasons as
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    they are just
  • 8:03
    the first peak is influenza B second
  • 8:06
    peak influenza influenza A and then you
  • 8:09
    can see the corona virus hold on a
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    second that's a good one this is
  • 8:16
    unbelievable so we're looking at a trend
  • 8:18
    line which by the way is not the highest
  • 8:21
    2017-2018 season was to people to end
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    the 20 2009-2010
  • 8:28
    oh yes the 2017-2018 season we know that
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    the hospitals were stretched and there
  • 8:35
    were news articles about it but no one
  • 8:37
    yelling and screaming and crying for
  • 8:39
    help the way we saw with corona virus
  • 8:42
    masks so what she just says there is and
  • 8:47
    this is the influenza like this
  • 8:50
    surveillance network and if someone
  • 8:53
    comes by the way it could be mentioned
  • 8:55
    that based on the influence of like
  • 8:58
    illness that means that during this
  • 9:01
    three peaks at which that she's talking
  • 9:04
    about the a the B and the corona yeah it
  • 9:06
    all because the mix could all be corona
  • 9:08
    it could all be influences yeah all well
  • 9:11
    let's let's but Burke's finish and then
  • 9:13
    we'll have the CDC director really punch
  • 9:16
    at home you can see its decline and it's
  • 9:19
    declining towards baseline this will
  • 9:21
    allow us again city by city community by
  • 9:24
    community state by state to look for
  • 9:27
    variations in an early response mode in
  • 9:30
    those at localities that I described so
  • 9:33
    I'm fine with this but if you really
  • 9:36
    look at this data so you're telling me
  • 9:39
    corona virus was not around even though
  • 9:43
    we see this spike which they're saying
  • 9:45
    oh that was influenza B I thought one of
  • 9:47
    them didn't show up at all this year
  • 9:48
    maybe that was corona virus and maybe
  • 9:51
    that was the controller they had the two
  • 9:53
    things they had a and B both listened to
  • 9:57
    the CDC director going a little bit more
  • 9:59
    depth about what how what what is
  • 10:02
    reported here remember it's just an
  • 10:04
    influenza like illness it's not corona
  • 10:07
    influenza like could be drippy nose a
  • 10:09
    sore throat
  • 10:11
    I now have an influenza like illness
  • 10:13
    report but we've also developed
  • 10:15
    a system to monitor for upper
  • 10:17
    respiratory tract disease I can get the
  • 10:20
    first slide there this is an example
  • 10:23
    because when we talk about what we know
  • 10:26
    about this current pandemic the reality
  • 10:29
    is we know a lot because we've developed
  • 10:31
    these monitoring systems up on the slide
  • 10:33
    is a system that we've developed
  • 10:35
    initially for flu and what it does as
  • 10:39
    you can see there's a multiple different
  • 10:41
    flu seasons and they track them over the
  • 10:45
    course of a year I want you to look at
  • 10:47
    the red line and that happens to be this
  • 10:50
    year's respiratory season and you see
  • 10:54
    there is a peak there up over the 50
  • 10:58
    52-week so that's the peak right at the
  • 11:01
    end of the year in December when lots of
  • 11:05
    people were sick and they went and got
  • 11:08
    tested wasn't influenza but they had a
  • 11:10
    lot of symptoms similar to Kovach but
  • 11:12
    can't be that and that peak was when we
  • 11:14
    actually had a peak of influenza B this
  • 11:18
    year was a little different because
  • 11:20
    after that viral syndrome came down and
  • 11:23
    you can see it that actually we had
  • 11:26
    another peak and that's when influenza A
  • 11:28
    was active through our country and you
  • 11:31
    can see influenza A started to drop but
  • 11:35
    then you saw a third peak that peak was
  • 11:39
    you were looking at the corona virus 19
  • 11:41
    just because I say so
  • 11:43
    so we have systems all the way down to
  • 11:46
    the county level that we can see where
  • 11:49
    there's respiratory tract illness which
  • 11:52
    is not the same as the actual corona
  • 11:55
    virus it's just respiratory illness it's