Cover for No Agenda Show 1350: Ask China!
May 27th, 2021 • 3h 6m

1350: Ask China!


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

A third Pfizer COVID-19 shot? Trial set to begin in Austin next month | KXAN Austin
Sun, 23 May 2021 20:34
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- As of Saturday, nearly 63% of people in Travis County ages 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
On Friday, Austin Public Health leaders said their biggest challenge now is getting that last percentage of the population vaccinated.
Meanwhile, vaccine makers are already preparing for the possibility of additional booster shots, with a trial for Pfizer's third shot set to begin in Austin next month.
''My business took a major hit,'' says Nico Saldivar, who has signed up with Benchmark Research for that trial.
After a close call with COVID-19 exposure during the pandemic, the massage therapist decided to go from 25 hours a week to zero.
''People weren't calling for massages and if they were, I wasn't necessarily quite ready, I guess, to risk it,'' he says.
When the opportunity opened to participate in Benchmark's initial Pfizer COVID-19 trial for adults, he took it, and not just to protect himself.
''It's kind of helping the world get back to normal,'' Saldivar says.
Benchmark's Pfizer booster shot trial is only open to previous participants, with enrollment ending Aug. 8.
''These are subjects who participated in the original study that led to the approval '-- or the EUA approval,'' says Cynthia Dukes, Benchmark Research's chief business officer.
Right now, the CDC says the need and timing ''for COVID-19 booster doses have not been established'...'' and aren't recommended at this time.
But Pfizer hopes to enroll 10,000 globally for their study, with each site, including Benchmark in Austin, aiming for 250.
''I attend the WHO-CDC meetings and the discussion is this will probably be like flu, where we will run year-round surveillance and vaccinate every year and tweak the vaccine for strains as required, just like we do for influenza,'' Dukes says.
She adds that because the Coronavirus tends to mutate more quickly, a booster may be needed even more frequently.
''There's also been some discussion that may be looking at the variants once a year, like we do with flu, may not be enough; we may need to do it twice a year,'' she says.
Benchmark aims to start their trial here in Austin on June 28, with participants ages 16 and up.
Saldivar sees it as a chance to help science stay ahead of the virus.
''It's scary; I do'' I have some backup plans cooking up where maybe I don't necessarily have to take such a financial hit if massage kind of gets squashed out, again,'' he says.
But he's hoping he doesn't have to use them.
''I'm just ready to be back to normal without the fear of it coming back, again,'' he says.
Benchmark Research says they have more booster dose trials for other companies coming up but can't disclose those, just yet.
Moderna to take mRNA flu and HIV vaccines into Phase 1 trials this year
Tue, 25 May 2021 10:06
A Phase 1 study for a RSV vaccine candidate is also under way.
As part of its Vaccine Day this week, the company has updated its vaccine development timeline and unveiled results from early stage mRNA vaccine trials.
HIV vaccines: mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1574'‹Moderna expects to begin three phase 1 clinical trials for two HIV vaccine candidates, mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1574, in 2021.
mRNA-1644 is a novel approach to HIV vaccine strategy in humans designed to elicit broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs). It is being developed in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). A Phase 1 study for the candidate will use iterative human testing to validate the approach and antigens and multiple novel antigens will be used for germline-targeting and immuno-focusing.
A second approach, mRNA-1574, is being evaluated with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and includes multiple native-like trimer antigens.
mRNA flu vaccine candidate: mRNA-1010Moderna's flu program is assessing multiple candidates, comprising multiple antigen combinations against the four seasonal viruses recommended by the WHO. The company expects to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial for the program this year.
Beyond this, it wants to explore potential combination vaccines against flu, SARS-CoV-2, RSV and human metapneumovirus (hMPV).
Current flu vaccines in the market have efficacy rates in the regoin of 40-60%: which Moderna believes its mRNA technology can improve on. It also says that its technology has several advantages over egg-based vaccine production: not only in terms of production advances but in accurately targetting vaccines against strains (egg-based production has the potential to cause unintended antigenic change to the vaccine virus).
RSV vaccine candidate: mRNA-1345'‹Moderna has also released the interim analysis of its Phase 1 study for mRNA-1345, its RSV vaccine candidate, this week.
A single mRNA-1345 vaccination of 50 μg (N=19) or 100 μg (N=20) was generally well-tolerated in younger adults (ages 18-49 years).
The vaccine was shown to increase RSV neutralizing antibodies in seropositive younger adults. Neutralizing antibodies were also present at baseline in all participants, as expected. A single vaccination of mRNA-1345 at the 50 or 100 μg dose level boosted neutralizing antibody titers against both serotypes of RSV-A and RSV-B with no apparent dose response.
''I am encouraged by these interim Phase 1 data showing the ability of mRNA-1345 to elicit a strong neutralizing antibody response,'''‹ said Jacqueline Miller, M.D., Senior Vice President, Infectious Diseases, Moderna. ''We will continue to pursue RSV vaccines to protect the most vulnerable populations '' young children and older adults '' where reducing RSV infection is also a significant unmet need. We will also be evaluating possible combinations of mRNA-1345 with other respiratory virus vaccines.'''‹
There is currently no approved vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
CMV vaccine mRNA-1647'‹Moderna's CMV vaccine is the most advanced of its mRNA vaccine candidates: and it will enter a Phase 3 pivotal study of 8,000 seronegative women aged 16-40 this year across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Moderna has released interim Phase 2 data for the vaccine, mRNA-1647, this week after seven months. In CMV-seronegative participants after 3 doses, neutralizing antibody geometric mean titers (GMTs) against epithelial cell infection were at least 20-fold higher than the baseline GMT of the CMV-seropositive group; while neutralizing antibody GMTs against fibroblast infection approximated the baseline GMT of the CMV-seropositive group.
In CMV positive participants, neutralizing antibody GMTs against epithelial cell infection increased to at least 6.8-fold over baseline, while neutralizing antibody GMTs against fibroblast infection increased to approximately 2-fold over baseline
mRNA-1647 is a vaccine combining six mRNAs in a single vial, which encode for two antigens located on the surface of CMV: five mRNAs encoding the subunits that form the membrane-bound pentamer complex and one mRNA encoding the full-length membrane-bound glycoprotein B (gB). Both the pentamer and gB are essential for CMV to infect barrier epithelial surfaces and gain access to the body. mRNA-1647 is designed to produce an immune response against both the pentamer and gB for the prevention of CMV infection.
Immunity to the Coronavirus May Persist for Years, Scientists Find - The New York Times
Wed, 26 May 2021 18:34
Important immune cells survive in the bone marrow of people who were infected with the virus or were inoculated against it, new research suggests.
The studies may soothe fears that immunity to the virus is transient, as is the case with coronaviruses that cause common colds. Credit... Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times May 26, 2021, 1:03 p.m. ET
Immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time especially after vaccination, according to two new studies. The findings may help put to rest lingering fears that protection against the virus will be short-lived.
Together, the studies suggest that most people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who were later immunized will not need boosters. Vaccinated people who were never infected most likely will need the shots, however, as will a minority who were infected but did not produce a robust immune response.
Both reports looked at people who had been exposed to the coronavirus about a year earlier. Cells that retain a memory of the virus persist in the bone marrow and may churn out antibodies whenever needed, according to one of the studies, published on Monday in the journal Nature.
The other study, which is also under review for publication in Nature, found that these so-called memory B cells continue to mature and strengthen for at least 12 months after the initial infection.
''The papers are consistent with the growing body of literature that suggests that immunity elicited by infection and vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 appears to be long-lived,'' said Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the research.
The studies may soothe fears that immunity to the virus is transient, as is the case with coronaviruses that cause common colds. But those viruses change significantly every few years, Dr. Hensley said. ''The reason we get infected with common coronaviruses repetitively throughout life might have much more to do with variation of these viruses rather than immunity,'' he said.
In fact, memory B cells produced in response to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and enhanced with vaccination are so potent that they thwart even variants of the virus, negating the need for boosters, according to Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York who led the study on memory maturation.
''People who were infected and get vaccinated really have a terrific response, a terrific set of antibodies, because they continue to evolve their antibodies,'' Dr. Nussenzweig said. ''I expect that they will last for a long time.''
The result may not apply to protection derived from vaccines alone, because immune memory is likely to be organized differently after immunization, compared with that following natural infection.
That means people who have not had Covid-19 and have been immunized may eventually need a booster shot, Dr. Nussenzweig said. ''That's the kind of thing that we will know very, very soon,'' he said.
Upon first encountering a virus, B cells rapidly proliferate and produce antibodies in large amounts. Once the acute infection is resolved, a small number of the cells take up residence in the bone marrow, steadily pumping out modest levels of antibodies.
To look at memory B cells specific to the new coronavirus, researchers led by Ali Ellebedy of Washington University in St. Louis analyzed blood from 77 people at three-month intervals, starting about a month after their infection with the coronavirus. Only six of the 77 had been hospitalized for Covid-19; the rest had mild symptoms.
Antibody levels in these individuals dropped rapidly four months after infection and continued to decline slowly for months afterward '-- results that are in line with those from other studies.
Some scientists have interpreted this decrease as a sign of waning immunity, but it is exactly what's expected, other experts said. If blood contained high quantities of antibodies to every pathogen the body had ever encountered, it would quickly transform into a thick sludge.
Instead, blood levels of antibodies fall sharply following acute infection, while memory B cells remain quiescent in the bone marrow, ready to take action when needed.
Image The studies found memory B cells produced in response to Covid infection and enhanced with a vaccine were so potent that they thwart even variants of the virus, negating a need for boosters. Credit... Saul Martinez for The New York Times Dr. Ellebedy's team obtained bone marrow samples from 19 people roughly seven months after they had been infected. Fifteen had detectable memory B cells, but four did not, suggesting that some people might carry very few of the cells or none at all.
''It tells me that even if you got infected, it doesn't mean that you have a super immune response,'' Dr. Ellebedy said. The findings reinforce the idea that people who have recovered from Covid-19 should be vaccinated, he said.
Five of the participants in Dr. Ellebedy's study donated bone marrow samples seven or eight months after they were initially infected and again four months later. He and his colleagues found that the number of memory B cells remained stable over that time.
The results are particularly noteworthy because it is difficult to get bone marrow samples, said Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto who was not involved in the work.
A landmark study in 2007 showed that antibodies in theory could survive decades, perhaps even well beyond the average life span, hinting at the long-term presence of memory B cells. But the new study offered a rare proof of their existence, Dr. Gommerman said.
Dr. Nussenzweig's team looked at how memory B cells mature over time. The researchers analyzed blood from 63 people who had recovered from Covid-19 about a year earlier. The vast majority of the participants had mild symptoms, and 26 had also received at least one dose of either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
So-called neutralizing antibodies, needed to prevent reinfection with the virus, remained unchanged between six and 12 months, while related but less important antibodies slowly disappeared, the team found.
As memory B cells continued to evolve, the antibodies they produced developed the ability to neutralize an even broader group of variants. This ongoing maturation may result from a small piece of the virus that is sequestered by the immune system '-- for target practice, so to speak.
A year after infection, neutralizing activity in the participants who had not been vaccinated was lower against all forms of the virus, with the greatest loss seen against the variant first identified in South Africa.
Vaccination significantly amplified antibody levels, confirming results from other studies; the shots also ramped up the body's neutralizing ability by about 50-fold.
Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on Sunday that he would not get a coronavirus vaccine because he had been infected in March of last year and was therefore immune.
But there is no guarantee that such immunity will be powerful enough to protect him for years, particularly given the emergence of variants of the coronavirus that can partially sidestep the body's defenses.
The results of Dr. Nussenzweig's study suggest that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who have later been vaccinated will continue to have extremely high levels of protection against emerging variants, even without receiving a vaccine booster down the line.
''It kind of looks exactly like what we would hope a good memory B cell response would look like,'' said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in the new research.
The experts all agreed that immunity is likely to play out very differently in people who have never had Covid-19. Fighting a live virus is different from responding to a single viral protein introduced by a vaccine. And in those who had Covid-19, the initial immune response had time to mature over six to 12 months before being challenged by the vaccine.
''Those kinetics are different than someone who got immunized and then gets immunized again three weeks later,'' Dr. Pepper said. ''That's not to say that they might not have as broad a response, but it could be very different.''
Freedom Passports
Zijn je vaccinatiegegevens niet geregistreerd, dan dreig je je coronareispas mis te lopen | De Volkskrant
Mon, 24 May 2021 13:58
Een reiziger op luchthaven Schiphol. Beeld ANP Hadden zij de vraag of hun vaccinatiegegevens mochten worden doorgegeven aan het RIVM ook met 'nee' beantwoord als zij hadden geweten wat de gevolgen daarvan zouden kunnen zijn? Dat hun weigering mogelijk hun vakantieplannen in de war zou kunnen schoppen? Want dat risico lopen ze nu, degenen die een eerste prik hebben ontvangen en van wie de vaccinatiegegevens door hun 'nee' niet in het registratiesysteem van het RIVM zijn beland. Het gaat om 6 procent van de gevaccineerden.
Want wie niet geregistreerd staat in dat RIVM-systeem, dreigt de begeerde QR-code mis te lopen van de zogeheten Coronapas. Daarmee moet per 1 juli vrij reizen door Europa mogelijk worden.
Gezondheidsdienst RIVM slaat alle vaccinatiegegevens op in een centraal registratiesysteem, CIMS geheten. Al langer trekt het instituut aan de bel dat deze registratie verre van compleet is. Dit komt niet alleen doordat iedere gevaccineerde in Nederland persoonlijk toestemming moet geven voor de doorgifte van de gegevens. Maar ook doordat huisartsen en zorginstellingen grote achterstanden hebben met het doorgeven van die gegevens; ongeveer de helft van hun data ontbreekt nog. De GGD's, die verreweg de meeste mensen prikken, geven hun vaccinatiedata wel vloeiend door.
Dringend beroep Van zo'n 1 miljoen mensen ontbreken de vaccinatiegegevens - op de ongeveer 6 miljoen die inmiddels minimaal een eerste prik hebben gehad. In april al had het RIVM een dringend beroep gedaan op huisartsen en zorginstellingen om de data van gevaccineerden goed in te voeren in het centrale registratiesysteem; een incompleet systeem belemmert een adequate monitoring van de effecten van vaccinaties. Zo is er bijvoorbeeld nauwelijks zicht op de vaccinatiegraad van de 60- tot 65-jarigen, die door de huisarts zijn gevaccineerd. Ook het Outbreak Management Team maakt zich zorgen over het feit dat Nederland geen compleet beeld heeft van het vaccinatieproces.
Die monitoring zal de gemiddelde Nederlander waarschijnlijk een worst wezen. Maar Nieuwsuur presenteerde zaterdagavond een ander probleem van deze gebrekkige registratie, dat veel Nederlanders op een gevoelig punt kan raken: wie niet in het systeem geregistreerd staat als gevaccineerd, kan wellicht ook niet beschikken over de begeerde QR-code die straks nodig is om door Europa te kunnen reizen. In die code moeten bijvoorbeeld douanemedewerkers de naam en de vaccinatiestatus kunnen lezen, bij het passeren van een grens.
Afgelopen donderdag bereikte de Europese Unie een akkoord over het Europese vaccinpaspoort dat het reizen van EU-burgers moet vergemakkelijken. Per 1 juli moet het beschikbaar zijn. Dit 'EU-covid19-certificaat' toont met een QR-code, digitaal of uitgeprint, of de houder gevaccineerd is, over een negatieve PCR-test beschikt (minder dan 72 uur oud) of antistoffen in zijn bloed heeft na een eerdere coronabesmetting. Het stelt de lidstaten voor de uitdagende ict-taak om in korte tijd alle gegevens te verzamelen en om te zetten naar de persoonlijke codes.
Minister Hugo de Jonge (volksgezondheid) zei in Nieuwsuur dat het nog een flinke klus wordt de data op tijd op orde te hebben. Het RIVM zit alle prikkende instanties achter de broek, maar soms sluiten de door de huisartsen gebruikte ict-systemen niet aan op die van het RIVM. 'Als prikkende instelling moet je actief zeggen: stuur mijn gegevens door naar het CIMS. Dat is niet altijd gebeurd', zegt De Jonge. 'Wij moeten heel veel mensen daarvoor nabellen, dat is veel werk.'
De Jonge erkent dat het compleet krijgen van de registratie v""r 1 juli nu ook belangrijk is voor de mensen die willen gaan reizen. 'We moeten klaar zijn. Anders kunnen mensen niet vanuit het centrale systeem hun certificaat krijgen. Maar het is ingewikkeld.'
Ingelopen Als er extra inspanningen worden geleverd, kan in elk geval een aanzienlijk deel van de achterstallige registraties worden ingelopen van huisartsen, zo is de verwachting. Anders ligt het met degenen die hebben aangegeven dat hun vaccinatiegegevens niet mochten worden doorgegeven aan het RIVM, naar schatting 350 duizend mensen. Hoe zij nu toch in dit centrale systeem moeten komen als zij dat zouden willen, is nog onduidelijk.
Dat een gevaccineerde hiervoor persoonlijk toestemming moet geven, komt doordat het 'medisch beroepsgeheim' is vastgelegd in de wet op de geneeskundige behandelovereenkomst: artsen mogen alleen medische informatie delen met toestemming van de patint of als het wettelijk is geregeld. Ongeveer 94 procent van de gevaccineerden geeft die toestemming, maar 6 procent dus niet.
Veel andere landen hebben dit probleem niet. In Duitsland en in het Verenigd Koninkrijk vaccineert de overheid zelf: zo beschikt zij als 'behandelaar' over alle gegevens. In Scandinavi is de opslag van vaccinatiegegevens geregeld in een wet.
De vaccinatiebazen bij het RIVM zeiden bij het begin van de vaccinatiecampagne al dat zij voor het volledige overzicht hoopten dat zo veel mogelijk mensen 'ja' zouden antwoorden op de vraag of hun vaccinatiegegevens mogen worden gedeeld. Maar toen was nog niet duidelijk dat een 'nee' gevolgen zou kunnen hebben voor hun vakantieplannen.
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In one UP county, some "identify as fully vaccinated" even though just 35% are | Michigan Radio
Mon, 24 May 2021 14:50
Raymond Mahaffey, aka Chef Ray, has been running the kitchen at Timber Charlie's Family Restaurant in downtown Newberry, Michigan for 16 years now.
He's your man if you're craving the Giant ''Yooper'' Pretzel or ''The Two Hearted'' sandwich (a hoagie piled high with shaved prime rib, Swiss cheese, mayo and fried onion,) popular with locals and tourists in town to snowmobile or see the breathtaking Tahquamenon Falls.
Yet even as COVID cases in the area have spiked the last few weeks, Mahaffey's become a bit of an odd man out. That's because he's vaccinated.
''Out of 30-some people that work [here] typically at one time during the summer, I am the only person who's vaccinated, really,'' Mahaffey said Thursday. ''And that's because I'm a disabled veteran. And so the VA got a hold of me and said, 'You need to go ahead and get this done.'''
Case counts are rising, but vaccinations rates are low
Fewer than 2,000 people (or 35% of all residents) here in Luce County are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Just 40% have had at least an initial dose.
And even in the U.P., where all but one county went for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, that makes Luce something of an outlier compared to its neighbors. (In Alger County, 57% have had initial shots; Mackinac's at 56%, and Schoolcraft's at 52%.)
''We saw that same hesitation when we would hold drive through testing events last summer and last fall in our counties,'' said Kerry Ott, public information officer for the Luce, Mackinac, Alger and Schoolcraft (LMAS) health department. ''And it was always, our slowest one was Luce.''
Now cases are rising in Luce, with 30 added in just the last week, Ott said, and test positivity rates are at 29%, according to the most recent state data. Things got more complicated last week when the state lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, in accordance with CDC guidance.
''A lot of people are using the phrase, 'I identify as fully vaccinated' and taking their masks off," Ott sighed. ''I'm not kidding. ...They're not vaccinated, but they're going to take their masks off.''
But she's telling local businesses there's not much they can do, beyond making a ''good faith'' effort.
''We're just repeating what is in the governor's orders. We're not asking for people's [vaccination] cards. We're just asking for them to self attest their vaccination status. And if they say yes, we're telling the businesses, 'Then take them at their word and move forward.'''
And it's not just the customers, Ott said.
''I have another business that's got concerns because they have staff that they know are not vaccinated, who now are coming to work without their masks on, [saying] 'Oh, yeah, I am.' So it's difficult.''
''We can't wait to get it over with''
Still, Mahaffey, the chef at Timber Charlie's, isn't all that worried about COVID.
''Ultimately, it'll all work itself out,'' he said. ''It's time to let nature take its course.''
In a county of just over 6,600 people, where only 3 residents have died from the virus, it can feel like the cure is worse than the disease.
Because while Mahaffey says his restaurant is ''blessed to be open,'' they're spending a small fortune on ''extreme sanitization'' protocols. And pandemic-era unemployment benefits are keeping a quarter of his staff home, he believes, even as worker shortages squeeze the service industry.
It's been too high a price to pay for something that's just another version of the flu, Mahaffey says.
''Can you imagine if they said, 'OK, we're going to close the school for three months, and the kids are going to suffer, because guess what? Somebody got the flu,''' he said. ''...We got little kids in school that are passing [the virus] around, and they're as healthy as can be, but they've tested positive.''
(In truth, while children generally have a less severe course of the virus than adults, they can and do get very sick. Michigan saw a record number of children as young as infants hospitalized during the recent spring surge. And the state has confirmed at least 115 cases of MIS-C, a rare inflammatory illness that can be life-threatening. While fewer than 5 Michigan kids have died from it, 80% of cases had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.)
''There is no reason [for this] a year later, with the numbers being so small [here],'' he said. The restrictions have ''been nothing but political. It's been crazy. And we can't wait to get it over with.''
Some believe vaccine is government conspiracy
Meanwhile, conspiracy theories about the vaccine are running rampant, Ott says.
''I think the chief concern is that it is a conspiracy to reduce population. I see that one a lot, that the vaccines are tailored in such a way to create infertility, in order to control the world population,'' she said.
Another popular one: that the vaccine will somehow change your DNA. (It won't.)
Sometimes Ott can have a productive conversation about those concerns, she says. And sometimes she can't.
''Some of them, [it's] just because they want to get into a fight. And you can sense that very, very quickly within a comment or two, that I'm not going anywhere with this person, and I'm done. And I just stop the conversation.''
But she estimates about 25% of the residents she hears from are genuinely trying to sort fact from fiction.
''They're afraid because they hear so many different messages,'' Ott says. What's been helpful is pointing to people they know who've gotten the vaccine and are fine, or have even gone on to deliver healthy babies.
''We need to understand how people are feeling,'' she said. ''And that's been the hardest barrier for us to overcome, is the false information that really is so prevalent in our communities.''
''Nobody is coming to help us''
But skepticism towards the government is well-earned here. Residents say their tap water ''smells bad and doesn't taste good,'' says Carol Stiffler, editor and co-owner of the local paper, the Newberry News. Municipal officials insist the issue isn't at the treatment plant.
''When they did a scope of the [water] pipes, there were still wood pipes in use. And so people are getting this nasty colored, nasty smelling water. I don't drink it in the office...because it's widely called not drinkable. But the town says that's because of your pipes, not our pipes. So a lot of people are having their pipes replaced, but that's expensive and not everybody can afford it.''
The city says it needs to raise water rates in order to fix the system, Stiffler says.
''People are saying, 'Why would I want to pay more for water I can't drink?' And they have all kinds of valid complaints.''
That distrust goes back to the 1990s, when the state shut down the Newberry Regional Mental Health Center, the area's largest employer.
''We think Luce County is, by and large, overlooked financially,'' she said. ''We don't see that we're heavily considered [in Lansing,] that our issues are valued. We have one of the smallest populations in Michigan for a county, and we don't think help is on the way. So we think for ourselves. And in this case, we've thought for ourselves, and we decided we don't trust the information [about the vaccine.]''
Stiffler, however, does trust the science behind the COVID vaccine. She's fully vaccinated. And she's tried to keep a focus on the pandemic in her coverage, even as pandemic fatigue's intensified.
But even that can be difficult when local resources are slim, she says.
''I told people [in the paper] the B.1.1.7 variant is here. [But] there's been no more reported cases of it from the state, because they are simply not testing for it, due to how difficult it is. So now people are putting it aside like, 'They made a big deal about variants, and now I don't hear anything about it.' Because there's nothing I can report. So it's very frustrating.
''So now I sort of just don't talk about variants, because I don't think it matters what variant it is. What matters is that it's here, it's a real threat, and you need to get your vaccination.''
The plan: win over the merely hesitant
Kerry Ott isn't giving up on these vaccination rates. Both pharmacies in Newberry are now offering the COVID vaccine, she says. They've added clinics for those 12 and over. They're doing local radio and newspaper interviews, and blasting social media with updates.
Overall, the strategy here is similar to the rest of the state: move away from the big mass clinics. Make the vaccine more accessible. Ott visited one county further south where they were doing vaccinations at the farmer's market - that's the kind of thing that might work, she says.
''So we're looking at those kind of unique [opportunities, where people think] 'Man, I haven't bothered to call, I haven't bothered to get an appointment. I'm here shopping for lettuce, might as well just get it.''
It may be slow going. It may take more people getting sick in the months to come, or being able to see more neighbors and friends get vaccinated.
''It's hard,'' Ott said. ''There's a lot of shouting in the world right now, even on social media. You know, all caps. And you know these people, they're responding with what suits how they feel. But let's make sure we're responding based on accurate information. And we are struggling with that up here. But one by one, we're going to keep vaccinating.''
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Waarom het nieuwe massatestbeleid niet deugt - HP/De Tijd
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:28
bron: Polina Tankilevitch
Immunoloog dr. Carla Peeters legt uit waarom het nieuwe (massa)testbeleid niet deugt. Ze legt onder meer uit dat een positieve test niet automatisch betekent dat je besmet bent met het coronavirus, dat mensen zonder klachten niet besmettelijk zijn en dat het virus veel milder is dan aan het begin van de pandemie.
Vanaf 1 december bestaat de mogelijkheid om je zonder klachten te laten testen. Dit kan in XL-teststraten, die op verschillende plaatsen in Nederland geopend zijn. Hier wordt gebruik gemaakt van de standaard RT-PCR-testen en diverse sneltesten. Volgens politici, overheid en VNO-NCW en MKB-Nederland is het een voorwaarde om vanaf 1 maart 2021 iedereen maandelijks te testen om de samenleving te kunnen heropenen. Voor een virus met een infectiefaliteitsratio van 0,23%, dat vergelijkbaar is met het influenzavirus, is dat een enorme investering. Bovendien kan massaal testen met diagnostische testen die nog onvoldoende gevalideerd zijn en door ongeschoold personeel worden uitgevoerd, grote economische schade en gezondheidsschade tot gevolg hebben.
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Positieve RT-PCR-test is niet hetzelfde als een besmetting Steeds meer wetenschappelijke onderzoekers en medici uiten zich over de onjuiste manier waarop op dit moment de RT-PCR-test gebruikt wordt voor de diagnose van Covid-19-patinten. De test is te gevoelig, waardoor veel mensen een positieve uitslag ontvangen terwijl zij geen besmettelijk virus bij zich dragen. Zij worden wel gevraagd tien dagen in quarantaine te gaan en contactonderzoek in de omgeving van de positief geteste persoon wordt in gang gezet.
De RT-PCR-test toont een stukje RNA van het virus aan, maar niet het hele virus (complete RNA + virusmantel). Naarmate de Ct-waarde hoger wordt ingesteld om RNA te kunnen detecteren, worden meer mensen positief getest. De World Health Organization (WHO) en het Center for Disease Control (het Amerikaanse RIVM) hebben aangegeven dat de RT-PCR-test kan worden afgelezen bij Ct-waarden van 40-45. Een volledige genoomsequentie (RNA) van het virus kan echter niet meer worden aangetoond in monsters met een positieve uitslag met Ct-waarden hoger dan 33. Enkele andere onderzoekers toonden maximale Ct-waarden van 17 tot 27 om een virus in een cellijn te kunnen kweken. Het is tot op heden onduidelijk welke Ct-waarden en welke probes er voor de RT-PCR-testen gehanteerd worden in Nederland.
Prof. dr. Marion Koopmans erkent tegenover Tijs van den Brink (NPO Radio 1) dat de RT-PCR-test geen besmettelijk virus aantoont. Prof. dr. Jaap van Dissel (RIVM) erkent dat ook na een vraag door de heer Van Haga in de Tweede Kamer.
Een positieve RT-PCR-test betekent dat het RNA van het SARS-COV-2-virus wordt aangetoond mits de juiste probes worden gebruikt die het SARS-COV-2-virus kan onderscheiden van andere coronavirussen. De huidige coronamaatregelen, met 1,5 meter afstand houden, thuiswerken en mondkapjesplicht kunnen economische schade en gezondheidsschade veroorzaken. Daarom is het belangrijk om transparant te zijn over de testen en verantwoording over de gebruikte diagnostiek.
Ondanks de vragen die vanuit verschillende gremia gesteld worden, verandert er tot op heden niets in de transparantie over het aantal positieve RT-PCR-testen en hoe in de media gerapporteerd wordt over het aantal besmettingen per dag. Op basis van ervaringen in andere landen met het bijstellen van Ct-waarden van 40 naar 35 of van 35 naar 30, kan het aantal positieve testen met 40 tot 80 % lager worden. Voor een definitieve bevestiging dat een positieve RT-PCR-test een Covid-19-patint betreft, is daarnaast een klinische diagnose door een arts nodig. De verschijnselen van Covid-19 zijn daarnaast lastig te onderscheiden van infecties met andere griepvirussen en/of bacterile infecties of soms ook andere ziekten.
Een studie naar de natuurlijke aanwezigheid van virussen in gezonde mensen (viroom) komt tot de conclusie dat het een grote uitdaging is om nieuwe ziekteverwekkende virussen aan te kunnen tonen met technieken die onvoldoende gevalideerd zijn.
Mensen zonder klachten zijn niet besmettelijkTot op heden werden hoofdzakelijk mensen met ernstige of milde griepklachten getest op aanwezigheid van het SARS-COV-2-virus. Sinds 1 december is het mogelijk dat mensen zonder klachten getest worden. Een recent onderzoek onder tien miljoen inwoners van Wuhan (China), gepubliceerd in Nature, toont aan dat mensen die geen klachten hebben en positief testen met de RT-PCR-test (asymptomatische positieve test) een lage virale lading hebben '' ze testen dus alleen positief testen op een hoge Ct-waarde. Omdat alle directe contacten van de asymptomatische patinten negatief testten, werd geconcludeerd dat het besmettingsrisico van mensen zonder klachten gering is. Dit bleek ook zo te zijn voor mensen die opnieuw positief testten na Covid-19 doorgemaakt te hebben. Evenals in verschillende andere studies werd aangetoond dat zij niet langer een besmettelijk virus bij zich dragen.
Asymptomatische positieve RT-PCR-testen werden vooral aangetoond bij werklozen, gepensioneerden, ouderen en publieke dienstverleners in de districten waar het virus eerder dit jaar het meest werd aangetoond. Bij 63% van de asymptomatische mensen met positieve RT-PCR-testresultaten werden IgG-antistoffen aangetoond. Kwetsbare mensen die blootgesteld worden aan een lage dosis virus, kunnen mogelijk asymptomatisch zijn door reeds opgebouwde immuniteit
Engelse onderzoekers publiceerden een interessant systematisch review en meta-analyse in The Lancet. Zij komen tot vergelijkbare conclusies met betrekking tot positieve RT-PCR-testen van mensen zonder klachten. Slechts in 1 studie was in 1 van de 3 asymptomatische casussen een positieve viruskweek mogelijk. Het SARS-COV-2-virus kan over een langere periode (zelfs 83 dagen) worden aangetoond in de bovenste luchtwegen. Een virus dat in staat is andere te besmetten wordt over een veel kortere periode van slechts negen dagen aangetoond. Virale lading van SARS-COV-2 bleek het hoogst in de eerste week van infectie, met veelal een piek op dag vier na het ontstaan van symptomen. Hoewel modelstudies een potentile virale piek aantoonden voordat symptomen verschijnen, werd geen enkele studie gevonden die pre-symptomatische virale lading aantoonden.
De resultaten van deze wetenschappelijke studies kunnen vraagtekens plaatsen bij het (maandelijks) testen van mensen zonder klachten. Testen blijken alleen zinvol voor mensen met klachten. Bij een negatief testresultaat is bij klachten thuisblijven nog steeds nodig en desgewenst aanvullende diagnostiek. Immers er kan sprake zijn van andere virale of bacterile infecties of andere ziekten.
Virus minder virulent dan aan het begin van de pandemieGenetisch onderzoek en onderzoeken van viruskweken hebben aangetoond dat het SARS-COV-2-virus in de tijd veel minder virulent is geworden, waardoor de ge¯nfecteerde persoon een lagere viruslading heeft dan die bij de infecties eerder dit jaar werden aangetoond. Dit sluit aan bij de observering van Nederlandse artsen in ziekenhuizen dat Covid-19-patinten sinds de zomer veel mildere verschijnselen vertonen. In plaats van 22 dagen verblijf in het ziekenhuis, kon worden ingekort naar acht dagen verblijf in het ziekenhuis. Op dit moment verblijven 1602 patinten met een positieve RT-PCR-test in het ziekenhuis; 472 Covid-19-patinten op de intensive care. Het aantal mensen dat overlijdt met of door Covid-19 is in verhouding tot de eerste golf veel minder. Evenals in vele andere landen is in het nieuwe griepseizoen geen relatie te zien tussen het aantal positieve testen en het aantal overlijdens met of door Covid-19. In een rapport van de CDC bleek dat slechts bij 6% van de overledenen enkel Covid-19 als doodsoorzaak werd aangegeven. Bij de overige 94% werden gemiddeld 2,6 chronische ziekten gerapporteerd. Opmerkelijk gegeven is dat in 2020 minder influenzavirus, bronchitis en pneumonie voorkomt.
Bron: ECDCSneltesten minder gevoelig en nog onvoldoende gevalideerd voor massaal testenIn de XL-teststraten en door sommige commercile partijen worden sneltesten aangeboden om het SARS-COV-2-virus aan te tonen. De meest gebruikte sneltesten zijn antigeentesten die een manteleiwit van het SARS-COV-2-virus aantonen. Deze testen kunnen binnen 15 tot 30 minuten de uitslag geven over een positieve of negatieve test. Als motivatie voor een snelle implementatie van deze testen wordt gebruikt dat bijvoorbeeld zorgpersoneel en onderwijspersoneel minder lang onnodig in quarantaine moeten voordat de uitslag bekend is. Een andere motivatie is om het virus in te dammen door positief geteste mensen in quarantaine te plaatsen.
Enkele antigeentesten zijn door de Amerikaanse Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alleen vrijgegeven voor het gebruik van mensen met klachten binnen twaalf dagen na het begin van de klachten. Testen dienen uitgevoerd te worden door goed geschoolde zorgprofessionals. De gevoeligheid van deze testen is minder dan van de standaard RT-PCR-test. De FDA adviseert dat mensen die negatief testen zich alsnog laten testen met een RT-PCR-test.
Omdat het merendeel van de mensen negatief getest zal worden, betekent dit alsnog een extra druk op de RT-PCR-testen. In Nederland werden enkele vergelijkende onderzoeken tussen antigeentesten en de RT-PCR-test uitgevoerd. Deze studies die uitsluitend bij mensen met ernstige en milde klachten werden verricht zijn echter nog niet verschenen in peer-reviewed wetenschappelijke tijdschriften.
In de wetenschappelijke literatuur wordt een grote variatie in kwaliteit en gevoeligheid van de momenteel 76 beschikbare antigeentesten aangegeven. In Nederland wordt door TNO en DSM gewerkt aan een LAMP RT-PCR-test, die binnenkort beschikbaar komt in de XL-teststraten. Dit is een versnelde versie van de traditionele RT-PCR-test die in veel kortere tijd een positief of negatief resultaat van aanwezigheid van het RNA van het SARS-COV-2-virus kan aangeven. Grootste probleem met de validatie van de nieuwe testen is dat deze vergeleken worden met de gouden standaard RT-PCR-test. Tot op heden is er zelfs bij deze test geen eenduidigheid bij welke standaard concentratie van een besmettelijk virus (Ct-waarden) uit gegaan kan worden.
Patinten en gezonde burgers verdienen een zorgvuldige diagnosePolitici, wetenschappers en beleidsadviseurs dragen een grote verantwoordelijkheid voor de publieke gezondheid om interventies te kiezen die een positief effect sorteren en te voorkomen dat mensen blootgesteld worden aan onveilige en ineffectieve interventies. Dit geldt ook voor diagnostiek. Onjuiste diagnostiek en behandeling is al jaren een van de tien belangrijkste doodsoorzaken wereldwijd. Het is dan ook van groot belang voor de publieke gezondheid om te voorkomen dat later geconcludeerd wordt dat dit percentage hoger is geworden door onjuiste, onvolledige of het uitblijven van diagnostiek.
Patinten en gezonde burgers verdienen een afweging op complete data van peer-reviewed wetenschappelijke studies onafhankelijk van geneesmiddelen- , diagnostiek- of vaccinproducenten alvorens deze worden toegepast voor surveillance, behandeling of verplichte maatregelen. Transparantie over eventuele conflicterende belangen van alle betrokken partijen en personen in het besluitvormingsproces zijn belangrijk voor het verkrijgen van draagvlak van beslissingen die genomen worden.
Op basis van de huidige wetenschappelijke kennis kan beter gekozen worden om alleen mensen met klachten nauwkeurig en consistent te testen in de eerste week van de symptomen. Door klinische diagnostiek onder leiding van artsen en voldoende geschoold personeel voor de afname van monsters en uitvoering van diagnostische testen kan zo een beter beeld gevormd worden over Covid-19 en de juiste diagnostiek. Aangevuld met een nationaal programma op kwaliteitscontrole van door de GGD en commercile partijen aangeboden testen kan het werkelijk aantal Covid-19-patinten geborgd worden. Op basis van deze gegevens kan een juiste strategie voor het beschermen van de grootste risicogroepen voor een ernstig verloop van Covid-19 worden ingezet. Op deze manier is meer zorgpersoneel beschikbaar om bij ziekte tijdig mensen de juiste diagnostiek en behandeling te kunnen verzekeren. Dit is hard nodig omdat het ziektepercentage in de zorg momenteel veel hoger is dan in eerdere jaren en de reguliere zorg nu al geruime tijd onder druk staat.
Texas to allow unlicensed carrying of handguns - BBC News
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:24
image copyright Reuters
image caption The new law would allow owners to carry handguns without a licenceTexas legislators have passed a bill which would allow most people to carry concealed handguns without a permit.
Current state rules require those carrying handguns to have a licence, training and background checks.
But Texas's Republican-run senate has voted to drop the restrictions.
The bill has been sent to Governor Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it into law - despite warnings from gun control groups that it could endanger the public.
Texas has some of the loosest gun laws in the US and already allows rifles to be carried in public without a licence.
The new measure would allow anyone aged 21 or older to carry a handgun unless they have past criminal convictions or legal restrictions on them.
Supporters of the new rules, often known as "constitutional carry", say they would allow Texans to better defend themselves in public and abolish unnecessary limits on the constitutional right to bear arms.
"This is a simple restoration of Texans' constitutional right under the Second Amendment, a right of the people to keep and bear arms," Senator Charles Schwertner, a Republican, said on Monday, the Texas Tribune reports.
Critics say the bill puts lives at risk. Beverly Powell, a Democratic senator, raised safety concerns from some law enforcement groups that opposed the bill.
"If I sit down at a restaurant with a gentleman or a woman who has a holster on their side and a gun in it, I want to know that person is well-trained in the use of that gun," she said.
Gun control groups point to mass shootings in Texas in recent years. Two mass shootings in August 2019 killed 30 people, a shooting at a high school in 2018 left 10 people dead and 27 people were killed in a shooting at a church in 2017.
The bill would still allow businesses to ban guns on their property and keep federal background checks for some gun purchases.
After passing in a 18-13 vote in the senate on Monday, the vote will now go to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Gov Abbott has already indicated that he would sign the bill once it reached his desk.
"We should have 'constitutional carry' in Texas," he told local radio last month.
Immunity to the Coronavirus May Persist for Years, Scientists Find - The New York Times
Wed, 26 May 2021 18:34
Important immune cells survive in the bone marrow of people who were infected with the virus or were inoculated against it, new research suggests.
The studies may soothe fears that immunity to the virus is transient, as is the case with coronaviruses that cause common colds. Credit... Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times May 26, 2021, 1:03 p.m. ET
Immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time especially after vaccination, according to two new studies. The findings may help put to rest lingering fears that protection against the virus will be short-lived.
Together, the studies suggest that most people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who were later immunized will not need boosters. Vaccinated people who were never infected most likely will need the shots, however, as will a minority who were infected but did not produce a robust immune response.
Both reports looked at people who had been exposed to the coronavirus about a year earlier. Cells that retain a memory of the virus persist in the bone marrow and may churn out antibodies whenever needed, according to one of the studies, published on Monday in the journal Nature.
The other study, which is also under review for publication in Nature, found that these so-called memory B cells continue to mature and strengthen for at least 12 months after the initial infection.
''The papers are consistent with the growing body of literature that suggests that immunity elicited by infection and vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 appears to be long-lived,'' said Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the research.
The studies may soothe fears that immunity to the virus is transient, as is the case with coronaviruses that cause common colds. But those viruses change significantly every few years, Dr. Hensley said. ''The reason we get infected with common coronaviruses repetitively throughout life might have much more to do with variation of these viruses rather than immunity,'' he said.
In fact, memory B cells produced in response to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and enhanced with vaccination are so potent that they thwart even variants of the virus, negating the need for boosters, according to Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York who led the study on memory maturation.
''People who were infected and get vaccinated really have a terrific response, a terrific set of antibodies, because they continue to evolve their antibodies,'' Dr. Nussenzweig said. ''I expect that they will last for a long time.''
The result may not apply to protection derived from vaccines alone, because immune memory is likely to be organized differently after immunization, compared with that following natural infection.
That means people who have not had Covid-19 and have been immunized may eventually need a booster shot, Dr. Nussenzweig said. ''That's the kind of thing that we will know very, very soon,'' he said.
Upon first encountering a virus, B cells rapidly proliferate and produce antibodies in large amounts. Once the acute infection is resolved, a small number of the cells take up residence in the bone marrow, steadily pumping out modest levels of antibodies.
To look at memory B cells specific to the new coronavirus, researchers led by Ali Ellebedy of Washington University in St. Louis analyzed blood from 77 people at three-month intervals, starting about a month after their infection with the coronavirus. Only six of the 77 had been hospitalized for Covid-19; the rest had mild symptoms.
Antibody levels in these individuals dropped rapidly four months after infection and continued to decline slowly for months afterward '-- results that are in line with those from other studies.
Some scientists have interpreted this decrease as a sign of waning immunity, but it is exactly what's expected, other experts said. If blood contained high quantities of antibodies to every pathogen the body had ever encountered, it would quickly transform into a thick sludge.
Instead, blood levels of antibodies fall sharply following acute infection, while memory B cells remain quiescent in the bone marrow, ready to take action when needed.
Image The studies found memory B cells produced in response to Covid infection and enhanced with a vaccine were so potent that they thwart even variants of the virus, negating a need for boosters. Credit... Saul Martinez for The New York Times Dr. Ellebedy's team obtained bone marrow samples from 19 people roughly seven months after they had been infected. Fifteen had detectable memory B cells, but four did not, suggesting that some people might carry very few of the cells or none at all.
''It tells me that even if you got infected, it doesn't mean that you have a super immune response,'' Dr. Ellebedy said. The findings reinforce the idea that people who have recovered from Covid-19 should be vaccinated, he said.
Five of the participants in Dr. Ellebedy's study donated bone marrow samples seven or eight months after they were initially infected and again four months later. He and his colleagues found that the number of memory B cells remained stable over that time.
The results are particularly noteworthy because it is difficult to get bone marrow samples, said Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto who was not involved in the work.
A landmark study in 2007 showed that antibodies in theory could survive decades, perhaps even well beyond the average life span, hinting at the long-term presence of memory B cells. But the new study offered a rare proof of their existence, Dr. Gommerman said.
Dr. Nussenzweig's team looked at how memory B cells mature over time. The researchers analyzed blood from 63 people who had recovered from Covid-19 about a year earlier. The vast majority of the participants had mild symptoms, and 26 had also received at least one dose of either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
So-called neutralizing antibodies, needed to prevent reinfection with the virus, remained unchanged between six and 12 months, while related but less important antibodies slowly disappeared, the team found.
As memory B cells continued to evolve, the antibodies they produced developed the ability to neutralize an even broader group of variants. This ongoing maturation may result from a small piece of the virus that is sequestered by the immune system '-- for target practice, so to speak.
A year after infection, neutralizing activity in the participants who had not been vaccinated was lower against all forms of the virus, with the greatest loss seen against the variant first identified in South Africa.
Vaccination significantly amplified antibody levels, confirming results from other studies; the shots also ramped up the body's neutralizing ability by about 50-fold.
Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on Sunday that he would not get a coronavirus vaccine because he had been infected in March of last year and was therefore immune.
But there is no guarantee that such immunity will be powerful enough to protect him for years, particularly given the emergence of variants of the coronavirus that can partially sidestep the body's defenses.
The results of Dr. Nussenzweig's study suggest that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who have later been vaccinated will continue to have extremely high levels of protection against emerging variants, even without receiving a vaccine booster down the line.
''It kind of looks exactly like what we would hope a good memory B cell response would look like,'' said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in the new research.
The experts all agreed that immunity is likely to play out very differently in people who have never had Covid-19. Fighting a live virus is different from responding to a single viral protein introduced by a vaccine. And in those who had Covid-19, the initial immune response had time to mature over six to 12 months before being challenged by the vaccine.
''Those kinetics are different than someone who got immunized and then gets immunized again three weeks later,'' Dr. Pepper said. ''That's not to say that they might not have as broad a response, but it could be very different.''
Senior CDC official who first warned of Covid-19 pandemic resigns
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:16
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who drew fury from then-President Donald Trump when she first warned Americans publicly to prepare for the coronavirus, has resigned from her position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a media briefing Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called Messonnier a "true hero."
Messonnier has "been a steward of public health for for the nation over this pandemic, and through a many-decade career, she's made significant contributions, and she leaves behind a strong, strong force of leadership and courage in all that she's done," Walensky said.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Messonnier was the first federal health official to make a blunt statement about where the country was headed, back in February 2020 '-- weeks before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Messonnier said during a media briefing at the time.
After Messonnier's warning, Wall Street plunged for several days, and Trump became enraged. Only a day earlier, Trump had tweeted, "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."
Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Messonnier was soon removed from public briefings related to Covid-19, instead focusing on vaccine efforts behind the scenes as director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
This past April, she was reassigned to a different position. Her resignation soon followed.
In an email to CDC staff, Messonnier said she was taking a new role at the California-based Skoll Foundation, which, according to its website, "drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and innovators who help them solve the world's most pressing problems."
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Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and "TODAY."
Nancy Messonnier Rod Rosenstein- Wikipedia
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:17
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to searchAmerican medical epidemiologist at the CDC
Nancy Messonnier (n(C)e Rosenstein; born November 1965) is an American physician who serves as the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She worked on the CDC's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Early life and education [ edit ] Messonnier was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Robert Rosenstein, who ran a small business, and Gerri Rosenstein, a bookkeeper and local school board president. She grew up in Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, with her brother Rod Rosenstein.[1]
Messonnier graduated from Lower Moreland High School in Lower Moreland Township. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. She then attended the University of Chicago School of Medicine, where she received her Doctor of Medicine in 1992. She then returned to the University of Pennsylvania for her residency training in internal medicine between 1992 and 1995.[citation needed ]
Career [ edit ] Messonnier began her career in public health in 1995 as an epidemic intelligence service officer in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During her tenure at the CDC, she led the Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch in NCIRD's Division of Bacterial Diseases from 2007 to 2012.[2] She also served as the deputy director of NCIRD from 2014 to 2016 before becoming director of the center on April 4, 2016.[3][2]
During the course of her career, Messonnier notably worked on the 2001 anthrax attacks response, serving as co-leader of the anthrax management team and vaccine working group.[3] She also played a leading role developing a low-cost meningococcal meningitis vaccine to prevent an emerging epidemic in Africa, known as MenAfriVac, in 2010. She has also worked on communications strategies to promote the use of vaccines to prevent the emergence of disease outbreaks.[4]
COVID-19 pandemic in the United States [ edit ] Starting January 2020, Messonnier helped lead the CDC efforts to address and combat the emerging threat of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).[5] When 195 Americans were evacuated out of Wuhan because of the virus, the CDC moved to quarantine all of them, with Messonnier noting: "While we realize this is an unprecedented action, this is an unprecedented threat."[6]
In a February 25 press briefing at the White House, Messonnier warned of the impending community spread of the virus in the United States, stating: "Disruption to everyday life might be severe."[7][8] Following her comments during the February White House press briefing, she did not appear again at the briefing, and there was speculation that Messonnier had been "silenced" for her comments stressing the growing urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.[9] On February 28, she said that the U.S. "acted incredibly quickly before most other countries. Aggressively controlled our borders and we were able to slow the spread into the United States. ...We have been testing aggressively."[10][11] While Messonnier no longer appeared in White House briefings, she continued giving regular CDC briefings, which were broadcast to the public, until April 2020, and she made public appearances in All Things Considered on NPR.[12][13]
On March 9, 2020 she cautioned those who were at high risk of severe illness, including the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, to take cautionary measures such as stocking up on groceries and medications, and preparing to shelter in place for the foreseeable future.[14][15] She also addressed concerns around the CDC and FDA's failure to get working COVID-19 testing kits into the hands of public health officials in a timely manner to enable better containment of the disease and mitigation of its spread.[16] On January 21, 2020, she announced that the CDC had finalized its own COVID-19 test. On February 5, the CDC began distributing diagnostic tests to public-health laboratories; however, several of those tests had contaminated reagents, rendering them useless,[17] and leading to a major gap in fighting the outbreak.[16] The situation was exacerbated by FDA-imposed regulations on testing, making it difficult for independent development of COVID-19 tests to fill the CDC's distribution gap.[18]
On May 7, 2021 she told colleagues she was resigning from the CDC effective May 14, saying "now is the best time for me to transition to a new phase of my career." She said she would become executive director for pandemic and public health systems at the Skoll Foundation, based in Palo Alto, California.[19]
Personal life [ edit ] Messonnier is married to Mark L. Messonnier. She is the sister of Rod Rosenstein.[20]
Awards, honors, and decorations [ edit ] 2000: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iain C. Hardy Memorial Award[21]2011: Philip Horne Award, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases[22]United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps [ edit ] Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, June 12, 2016For enabling the unprecedented use of an investigational serogroup B meningococcal vaccine
Public Health Service Presidential Unit Citation, June 7, 2016For Ebola response
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, February 17, 2016For excellent response to national outbreak of severe respiratory illness
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, November 25, 2014[23]For investigation of two state-wide pertussis epidemicsPublic Health Service Unit Commendation, November 29, 2012For National Park Service CDC Zoonotic Team
Public Health Service Unit Commendation, October 27, 2010For response to an outbreak of meningococcal disease in the Upper East Region of Ghana
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, August 9, 2010For leading the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' response to the 2009 influenza pandemic
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, April 15, 2010For emergence of Ciprofloxacin-resistant Neisseria meningitidis in North America
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, April 29, 2009For exemplary work in assisting state and local health departments in multiple pertussis outbreaks
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, April 29, 2009For service preventing childhood pneumonia and meningitis by increasing adoption of vaccines in developing countries
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, December 16, 2008For designing hands-on laboratory training courses to increase global meningitis disease surveillance
Public Health Service Unit Commendation, June 19, 2008For service on the Awards Board and support to the U.S. Public Health Service awards process
Public Health Service Unit Commendation, February 23, 2007For outstanding teamwork, scientific, and community interaction in the investigation of an anthrax case
Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal, January 12, 2006For outstanding leadership to improve control and prevention of meningococcal disease in the U.S. and Africa
Public Health Service Unit Commendation, October 27, 2005For collaborating with health agencies in assessment and response to accidental exposure to Bacillus anthracis
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, March - July 2003For the investigation and control of SARS during the acute public health response
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, January - July 2002For responding to the serogroup W135 meningococcal disease epidemic in Burkina Faso
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, September 2001 - March 2002For outstanding service in responding to terrorist attacks
Public Health Service Crisis Response Service Award, October 2001 - January 2002For participation in the World Trade Center and Anthrax response
Public Health Service Commendation Medal, October 1997 - March 2001For evaluation of risk of meningococcal disease in college students and development of vaccine strategies
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, July 1998 - October 1998For the Leptospirosis response
Public Health Service Achievement Medal, July 1997 - June 1998For meningococcal disease surveillance
Public Health Service Commendation Medal, July 1997 - July 1998For outstanding contributions to improve prevention of meningococcal disease in the U.S. and Africa
Public Health Service Foreign Duty Service Award, January 1998 - December 1998Public Health Service Bicentennial Unit Commendation Award, January 1998[24]
Selected works and publications [ edit ] Traeger, Marc S.; Wiersma, Steven T.; Rosenstein, Nancy E.; Malecki, Jean M.; Shepard, Colin W.; Raghunathan, Pratima L.; Pillai, Segaran P.; Popovic, Tanja; Quinn, Conrad P.; Meyer, Richard F.; Zaki, Sharif R.; Kumar, Savita; Bruce, Sherrie M.; Sejvar, James J.; Dull, Peter M.; Tierney, Bruce C.; Jones, Joshua D.; Perkins, Bradley A. (October 2002). "First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States, Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 8 (10): 1029''1034. doi:10.3201/eid0810.020354 . PMC 2730309 . PMID 12396910. Wikidata ()Wright, Jennifer Gordon; Quinn, Conrad P.; Shadomy, Sean; Messonnier, Nancy; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (July 23, 2010). "Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2009". MMWR. Recommendations and Reports : Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Recommendations and Reports. 59 (RR-6): 1''30. PMID 20651644. Wikidata ()Novak, Ryan T; Kambou, Jean Ludovic; Diomand(C), Fabien VK; Tarbangdo, Tiga F; Ou(C)draogo-Traor(C), Rasmata; Sangar(C), Lassana; Lingani, Clement; Martin, Stacey W; Hatcher, Cynthia; Mayer, Leonard W; LaForce, F Marc; Avokey, Fenella; Djingarey, Mamoudou H; Messonnier, Nancy E; Tiendr(C)b(C)ogo, Sylvestre R; Clark, Thomas A (October 2012). "Serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccination in Burkina Faso: analysis of national surveillance data". The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 12 (10): 757''764. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70168-8. PMC 4831863 . PMID 22818241. Wikidata ()Patel, Anita; Jernigan, Daniel B.; Abdirizak, Fatuma; Abedi, Glen; Aggarwal, Sharad; Albina, Denise; Allen, Elizabeth; Andersen, Lauren; Anderson, Jade; Anderson, Megan; Anderson, Tara; Anderson, Kayla; Bardossy, Ana Cecilia; Barry, Vaughn; Beer, Karlyn; Bell, Michael; Berger, Sherri; Bertulfo, Joseph; Biggs, Holly; Bornemann, Jennifer; Bornstein, Josh; Bower, Willie; Bresee, Joseph; Brown, Clive; Budd, Alicia; Buigut, Jennifer; Burke, Stephen; Burke, Rachel; Burns, Erin; et al. (February 7, 2020). "Initial Public Health Response and Interim Clinical Guidance for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak '-- United States, December 31, 2019''February 4, 2020". MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 69 (5): 140''146. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6905e1 . PMC 7004396 . PMID 32027631. References [ edit ] ^ Whelan, Aubrey (May 10, 2017). "The Montco-reared deputy AG who recommended firing Comey". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on May 10, 2017 . Retrieved May 12, 2017 . ^ a b O'Donnell, Nicquel Terry Ellis and Jayne. "War on coronavirus: Residents in suburban Atlanta town find comfort near CDC headquarters". USA TODAY . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ a b "IAC Express: Issue 1236". . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ "Vaccine Communication With Parents: Best Practices". Medscape . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Grady, Denise (January 17, 2020). "Three U.S. Airports to Check Passengers for a Deadly Chinese Coronavirus". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Lejeune, Tristan (January 31, 2020). "CDC to quarantine Americans evacuated out of China". TheHill . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ "CDC says it expects 'community spread' of coronavirus, warns of disruption". STAT. February 25, 2020 . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ Tinker, Ben (February 25, 2020). "US health official says coronavirus is moving closer to being a pandemic". CNN . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ Harris, Shane; Miller, Greg; Dawsey, Josh; Nakashima, Ellen. "U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic". Washington Post . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ "Transcript for the CDC Telebriefing Update on COVID-19". CDC. February 28, 2020. ^ "CDC revises COVID-19 test kits, broadens 'person under investigation' definition". CHEST Physician. February 28, 2020. ^ Kiely, Eugene (March 24, 2020). "Biden Video on Trump 'Silencing' Expert". . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ "CDC 'Vaccine Expert' On Coronavirus Outbreak In The U.S." . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ "CDC: Coronavirus spread may last into 2021, but impact can be blunted". STAT. March 9, 2020 . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Weixel, Nathaniel (March 9, 2020). "CDC: Americans over 60 should 'stock up' on supplies, avoid crowds". TheHill . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ a b Baird, Robert P. "What Went Wrong with Coronavirus Testing in the U.S." The New Yorker . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Yeager,Ashley. CDC Lab Contamination Delayed Coronavirus Testing The Scientist April 20, 2020. ^ Shear, Michael D.; Goodnough, Abby; Kaplan, Sheila; Fink, Sheri; Thomas, Katie; Weiland, Noah (March 28, 2020). "The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Stanley-Becker, Isaac; Sun, Lena H. (May 7, 2021). "Senior CDC official who met Trump's wrath for raising alarm about coronavirus to resign". The Washington Post . Retrieved May 8, 2021 . ^ "Trump backers see a coronavirus conspiracy". Politico . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ "Iain C. Hardy Memorial Award: Attending EIS Conference; Epidemic Intelligence Service". CDC. September 27, 2019 . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ CDC (August 6, 2019). "Director, NCIRD". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Retrieved April 2, 2020 . ^ Commissioned Corps Management Information System (December 11, 2014). "Commissioned Corps Awards Oct-Dec 14" (PDF) . Commissioned Corps Management Information System. United States Department of Health and Human Services . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ Centers for Disease Control (July 8, 2019). Center for Disease Control Titles and Resumes of Political Appointees. Christina Tudor, American Oversight. External links [ edit ] Nancy Messonnier at the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the CDCAppearances on C-SPAN
CDC's deputy director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, to retire from agency
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:15
Dr. Anne Schuchat, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced her retirement Monday.
Another high-profile leader at the CDC, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, announced her resignation 10 days ago. It was Messonnier who first bluntly advised Americans in February 2020 to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic. The messaging enraged President Donald Trump, and Messonnier was later moved to a less public role.
Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, is retiring at a time of communication turmoil at the agency. The agency's guidance last week about masking led to confusion and questions about who should wear face coverings and when.
Schuchat, who has been with the agency for 33 years, did not indicate that her departure had anything to do with recent events.
"After a long and fulfilling career in public health, infectious diseases, and epidemiology, it is the time for me to smell some roses," she said in a statement, adding that she is "leaving with the greatest respect and confidence in CDC's leadership and staff."
The CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement: "Anne embodies selfless public service, the pinnacle of scientific and intellectual standards, and has given her heart to our agency and the public health community. I will remain forever grateful that our paths crossed, even for just a short while."
Schuchat, who joined the CDC in 1988, has played key roles through many emergencies, including the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the 2001 bioterrorist anthrax response.
Other important work did not make major headlines, including the development of guidelines to test pregnant women for group B strep, a common bacterium that can be harmful to newborns if they are exposed during birth.
"That guidance, based on incredibly good public health science, has led to thousands of babies being born in the United States safely," said Dr. Richard Besser, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the CDC.
"When it comes to public health," Besser said, "Anne is a national and global treasure."
Another former CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, echoed the sentiment.
Schuchat "is widely respected, and rightly so, for her profound dedication, incisive intelligence, and deep knowledge of public health," Frieden, who is currently president of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said in a statement to NBC News.
Schuchat's announcement indicated that she hopes her retirement will "allow more time for creative passions."
It is unclear what those intentions are, but Besser noted Schuchat's penchant for creative writing and poetry.
"For every going-away party, she would write a poem, a really funny poem or song, for whoever was leaving," he said. "She has incredible heart and spirit."
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Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and "TODAY."
Covid-19 hate crimes act
For reference:
It has the usual grants for federal and state lawmakers to hand out, a
new website for reporting crimes, and a new database for keeping track
of crimes. Plus, there’s re-education camps!!!!!!
Section 5.h
“If a court includes, as a part of a sentence of imprisonment imposed
for a violation of subsection (a), a requirement that the defendant be
placed on a term of supervised release after imprisonment under section
3583, the court may order, as an explicit condition of supervised
release, that the defendant undertake educational classes or community
service directly related to the community harmed by the defendant's
Dr Fauci says he's 'not convinced' COVID-19 formed naturally
Sun, 23 May 2021 23:55
By Megan Sheets For and Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor Aboard Air Force One 18:37 23 May 2021, updated 00:55 24 May 2021
Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in November 2019 and ended up needing hospital care Previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report adds weight to growing calls for a fuller probe of whether the Covid-19 virus may have escaped from the laboratoryDr Anthony Fauci questioned the origins of COVID-19 at a May 11 PolitiFact eventAsked if he's 'still confident it developed naturally', Fauci said: 'No, actually''I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,' he saidFauci's comments came after he clashed with Sen Rand Paul on the topic at a Senate hearing earlier this monthIn front of the Senate Fauci said he could not rule out the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology On Thursday the White House renewed calls for an 'independent, transparent investigation' into the origins of the virusIt followed a report from Republicans which found 'significant circumstantial evidence' of a lab leak Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.
The newspaper said the report - which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits - may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
The report came on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization's decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic A previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report adds weight to growing calls for a fuller probe of whether the Covid-19 virus may have escaped from the laboratoryA National Security Council spokeswoman had no comment on the Journal's report but said the Biden administration continued to have 'serious questions about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origins within the Peoples Republic of China.'
She said the U.S. government was working with the WHO and other member states to support an expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic's origins 'that is free from interference or politicization.'
'We're not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO study into the source of SARS-CoV-2, but we've been clear that sound and technically credible theories should be thoroughly evaluated by international experts,' she said.
The Journal said current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed a range of views about the strength of the report's supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed 'further investigation and additional corroboration.'
China's foreign ministry noted that a WHO-led team had concluded a lab leak was extremely unlikely after a visit in February to the virology institute. Pictured, an aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei provinceThe United States, Norway, Canada, Britain and other countries in March expressed concerns about the WHO-led COVID-19 origins study, and called for further investigation and full access to all pertinent human, animal and other data about the early stages of the outbreak.
Washington is keen to ensure greater cooperation and transparency by China, according to a source familiar with the effort.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
On Sunday, China's foreign ministry noted that a WHO-led team had concluded a lab leak was extremely unlikely after a visit in February to the virology institute. 'The U.S. continues to hype the lab leak theory,' the ministry said in response to a request for comment by the Journal. 'Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?'
The Trump administration had said it suspected the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab, which Beijing denies.
A State Department fact sheet released near the end of the Trump administration had said 'the U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.' It did not say how many researchers.
China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, according to one of the team´s investigators, Reuters reported in February, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.
The World Health Organization's decision-making body is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at a meeting later this weekEarlier on Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci revealed he is 'not convinced' that COVID-19 developed naturally and called for an open investigation into its origins as China faces mounting pressure to provide transparency on the issue.
Fauci, the nation's leading expert in infectious diseases, explained his uncertainty during a PolitiFact event on May 11 entitled: United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking.
'There's a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?' PolitiFact managing editor Katie Sanders asked Fauci.
'No actually,' he replied. 'I am not convinced about that, I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.'
Dr Anthony Fauci revealed he is 'not convinced' the novel coronavirus developed naturally during a PolitiFact event on May 11 (pictured)Fauci continued: 'Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.
'So, you know, that's the reason why I said I'm perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.'
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Fauci's appearance at the event came hours after he was grilled on the same topic during a tense Senate hearing.
'Will you in front of this group categorically say that the COVID-19 virus could not have occurred by serial passage in a laboratory?' Sen Rand Paul (R - Kentucky) had asked Fauci.
The NIH director replied: 'I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I'm fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China.'
Fauci also unequivocally refuted Paul's suggestion that the NIH had funneled money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology - the Chinese lab accused of playing a role in the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Anthony Fauci snaps back at Senator Paul during questioning about the origins of COVIDSenator Rand Paul clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a hearing a Senate hearingDuring his segment at the PolitiFact event Fauci slammed Paul for 'conflating'... in a way that's almost irresponsible' Chinese scientists with collaborative research into Sars-Cov-1, which emerged in China in the early 2000s.
Fauci's appearance at the event received little media attention at the time but was pulled back into the spotlight over the weekend after the White House renewed its call for an independent and 'transparent' investigation into the origins of the COVID.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday called for exploring the 'root causes' of the pandemic after Republicans issued an interim report saying there was 'significant circumstantial evidence' that the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
'I would caution you against disproving a negative there which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States,' she said in response to a question about the report.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called for a transparent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus'Our view continues to be that there needs to be an independent, transparent investigation,' she said.
She said the investigation required the 'cooperation and data provided from the Chinese government' '' which has denied administration requests to fully share it.
'We don't have enough info at this point to make an assessment,' she continued.
Fact check on funding for Wuhan lab USA Today found it 'false' that any US funding led to the COVID outbreak.
In 2014, NIH approved a grant to EcoHealth Alliance designated for research into 'Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.' The project involved collaborating with researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses in bats and the risk of potential transfer to humans.
In total, $3,378,896 in NIH funding was directed from the government to the project.
Over the course of the two grants approved by the NIH for EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute received about $600,000 from the NIH, according to Robert Kessler, a spokesperson for EcoHealth Alliance.
The funding was a fee for the collection and analysis of viral samples, the group said. It was directed toward SARS research.
In the grant approved in 2014, about $133,000 was sent to the institute in the first four years and about $66,000 in the past year. In the second grant approved in 2019, about $76,000 was budgeted for the Wuhan Institute, though no money was sent before the grant's termination.
The grant was terminated in April 2020.
- USA Today fact check
Asked when Biden would call Chinese President Xi Jinping, Psaki responded that 'We have made that call publicly many times' and 'conveyed that privately. And we have certainly communicated that they were not transparent from the beginning.'
The Republicans on the panel made their claim after infectious Fauci clashed with Sen Paul over his claims about a Chinese lab leak '' and statements about a conspiracy theory that US backing was involved.
Many top scientists, while not ruling out the possibility of a human-caused event, point to the likelihood of the virus mutating and jumping form animals to humans, as has happened with numerous previous coronaviruses.
The report says U.S. agencies and academic institutions 'may have funded or collaborated in' gain of function research '' after Fauci specifically denied government backing.
'Based on publicly available information, the possibility that the outbreak originated from an accidental exposure at the WIV has not been disproven,' it says.
It cites competing theories '' including the virus originating from a Chinese wet market, jumping over from human contact with a bat or other species, or even through handling of imported frozen food '' but then says it focuses on just one.
'While Committee Republicans acknowledge there are differing theories on the origins of COVID-19, this review focuses on the WIV as a possible origin source,' it says, referencing the Wuhan lab.
The report was released publicly Wednesday after first being obtained by Fox News.
The report, though cites 'significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,' without providing any direct evidence that it did.
It says China has a 'history of research lab leaks resulting in infections' and says the lab conducts 'dangerous research,' which risks the 'accidental outbreak of a pandemic.'
The report follows repeated attacks by President Donald Trump on China after the virus outbreak. He frequently called covid-19 the 'China virus' in the run-up to the election and called it the 'kung flu.'
It cites public reporting that Chinese researchers were sickened in the fall of 2019 with 'COVID-10-like symptoms.'
'By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC's claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human' according to the report, although it is not just the Chinese Communist Party making the claim.
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli (L) is seen inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei province on February 23, 2017. Two Chinese labs are located close by a wet market in Wuhan that scientists believe allowed covid-19 to proliferateEarlier this month, Paul and Fauci got in a tense exchange during a Senate hearing, where Paul accused the US of potentially funding 'gain-of-function' research bats that could have gone awry.
'This gain-of-function research has been funded by the NIH. '... Dr. Fauci, do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?'
'Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not never and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,' shot back Fauci.
'Could you rule out a laboratory escape? The answer in this case is probably not. Will you in front of this group categorically say that the COVID-19 could not have occurred through serial passage in a laboratory,' Paul asked Fauci.
'I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done and I'm fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,' Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded.
'However I will repeat again, the NIH and NIAD categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute.'
Fauci also told him: 'I fully agree that you should investigate where the virus came from. But again, we have not funded gain of function research on this virus in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. No matter how many times you say it, it didn't happen.'
A report by the World Health Organization with the collaboration from China called a 'zoonotic transmission' from animals to humans 'likely to very likely' as the cause, although the administration has faulted the report as incomplete.
Timeline: How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible - The Washington Post
Tue, 25 May 2021 10:01
How and why did this happen? For one, efforts to discover a natural source of the virus have failed. Second, early efforts to spotlight a lab leak often got mixed up with speculation that the virus was deliberately created as a bioweapon. That made it easier for many scientists to dismiss the lab scenario as tin-hat nonsense. But a lack of transparency by China and renewed attention to the activities of the Wuhan lab have led some scientists to say they were too quick to discount a possible link at first.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) from the start pointed to the lab's location in Wuhan, pressing China for answers, so the history books will reward him if he turns out to be right. The Trump administration also sought to highlight the lab scenario but generally could only point to vague intelligence. The Trump administration's messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.
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As a reader service, here is a timeline of key events, including important articles, that have led to this reassessment. In some instances, important information was available from the start but was generally ignored. But in other cases, some experts fought against the conventional wisdom and began to build a credible case, rooted in science, that started to change people's minds. This has led to renewed calls for a real investigation into the lab's activities before the coronavirus emerged.
Dec. 30, 2019: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issues an ''urgent notice'' to medical institutions in Wuhan, saying that cases of pneumonia of unknown cause have emerged from the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
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Jan. 5, 2020: Earliest known tweet suggesting China created the virus. @GarboHK tweeted: ''18 years ago, #China killed nearly 300 #HongKongers by unreporting #SARS cases, letting Chinese tourists travel around the world, to Asia specifically to spread the virus with bad intention. Today the evil regime strikes again with a new virus.''
Jan. 23: A Daily Mail article appears, headlined: ''China built a lab to study SARS and Ebola in Wuhan '-- and U.S. biosafety experts warned in 2017 that a virus could 'escape' the facility that's become key in fighting the outbreak.''
Jan. 26: The Washington Times publishes an article with the headline: ''Coronavirus may have originated in lab linked to China's biowarfare program.'' An editor's note is added March 25: ''Since this story ran, scientists outside of China have had a chance to study the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They concluded it does not show signs of having been manufactured or purposefully manipulated in a lab.''
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Jan. 26: A study by Chinese researchers published in the Lancet of the first 41 hospitalized patients In Wuhan who had confirmed infections found that 13 of the 41 cases, including the first documented case, had no link to the seafood marketplace that originally was considered the origin of the outbreak.
Jan 30: Sen. Tom Cotton, speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, says: ''This coronavirus is a catastrophe on the scale of Chernobyl for China. But actually, it's probably worse than Chernobyl, which was localized in its effect. The coronavirus could result in a global pandemic.'' He adds: ''I would note that Wuhan has China's only biosafety level-four super laboratory that works with the world's most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus.''
Feb. 3: WIV researchers report in the journal Nature that the novel coronavirus spreading around the world was a bat-derived coronavirus. The report said SARS-CoV-2 is 96.2 percent identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus named RaTG13. (This is roughly equivalent to the difference in the genomes of humans and orangutans.)
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Feb. 6: Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, posts a paper stating that ''the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.'' He pointed to the previous safety mishaps and the kind of research undertaken at the lab. He withdrew the paper a few weeks later after Chinese authorities insisted no accident had taken place.
Feb. 9: In response to criticism from China's ambassador that Cotton's remarks are ''absolutely crazy,'' the senator tweets: ''Here's what's not a conspiracy, not a theory: Fact: China lied about virus starting in Wuhan food market. Fact: super-lab is just a few miles from that market. Where did it start? We don't know. But burden of proof is on you & fellow communists. Open up now to competent international scientists.''
Feb. 16: Cotton, in response to a Washington Post article critical of him, offers four scenarios on Twitter: ''1. Natural (still the most likely, but almost certainly not from the Wuhan food market) 2. Good science, bad safety (e.g., they were researching things like diagnostic testing and vaccines, but an accidental breach occurred). 3. Bad science, bad safety (this is the engineered-bioweapon hypothesis, with an accidental breach). 4. Deliberate release (very unlikely, but shouldn't rule out till the evidence is in). Again, none of these are 'theories' and certainly not 'conspiracy theories.' They are hypotheses that ought to be studied in light of the evidence.''
Feb. 19: A statement is published in Lancet by a group of 27 scientists: ''We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that covid-19 does not have a natural origin,'' the statement says. Scientists ''overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.'' The statement was drafted and organized by Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, which funded research at WIV with U.S. government grants. (Three of the signers have since said a laboratory accident is plausible enough to merit consideration.)
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March 11: Scientific American publishes a profile of virologist Shi Zhengli, who heads a group that studies bat coronaviruses at WIV. ''I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China,'' she said. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, ''Could they have come from our lab?'' The article said that after the virus emerged, Shi frantically went through her own lab's records from the past few years to check for any mishandling of experimental materials, but she ''breathed a sigh of relief when the results came back: none of the sequences matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves.'' She told the magazine: ''That really took a load off my mind. I had not slept a wink for days.''
March 17: An analysis published in Nature Medicine by an influential group of scientists states: ''Although the evidence shows that SARSCoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove the other theories of its origin described here. However, since we observed all notable SARS-CoV-2 features, including the optimized RBD [receptor- binding domain] and polybasic cleavage site, in related coronaviruses in nature, we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.''
The intelligence community weighs in
March 27: A Defense Intelligence Agency assessment on the origin of the coronavirus is updated to include the possibility that the new coronavirus emerged ''accidentally'' due to ''unsafe laboratory practices.''
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April 2: David Ignatius, writing in The Washington Post, notes: ''The prime suspect is 'natural' transmission from bats to humans, perhaps through unsanitary markets. But scientists don't rule out that an accident at a research laboratory in Wuhan might have spread a deadly bat virus that had been collected for scientific study.''
April 14: Josh Rogin, writing in The Post, reveals that in 2018, State Department officials visited the WIV and ''sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus '-- even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.''
April 22: Yuri Deigin, a biotech entrepreneur, in a long and detailed post on Medium, reviews ''gain-of-function'' research undertaken at the lab and concludes that ''from a technical standpoint, it would not be difficult for a modern virologist to create such a strain'' as the new coronavirus. He adds: ''The opposite point is worth repeating too: the inverse hypothesis about the exclusively natural origin of the virus does not yet have strong evidence either.''
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April 24: Under pressure from the White House, the National Institutes of Health terminates the grant to EcoHealth Alliance that funded study of bat coronaviruses at WIV.
April 30: President Donald Trump tells reporters: ''You had the theory from the lab. '... There's a lot of theories. But, yeah, we have people looking at it very, very strongly.''
May 3: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says in an interview with ABC News: ''There's enormous evidence that that's where this began. '... Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.''
July 4: The Times of London reports that a virus 96 percent identical to the coronavirus that causes covid-19 was found in an abandoned copper mine in China in 2012. The bat-infested copper mine in southwestern China was home to a coronavirus that left six men sick with pneumonia, with three eventually dying, after they had been tasked with shoveling bat guano out of the mine. This virus was collected in 2013 and then stored and studied at WIV.
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July 31: Science magazine publishes an interview with Shi Zhengli of WIV. She said it was impossible for anyone at the institute to have been infected, saying ''to date, there is 'zero infection' of all staff and students in our institute.'' She added: ''President Trump's claim that SARS-CoV-2 was leaked from our institute totally contradicts the facts. It jeopardizes and affects our academic work and personal life. He owes us an apology.'' In the interview, she admitted that some coronavirus research was conducted at biosafety level 2, not the more restrictive BSL-4.
Nov. 17: An influential paper written by Rossana Segreto and Yuri Deigin is published: ''The genetic structure of SARS-CoV-2 does not rule out a laboratory origin.'' The paper noted that ''a natural host, either direct or intermediate, has not yet been identified.'' It argues that certain features of the coronavirus ''might be the result of lab manipulation techniques such as site-directed mutagenesis. The acquisition of both unique features by SARS-CoV-2 more or less simultaneously is less likely to be natural or caused only by cell/animal serial passage.'' The paper concluded: ''On the basis of our analysis, an artificial origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not a baseless conspiracy theory that is to be condemned,'' referencing the Lancet statement in February.
Nov. 17: WIV researchers, including Shi, post an addendum to their Feb. 3 report in Nature, acknowledging that RaTG13, the bat coronavirus closely associated with the coronavirus, was found in a mine cave after several patients had fallen ill with ''severe respiratory disease'' in 2012 while cleaning the cave.
Jan. 4, 2021: New York magazine publishes a lengthy article by Nicholson Baker, who reviews the evidence and concludes the lab-leak scenario is more compelling than previously believed.
Jan. 15: Days before Trump leaves office, the State Department issues a ''fact sheet'' on WIV that states: ''The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses. '... The WIV has a published record of conducting 'gain-of-function' research to engineer chimeric viruses. But the WIV has not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the covid-19 virus, including 'RaTG13,' which it sampled from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013 after several miners died of SARS-like illness.''
Jan. 20: Joe Biden becomes president.
Feb. 9: A joint report by the World Health Organization and China declares: ''The findings suggest that the laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain introduction of the virus into the human population.''
Feb. 11: WHO Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus refuses to rule out the lab-leak scenario. ''Some questions have been raised as to whether some hypotheses have been discarded,'' he said. ''I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.''
Feb. 19: National security adviser Jake Sullivan issues a statement about the WHO report: ''We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them. It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government. To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak.''
March 22: The Australian newspaper reports: ''Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers working on corona­viruses were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with covid-19 in early November 2019 in what U.S. officials suspect could have been the first cluster.''
May 5: Former New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, reviews the evidence and makes a strong case for the lab-leak theory. He focuses in particular on the furin cleavage site, which increases viral infectivity for human cells. His analysis yields this quote from David Baltimore, a virologist and former president of the California Institute of Technology: ''When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence, with its arginine codons, I said to my wife it was the smoking gun for the origin of the virus. These features make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for SARS2.''
May 14: Eighteen prominent scientists publish a letter in the journal Science, saying a new investigation is needed because ''theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable.'' One signer is Ralph Baric, a virologist who worked closely with Shi.
May 17: Another former New York Times science reporter, Donald G. McNeil Jr., posts on Medium: ''How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Lab-Leak Theory.'' He quotes W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University '-- who had signed the March 2020 letter in Nature Medicine '-- as saying his mind had changed in light of new information.
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Dr. Fauci drops a bombshell, saying he's not convinced COVID developed naturally '' BGR
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:34
In an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci published around this time last year by National Geographic, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases strongly pushed back against the notion that the virus at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic '-- which as of the time of this writing has killed around 590,000 Americans '-- was in all likelihood a naturally occurring virus. That it wasn't concocted in a lab, in other words, as some conspiracy theory adherents had started to suspect, nor was it the result of an accident of some kind originating inside China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (the so-called ''lab leak'' theory). ''If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats, what's out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this (virus) could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated '-- the way the mutations have naturally evolved,'' Dr. Fauci told NatGeo. ''A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species.''
Exactly 12 months later, however, Dr. Fauci is now the chief medical advisor for the Biden White House, and he now appears prepared to do a 180 on the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. By way of sharing something of a coronavirus update in recent days during a Poynter event, ''United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,'' he gave the following answer after being asked about all of the different possibilities that could explain the origin of the COVID-19 virus. ''There's a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?'' PolitiFact's Katie Sanders asked him. Needless to say, his answer has left many netizens and social media users aghast, especially since the prevailing response for a year now to anyone who simply wondered whether an accident of some kind could have caused the virus at the heart of the pandemic was treated with the same level of contempt you'd reserve for someone who thinks the earth is flat.
Today's Top Deal We can't believe these popular smart plugs on sale for only $3.62 each! List Price: $28.99 Price: $14.49 You Save: $14.50 (50%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now Coupon Code: YORMADPN Available from Amazon BGR may receive a commission Dr. Fauci's answer: ''No actually,'' he said, about 12 minutes into the event (footage of which is available here). ''I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out to the best of our ability exactly what happened.'' As he continued, Dr. Fauci added that there have certainly been authoritative experts who've investigated and said that COVID-19 likely emerged from an animal reservoir of some kind, ''but it could have been something else. And we need to find that out.''
Fauci is now saying he's not confident the coronavirus emerged naturally and he endorses more investigation into the Wuhan labs. A huge change from what he said for many months. Wow.
'-- Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) May 22, 2021
As if that didn't add a bit of, shall we say, interesting texture to what the conventional wisdom thought it heretofore understood about the coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal on Sunday added yet another wrinkle '-- that at least three researchers from the virology institute in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originated reportedly became sick enough that they needed hospital care back in November 2019, suggesting that both our understanding of the timeline for the pandemic as well as the institute's centrality to it might need to be re-examined.
As you might can imagine, this news is creating shockwaves online. ''The newspaper said the report '-- which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits '-- may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory,'' Reuters notes about the WSJ findings.
WSJ EXCLUSIVE: Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report
'-- Anthony DeRosa 🗽 (@Anthony) May 23, 2021
The timing of the WSJ report is also significant, because it comes as the decision-making body of the World Health Organization is poised to announce its next step in a broader investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, meanwhile, China's foreign ministry, no surprise, blasted these developments from the US: ''The US continues to hype the lab leak theory,'' the ministry said when asked for a comment by the WSJ. ''Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?''
About a week ago, former New York Times science writer Donald McNeil Jr. '-- who until his resignation from the paper over an unrelated matter was one of the premier journalists in the US covering the pandemic '-- wrote a Medium post entitled ''How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Lab Leak Theory.''
Back in the early spring of 2020, he explains, ''I reported an article for The New York Times on which I put the tentative headline: 'New Coronavirus Is 'Clearly Not a Lab Leak,' Scientists Say.' It never ran. For two reasons.'' The most important of those reasons is that there was a fissure inside the Times itself. McNeil explains that the writers covering national security were hearing from their Trump administration sources (''albeit anonymously and with no hard evidence,'' McNeil adds) that the origin of the coronavirus was a lab leak that was being covered up by Chinese authorities. Meanwhile, ''we science reporters were hearing from virologists and zoologists '-- on the record and in great detail '-- that the odds were overwhelming that it was not a lab leak but an animal spillover.''
McNeil's whole piece is worth a read. ''The Occam's Razor argument '-- what's the likeliest explanation, animal or lab? '-- keeps shifting in the direction of the latter,'' he notes at one point.
''The whole thing may just be a cold case, and stay that way forever. But there are more embers left to sift. The whole world, China included, needs a hard answer, whoever is to blame '-- so we can prevent this from happening again.''
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United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking - Poynter
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:44
Facts took a bit of a beating in 2020. Let's turn the page and celebrate the truth! United Facts of America, brought to you by PolitiFact and the Poynter Institute, is a celebration of fact-checking featuring some of the most important voices in media, health care, politics and technology.
Over 10 hours of virtual programming, you'll hear from expert fact-checkers from PolitiFact, the Washington Post and, doctors on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and political and technology leaders trying to counter the spate of misinformation that lives online.
And we'll talk with mental health counselors and experts about how we all can better share the truth with our friends and constituents in times of crisis.
Get tickets now to access four days of forward-thinking conversation about the role of facts in our lives.
This virtual festival is for everyone interested in fact-based expression, civic engagement and the role of facts in a free society. Come celebrate facts with us!
General ticket: $50 (April 10-May 10)
VIP experience: $100 (May 10, 5:25-6:30 p.m. Eastern '-- Includes a private virtual happy hour with CNN's Brian Stelter and small group break-out sessions with PolitiFact fact-checkers)
Members of PolitiFact's Truth Squad are offered discounted tickets. Truth Squad members should have received an email with more details. If you're unsure about your membership status, contact Event sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please contact Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, at for details.
We'd love to hear from you. Email us at
Each day of the festival features more than two hours of lively, thoughtful conversations about facts. Days are broken down by theme: democracy, COVID-19, technology and culture. More speakers will be added as they are confirmed and this schedule is subject to change. Stay tuned!
Monday, May 10: Facts and Democracy
General program: 3-5:15 p.m Eastern timeVIP experience: 5:25-6:30 p.m.
Heaven Taylor-Wynn, MediaWise multimedia reporter, interviews Katie Sanders, Managing Editor of PolitiFact; Glenn Kessler, editor and chief writer of the Washington Post's Fact Checker; Linda Qiu, fact-check reporter at The New York Times; and Eugene Kiely, director of founder Bill Adair discusses the creation of PolitiFact in 2007 with the original PolitiFact team.Tia Mitchell, Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, interviews Gabriel Sterling, the Georgia elections official at the center of countering misinformation surrounding the 2020 election in his state.PolitiFact Editor-in- Chief Angie Drobnic Holan in conversation with Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark's Editor-At-Large. CNN's Brian Stelter will join.VIP EXCLUSIVE: Angie Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact editor-in-chief, interviews Brian Stelter, anchor of CNN's ''Reliable Sources,'' and the chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide.Tuesday, May 11: The COVID Infodemic '-- with keynote Dr. Anthony Fauci
3 p.m.-5 p.m. Eastern time
Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi discusses his efforts to reach vaccine hesitant people of color through social media.Jon Greenberg interviews Shefali Luthra, health and gender reporter at The 19th, Derek Thompson, staff writer for the Atlantic, and Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News about COVID-19 misinformation.Katie Sanders, PolitiFact managing editor, interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice on COVID-19. MediaWise project manager Katy Byron explains how to evaluate potential COVID-19 misinformation using a simple technique called lateral reading. Wednesday, May 12: Big Tech, Big Questions
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern time
Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director, interviews Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., about Section 230 and possible internet regulation in the U.S.Aaron Sharockman in conversation with Justine Isola, Head of Misinformation Policy, Facebook and Keren Goldshlager, News Integrity Partnerships Lead, Facebook, about Facebook's Third Party Fact Checking program.PolitiFact audience engagement editor Josie Hollingsworth interviews WildFireMike, Michael Clark, the firefighter who went viral last year on TikTok debunking claims about the California wildfires.Krishnan Anantharaman, PolitiFact deputy editor, interviews Baybars –rsek, director of the International Fact Checking Network, Brandy Zadrozy, senior reporter NBC News, and Jeff Horwitz, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, about the role technology platforms are playing in fighting misinformation online.ON DEMAND!: PBS Senior Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan and News Not Noise founder Jessica Yellin join the hosts of the Go Fact Yourself podcast J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong for a trivia game that tests the knowledge of a secret passion.Thursday, May 13: Speaking the Truth '-- with keynote Steven Hassan
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Eastern time
Poynter President Neil Brown interviews CNN's Christiane Amanpour about trust and the news media, in the U.S. and around the world.Rebecca Catalanello, PolitiFact deputy editor, interviews Steven Hassan, an American mental health counselor who has written on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by the experience. Hassan has written about Q, and the cult of personality surrounding Donald Trump.MediaWise senior multimedia reporter Alex Mahadevan interviews researchers Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Emily Thorson of Syracuse University about the efficacy of fact-checking.PolitiFact Executive Director Aaron Sharockman interviews Mary Snapp, Microsoft vice president for strategic initiatives, about the company's Defending Democracy initiative and its efforts to promote and build trust among journalists.PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Drobnic Holan interviews Kathleen Hall Jamieson of, Sally Lehrman of the Trust Project and Steve Hayes of the Dispatch about improving trust in journalism and reaching people who are prone to fall for misinformation.
Facebook lifts ban on posts claiming COVID-19 was man-made, amid revitalized origins debate - ABC News
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:18
President Joe Biden asked for a new look into the origins on Wednesday.
May 26, 2021, 11:06 PM ET
' 6 min read
Facebook will no longer remove posts that claim COVID-19 was man-made in recognition of the reignited debate about the virus's origins, a company spokesperson told ABC News.
"In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps," a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement. "We're continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge."
Facebook's shift in policy Wednesday marks a notable reversal of what was a recent add to their list of misleading health claims.
In February, Facebook announced that it had expanded the list of "false claims" it would remove from its platforms to include "additional debunked" statements about COVID-19 -- including that COVID is "man-made or manufactured."
Facebook has made changes to its policies around misleading COVID-19 information throughout the course of the pandemic, in consultation with "leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO)," the company said.
The claim that COVID-19 was man-made has circled almost since the beginning of the pandemic, focusing on China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, in the city where the outbreak was first detected. The claims that the virus came from the lab was one often pushed by former President Donald Trump, though he never provided evidence.
While claims that the virus was man-made are not necessarily the same as it coming from the lab, officials appear to be leaning toward investigating the origins further and are open to more scrutiny on the lab theory. That theory garnered more attention this week when The Wall Street Journal reported on a U.S. intelligence report citing researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with an unspecified illness in November 2019. ABC News has not independently confirmed that intelligence report.
President Joe Biden said Wednesday he was ordering U.S. intelligence agencies to "redouble their efforts" to investigate the origins of COVID-19, including "specific questions for China." He has asked for a new report to be filed in 90 days looking further into the origins of the virus that has killed at least 590,000 Americans and nearly 3.5 million people worldwide.
The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen Aug. 3, 2017. Thomas White/Reuters, FILE"As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has 'coalesced around two likely scenarios' but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question," Biden said in a statement. "Here is their current position: 'while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter -- each with low or moderate confidence -- the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.'"
The World Health Organization issued a report on the origins of COVID-19 in late March that said the pandemic was likely started through animal to human transmission. The investigators, who spent nearly a month in China, ruled that a lab accident was "extremely unlikely."
It was the only one of the four scenarios that the team did not recommend scientists investigate further.
However, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said at the time that further investigation was needed in general as to the virus's origin and further data would be needed. There has been international criticism about the lack of access provided by China to WHO in its investigation.
Editor's PicksIn a statement issued Wednesday night by the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., a spokesperson called the idea of a lab leak a "conspiracy theory" and said "some political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and blame game."
"To politicize origin tracing, a matter of science, will not only make it hard to find the origin of the virus, but give free rein to the 'political virus' and seriously hamper international cooperation on the pandemic," the spokesperson said. "Out of a sense of responsibility towards the health of mankind, we support a comprehensive study of all early cases of COVID-19 found worldwide and a thorough investigation into some secretive bases and biological laboratories all over the world. Such study and investigation shall be full, transparent and evidence-based, and shall get to the bottom to make everything clear."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked whether he believed COVID-19 was a "natural occurrence" at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
"I still believe that the most likely scenario was that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that 100% for sure," Fauci said. "And since there's a lot of concern, a lot of speculation, and since no one absolutely knows that, I believe we do need the kind of investigation where there's open transparency and all the information that's available to be made available to scrutinize."
ABC News' Mark Osborne, Conor Finnegan and Erin Schumaker contributed to this report.
Biden Asks U.S. Intel To Push For Stronger Conclusions On The Coronavirus' Origins : NPR
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:22
A laboratory building at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, is seen on May 13, 2020. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images A laboratory building at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, is seen on May 13, 2020.
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images President Biden said on Wednesday that he has asked the U.S. intelligence community to push to get closer to a "definitive conclusion" on how the pandemic started.
In a statement, Biden said the intelligence community has "coalesced around two likely scenarios" '-- that the coronavirus either came from human contact with an infected animal, or from a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China.
He said most intelligence entities don't believe there's sufficient information to reach a conclusion about the virus' origins, and the three intel entities that lean toward one explanation or another only have "low or moderate confidence" in their conclusions.
"As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has 'coalesced around two likely scenarios' but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question," Biden said in the statement. He added: "I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days."
He said he wants intel officials to identify "areas of further inquiry," including from China, and the United States would continue to push China to provide access to data.
"Back in early 2020, when COVID-19 emerged, I called for the CDC to get access to China to learn about the virus so we could fight it more effectively," he said. "The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19."
"Lab leak" theory
The first known cases of the novel coronavirus came from Wuhan, where there is a lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that works with bat coronaviruses.
The notion that the virus had "escaped" from the lab '-- that there had been some sort of accident and then someone got sick '-- emerged in the early days of the pandemic, but was largely dismissed as highly unlikely by most scientists.
Some researchers and far-right commentators latched onto the idea, however, and the theory spread, especially in conservative news circles and among Republicans.
Former President Donald Trump, long a purveyor of right-wing conspiracies, also bought into the idea that the coronavirus had come from a lab accident and spent much of the remaining months of his administration criticizing China for allowing it to spread, occasionally employing racist language to describe the virus.
Recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal, which cited a U.S. intelligence report that said three Wuhan Institute researchers became sick enough in November 2019 to seek hospital care, has refocused attention on the lab leak theory.
"Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19," Trump said in a statement Tuesday.
Most scientists continue to think the virus is more likely to be natural in origin.
"I feel the likelihood is still high that this is a natural occurrence," Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told Congress Wednesday, "but since we cannot know 100% whether it is or is not, other possibilities exist and for that reason, I and my colleagues have been saying that we're very much in favor of a further investigation."
In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the U.S. wrote the lab leak theory off as nothing more than a smear campaign.
"Lately, some people have played the old trick of political hype on the origin tracing of COVID-19 in the world. Smear campaign and blame shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of 'lab leak' is resurfacing," the person said.
"Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, some political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and blame game, while ignoring their people's urgent need to fight the pandemic and the international demand for cooperation on this front, which has caused a tragic loss of many lives."
In March, following an investigation on the ground in China, the World Health Organization released a joint report with Beijing on the origins of the pandemic that concluded that the lab leak hypothesis was "extremely unlikely."
But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded that he didn't believe the team's assessment of the lab leak possibility was extensive enough.
Biden wants to "press" China
Biden in his Wednesday statement said the U.S. would continue to work to ascertain the origins of the pandemic.
He added: "The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence."
Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said the panel continues to review the United States' findings in relation to the origins of the virus and sharply criticized China for its "obstruction" of the investigation.
"Beijing's continued obstruction of a transparent, comprehensive examination of the relevant facts and data about the source of the coronavirus can only delay the vital work necessary to help the world better prepare itself before the next potential pandemic," Schiff said in a statement. "Nonetheless, I am confident that the [intelligence community] and other elements of our government will continue to pursue all possible leads and provide an updated, evidence-based finding in line with the President's 90-day requirement. It is critical that we allow the [intelligence community], and other scientific and medical experts, to objectively weigh and assess all available facts, and to avoid any premature or politically-motivated conclusions."
NPR's Geoff Brumfiel contributed reporting.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: WHO's COVID Investigator is Recipient of Chinese Communist Cash, Worked With Wuhan Lab for 18 Years.
Tue, 25 May 2021 21:14
A high-profile member of the World Health Organization's recent ''investigative'' trip to Wuhan to uncover the origins of COVID-19 has accepted research grants from the Chinese Communist Party and runs a controversial U.S.-based organization which collaborates with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.Peter Daszak's ties to the Chinese Communist Party call into question the validity of his and the World Health Organization (WHO) investigative team which concluded that it is ''extremely unlikely'' COVID-19 came from a Chinese Communist Party lab. Their claims echo Chinese Communist Party narratives, and Daszak himself implored the world to not ''rely'' on U.S. intelligence for it is ''wrong on many aspects'' and ''politically charged.''
In April 2020, Daszak told the Washington Post he had ''no conflicts of interest,'' despite working with the Wuhan lab for nearly 20 years. Daszak was Project Leader on a $3.7 million ''grant supporting bat coronavirus surveillance at Wuhan Institute of Virology and'... bat coronavirus gain-of-function research at Wuhan Institute of Virology.
EcoHealth. Peter Daszak '' who donated to Hillary Clinton 13 times in 2016 '' serves as the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a research organization that has partnered with the Wuhan Institue of Virology (WIV) '' the very same lab many count as the source of COVID-19.
The type of research conducted by the group in tandem with the WIV prompted concern among National Institutes of Health officials for its role in COVID-related research, as outlined in a letter by NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer.
Dr. Lauer announced the suspension of NIH grants to the group, which saw its studies engineer the ''highly specific doorway into the human body'' as COVID-19, as a response:
''It is our understanding that one of the sub-recipients of the grant funds is the Wuhan Institute of Virology ('WIV'). It is our understanding that WIV studies the interaction between corona viruses and bats. The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from WIV of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of WIV from participation in Federal programs.''
Chinese State Media. While speaking at a conference sponsored by state-run media outlet China Global Television Network (CGTN), Daszak also revealed that he was a recipient of Chinese Communist Party cash.
He revealed he ''has been working in China in collaboration with Chinese scientists and the government of China for over 15 years supported by federal funding from the U.S. and federal funding from China.''
Daszak has praised and attended the Beijing-based World Conference on Science Literacy, which is sponsored by the scientific group China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) that ''serves as a bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country's science and technology community.''
He has also appeared on panels at a CGTN-sponsored conference in cooperation with the Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism, a subsidiary of CAST.
This is the official serious side of the World Conference on Science Literacy sponsored by the China Association for Science and Technology, but the fun part is up next'....
'-- Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) September 18, 2018
The zoologist obtained his Ph.D. in parasitic infectious diseases from the University of East London '' a college ranked 116th of 130 in the country.
He has repeatedly appeared on CGTN, including praising the network as ''fantastic'' and ''great'' and defending scientific collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party as ''important'':
What do kids in China think of science and a STEM career? Checkout these fantastic interviews from @CGTNOfficial @thepointwithlx. Wherever you travel around the world '' if you need an honest answer '' just ask a child!
'-- Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) September 26, 2018
Part 2 of my interview on LIU Xin's ''The Point'' on @CGTNOfficial. How to get children into STEM. Shout out to @michiokaku (17:00 mins in) + GREAT interviews w Chinese children (18:00-20:00) incl would-be shark biologist & a critic of 'narcissistic egoism'!
'-- Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) September 26, 2018
Here's my interview on China Global Television News @CGTNOfficial with the always sharp LIU Xin from ''The Point'' @thepointwithlx. 1st question (4 mins in) was straight to the point re how important scientific collaboration with China is right now'...
'-- Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) September 24, 2018
The news will cause concern that Daszak is nowhere near being the ''independent'' arbiter required to get to the bottom of the Wuhan COVID origins.
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The Memo: Media face hard questions on Trump, Wuhan lab | TheHill
Wed, 26 May 2021 05:32
The media face hard questions amid a growing acceptance that it is possible COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory.
The idea was disparaged as a conspiracy theory by multiple outlets last year - almost surely because its loudest promoter was then-President Trump.
Now, as uncertainty grows, there are burgeoning suspicions that the media overstepped their mark.
For conservatives and some media critics, that's part of the larger issue of bias.
They argue, for example, that mainstream outlets have played down the severity of the crisis at the southwestern border under President Biden by comparison with the coverage the issue received under Trump.
On the voting rights debate, the conservative critique is that news organizations have glossed over tight restrictions in Democratic-dominated states in the Northeast while focusing on GOP strongholds in the South.
Amid liberal activist outrage over stricter early voting laws, for example, it is rarely noted that deep-blue Connecticut has no early voting at all, nor does it permit "no excuse" absentee voting.
Trump, naturally, has been doing a victory lap on the question of COVID-19's genesis - despite the fact that the "lab leak" theory, as it has become popularly known, is merely within the realms of possibility rather than being anywhere close to proven.
"Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus," Trump crowed in a statement late Tuesday morning, repeating a term that critics have derided as racist because it can provoke violence against Asians and Asian Americans.
"To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying 'He was right.' Thank you!"
It's not clear that Trump was right, and in the early days of the pandemic, Trump allies had suggested that the deadly virus might have been manufactured by the Chinese as a biological weapon - an idea that is scorned by the vast majority of the scientific community.
In addition, Trump's broad push to blame China for the virus often appeared to minimize the danger of the coronavirus.
Still, leading public health officials including Anthony Fauci now appear to acknowledge it's possible the virus came from the Chinese lab. Fauci, who famously battled with Trump throughout the pandemic, says he's not convinced the virus came about naturally.
Some independent and left-of-center figures are among those making the case that the media got the story wrong.
Liberal writer Jonathan Chait catalogued a number of media reports that had dismissed the lab leak theory in a column for New York Magazine earlier this week. Those claims now seem, at best, overstretched.
Both The New York Times and The Washington Post, for example, accused Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) of spreading a "conspiracy theory" when he called for more investigation of the lab leak theory. An NPR report said there was "virtually no chance" the thesis was correct. The fact-checking website PolitiFact called the idea that the virus was man-made a "debunked conspiracy theory" - a finding that it has recently retracted.
"It is true that most of these outlets were more faithful to the truth than Trump, whose gusher of lies vastly exceeded whatever false claims trickled out of the liberal media. But Trump is not the right standard for journalists," Chait wrote.
In later exchanges on social media, Chait also took issue with those who would exculpate the media by suggesting they were simply reporting the scientific consensus of the time.
"This is wrong," Chait tweeted in response to one such comment. "Reporters often imposed overly certain conclusions ('conspiracy theory') on much more hedged evidence from their own sources."
The science surrounding the possible origins of COVID-19 is, unsurprisingly, complicated.
The most common thesis has always been that the virus jumped from some form of animal, most likely bats, to humans.
But it is at least circumstantially intriguing that the virus first emerged in Wuhan, China - the city that hosts an institution that has for years studied the larger family of coronaviruses, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The Chinese government has adamantly denied any culpability, as has the main scientist who directs the research.
Then again, that's hardly surprising given Beijing's penchant for authoritarianism and secrecy, and the fact that no scientist would be rushing to take responsibility for a virus that has killed about 3.5 million people worldwide.
The lab leak theory has recently gained pace for a number of reasons.
According to some reports - most prominently in The Wall Street Journal, though the story appears to have been broken by The Australian newspaper - three WIV researchers were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019.
On Monday, the Journal reported on a disused Chinese copper mine where six miners fell ill with a mystery ailment back in 2012. Three of the miners died.
"Chinese scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were called in to investigate and, after taking samples from bats in the mine, identified several new coronaviruses," the Journal noted.
Fauci's remark that he was "not convinced" COVID-19 had occurred naturally sparked another boom in the cottage industry of Fauci criticism, given its apparent incongruity with comments from last year in which he said everything "strongly indicates" that the virus "evolved in nature and then jumped species."
Naturally, the mounting uncertainty over the COVID-19 origin question is being weaponized on the nation's polarized political battlefield.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Fox News on Tuesday that the lab leak had been "hidden in plain sight for literally months but the mainstream media just won't pick it up." The previous day, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the same network he was "convinced" evidence would ultimately prove the lab leak theory true.
Again, most scientists still believe the virus occurred naturally.
The question is whether the media played down the element of doubt.
For now, the answer seems to be yes.
Even if they did so in part to overcorrect for an unusually mendacious president, they did themselves and the public no favors.
The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage.
A Culture of Fear at the Firm That Manages Bill Gates's Fortune - The New York Times
Thu, 27 May 2021 00:27
At least four employees at the firm, Cascade Investment, complained to Mr. Gates about Michael Larson, his longtime money manager.
Michael Larson of Cascade Investment in 2016. He denied that the firm had a toxic work environment. Credit... David Paul Morris/Bloomberg May 26, 2021 Updated 7:33 p.m. ET
For 27 years, Bill Gates has entrusted the management of his enormous wealth and the endowment of his giant foundation to a single man: Michael Larson.
Mr. Larson has invested the Microsoft co-founder's money in farmland, hotels, stocks, bonds, even a bowling alley. Thanks in part to Mr. Larson and the soaring value of Microsoft's shares, Mr. Gates's fortune has gone from less than $10 billion to about $130 billion.
But Mr. Larson, 61, also engaged in a pattern of workplace misconduct at Mr. Gates's money-management firm, Cascade Investment, according to 10 former employees as well as others familiar with the firm.
He openly judged female employees on their attractiveness, showed colleagues nude photos of women on the internet and on several occasions made sexually inappropriate comments. He made a racist remark to a Black employee. He bullied others. When an employee said she was leaving Cascade, Mr. Larson retaliated by trying to hurt the stock price of the company she planned to join.
Over the years, at least six people '-- including four Cascade employees '-- complained to Mr. Gates about Mr. Larson, according to former employees and others with direct knowledge of the complaints. (Several of them also complained to his wife, Melinda French Gates.) Cascade made payments to at least seven people who witnessed or knew about Mr. Larson's behavior; in exchange, they agreed to never speak about their time at the firm.
Even as Cascade grew to more than 100 employees and to manage more money than most Wall Street hedge funds, the perception that Mr. Larson had Mr. Gates's unflinching support allowed him to maintain a culture of fear inside the company's lakeside offices, the former employees said. Mr. Larson still runs Cascade.
Mr. Gates's reluctance to take decisive action at Cascade adds to an emerging portrait of the billionaire philanthropist that is at odds with his image as a roving global do-gooder and champion of women's empowerment.
As The New York Times has reported, Mr. Gates for years regularly spent time with Jeffrey Epstein, who faced accusations of sex trafficking of girls '-- a relationship that was among the factors precipitating Ms. French Gates's recent decision to seek a divorce. And on at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2019, Microsoft's board investigated one of those cases, in which Mr. Gates acknowledged he had an affair with an employee. Mr. Gates stepped down from the board last year.
Mr. Larson and Chris Giglio, his spokesman, denied some but not all instances of Mr. Larson's misconduct.
''During his tenure, Mr. Larson has managed over 380 people, and there have been fewer than five complaints related to him in total,'' Mr. Giglio said. He added, ''Any complaint was investigated and treated seriously and fully examined, and none merited Mr. Larson's dismissal.''
Mr. Giglio and Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, said that Bill and Melinda Gates Investments, whose name is sometimes used interchangeably with Cascade's, has robust policies to deal with employee complaints about wrongdoing. ''B.M.G.I. takes all complaints seriously and seeks to address them effectively to guarantee a safe and respectful workplace,'' Mr. Giglio said.
Ms. Arnold said, ''B.M.G.I. does not tolerate inappropriate behavior.'' She added that ''any issue raised over the company's history has been taken seriously and resolved appropriately.''
Mr. Larson said, ''Calling B.M.G.I. a toxic work environment is unfair to the 160 professionals who make up our team and our culture.''
Courtney Wade, a spokeswoman for Ms. French Gates, said, ''Melinda unequivocally condemns disrespectful and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. She was unaware of most of these allegations given her lack of ownership of and control over B.M.G.I.''
Some former Cascade employees declined to comment because of nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from discussing their time at the company. Others spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution.
Years after they left Cascade, a few found talking about Mr. Larson so upsetting that they could hardly speak.
Image The offices of Cascade Investment in Kirkland, Wash., are close to those of the Gateses' personal offices. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times A Generic-Sounding NameBefore Mr. Larson, Mr. Gates's financial consigliere was Andrew L. Evans, a longtime friend who had previously served a six-month prison sentence for bank fraud. (Mr. Gates visited him in jail.) But when Mr. Evans's criminal record was spotlighted in a front-page Wall Street Journal article in 1993, Mr. Gates sought out a new money manager.
The next year, he hired Mr. Larson, who previously was a fund manager at Putnam Investments. In 1995, Cascade was incorporated in Washington State. The generic-sounding name with no reference to Mr. Gates allowed Mr. Larson to run a vast investment operation with a low public profile.
From the start, Cascade, whose sole function was to manage the Gateses' money, was deeply entwined with the wider Gates universe, including Microsoft. The firm is in the same office park in Kirkland, Wash., as Mr. Gates's personal office, Gates Ventures, and across the street from Ms. French Gates's own group, Pivotal Ventures. Over the years, employees have moved among Cascade, the Gates Foundation, Microsoft, the two Gates ventures and K&L Gates, the law firm where Mr. Gates's father had been a named partner. In 2005, when Cascade needed a new human resources executive, the company hired a Microsoft veteran.
Mr. Larson regularly hired people fresh out of college or in the early stages of their careers. Graduates of Claremont McKenna College, his alma mater, were a particular favorite. The college has several scholarships endowed by Mr. Larson.
Some employees saw working at Cascade as a way to make the world a better place. Because Cascade also oversees the Gates Foundation's $50 billion endowment, helping it do well meant more money for things like fighting malaria and funding education. Others said they were star-struck by the idea of working for Mr. Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen.
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Larson earned steady returns for Mr. Gates. He invested largely in undervalued, old-fashioned stocks, eschewing hot tech companies. When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, the strategy paid off. Mr. Larson also shielded Mr. Gates's assets from the steepest declines of the recession in 2008 and 2009.
Mr. Larson branched out into real estate and high-end hotels. He bought a 47.5 percent stake in the Four Seasons chain. He acquired vast tracts of land that by some estimates make Mr. Gates the largest private owner of farmland in the United States. Chasing the highest returns was not the main goal. The mandate, according to one former employee, was: ''We don't want Bill's name in the headlines.''
'You Live in the Ghetto'In the spring of 2004, Stacy Ybarra decided to quit her job at Cascade to join the internet company InfoSpace.
Ms. Ybarra, then 30, had joined Cascade three years earlier as an investor relations analyst. After she announced her planned departure, Mr. Larson became so angry that he shorted the stock of InfoSpace, according to three people familiar with the episode. (Short selling involves placing bearish bets on the company's shares, which sometimes causes the stock to fall.) Two of the people said they saw Mr. Larson's trades on their computer terminals.
Mr. Larson told Ms. Ybarra and others that he had shorted InfoSpace's stock out of spite, according to the three people, who heard about his remarks at the time.
Mr. Giglio confirmed that Cascade shorted the stock but denied that Mr. Larson did it to spite Ms. Ybarra.
At the same time, Mr. Larson repeatedly pressured Ms. Ybarra to remain at Cascade. She ultimately agreed to stay.
On Election Day that November, Mr. Larson asked some Cascade employees in the office about the best time to go vote. Ms. Ybarra, who is Black, replied that she had voted that morning without having to wait in line. Mr. Larson responded: ''But you live in the ghetto, and everybody knows that Black people don't vote.'' The scene was described by two people who heard the comment and a third who was told about it later.
Mr. Giglio denied that Mr. Larson made the remark.
At least one employee at Cascade complained to human resources about Mr. Larson's remark. The complaint made its way to Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates, who later spoke to Ms. Ybarra as part of an internal investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.
In January 2005, she quit Cascade, received a small payout and agreed to not speak about the firm in the future.
''When these allegations were made more than 15 years ago, B.M.G.I. took them very seriously'' and hired an independent lawyer to investigate, Mr. Giglio said. He added that it is standard procedure at Cascade to have employees sign confidentiality agreements when they get severance packages.
Image Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates in Paris in 2017. Credit... Pool photo by Kamil Zihnioglu Potential for EmbarrassmentIn November 2006, Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates were sent another complaint about Mr. Larson. This one was from Robert E. Sydow, a California fund manager who had been close friends with Mr. Larson and whose firm, Grandview Capital Management, Mr. Larson had hired to manage a $1.6 billion slice of the foundation's endowment.
Mr. Sydow wrote a six-page letter to the Gateses accusing Mr. Larson of abruptly severing Cascade's ties with Grandview after a dispute between him and Mr. Sydow. (The dispute, Mr. Sydow wrote, came after Mr. Sydow warned Mr. Larson that he needed ''to stop using his power to hurt others in anger.'') The letter, reviewed by The Times, said Mr. Larson had harmed Grandview's reputation in part by spreading ''false and defamatory'' lies about it in the market.
Mr. Sydow, the godfather to one of Mr. Larson's children, went on to describe multiple instances of Mr. Larson seeking to punish employees who left Cascade and retaliating against those who cooperated with the investigation into his treatment of Ms. Ybarra, among other things.
Mr. Larson has ''the potential to greatly embarrass both you and the foundation,'' Mr. Sydow wrote.
''We exit agreements with third-party investment managers for a variety of reasons,'' Mr. Larson said in a statement sent by Mr. Giglio.
After Ms. Ybarra's departure, Cascade hired a new head of human resources, Kathy Berman. She had once worked at Microsoft, most recently as the head of executive recruiting.
Around then, there were also efforts to create physical distance between Mr. Larson and some Cascade employees, including moving a number of people onto a different floor from Mr. Larson's office, according to three former employees. Mr. Giglio said employee morale was high.
Cascade employees including Mr. Larson were required to undergo sexual harassment and sensitivity training. Mr. Larson didn't seem to take it seriously, one former employee said. ''We don't need this,'' the former employee recalled Mr. Larson saying. Mr. Giglio denied that.
Mr. Larson's conduct did not improve, former employees said.
In emails, he sometimes castigated colleagues as ''stupid'' or called their work ''garbage,'' according to several people who saw the emails. (The missives came to be known as ''Larson bombs.'') At meetings, he would sometimes dismiss employees' presentations with comments like, ''That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard.''
''Years ago, earlier in my career, I used harsh language that I would not use today,'' Mr. Larson said in the statement. ''I regret this greatly but have done a lot of work to change.''
At a work Christmas party in the mid-2000s, Mr. Larson was seated outdoors with a small group of male employees after dinner, according to one of the men. Three female colleagues were standing about 20 feet away. ''Which one of them do you wanna'' have sex with? Mr. Larson asked the men, using a profane verb.
When a female employee was on a Weight Watchers program, Mr. Larson asked her, ''Are you losing weight for me?'' according to someone who heard the remark. Another former employee said Mr. Larson would ask male employees whether certain women at Cascade were single.
On at least one occasion in recent years, with employees looking on, Mr. Larson displayed photographs of naked women on his phone and compared them to Ms. Berman, the human resources executive, according to a former employee who witnessed the incident and another person who was told about it. (Ms. Berman left Cascade in 2015.) Another woman who worked at Cascade said Mr. Larson asked her if she would strip for a certain amount of money.
Mr. Larson denied making any of those comments. ''This is not true,'' he said.
A Contract Stirs ConcernAbout three years ago, Megan Scott, Mr. Larson's chief of staff, complained to the Gateses about Mr. Larson, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Among her concerns was that Mr. Larson was preparing to sign a five-year contract with a recruiting firm that a Cascade employee, Pamela Harrington, was starting, two of the people said. (The proposed contract would pay Mrs. Harrington's firm an annual retainer that started at less than $1.5 million and over time decreased to $400,000, said Mitchell Langberg, a lawyer for Mrs. Harrington.) Ms. Scott and another employee complained to the Gateses about what they saw as the close personal relationship between Mr. Larson and Mrs. Harrington, the people said.
''This allegation unfairly emanates from a former disgruntled employee who has tried hard to undermine the reputation of Mrs. Harrington, a highly accomplished and successful individual in her own right,'' Mr. Giglio said.
Mr. Gates told Mr. Larson to cancel the proposed contract with Mrs. Harrington's firm, the people said.
Mr. Giglio said the decision was part of a broader move ''not to outsource many internal functions, including recruiting.''
By 2019, that had apparently changed. Mr. Langberg said that B.M.G.I. entered into an executive recruiting contract with Mrs. Harrington's firm that December. ''Mrs. Harrington has been providing service under that contract since that time,'' he said.
Around the time of the complaints involving Mrs. Harrington, Mr. Larson was repeatedly propositioning, and being rebuffed by, the manager of a local bicycle store that was mostly owned by a firm, Rally Capital, that Cascade had invested in.
In 2017, the manager hired a lawyer, who sent a letter to Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates warning them that if Mr. Larson did not stop harassing her, she would sue them. The letter said Mr. Larson had exposed himself to the manager and had told her that he wanted to have sex with her and another woman, according to someone who read the letter.
Mr. Gates agreed to settle the matter by having a payment made to the bike store manager. Ms. French Gates insisted that an outside investigator review the incident and Cascade's culture, people familiar with the matter previously told The Times. In 2018, Mr. Larson went on paid leave while the investigation took place.
At the time, Mr. Gates told a Cascade employee that he doubted that Mr. Larson would ever return, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.
Jessie L. Harris, a lawyer for a Seattle law firm, Williams Kastner, conducted the investigation. He concluded that the bike shop manager's complaint could not be substantiated.
''You should know that Michael wanted to contest the allegations throughout the investigation,'' Mr. Giglio said. ''But he, obviously, was not the ultimate decision maker.''
Mr. Larson returned from leave in 2019. Cascade's chief operating officer had departed during Mr. Larson's absence, and Ms. Scott left shortly after his return. To curb Mr. Larson's influence over Cascade, Mr. Gates told him to hire a new chief operating officer, a former Cascade employee said. Mr. Giglio said the process included a committee and an outside search firm.
The pick was Mr. Larson's college and business school classmate.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.
EU-China trade: Europe's much-criticized pursuit of Chinese cash may be starting to unravel - CNN
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:11
Analysis by Luke McGee, CNN
Updated 10:25 PM EDT, Wed May 26, 2021
(CNN) The European Union has a China problem. The bloc, for financial and strategic reasons, wants to build strong economic ties with Beijing that bolster Brussels' desire to be a serious player on the world stage as the leading light of Western values.
The problem is, doing so in any serious way means turning a blind eye to China's well-documented human rights violations.
For much of the past decade, the world's largest trading bloc has gone out of its way to establish an economic partnership with Beijing that doesn't conflict too aggressively with Brussels' lofty values. The EU was criticized from both in and outside the bloc when it announced last December the conclusion in principle of negotiations with the Chinese government on its "Comprehensive Agreement on Investment" (CAI).
According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the agreement, if ratified, "will provide unprecedented access to the Chinese market," while also committing "China to ambitious principles on sustainability, transparency and non-discrimination."
Any agreement like this needs to be approved by the EU's 27 member states and ratified by the European parliament.
Precisely how bound China would be to any of the EU's redlines was an immediate cause for concern. "The deal makes statements about human rights and forced labor, but there is no way of forcing China to do anything," says Samira Rafaela, a member of the EU parliament who sits on the international trade committee.
Many of Rafaela's colleagues across the political spectrum clearly agree. Last week, the parliament voted on a motion to freeze the CAI until further notice. Ostensibly, this was in protest at China placing sanctions on five MEPs who had criticized China's treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang among other things.
However, in reality the sanctions were really the final straw for some who couldn't stomach Brussels striking a friendly deal with a government in Beijing that allegedly imprisons people in forced labor camps, undermines democracy in Hong Kong and is increasingly hostile in its own region.
"The statement we are sending with this motion isn't simply, if China lifts the sanctions then CAI is back on the table," says Reinhard B¼tikofer, chair of the parliament's delegation on China relations. "If sanctions are lifted, we will look at the detail, but it's currently far from satisfactory. It's weak on forced labor, weak on sustainability, weak on dispute resolutions. These problems will still exist even if we resurrect the agreement."
Given the chances of China lifting these sanctions any time soon is virtually zero, this creates a problem for the top brass in the EU Commission, who have invested a lot of political capital in the deal.
For the EU's increasingly political executive branch, China formed a key part of its plan to become a bigger player on the global stage and become diplomatically independent of its most important ally: the United States.
"Strategic autonomy," as Brussels calls it, has been a priority for EU officials who are concerned about Europe's inherent vulnerabilities, be they from Russian aggression in the east, over-reliance on China for medical supplies or the risk of another president like Donald Trump pulling American troops out of Europe.
"The China agreement was a big plank in that strategy," says Steven Blockmans, director of research at the Centre for European Policy Studies. "If the Chinese and European parliament don't move, the EU risks losing a deal that would have cemented the idea it can make decisions to defend its own commercial interests, without having to call the White House first."
Despite the European parliament's protests, the commission still thinks the deal is right for the EU. Officials who spoke with CNN explained that they understood the parliament's concerns and that the political conditions didn't exist at the moment. One official even lauded the parliament's action, saying it provided proof that "economic interests will not prevent the EU from standing up for human rights."
However, they also said this was a rare window of opportunity to get China committing to something on paper, and that window could run out for political reasons -- most notably after upcoming elections in France and Germany, the two member states most supportive of the deal.
It's at member state level that the apparent split between parliament and commission gets interesting. It's been known for some time that locking in some kind of formal relationship with China was a big priority for Angela Merkel as she tries to nail down her legacy. The German Chancellor will stand down after 16 years in power this autumn, as Germany holds federal elections.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a joint news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 24, 2018.
As things stand, it's likely that Merkel's party -- no longer with a leader who holds as much political capital as her -- will have to enter a coalition with the anti-Beijing Greens. This could significantly soften German support for the deal.
The other key sponsor of the deal was French President Emmanuel Macron, a man who also faces re-election next year. The fact that Macron's biggest rival is far-right Marine Le Pen has led some to think he might, in the coming months, cool on globalist policies.
As for the other member states, diplomats who spoke to CNN pointed out that the CAI is not a full trade deal and that there was no urgent need to rush anything through. As one diplomat put it, "there is an awakening in Europe about the real character of its relationship with China and governments don't like it. This will be parked for a while is my guess."
The commission remains convinced that its political capital was well spent and that member states will ultimately choose their economies over other priorities. "Even if leadership changes, the economic reality in Germany and France isn't going to change, and economics has a habit of trumping other concerns," the diplomat said.
Philippe Lamberts, a senior Belgian MEP, disagrees: "I think EU-China relations are going to get worse before they get better. Even if they lift their sanctions, what message does it send on European values if we agree a deal with such weak provisions on human rights, democracy and sustainability?"
The EU's record on human rights, critics argue, is already patchy. While last week the European parliament did stand up to both China and Turkey -- calling for the suspension of talks with Ankara to join the bloc over its own human rights record -- campaigners say that the EU is not doing enough to uphold its own standards on human records inside or outside the bloc.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and French Emmanuel Macron (taste wine as they visit France's pavilion during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on November 5, 2019.
"Trade and investment are an area where economic interests have always prevailed over respect for human rights, as much as security concerns have always prevailed in migration management," says Elena Crespi, program officer for Western Europe at the International Federation for Human Rights.
And while the parliament has a good track record on human rights, awarding its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to an imprisoned Uyghur scholar in 2019, critics believe the commission falls short in comparison.
"The current commission is not sufficiently doing its job in upholding European values," says Alice Stollmeyer, executive director of Defend Democracy. "Whether it's fudging on rule of law in Hungary and Poland or failing to properly speak out against atrocities elsewhere, the EU sadly seems to have a policy of appeasement for abusers."
It's no secret that the EU is in a transitional phase. Those at the center of the project see a future of closer union and its officials in Brussels becoming serious players on the world stage in their own right.
If a balanced relationship with China was indeed central to this, the current mood among elected politicians across the member states will be of serious concern to the Brussels elite.
Perhaps more worrying, Blockmans points out, is whether China reassesses how much it wants a deal with the bloc. "It might be that China still sees the EU as a secondary player -- a lackey to the US. If that's that case, they might decide that this is a deal worth collapsing for their own political ends."
Regardless, the point is moot while Europe's political class refuses to even look at this deal. The longer this deadlock on sanctions goes on, the greater the chance it totally collapses. And it if does, those at the top table in Brussels might regret investing so much political capital in dealing with one of the world's worst human rights offenders.
WWE Champ John Layfield Backs John Cena's China Propaganda, Says Taiwan Is Not A Country | The Daily Caller
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:54
Former WWE champion John Bradshaw Layfield defended fellow WWE champion John Cena's comments on Taiwan and claimed the island nation wasn't a real country in an Instagram post Tuesday.
''USA doesn't acknowledge Taiwan as a country '' look it up. Stop conflating standing with USA and a statement,'' Layfield said in one comment.
''Actually, it's not. Never asked for full independence,'' Layfield said in response to another Instagram user commenting ''You people do realize Taiwan is a country? Just searched it up.''
Cena made an apology video after he said that ''Taiwan will be the first country to see'' his new film ''Fast and Furious 9.''
In the video, Cena apologized for claiming Taiwan was its own country and stated his ''love and respect'' for China.
Per popular request, here's Mr. John Cena's apology video with English subtitles. I kept all the incoherence in the video, as well as the curious absence of what he's actually apologizing for
'-- Tony Lin 林æ'±å°¼ (@tony_zy) May 25, 2021
''I love and respect China and Chinese people. I'm very, very sorry for my mistake. Sorry, sorry. I'm very sorry. You must understand I love and respect China and Chinese people,'' stated Cena in Mandarin in the video. (RELATED: 'This Is Pitiful And It's Not Attractive': Dana Perino Blasts John Cena For 'Groveling' To China')
Layfield defended Cena's post, commending the superstar's ''incredible track record of making the world a better place.''
''.@johncena has granted 600+ Make a Wishes-a record. Supported cancer research, rise above hate, and a million of his own dollars for racial equality. I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan with him many times and have seen his tireless support for our soldiers. An incredible track record of making the world a better place. I'll stand with this guy,'' Layfield said in the post.
NBA star LeBron James criticized Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in 2019 after he made comments in support of protestors in Hong Kong, lamenting that the comments would harm people ''financially'' and that the NBA had a ''difficult week'' because of Morey's statement.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver refused to boycott China after securing a major telecom deal in 2020 allowing NBA games to be broadcast in China.
''Fast and Furious 9'' is currently projected to earn $160 million at the box office, according to Variety. The majority of the earnings so far, $105 million, have come from China.
The WWE did not respond to the Daily Caller's request for comment.
U.S. condemns Belarus for forcing down passenger plane to arrest foe
Mon, 24 May 2021 03:54
A Ryanair plane lands in Lithuania, minus one passenger who was taken away by security forces when the plane was forced down mid-flight in Belarus on May 23. | AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday condemned Belarus for forcing down a civilian airliner over its airspace in order to arrest a dissident on the flight.
Faking a bomb threat, Belarus used fighter aircraft to force down a Ryanair flight and arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich.
Advertisement''The United States strongly condemns the forced diversion of a flight between two EU member states and the subsequent removal and arrest of journalist Raman Pratasevich in Minsk,'' Blinken said in a statement. ''We demand his immediate release.''
President Alexander Lukashenka of Belarus has in recent months faced increasing opposition to his iron-fisted rule, leading to mass arrests and the departure of some opposition leaders from the country. He has been in power since 1994 in the former Soviet republic.
''This shocking act,'' Blinken said, ''perpetrated by the Lukashenka regime endangered the lives of more than 120 passengers, including U.S. citizens. Initial reports suggesting the involvement of the Belarusian security services and the use of Belarusian military aircraft to escort the plane are deeply concerning and require full investigation.''
Blinken's statement followed criticism of Lukashenka '-- also rendered as Lukashenko '-- by the American ambassador to Belarus, as well as a number of congressional leaders.
Advertisement''Lukashenka and his regime today showed again its contempt for international community and its citizens,'' U.S. Ambassador Julie Fisher tweeted.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) joined lawmakers from Europe in issuing a condemnation.
Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by lawmakers who hold similar positions in the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom. ''We, the chairs of our respective national parliament's Foreign Affairs Committees, condemn unequivocally the threat of violence used against a civilian aircraft in the skies over Belarus,'' they said.
Menendez and the others condemned Belarus not only for the act of arresting Protasevich but also for the harm it could have caused everyone on the flight, which was headed from Greece to Lithuania. ''This reckless act put the passengers and crew in grave danger. It is a reminder of the illegitimacy of the administration claiming authority in Minsk,'' they said.
AdvertisementThey urged the International Civil Aviation Organization to keep planes from flying over Belarus and pushed NATO and the EU to sanction Belarus.
Other members of Congress blasted Lukashenka.
''To arrest an activist for simply exposing the truth of the regime-sanctioned police brutality against anti-government protests in Belarus is abhorrent,'' said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. ''To force an Irish aircraft with nearly 200 innocent civilians to land in order to make that arrest is an egregious affront to democratic societies around the world.''
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said this episode ''should be the final straw'' that leads the international community to attempt to force Lukashenka out, saying ''every sanction on the books needs to be used'' to apply pressure.
''This was not only the hijacking of an airliner but an unprecedented violation of international aviation rules,'' Smith said in a statement.
Other European leaders condemned Belarus' action. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the episode was ''an unprecedented act of state terrorism,'' and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the action ''outrageous and illegal.''
One of the other passengers on the flight told The Associated Press that Pratasevich expressed a fear for his life.
''I saw this Belarusian guy with girlfriend sitting right behind us,'' passenger Marius Rutkauskas said after the plane arrived in Lithuania. ''He freaked out when the pilot said the plane is diverted to Minsk. He said there's death penalty awaiting him there.''
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Filed Under: Media, Aviation, Foreign Policy, Bob Menendez, Chris Smith, Greece, Michael McCaul, Lithuania, Ursula von der Leyen , Belarus, Antony Blinken
Finnish firm earns US patent for Covid drug containing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine | Yle Uutiset |
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:10
The drug would help in situations where vaccine coverage threatens to remain too low for herd immunity, the firm says. Image: Tiina Jutila / YleA coronavirus drug developed by Therapeutica Borealis, a pharmaceutical firm in Turku, has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The nasal spray contains hydroxychloroquine, among other ingredients.
Earlier in May, the company said it had received approval for a patent application, based on which it expected a final patent this month.
''The final patent is an important milestone for us on our way to the market. Our next goal is to find an established pharmaceutical industry company with an international business scale,'' says Professor Kalervo V¤¤n¤nen, one of the three inventors and founders of Therapeutica Borealis, in a press release on Monday. V¤¤n¤nen is a cell biologist and former rector of the University of Turku.
Article continues after photo
Professor Kalervo V¤¤n¤nen Image:Yle/Linus HoffmanThe co-inventors of the drug and co-founders of Therapeutica Borealis are Lauri Kangas, an adjunct professor of science at the University of Turku, and Matti Rihko, a psychologist, and board chair of the Turku Chamber of Commerce and of the University of Turku. He is also a former CEO of the Raisio food corporation, known for its cholesterol-lowering Benecol products.
According to the company, the nasal spray acts on cell function in nasal mucous in three ways, impairing the ability of the virus to penetrate the body and multiply, thus reducing the risk of serious illness.
Another Finnish pharmaceutical company, Rokote Laboratories, has been developing a coronavirus vaccine in nasal spray form, but has struggled to gain financing.
''Tackling the pandemic probably requires, in addition to a vaccine, a preventive or early-acting drug. This drug also helps especially in a situation where vaccine coverage threatens to remain too low for herd immunity,'' said V¤¤n¤nen.
WHO warned against ivermectin use except in clinical trialsThe firm said that the drug's active ingredients '' aprotinin, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin '' are well-known and widely used drugs, but in this product are used in a new, targeted manner on the upper respiratory mucous membrane.
All the drug molecules covered by the patent are approved for the treatment of other diseases, but if used systemically, for instance as pills or infusions swallowed by patients, the amounts of drugs would be high and potentially harmful.
For topical use, as in a nasal spray, the concentrations of the active ingredients throughout the body remain very low but are sufficient locally to prevent the passage and replication of the virus, making the drug safer and more effective, says Therapeutica Borealis.
Aprotinin is a protease inhibitor while ivermectin is an antiparasitic and hydroxychloroquine has been used against malaria '' and has been touted as a Covid-19 treatment by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and former US President Donald Trump among others.
Earlier this year ivermectin manufacturer Merck said there was ''no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19'' and ''no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19.''
In March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended against using ivermectin in patients with Covid-19 except for clinical trials, because of a lack of data demonstrating its benefits. The European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration issued similar warnings. It has however been used for Covid patients in countries including South Africa and India.
Climate Emergency
Solar storms are back, threatening life as we know it on Earth | Financial Post
Tue, 25 May 2021 18:05
The sun has awaken from a years-long slumber
Author of the article:
Bloomberg News
Brian K. Sullivan
Geomagnetic waves unleashed by solar storms can cripple power grids, jam radio communications, bathe airline crews in dangerous levels of radiation and knock critical satellites off kilter. Photo by Postmedia News archives(Bloomberg) '-- A few days ago, millions of tons of super-heated gas shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles toward Earth.
The eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, wasn't particularly powerful on the space-weather scale, but when it hit the Earth's magnetic field it triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm seen for years. There wasn't much disruption this time '-- few people probably even knew it happened '-- but it served as a reminder the sun has woken from a years-long slumber.
While invisible and harmless to anyone on the Earth's surface, the geomagnetic waves unleashed by solar storms can cripple power grids, jam radio communications, bathe airline crews in dangerous levels of radiation and knock critical satellites off kilter. The sun began a new 11-year cycle last year and as it reaches its peak in 2025 the specter of powerful space weather creating havoc for humans grows, threatening chaos in a world that has become ever more reliant on technology since the last big storms hit 17 years ago. A recent study suggested hardening the grid could lead to $27 billion worth of benefits to the U.S. power industry.
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''It is still remarkable to me the number of people, companies, who think space weather is Hollywood fiction,'' said Caitlin Durkovich, a special assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden and senior director of resilience and response in the National Security Council, during a talk at a solar-weather conference last month.
The danger isn't hypothetical. In 2017, a solar storm caused ham radios to turn to static just as the Category 5 Hurricane Irma was ripping through the Caribbean. In 2015, solar storms knocked out global positioning systems in the U.S. Northeast, a particular concern as self-driving cars become a reality. Airline pilots are at greater risk of developing cataracts when solar storms hit. Female crew see higher rates of miscarriages.
In March 1989, a solar storm over Quebec caused a province-wide outage that lasted nine hours, according to Hydro-Quebec's website. A 2017 paper in the journal of the American Geophysical Union predicted blackouts caused by severe space weather could strike as much as 66% of the U.S. population, with economic losses reaching a potential $41.5 billion a day.
To head off such a catastrophe, President Barack Obama's administration laid out a strategy to begin raising awareness of the dangers of massive solar storms and to asses the risks they pose. Last year, President Donald Trump signed the ProSwift bill into law, which aims to build up technology to improve forecasting and measurement of space weather events.
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There's debate among scientists about how much can be done to shield vulnerable parts of the planet's infrastructure from the effects of solar storms. Steps such as using non-magnetic steel in transformers and installing more surge protectors in the grid could bolster resistance, but in the end the best defense against catastrophe might be better forecasting.
That would go a long way toward helping utilities prepare for shortages and making sure there are paths to back up their systems in case they lose power. In weeks, a new model developed by the University of Michigan will come online to help improve Earth-bound forecasting.In the U.K., National Grid is building up its supply of spare transformers and conducting regular drills to deal with a major space weather event, said Mark Prouse, deputy director of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, a ministerial department.
Within the past 15 years, the U.S. and U.K. have built space weather forecasting centers that deliver daily outlooks on what may be coming from the sun for airlines, power grids, satellite owners and anyone else threatened by solar flares. While Earth-bound observers can see explosive storms erupt on the sun, they can't tell the true nature of the threat '-- exactly how potent it is '-- until the blast reaches a set of satellites 1 million miles from the planet. At that point, there is only 60 to 90 minutes until it hits Earth.''Our ability to understand and predict the solar cycle is still very limited,'' said William Murtagh, director of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center.
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Just as utilities can prepare for a severe thunderstorm by staging repair workers nearby, similar precautions could be taken ahead of a solar storm, according to Mark Olson, the reliability assessment manager for the North America Electric Reliability Corp., a non-profit answerable to the U.S. and Canadian governments.
''You have the potential for very large areas to have voltage instability,'' Olson said. ''Situational awareness is the key here, just like in terrestrial weather events.''
Solar storms have their roots in an 11-year cycle that shifts the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field. The magnetic forces at work on the sun get tangled during the process, and can punch out through the surface, sending the sun's plasma into outer space and potentially triggering storms on Earth.The most powerful geomagnetic storm ever recorded resulted in the 1859 Carrington Event, when telegraph lines electrified, zapping operators and setting offices ablaze in North America and Europe. If a storm of that magnitude were to hit today, it would likely cut power to millions of not billions of people.''When I first started on this road and was briefed on space weather I raised an eyebrow,'' said Prouse. ''It is much more mainstream and some of the mystification is gone. You can now raise it as a risk and not get laughed at.''
(C)2021 Bloomberg L.P.
In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.
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White House unveils plans for wind farms in Pacific Ocean off California
Wed, 26 May 2021 05:36
Tali Aiona | EyeEm | Getty Images
The Biden administration said Tuesday that it will develop offshore wind projects in the Pacific Ocean in partnership with the state of California.
The move, which is the first of its kind, is a key stepping stone toward the White House's goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.
One earmarked area encompasses around 399 square miles off California's central coast. This area is projected to support 3 GW of offshore wind. A second potential location is off the northern coast of California. In total, the administration is targeting 4.6 GW of clean energy added to the grid through these projects, which is enough to power about 1.6 million homes.
The announcement follows years of discussion between the departments of the Interior and Defense as viable locations were scouted.
"Developing offshore wind to produce clean, renewable energy could be a game changer to achieving California's clean energy goals and addressing climate change '-- all while bolstering the economy and creating new jobs," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the Biden administration also highlighted the economic impacts, especially when it comes to jobs.
"The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation, while combating the negative effects of climate change," Deb Haaland, secretary of the Interior, said in a statement. "Interior is proud to be part of an all-of-government approach toward the Biden-Harris administration's ambitious renewable energy goals," she added.
Tuesday's announcement comes just weeks after the White House approved the first major offshore wind project in U.S. waters. The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project will be located off the coast of Massachusetts, powering 400,000 homes while creating 3,600 jobs, according to projections.
Developing offshore wind in the Pacific Ocean has proved challenging in the past for a number of reasons, including that the outer continental shelf becomes deeper much closer to shore than in the Atlantic. In an effort to counter this, the federal government has invested more than $100 million in advancing developments around floating offshore wind projects.
"Today's announcement again demonstrates that by taking a whole-of-government approach, the U.S. can smartly develop our nation's world-class offshore wind energy resources, deploy new technologies that our government has helped to advance, and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs," said national climate advisor Gina McCarthy.
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Big Phama
PIED - Porn Induced Erectile Disfunction
This is going to sound out of left-field, but I can't remember what it was in the last episode that made me want to reach out to you about this. You had asked "WHY or HOW" on some topic, and I knew immediately that it was probably PIED. (Maybe you had asked about why young men were buying viagra?)
Basically, kids growing up now with unlimited access to High-def porn are having issues getting it up (or keeping it up) with real women as early as their early 20's! (And also, the fetishes and rabbit holes one can go down can escalate what it takes to get turned on)
It all has to do with Dopamine hits one gets every time they click to another picture or another video of a new naked person. Imagine years or decades of doing that. And the phenomenon of "edging" when you click for hours, while on the verge, waiting for the perfect picture to ejaculate on --- and then what happens when you're in bed with your girlfriend or wife. And you can't click to a new person. No Dopamine hit. Either they can't get hard at all, or they can at first, but then their erection disappears.
Whole communities out there trying to fix themselves.
The premiere one I looked at 10 years ago was:
Looks like there are more since then:
It can take about 6 months to a year of no porn to fix this issue. And a "relapse" can make one start all over again.
France hit by mystery campaign to discredit Pfizer vaccine via influencers
Tue, 25 May 2021 18:09
French media and social networks were abuzz Tuesday with speculation about a mysterious offer to influencers and YouTube personalities asking them to publicly denigrate the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in return for money.
Those targeted by the campaign, who are active in the health and science fields, said they had received an email from an apparently UK-based communications agency offering them "a partnership" on behalf of a client with "a colossal budget" but who wanted to remain anonymous and also to keep any deal secret.
"Strange. I've received a partnership proposal which consists of slamming the Pfizer vaccine in a video," tweeted Leo Grasset, whose popular science channel has nearly 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.
"Colossal budget, client wants to remain incognito, and I'd have to hide the sponsorship."
He added: "Incredible. The address of the London agency that contacted me is fake. They never had a presence there, it's a laser surgery centre. All staff have weird LinkedIn profiles."
The profiles he found had now disappeared, but not before he noticed that "everybody there has worked in Russia".
Incroyable.L'adresse de l'agence londonienne qui m'a contact(C) est bidon. Ils n'ont jamais eu de locaux l bas, c'est un centre laser esth(C)tique ! Tous les employ(C)s ont des profils LinkedIn chelous... qui disparaissent depuis ce matin. Tout le monde a boss(C) en Russie avant. WTF
'-- L(C)o Grasset (@dirtybiology) May 24, 2021 Sami Ouladitto, a comedian with nearly 400,000 subscribers, reported a similar approach, as did Et Ca Se Dit Medecin (And They Call Themselves Doctors), a hospital intern with 84,000 followers on Instagram.
"This is pathetic, it's dangerous, it's irresponsible and it's not going to work," French Health Minister Olivier Veran told the BFMTV channel on Tuesday.
French people are mostly in favour of getting vaccinated and "I don't think that any attempt to turn them away from vaccines will work," he said, adding he had "no idea" whether the supposed offer might have originated in Russia.
Virgin Islands link?
The authors of the emails, claiming to be a London-based agency called Fazze, are difficult to trace, French media reported.
Le Monde newspaper said Fazze had never been registered in the United Kingdom, but may have a legal presence in the Virgin Islands.
But according to the LinkedIn profile of Fazze's CEO, now deleted, the agency operates out of Moscow, Le Monde said.
According to tweets by people claiming knowledge of the matter, the agency offered 2,000 euros ($2,450) to influencers in return for them claiming notably that the Pfizer-BioNTech jab caused more deaths than any other vaccine.
The vaccine, usually referred to in France as only Pfizer, has gained in popularity after a rival British-Swedish vaccine by AstraZeneca fell out of favour in much of the European Union because of health concerns and delivery delays.
The EU executive is suing AstraZeneca to force it to deliver 90 million more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine before July.
The legal action piles further pressure on the company after a link was made between its vaccine and very rare but often fatal blood clots coupled with low platelet levels.
The EU has also authorised two other vaccines for use, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
But Russia's Sputnik vaccine -- as well as China's Sinopharm -- are still not cleared for use in the bloc.
After a sluggish start, France's coronavirus vaccination rollout has gained pace in recent weeks, with some 23 million people -- a third of the population -- receiving at least one dose so far.
Nobel Prize winner: Mass COVID vaccination an 'unacceptable mistake' that is 'creating the variants' | News | Lifesitenews
Wed, 26 May 2021 20:35
LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.
May 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) '' French virologist and Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier called mass vaccination against the coronavirus during the pandemic ''unthinkable'' and a historical blunder that is ''creating the variants'' and leading to deaths from the disease.
''It's an enormous mistake, isn't it? A scientific error as well as a medical error. It is an unacceptable mistake,'' Montagnier said in an interview translated and published by the RAIR Foundation USA yesterday. ''The history books will show that, because it is the vaccination that is creating the variants.''
Many epidemiologists know it and are ''silent'' about the problem known as ''antibody-dependent enhancement,'' Montagnier said.
''It is the antibodies produced by the virus that enable an infection to become stronger,'' he said in an interview with Pierre Barn(C)rias of Hold-Up Media earlier this month.
Vaccination leading to variantsWhile variants of viruses can occur naturally, Montagnier said that vaccination is driving the process. ''What does the virus do? Does it die or find another solution?''
''It is clear that the new variants are created by antibody-mediated selection due to the vaccination.''
Vaccinating during a pandemic is ''unthinkable'' and is causing deaths, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovery
'Deaths follow vaccination'''The new variants are a production and result from the vaccination. You see it in each country, it's the same: in every country deaths follow vaccination,'' he said.
A video published last week on YouTube uses data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to illustrate the spikes in deaths in numerous countries across the globe after the introduction of COVID vaccination, confirming Montagnier's observation.
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The French interviewer pointed to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showing that since the vaccines were introduced in January, new infections contamination have ''exploded,'' along with deaths, ''notably among young people.''
''Yes,'' agreed Montagnier who is a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. ''With thrombosis, etc.''
Thrombosis '' or blood clots '-- have been an unexpected problem linked to the new coronavirus vaccines and the cause of AstraZeneca's vaccine being pulled in several countries. The head of Canada's public health agency, Theresa Tam, told a press conference Tuesday that there are now 21 confirmed cases of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, including among three women who died from the blood-clotting disorder potentially linked to AstraZeneca's vaccine and another 13 cases are under investigation.
Breakthrough casesMontagnier said that he is currently conducting research with those who have become infected with the coronavirus after getting the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that it had received 5,800 reports of people who had ''breakthrough'' COVID after being vaccinated, including 396 people who required hospitalization and 74 patients who died.
''I will show you that they are creating the variants that are resistant to the vaccine,'' Montagnier said.
Coronavirus made in a labThe famous French virologist created waves in April 2020 when he told a French television station that he believed SARS-CoV2, the new pandemic coronavirus, was man-made in a laboratory. The ''presence of elements of HIV and germ of malaria in the genome of coronavirus is highly suspect and the characteristics of the virus could not have arisen naturally,'' he said.
Though he was ridiculed by French experts for having ''a conspiracy vision that does not relate to the real science,'' Montagnier published a paper in July 2020 supporting his claims that the novel coronavirus must have originated from human experimentation in a lab '' a theory that has recently resurfaced and is currently considered the most likely origin of the virus.
Social media heavyweights wooed for Pfizer smear campaign
Wed, 26 May 2021 20:52
The Associated Press
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Myocarditis - Wikipedia
Thu, 27 May 2021 12:27
Inflammation of the heart muscle
Medical condition
MyocarditisOther namesInflammatory cardiomyopathy (infectious)A microscope image of myocarditis at autopsy in a person with acute onset of heart failureSpecialtyInfectious disease, cardiologySymptomsShortness of breath, chest pain, decreased ability to exercise, irregular heartbeat[1]ComplicationsHeart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrest[1]DurationHours to months[1]CausesUsually viral infection, also bacterial infections, certain medications, toxins, autoimmune disorders[1][2]Diagnostic methodElectrocardiogram, blood troponin, heart MRI, heart biopsy[1][2]TreatmentMedications, implantable cardiac defibrillator, heart transplant[1][2]MedicationACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics, corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin[1][2]PrognosisVariable[3]Frequency2.5 million with cardiomyopathy (2015)[4]Deaths354,000 with cardiomyopathy (2015)[5]Myocarditis, also known as inflammatory cardiomyopathy, is inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased ability to exercise, and an irregular heartbeat.[1] The duration of problems can vary from hours to months. Complications may include heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy or cardiac arrest.[1]
Myocarditis is most often due to a viral infection.[1] Other causes include bacterial infections, certain medications, toxins, and autoimmune disorders.[1][2] A diagnosis may be supported by an electrocardiogram (ECG), increased troponin, heart MRI, and occasionally a heart biopsy.[1][2] An ultrasound of the heart is important to rule out other potential causes such as heart valve problems.[2]
Treatment depends on both the severity and the cause.[1][2] Medications such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and diuretics are often used.[1][2] A period of no exercise is typically recommended during recovery.[1][2] Corticosteroids or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be useful in certain cases.[1][2] In severe cases an implantable cardiac defibrillator or heart transplant may be recommended.[1][2]
In 2013, about 1.5 million cases of acute myocarditis occurred.[6] While people of all ages are affected, the young are most often affected.[7] It is slightly more common in males than females.[1] Most cases are mild.[2] In 2015 cardiomyopathy, including myocarditis, resulted in 354,000 deaths up from 294,000 in 1990.[8][5] The initial descriptions of the condition are from the mid-1800s.[9]
Signs and symptoms [ edit ] The signs and symptoms associated with myocarditis are varied, and relate either to the actual inflammation of the myocardium or to the weakness of the heart muscle that is secondary to the inflammation. Signs and symptoms of myocarditis include the following:[10]
Chest pain (often described as "stabbing" in character)Congestive heart failure (leading to swelling, shortness of breath and liver congestion)Palpitations (due to abnormal heart rhythms)Dullness of heart soundsSudden death (in young adults, myocarditis causes up to 20% of all cases of sudden death)[11]Fever (especially when infectious, e.g., in rheumatic fever)Symptoms in young children tend to be more nonspecific, with generalized malaise, poor appetite, abdominal pain, and chronic cough. Later stages of the illness will present with respiratory symptoms with increased work of breathing, and are often mistaken for asthma.Since myocarditis is often due to a viral illness, many patients give a history of symptoms consistent with a recent viral infection, including fever, rash, diarrhea, joint pains, and easily becoming tired.[citation needed ]
Myocarditis is often associated with pericarditis, and many people with myocarditis present with signs and symptoms that suggest myocarditis and pericarditis at the same time.[citation needed ]
Causes [ edit ] A large number of causes of myocarditis have been identified, but often a cause cannot be found. In Europe and North America, viruses are common culprits. Worldwide, however, the most common cause is Chagas disease, an illness endemic to Central and South America that is due to infection by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi.[10] In viral myocarditis, the Coxsackie B family of the single-stranded RNA viruses, in particular the plus-strand RNA virus Coxsackievirus B3 and Coxsackievirus B5 are the most frequent cause.[12] Many of the causes listed below, particularly those involving protozoa, fungi, parasites, allergy, autoimmune disorders, and drugs are also causes of eosinophilic myocarditis.[citation needed ]
Infections [ edit ] Viral: adenovirus,[13] parvovirus B19, coxsackie virus, rubella virus, polio virus, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2[14]Protozoan: Trypanosoma cruzi (causing Chagas disease) and Toxoplasma gondiiBacterial: Brucella, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, gonococcus, Haemophilus influenzae, Actinomyces, Tropheryma whipplei, Vibrio cholerae, Borrelia burgdorferi, leptospirosis, Rickettsia, Mycoplasma pneumoniaeFungal: AspergillusParasitic: ascaris, Echinococcus granulosus, Paragonimus westermani, schistosoma, Taenia solium, Trichinella spiralis, visceral larva migrans, Wuchereria bancroftiBacterial myocarditis is rare in patients without immunodeficiency.
Toxins [ edit ] Drugs, including alcohol, anthracyclines and some other forms of chemotherapy, and antipsychotics, e.g., clozapine, also some designer drugs such as mephedrone[15]Immunologic [ edit ] Allergic (acetazolamide, amitriptyline)Rejection after a heart transplantAutoantigens (scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, systemic vasculitis such as eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Kawasaki disease, idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome)[16]Toxins (arsenic, toxic shock syndrome toxin, carbon monoxide, or snake venom)Heavy metals (copper or iron)Physical agents [ edit ] Electric shock, hyperpyrexia, and radiationMechanism [ edit ] Most forms of myocarditis involve the infiltration of heart tissues by one or two types of pro-inflammatory blood cells, lymphocytes and macrophages plus two respective descendants of these cells, NK cells and macrophages. Eosinophilic myocarditis is a subtype of myocarditis in which cardiac tissue is infiltrated by another type of pro-inflammatory blood cell, the eosinophil. Eosinophilic myocarditis is further distinguished from non-eosinophilic myocarditis by having a different set of causes and recommended treatments.[17][18] Coxsackie B, specifically B3 and B5, has been found to interact with coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) and decay-accelerating factor (DAF). However, other proteins have also been identified that allow Coxsackieviruses to bind to cardiac cells. The natural function of CAR and mechanism that the Coxsackievirus uses to infect the cardiac muscle is still unknown.[12] The mechanism by which coxsackie B viruses (CBVs) trigger inflammation is believed to be through the recognition of CBV virions by Toll-like receptors.[12]
Diagnosis [ edit ] Diffuse ST elevation in a young male due to myocarditis and pericarditis
Lymphocytic myocarditis (white arrow points to a lymphocyte), commonly showing myocyte necrosis (black arrow), seen as hypereosinophilic cytoplasm with loss of striations.
Myocarditis refers to an underlying process that causes inflammation and injury of the heart. It does not refer to inflammation of the heart as a consequence of some other insult. Many secondary causes, such as a heart attack, can lead to inflammation of the myocardium and therefore the diagnosis of myocarditis cannot be made by evidence of inflammation of the myocardium alone.[19][20]
Myocardial inflammation can be suspected on the basis of electrocardiographic (ECG) results, elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) and/or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and increased IgM (serology) against viruses known to affect the myocardium. Markers of myocardial damage (troponin or creatine kinase cardiac isoenzymes) are elevated.[10]
The ECG findings most commonly seen in myocarditis are diffuse T wave inversions; saddle-shaped ST-segment elevations may be present (these are also seen in pericarditis).[10]
The gold standard is the biopsy of the myocardium, in general done in the setting of angiography. A small tissue sample of the endocardium and myocardium is taken and investigated. The cause of the myocarditis can be only diagnosed by a biopsy. Endomyocardial biopsy samples are assessed for histopathology (how the tissue looks like under the microscope: myocardial interstitium may show abundant edema and inflammatory infiltrate, rich in lymphocytes and macrophages. Focal destruction of myocytes explains the myocardial pump failure.[10] In addition samples may be assessed with immunohistochemistry to determine which types of immune cells are involved in the reaction and how they are distributed. Furthermore, PCR and/or RT-PCR may be performed to identify particular viruses. Finally, further diagnostic methods like microRNA assays and gene-expression profile may be performed.[citation needed ]
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI or CMR) has been shown to be very useful in diagnosing myocarditis by visualizing markers for inflammation of the myocardium.[21]Recently, consensus criteria for the diagnosis of myocarditis by CMR have been published.[22]
Ultrasound showing cardiogenic shock due to myocarditis[23]
Ultrasound showing cardiogenic shock due to myocarditis[23]
Ultrasound showing cardiogenic shock due to myocarditis[23]
Treatment [ edit ] As with most viral infections, symptomatic treatment is the only form of therapy for most forms of myocarditis.[24]In the acute phase, supportive therapy, including bed rest, is indicated.[citation needed ]
Medication [ edit ] In people with symptoms, digoxin and diuretics may help. For people with moderate to severe dysfunction, cardiac function can be supported by use of inotropes such as milrinone in the acute phase, followed by oral therapy with ACE inhibitors when tolerated.[citation needed ]
Systemic corticosteroids may have beneficial effects in people with proven myocarditis.[25] However, data on the usefulness of corticosteroids should be interpreted with caution, since 58% of adults recover spontaneously, while most studies on children lack control groups.[24]
A 2015 Cochrane review found no evidence of benefit of using intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in adults and tentative benefit in certain children.[26] It is not recommended routinely until there is better evidence.[26]
Surgery [ edit ] People who do not respond to conventional therapy may be candidates for bridge therapy with left ventricular assist devices. Heart transplantation is reserved for people who fail to improve with conventional therapy.[25]
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may be used in those who are about to go into cardiac arrest.[27]
Alternative medicine [ edit ] Studies have shown no benefit for the use of herbal medicine on all cause mortality in viral myocarditis.[28]
Epidemiology [ edit ] The exact incidence of myocarditis is unknown. However, in series of routine autopsies, 1''9% of all patients had evidence of myocardial inflammation. In young adults, up to 20% of all cases of sudden death are due to myocarditis.[10]
Among patients with HIV, myocarditis is the most common cardiac pathological finding at autopsy, with a prevalence of 50% or more.[29]
Myocarditis is the third most common cause of death among young adults with a cumulative incidence rate globally of 1.5 cases per 100,000 persons annually.[30] Myocarditis accounts for approximately 20% of sudden cardiac death in a variety of populations.[10] Populations that experience this increased mortality rate include: adults under 40, young athletes, U.S. Air Force recruits, and elite Swedish orienteers.[10] The prevalence rate of myocarditis is about 22 cases per 100,000 persons annually.[31] With individuals who develop myocarditis, the first year is difficult as a collection of cases have shown there is a 20% mortality rate.[32]
One rare instance of myocarditis is viral fulminant myocarditis; fulminant myocarditis involves rapid onset cardiac inflammation and a mortality rate of 40-70%.[33] When looking at different causes of myocarditis, viral infection is the most prevalent, especially in children; however, the prevalence rate of myocarditis is often underestimated since the condition is easily overlooked.[31] Viral myocarditis being an outcome of viral infection depends heavily on genetic host factors and the pathogenicity unique to the virus.[34] One notable instance of viral myocarditis is the involvement of the SARS-CoV-2 virus; fulminant myocarditis from cardiac damage and SARS-CoV-2 has been associated with high mortality rates.[33] Some incidences of acute myocarditis can be attributed to the exposure of drugs or toxic substances and abnormal immunoreactivity.[35] The following agents may be other causes of myocarditis in various populations also, as previously highlighted in a prior section: protozoa, viruses, bacteria, rickettsia, and fungi.[31] If one tests positive for an acute viral infection, clinical developments have discovered that 1% to 5% of said population may show some form of myocarditis.[31]
When looking at the population affected, myocarditis is more common in pregnant women in addition to children and those who are immunocompromised.[30] Myocarditis, however, has shown to be more common in the male population than in the female.[31] Multiple studies report a ratio of 1:1.3-1.7 of female-male prevalence of myocarditis.[36] Young males specifically have a higher incidence rate than any other population due to their testosterone levels creating a greater inflammatory response that increases chance of cardiac pathologies such as cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or myocarditis.[31] While males tend to have a higher tendency of developing myocarditis, females tend to display more severe signs and symptoms such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation at an older age.[31] Clinical patterns can assist in the diagnosis of myocarditis among the affected population. Due to the asymptomatic nature of Myocarditis, much information about the epidemiology of the disease is due to postmortem research.[10] In a study of 3,055 patients with acute or chronic myocarditis, 72% presented with difficulty or labored breathing, 32% with chest pain, and another 18% with arrhythmias.[31] Clinical observation suggests the possibility of a relationship between immunization and cardiac related symptoms; myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed to have a 200 times higher incidence rate post smallpox vaccine compared to pre smallpox vaccine.[37]
History [ edit ] Cases of myocarditis have been documented as early as the 1600s,[38] but the term "myocarditis", implying an inflammatory process of the myocardium, was introduced by German physician Joseph Friedrich Sobernheim in 1837.[39] However, the term has been confused with other cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease.[40] Following admonition regarding the indiscriminate use of myocarditis as a diagnosis from authorities such as British cardiologist Sir Thomas Lewis and American cardiologist and a co-founder of the American Heart Association Paul White, myocarditis was under-diagnosed.[40]
Although myocarditis is clinically and pathologically clearly defined as "inflammation of the myocardium", its definition, classification, diagnosis, and treatment are subject to continued controversy, but endomyocardial biopsy has helped define the natural history of myocarditis and clarify clinicopathological correlations.[41]
References [ edit ] ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Cooper LT (April 2009). "Myocarditis". The New England Journal of Medicine. 360 (15): 1526''38. doi:10.1056/nejmra0800028. PMC 5814110 . PMID 19357408. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kindermann I, Barth C, Mahfoud F, Ukena C, Lenski M, Yilmaz A, et al. (February 2012). "Update on myocarditis". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 59 (9): 779''92. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2011.09.074 . PMID 22361396. ^ Stouffer G, Runge MS, Patterson C (2010). Netter's Cardiology E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 181. ISBN 9781437736502. ^ Vos, Theo; Allen, Christine; Arora, Megha; Barber, Ryan M.; Bhutta, Zulfiqar A.; Brown, Alexandria; Carter, Austin; Casey, Daniel C.; Charlson, Fiona J.; Chen, Alan Z.; Coggeshall, Megan; Cornaby, Leslie; Dandona, Lalit; Dicker, Daniel J.; Dilegge, Tina; Erskine, Holly E.; Ferrari, Alize J.; Fitzmaurice, Christina; Fleming, Tom; Forouzanfar, Mohammad H.; Fullman, Nancy; Gething, Peter W.; Goldberg, Ellen M.; Graetz, Nicholas; Haagsma, Juanita A.; Hay, Simon I.; Johnson, Catherine O.; Kassebaum, Nicholas J.; Kawashima, Toana; et al. (October 2016). "Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015". Lancet. 388 (10053): 1545''1602. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31678-6. PMC 5055577 . PMID 27733282. ^ a b GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death, Collaborators (October 2016). "Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015". Lancet. 388 (10053): 1459''1544. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31012-1. PMC 5388903 . PMID 27733281. ^ Vos, Theo; Barber, Ryan M.; Bell, Brad; Bertozzi-Villa, Amelia; Biryukov, Stan; Bolliger, Ian; Charlson, Fiona; Davis, Adrian; Degenhardt, Louisa; Dicker, Daniel; Duan, Leilei; Erskine, Holly; Feigin, Valery L.; Ferrari, Alize J.; Fitzmaurice, Christina; Fleming, Thomas; Graetz, Nicholas; Guinovart, Caterina; Haagsma, Juanita; Hansen, Gillian M.; Hanson, Sarah Wulf; Heuton, Kyle R.; Higashi, Hideki; Kassebaum, Nicholas; Kyu, Hmwe; Laurie, Evan; Liang, Xiofeng; Lofgren, Katherine; Lozano, Rafael; et al. (August 2015). "Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". Lancet. 386 (9995): 743''800. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)60692-4. PMC 4561509 . PMID 26063472. ^ Willis M, Homeister JW, Stone JR (2013). Cellular and Molecular Pathobiology of Cardiovascular Disease. Academic Press. p. 135. ISBN 9780124055254. Archived from the original on 2017-11-05. ^ GBD 2013 Mortality Causes of Death Collaborators (January 2015). "Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". Lancet. 385 (9963): 117''71. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61682-2. PMC 4340604 . PMID 25530442. ^ Cunha BA (2009). Infectious Diseases in Critical Care Medicine. CRC Press. p. 263. ISBN 9781420019605. Archived from the original on 2017-11-05. ^ a b c d e f g h i Feldman AM, McNamara D (November 2000). "Myocarditis". The New England Journal of Medicine. 343 (19): 1388''98. doi:10.1056/NEJM200011093431908. PMID 11070105. ^ Eckart RE, Scoville SL, Campbell CL, Shry EA, Stajduhar KC, Potter RN, et al. (December 2004). "Sudden death in young adults: a 25-year review of autopsies in military recruits". Annals of Internal Medicine. 141 (11): 829''34. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-11-200412070-00005 . PMID 15583223. ^ a b c Mar­n-Garc­a J (2007). Post-Genomic Cardiology. Academic Press. p. 416. ISBN 978-0123736987. ^ Bowles NE, Ni J, Kearney DL, Pauschinger M, Schultheiss HP, McCarthy R; et al. (2003). "Detection of viruses in myocardial tissues by polymerase chain reaction. evidence of adenovirus as a common cause of myocarditis in children and adults". J Am Coll Cardiol. 42 (3): 466''72. doi:10.1016/s0735-1097(03)00648-x. PMID 12906974. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Sheppard M (2011). Practical Cardiovascular Pathology, 2nd edition. CRC Press. p. 197. ISBN 9780340981931. ^ Nicholson PJ, Quinn MJ, Dodd JD (December 2010). "Headshop heartache: acute mephedrone 'meow' myocarditis". Heart. 96 (24): 2051''2. doi:10.1136/hrt.2010.209338. PMID 21062771. S2CID 36684597. ^ Dinis P, Teixeira R, Puga L, Louren§o C, Cachulo MC, Gon§alves L (June 2018). "Eosinophilic Myocarditis: Clinical Case and Literature Review". Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia. 110 (6): 597''599. doi:10.5935/abc.20180089. PMC 6023626 . PMID 30226920. ^ S(C)gu(C)la PE, Iriart X, Acar P, Montaudon M, Roudaut R, Thambo JB (April 2015). "Eosinophilic cardiac disease: Molecular, clinical and imaging aspects". Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases. 108 (4): 258''68. doi:10.1016/j.acvd.2015.01.006 . PMID 25858537. ^ Rose NR (July 2016). "Viral myocarditis". Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 28 (4): 383''9. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000303. PMC 4948180 . PMID 27166925. ^ Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Mitchell RN (2007). Robbins Basic Pathology (8th ed.). Saunders Elsevier. pp. 414''416. ISBN 978-1-4160-2973-1. ^ Baughman KL (January 2006). "Diagnosis of myocarditis: death of Dallas criteria". Circulation. 113 (4): 593''5. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.589663 . PMID 16449736. ^ Skouri HN, Dec GW, Friedrich MG, Cooper LT (November 2006). "Noninvasive imaging in myocarditis". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 48 (10): 2085''93. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2006.08.017. PMID 17112998. ^ Friedrich MG, Sechtem U, Schulz-Menger J, Holmvang G, Alakija P, Cooper LT, et al. (April 2009). "Cardiovascular magnetic resonance in myocarditis: A JACC White Paper". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 53 (17): 1475''87. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.02.007. PMC 2743893 . PMID 19389557. ^ a b c "UOTW #7 - Ultrasound of the Week". Ultrasound of the Week. 30 June 2014. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017 . Retrieved 27 May 2017 . ^ a b Hia CP, Yip WC, Tai BC, Quek SC (June 2004). "Immunosuppressive therapy in acute myocarditis: an 18 year systematic review". Archives of Disease in Childhood. 89 (6): 580''4. doi:10.1136/adc.2003.034686. PMC 1719952 . PMID 15155409. ^ a b Aziz KU, Patel N, Sadullah T, Tasneem H, Thawerani H, Talpur S (October 2010). "Acute viral myocarditis: role of immunosuppression: a prospective randomised study". Cardiology in the Young. 20 (5): 509''15. doi:10.1017/S1047951110000594. PMID 20584348. ^ a b Robinson J, Hartling L, Vandermeer B, Sebastianski M, Klassen TP (August 2020). "Intravenous immunoglobulin for presumed viral myocarditis in children and adults". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 8: CD004370. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004370.pub4. PMID 32835416. ^ de Caen AR, Berg MD, Chameides L, Gooden CK, Hickey RW, Scott HF, et al. (November 2015). "Part 12: Pediatric Advanced Life Support: 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care". Circulation. 132 (18 Suppl 2): S526-42. doi:10.1161/cir.0000000000000266. PMC 6191296 . PMID 26473000. ^ Liu ZL, Liu ZJ, Liu JP, Kwong JS (August 2013). Liu JP (ed.). "Herbal medicines for viral myocarditis". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 8 (8): CD003711. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003711.pub5. PMID 23986406. ^ Cooper LT (April 2009). "Myocarditis". The New England Journal of Medicine. 360 (15): 1526''38. doi:10.1056/NEJMra0800028. PMC 5814110 . PMID 19357408. ^ a b Kang M, An J (2020). "Viral Myocarditis". StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. PMID 29083732 . Retrieved 2020-11-12 . ^ a b c d e f g h Fung G, Luo H, Qiu Y, Yang D, McManus B (February 2016). "Myocarditis". Circulation Research. 118 (3): 496''514. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.306573 . PMID 26846643. ^ Sharma AN, Stultz JR, Bellamkonda N, Amsterdam EA (December 2019). "Fulminant Myocarditis: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Management". The American Journal of Cardiology. 124 (12): 1954''1960. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2019.09.017. PMID 31679645. ^ a b Chen C, Zhou Y, Wang DW (May 2020). "SARS-CoV-2: a potential novel etiology of fulminant myocarditis". Herz. 45 (3): 230''232. doi:10.1007/s00059-020-04909-z. PMC 7080076 . PMID 32140732. ^ Pankuweit S, Klingel K (November 2013). "Viral myocarditis: from experimental models to molecular diagnosis in patients". Heart Failure Reviews. 18 (6): 683''702. doi:10.1007/s10741-012-9357-4. PMID 23070541. S2CID 36633104. ^ Ammirati E, Veronese G, Bottiroli M, Wang DW, Cipriani M, Garascia A, et al. (June 2020). "Update on acute myocarditis". Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.tcm.2020.05.008. PMC 7263216 . PMID 32497572. ^ Fairweather D, Cooper LT, Blauwet LA (January 2013). "Sex and gender differences in myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy". Current Problems in Cardiology. 38 (1): 7''46. doi:10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2012.07.003. PMC 4136454 . PMID 23158412. ^ Engler RJ, Nelson MR, Collins LC, Spooner C, Hemann BA, Gibbs BT, et al. (2015-03-20). "A prospective study of the incidence of myocarditis/pericarditis and new onset cardiac symptoms following smallpox and influenza vaccination". PLOS ONE. 10 (3): e0118283. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1018283E. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118283. PMC 4368609 . PMID 25793705. ^ P. Sch¶lmerich. (1983.) "Myocarditis '-- Cardiomyopathy Historic Survey and Definition", International Boehringer Mannheim Symposia, 1:5. ^ Joseph Friedrich Sobernheim. (1837.) Praktische Diagnostik der inneren Krankheiten mit vorzueglicher Ruecksicht auf pathologische Anatomic. Hirschwald, Berlin, 117. ^ a b Olsen EG (1985). "What is myocarditis?". Heart and Vessels. 1 (1): S1-3. doi:10.1007/BF02072348. S2CID 189916609. ^ Magnani JW, Dec GW (February 2006). "Myocarditis: current trends in diagnosis and treatment". Circulation. 113 (6): 876''90. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.584532 . PMID 16476862. S2CID 1085693. External links [ edit ] Myocarditis on emedicine
Suramin - Wikipedia
Thu, 27 May 2021 12:10
Suramin Trade namesAntrypol, 309 Fourneau, Bayer 205, othersAHFS/ archive Routes ofadministrationby injection onlyATC codeLegal status8,8'-{Carbonylbis[imino-3,1-phenylenecarbonylimino(4-methyl-3,1-phenylene)carbonylimino]}di(1,3,5-naphthalenetrisulfonic acid)
CAS NumberPubChem CID IUPHAR/BPSDrugBankChemSpiderUNIIKEGGChEBIChEMBLPDB ligandCompTox Dashboard (EPA) ECHA InfoCard 100.005.145 FormulaC 51H 40N 6O 23S 6Molar mass 1 297 .26 g·mol''13D model (JSmol)O=C(Nc1cc(ccc1C)C(=O)Nc3c2c(cc(cc2c(cc3)S(=O)(=O)O)S(=O)(=O)O)S(=O)(=O)O)c8cccc(NC(=O)Nc7cc(C(=O)Nc6cc(C(=O)Nc5c4c(cc(cc4c(cc5)S(=O)(=O)O)S(=O)(=O)O)S(=O)(=O)O)ccc6C)ccc7)c8
Y N Y (what is this?) (verify) Suramin is a medication used to treat African sleeping sickness and river blindness.[1][2] It is the treatment of choice for sleeping sickness without central nervous system involvement.[3] It is given by injection into a vein.[4]
Suramin causes a fair number of side effects.[4] Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, skin tingling, and weakness.[2] Sore palms of the hands and soles of the feet, trouble seeing, fever, and abdominal pain may also occur.[2] Severe side effects may include low blood pressure, decreased level of consciousness, kidney problems, and low blood cell levels.[4] It is unclear if it is safe when breastfeeding.[2]
Suramin was made at least as early as 1916.[5] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[6] In the United States it can be acquired from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).[3] The cost of the medication for a course of treatment is about US$27.[7] In regions of the world where the disease is common suramin is provided for free by the World Health Organization (WHO).[8]
Medical uses [ edit ] Suramin is used for treatment of human sleeping sickness caused by trypanosomes.[1] Specifically, it is used for treatment of first-stage African trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense without involvement of central nervous system.[9][10] It is considered first-line treatment for Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, and second-line treatment for early-stage Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, where pentamidine is recommended as first line.[10]
It has been used in the treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis).[2]
Pregnancy and breastfeeding [ edit ] It is unknown whether it is safe for the baby when a woman takes it while breastfeeding.[2]
[ edit ] The most frequent adverse reactions are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a feeling of general discomfort. It is also common to experience various sensations in the skin, from crawling or tingling sensations, tenderness of palms and the soles, and numbness of hands, arm, legs or feet.[11] Other skin reactions include skin rash, swelling and stinging sensation.[11] Suramin can also cause loss of appetite and irritability.[11] Suramin causes non-harmful changes in urine during use, specifically making the urine cloudy.[11] It may exacerbate kidney disease.[12]
Less common side effects include extreme fatigue, ulcers in the mouth, and painful tender glands in the neck, armpits and groin.[11] Suramin uncommonly affects the eyes causing watery eyes, swelling around the eyes, photophobia, and changes or loss of vision.[11]
Rare side effects include hypersensitivity reactions causing difficulty breathing. Other rare systemic effects include decreased blood pressure, fever, rapid heart rate, and convulsions.[11] Other rare side effects include symptoms of liver dysfunction such as tenderness in upper abdomen, jaundice in eyes and skin, unusual bleeding or bruising.[11]
Suramin has been applied clinically to HIV/AIDS patients resulting in a significant number of fatal occurrences and as a result the application of this molecule was abandoned for this condition.[13]
Pharmacokinetics [ edit ] Suramin is not orally bioavailable and must be given intravenously. Intramuscular and subcutaneous administration could result in local tissue inflammation or necrosis. Suramin is approximately 99-98% protein bound in the serum and has a half-life of 41''78 days average of 50 days; however, the pharmacokinetics of suramin can vary substantially between individual patients. Suramin does not distribute well into cerebral spinal fluid and its concentration in the tissues is equivalently lower than its concentration in the plasma. Suramin is not extensively metabolized and about 80% is eliminated via the kidneys.[12]
Chemistry [ edit ] The molecular formula of suramin is C51H40N6O23S6. It is a symmetric molecule in the center of which lies a urea (NH''CO''NH) functional group. Suramin contains six aromatic systems '' four benzene rings, sandwiched by a pair of naphthalene moieties '' plus four amide functional groups (in addition to the urea) and six sulfonic acid groups. When given as a medication, it is usually delivered as the sodium sulfonate salt as this formulation is water-soluble, though it does deteriorate rapidly in air.[12]
The synthesis of suramin itself and structural analogs is by successive formation of the amide bonds from their corresponding amine (aniline) and carboxyl (as acyl chloride) components. Various routes to these compounds have been developed, including starting from separate naphthalene structures and building towards an eventual unification by formation of the urea[14][15] or starting with a urea and appending successive groups.[16]
[ edit ] The mechanism of action for suramin is unclear, however, it is thought that parasites are able to selectively uptake suramin via receptor-mediated endocytosis of drug that is bound to low-density lipoproteins and to a lesser extent, other serum proteins.[12] Once inside parasites, suramin combines with proteins, especially trypanosomal glycolytic enzymes to inhibit energy metabolism.[17]
History [ edit ] Suramin was first made by the chemists Oskar Dressel, Richard Kothe and Bernhard Heymann at Bayer AG laboratories in Elberfeld, after research on a series of urea-like compounds. The drug is still sold by Bayer under the brand name Germanin. The chemical structure of suramin was kept secret by Bayer for commercial and strategic reasons, however, it was elucidated and published in 1924 by Ernest Fourneau and his team of the Pasteur Institute.[18]: 378''379 [19]
Research [ edit ] It is also used as a research reagent to inhibit the activation of heterotrimeric G proteins in a variety of GPCRs with varying potency. It prevents the association of heteromeric G proteins and therefore the receptors guanine exchange functionality (GEF). With this blockade the GDP will not release from the Gα subunit so it can not be replaced by a GTP and become activated. This has the effect of blocking downstream G protein mediated signaling of various GPCR proteins including rhodopsin, the A1 adenosine receptor, the D2 receptor,[20] the P2 receptor,[21][22] and ryanodine receptors.[23]
Suramin was studied as a possible treatment for prostate cancer in a clinical trial.[24]
Suramin has been studied in a mouse model of autism and in a small phase I/II human trial.[25][26][27][28]
References [ edit ] ^ a b "Suramin Injection Advanced Patient Information". 3 January 2020 . Retrieved 11 January 2020 . ^ a b c d e f "Micromedex Detailed Drug Information for the Consumer: Suramin (Injection route)". PubMed Health. 1 November 2016. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. ^ a b "Our Formulary Infectious Diseases Laboratories CDC". 22 September 2016. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016 . Retrieved 30 November 2016 . ^ a b c Zuckerman, Dr Jane N. (2002). Principles and Practice of Travel Medicine. John Wiley & Sons. p. 113. ISBN 9780471490791. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. ^ Mehlhorn, Heinz (2008). Encyclopedia of Parasitology: A-M. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 475. ISBN 9783540489948. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. ^ World Health Organization (2019). World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization. hdl:10665/325771 . WHO/MVP/EMP/IAU/2019.06. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. ^ Dumas, Michel; Bouteille, Bernard; Buguet, Alain (2013). Progress in Human African Trypanosomiasis, Sleeping Sickness. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 256. ISBN 9782817808574. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. ^ "Trypanosomiasis, human African (sleeping sickness)". World Health Organization. February 2016. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016 . Retrieved 7 December 2016 . ^ "CDC Infectious Diseases Laboratory: Our Formulary". CDC. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016 . Retrieved 8 November 2016 . ^ a b Kappagoda, Shanthi; Singh, Upinder; Blackburn, Brian G. (22 September 2016). "Antiparasitic Therapy". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 86 (6): 561''583. doi:10.4065/mcp.2011.0203. ISSN 0025-6196. PMC 3104918 . PMID 21628620. ^ a b c d e f g h "Suramin Injection Advanced Patient Information -". Archived from the original on 8 November 2016 . Retrieved 8 November 2016 . ^ a b c d Phillips, Margaret A.; Stanley, Jr, Samuel L. (2011). "Chapter 50: Chemotherapy of Protozoal Infections: Amebiasis, Giardiasis, Trichomoniasis, Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, and Other Protozoal Infections". In Brunton, Laurence L.; Chabner, Bruce A.; Knollmann, Bjorn Christian (eds.). Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (12th ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 1437''1438. ISBN 9780071769396. ^ Kaplan, Lawrence D.; Wolfe, Peter R.; Volberding, Paul A.; Feorino, Paul; Abrams, Donald I.; Levy, Jay A.; Wong, Roberta; Kaufman, Lilian; Gottlieb, Michael S. (1987). "Lack of response to suramin in patients with AIDS and AIDS-related complex". The American Journal of Medicine. 82 (3): 615''620. doi:10.1016/0002-9343(87)90108-2. PMID 3548350. ^ Kassack, Matthias U.; Braun, Kirsten; Ganso, Matthias; Ullmann, Heiko; Nickel, Peter; B¶ing, Barbara; M¼ller, Gregor; Lambrecht, G¼nter (2004). "Structure''activity relationships of analogues of NF449 confirm NF449 as the most potent and selective known P2X1 receptor antagonist". Eur. J. Med. Chem. 39 (4): 345''357. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2004.01.007. PMID 15072843. ^ Ullmann, Heiko; Meis, Sabine; Hongwiset, Darunee; Marzian, Claudia; Wiese, Michael; Nickel, Peter; Communi, Didier; Boeynaems, Jean-Marie; Wolf, Christian; Hausmann, Ralf; Schmalzing, G¼nther; Kassack, Matthias U. (2005). "Synthesis and Structure''Activity Relationships of Suramin-Derived P2Y11 Receptor Antagonists with Nanomolar Potency". J. Med. Chem. 48 (22): 7040''7048. doi:10.1021/jm050301p. PMID 16250663. ^ McGeary, Ross P.; Bennetta, Andrew J.; Tran, Quoc B.; Prins, Johannes; Ross, Benjamin P. (2009). "An 'inside-out' approach to suramin analogues". Tetrahedron. 65 (20): 3990''3997. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2009.03.033. ^ Moore, Thomas A. (2015). "246e: Agents Used to Treat Parasitic Infections". In Kasper, Dennis L.; et al. (eds.). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (19th ed.). McGraw-Hil. ISBN 9780071802161. ^ Walter Sneader (2005). Drug Discovery: A History. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471899792. ^ Fourneau, E.; Tr(C)foul, J.; Vall(C)e, J. (1924). "Sur une nouvelle s(C)rie de m(C)dicaments trypanocides". Comptes Rendus des S(C)ances de l'Acad(C)mie des Sciences. 178: 675. ^ Beindl W, Mitterauer T, Hohenegger M, Ijzerman AP, Nanoff C, Freissmuth M (August 1996). "Inhibition of receptor/G protein coupling by suramin analogues". Molecular Pharmacology. 50 (2): 415''23. PMID 8700151. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. ^ Abbracchio MP, Burnstock G, Boeynaems JM, Barnard EA, Boyer JL, Kennedy C, Knight GE, Fumagalli M, Gachet C, Jacobson KA, Weisman GA (September 2006). "International Union of Pharmacology LVIII: update on the P2Y G protein-coupled nucleotide receptors: from molecular mechanisms and pathophysiology to therapy". Pharmacological Reviews. 58 (3): 281''341. doi:10.1124/pr.58.3.3. PMC 3471216 . PMID 16968944. ^ Khakh BS, Burnstock G, Kennedy C, King BF, North RA, S(C)gu(C)la P, Voigt M, Humphrey PP (March 2001). "International union of pharmacology. XXIV. Current status of the nomenclature and properties of P2X receptors and their subunits". Pharmacological Reviews. 53 (1): 107''118. PMID 11171941. Archived from the original on 18 November 2016. ^ Wolner I, Kassack MU, Ullmann H, Karel A, Hohenegger M (October 2005). "Use-dependent inhibition of the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor by the suramin analogue NF676". British Journal of Pharmacology. 146 (4): 525''33. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706359. PMC 1751178 . PMID 16056233. ^ Ahles TA, Herndon JE, Small EJ, et al. (November 2004). "Quality of life impact of three different doses of suramin in patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma: results of Intergroup O159/Cancer and Leukemia Group B 9480". Cancer. 101 (10): 2202''8. doi:10.1002/cncr.20655 . PMID 15484217. S2CID 29107328. ^ Scott LaFee and Heather Buschman. Researchers Studying Century-Old Drug in Potential New Approach to Autism. UC San Diego Health, May 26, 2017 Archived June 1, 2017, at the Wayback Machine ^ Naviaux, J C; Schuchbauer, M A; Li, K; Wang, L; Risbrough, V B; Powell, S B; Naviaux, R K (2014). "Reversal of autism-like behaviors and metabolism in adult mice with single-dose antipurinergic therapy". Translational Psychiatry. 4 (6): e400. doi:10.1038/tp.2014.33. PMC 4080315 . PMID 24937094. ^ Naviaux RK, Curtis B, Li K, et al. (July 2017). "Low-dose suramin in autism spectrum disorder: a small, phase I/II, randomized clinical trial". Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 4 (7): 491''505. doi:10.1002/acn3.424. PMC 5497533 . PMID 28695149. ^ Further reading [ edit ] Zhang YL, Keng YF, Zhao Y, Wu L, Zhang ZY (May 1998). "Suramin is an active site-directed, reversible, and tight-binding inhibitor of protein-tyrosine phosphatases". J. Biol. Chem. 273 (20): 12281''7. doi:10.1074/jbc.273.20.12281 . PMID 9575179. External links [ edit ] "Suramin". Drug Information Portal. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Suramin sodium National Cancer Institute
Noodle Gun
Beer Wokeness
Sorry in advancr for the novel. If you choose to talk about this please leave me anonymous as there’s a good chance I’d face repercussions for wrongthink in my industry.
Not sure if this is on your radar yet but I wanted to bring it to your attention. The beer industry just got hit with the noodle gun pretty hard. I posted about this in the NA-TX telegram group but it was suggested I email it to you as well. It seems like the M5M hasn’t picked up on this one yet.
It started May 11th when a female brewery employee posted something on instagram asking if anyone had experienced sexism in the beer industry and started posting their responses. Basically, a delayed #metoo movement has turned into people anonymously calling out brewery employees/owners on everything from rape, assault and domestic abuse to micro-aggressions and pest control issues.
While I’d like to think no one would lie about something like this, I know differently. Some of these stories don’t even make sense. I have a feeling this is just the start and a lot of people will have their lives and careers ruined before it’s done. So far, several high profile people in the industry have stepped down:
Modern Times Beer - Jacob McKean, Founder and CEO stepped down
Evil Genius Brewery - entire taproom management team (GM, AGM and kitchen manager) "turned over". Founder Trevor Hayward stepped down from the board of the nonprofit organization that put on Philly Beer Week.
Tired Hands - Jean Broillet, co-founder asked to step down by employees. Julie Foster, the other co-founder stepped down in March for undisclosed reasons.
Pollyanna Brewing Company - Paul Ciciora, President and CEO removed by board
Here’s some sources:
The Instagram account posting the stories:
A google doc with ~200 cliffnotes versions of the allegations:
Article on the firings:
A good summary of the whole thing:
Kevin Spacey to return as sex crime detective | News | The Times
Mon, 24 May 2021 19:24
The disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, who has spent four years in the professional wilderness after accusations of sexual misconduct, is preparing to return to the screen in the role of a detective investigating the case of a man wrongly suspected of paedophilia.
The Italian film L'Uomo che disegn² Dio (The Man Who Drew God) will be directed by Franco Nero, 79, and will also star Nero's wife, Vanessa Redgrave, 84. ''I'm very happy Kevin agreed to participate in my film,'' Nero told ABC News in the United States. ''I consider him a great actor and I can't wait to start the movie.''
The American star, 61, was dropped from the hit Netflix series House of Cards in late 2017 after at least
It's the Media's 'Mean-Too' Moment. Stop Yelling and Go to Human Resources. - The New York Times
Mon, 24 May 2021 19:27
In public radio, there is either an epidemic of bullying or an epidemic of whining, depending on whom you ask.
Bob Garfield, left, and Brooke Gladstone of WNYC's ''On The Media'' in 2005. WNYC fired him recently after a dispute. Credit... Richard Drew/Associated Press May 23, 2021
For 20 years, the WNYC radio show ''On The Media'' has been the sort of place where the hosts' on-air repartee makes it a fun listen, while their off-air screaming matches send producers diving for cover.
But times are changing.
During a meeting last June, a producer suggested that the show, which was hosted by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, do a segment on whether the media's coverage of climate change had overlooked minorities. After an extended back and forth, Mr. Garfield got sick of his staff pushing back, dismissed the story with a barnyard epithet, and eventually yelled that he was ''tired of being accused of not being woke enough,'' two people in the meeting recalled.
Someone complained to human resources about that incident and two others during which Mr. Garfield screamed at producers. Mr. Garfield was told by management that if it happened again, he could be fired.
Then this spring, Mr. Garfield suffered a shoulder injury. During a virtual meeting with his colleagues, he said he needed surgery sooner than planned. He said he then faced 15 minutes of what he viewed as ''bullying'' from Ms. Gladstone and their executive producer, and which they viewed as him bullying them, according to a spokeswoman.
Eventually, Ms. Gladstone accused Mr. Garfield of ''bathing in self-pity,'' he recalled. He swore at her and slammed his computer shut, he said, calling the incident ''an appalling abuse of an employee's health prerogatives.'' WNYC fired him for violating its anti-bullying policy, and he is starting a newsletter on Substack on Monday.
When I started trying to figure out what was going on inside America's biggest and angstiest public radio station for this week's column, I thought it would be a straightforward story about changing newsroom norms, where nobody '-- not even on-air talent '-- is allowed to yell. This is media's ''mean-too'' moment, as one skeptical tabloid hack put it to me, embodied by the expos(C)s of the producer Scott Rudin.
That is, in fact, part of the story. WNYC's human resources department seems to have its hands full with complaints and counter-complaints of bullying, including those against two prominent women who joined WNYC from sharp-elbowed commercial newsrooms. On Sunday, the company's labor union filed a formal complaint against the station's editor in chief, Audrey Cooper, with the National Labor Relations Board, for reportedly waging a ''coordinated and aggressive campaign'' against her internal critics. Meanwhile, H.R. is conducting an investigation of one of WNYC's biggest stars, ''The Takeaway'' host Tanzina Vega, over complaints from her producers.
Image Audrey Cooper, who is now WNYC's editor in chief, in 2016. The company's labor union filed a complaint against her on Sunday with the National Labor Relations Board. Credit... Jim Wilson/The New York Times Depending on whom you ask, WNYC is experiencing either an epidemic of bullying or an epidemic of whining.
WNYC has been turned inward at least since December 2017, when the #MeToo movement flushed out accusations of inappropriate conduct against three prominent male hosts, which led to the exit of top leaders at the station who were criticized for mishandling the accusations. When the new chief executive, Goli Sheikholeslami, arrived in 2019, she said, she did a listening tour and all anyone wanted to talk about was the internal culture.
''When you're a mission-based organization, the people that choose to work here are incredibly passionate and committed to the work that we do,'' she said in an interview on Friday.
Even by the standards of our fraught media moment, public radio '-- and the parts of the podcast industry that emerged from it '-- has been beset by seemingly constant clashes that can be difficult for outsiders to make sense of.
The reasons are partly structural. Audio production makes literal many of the inequalities that journalists complain about: Increasingly diverse teams of young producers labor anonymously in soundproof rooms to make a single host, traditionally a white guy, though that is changing, look good. (It's sort of like TV, but with less camera-ready people and without a fat salary to make up for the indignities.) And radio stations filled with idealists who view themselves as working for the public good are often led by people whose greatest skill is raising millions of dollars from affluent donors.
At WNYC, they refer to the period that began in 2017 as The Troubles. The place came apart again last summer after Ms. Sheikholeslami asked staff members what they wanted in a leader, and they asked for a person of color with roots in New York and a connection to public media. Instead, she and the station's chief content officer, Andrew Golis, hired Ms. Cooper, the white editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Cooper was welcomed to New York with the headline ''WNYC Employees Demanded Diversity. They Got Another White Boss.''
Image Ms. Sheikholeslami became chief executive of WNYC in 2019. Credit... Chicago Public Media After that Bronx cheer, Ms. Cooper sought to reassure the staff that she would make diversity a priority. She boasted at a large, early meeting of her record of firing white men at The Chronicle, three people who Zoomed into the virtual gathering said. That wasn't quite what the staff had wanted, either, though, and they were ''horrified'' at the remark, a cultural critic at the time, Rebecca Carroll, said this week.
Perhaps even worse, Ms. Cooper remarked early on that she'd never heard of Brian Lehrer, the beloved WNYC morning host whose gently probing, public-spirited interviews embody the station's appeal, and that she didn't ''get'' why he was popular. She has since come to the view that ''Brian is the soul of the station and, in many ways, the city itself,'' a WNYC spokeswoman, Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, said in an email.
In fact, Ms. Cooper's mission was to jump-start the station's lagging digital transformation, something she had done with unusual success in San Francisco and that requires a willingness to make enemies. She has ambitious plans to hire 15 to 20 more reporters '-- but first she had the near-impossible assignment of bringing together a group of traditional radio journalists, used to working for days and occasionally weeks on colorful local features, with the reporters at Gothamist, the scrappy local blog that WNYC bailed out in 2018. Ms. Cooper sought to professionalize Gothamist away from its bloggy and irreverent roots, telling reporters to be less openly hostile to the New York Police Department in their reporting, two reporters said. Ms. Roussel suggested that Ms. Cooper was trying to rein in Gothamist's habit of adding ''an element of editorializing to its coverage that can be interpreted as bias.''
And Ms. Cooper started pushing the radio journalists to pick up their pace and to file stories for the web. That seemed like a reasonable request, but it led to another stumble in early February, when an 18-year veteran of the radio side, Fred Mogul, filed a story with one paragraph printed in a different font. The editor realized it was Associated Press copy; Ms. Cooper promptly fired Mr. Mogul for plagiarism without a review of whether he'd ever done it before.
Ms. Cooper declined to speak to me about Mr. Mogul's termination. But one thing I learned this week about public radio is that no matter what is happening, someone is always recording it. And that was true when Ms. Cooper called a virtual meeting Feb. 5 over Zoom to inform the full newsroom of her decision to fire Mr. Mogul. According to a copy of the recording provided to me by an attendee, Ms. Cooper told the staffers, ''It's totally OK to be sad.'' But then several stunned radio reporters questioned the move, explaining that they regularly incorporated A.P. copy into stories on air and had imported the practice to WNYC's little-read website, crediting The A.P. at the bottom of the story.
''Go through every single one of our articles and fire all of us, because that is exactly what we have all done,'' one host, Rebeca Ibarra, told her.
After this article was published online, Mr. Mogul's lawyer, Cynthia Rollings, said in an email that he disputed the accusation that he had misused A.P. copy and said that his draft had included attribution to The A.P. She said Mr. Mogul ''has commenced legal action against Audrey Cooper and New York Public Radio for wrongful termination and defamation.'' (His response to an earlier email seeking comment went to my spam folder.)
On Feb. 10, more than 60 employees '-- including Mr. Lehrer '-- signed a letter asking Ms. Cooper to reconsider and calling the firing a ''troubling precedent.''
Image Brian Lehrer at the WNYC studios in 2019. His gently probing, public-spirited interviews embody the station's appeal. Credit... Brittainy Newman/The New York Times Things did not calm down after that. In April, WNYC laid off 14 people as it wrestled with a looming multimillion deficit. Among those let go was another internal critic and union shop steward, Christopher Robbins, and Richard Yeh, a radio veteran who had been quoted in The New York Times as criticizing the selection of Ms. Cooper. That prompted the union's formal charge of retaliation against Ms. Cooper. Ms. Sheikholeslami said the layoffs were simply part of a revamping to move WNYC toward a newsroom in which audio and digital are truly integrated.
Ms. Cooper has told the staff she wants to turn WNYC into the city's news source ''of record.''
And that may be the biggest challenge of all '-- not just for WNYC but for all local media in a changing country.
Journalists last week, for instance, faced direct challenges to their legitimacy in two of the country's biggest cities, as politicians sense the political weakness that comes with the lack of racial and ethnic representation in newsrooms. Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago provoked a confrontation by offering interviews only to nonwhite reporters. And a leading candidate for New York mayor, Eric Adams, responded to The Times's investigation of alleged cronyism by suggesting that the media's focus on him was racially motivated.
But it's hard to look outward when you're at war with yourself.
WNYC's other big bet is its podcast studio, whose biggest show is Radiolab, and which, after an auspicious start with shows like 2 Dope Queens and Freakonomics Radio, has struggled for a breakout hit.
There, too, stress levels are high and accusations of bullying are flying in all directions. Ms. Vega, who has been recording from a closet while raising a small child alone through the pandemic, got into a dispute with her producer just before ''The Takeaway'' was to air on April 22. The tape was, of course, running, and the recording was sent to human resources, which is now investigating, according to two WNYC journalists.
After the blowup, Ms. Vega went right on the air for an interview with an expert that hinted, perhaps, at some of what ails media right now. It went online under the headline ''Journalists Are Burning Out.''
Chloe Dygert and Quinn Simmons - Cycling and the Power of White Privilege
Wed, 26 May 2021 20:59
When George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others were killed by the police in 2020, forcing the nation into a racial reckoning, the cycling industry responded with promises to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Fuji announced it was suspending the sale of their bikes to police departments, while various other industry leaders committed themselves to increasing diversity in the sport of cycling.
Yet, looking at the actions of some cyclists at the top of the sport, along with their sponsors, I see how the system of privileges and advantages afforded to white people remains strongly rooted both inside and outside the sport of cycling.
It's time for cycling to think beyond white fragility, white privilege, implicit bias, and microaggressions, and begin to think about its root cause. Cycling must reject interventions that continue to individualize anti-Black racism, and work to break down the structures that allow whiteness to retain power in the sport.
Anti-racist efforts within cycling must move beyond the trite euphemisms of inclusion, diversity, sensitivity, and allyship, and begin to seriously consider the dimensions of power at play. Yes, control of cycling resources are important, as are safe spaces to ride one's bike, but the power of whiteness within cycling remains unsullied.
In late September, many in the sport turned a blind eye when it came to light that world-champion Chloe Dygert 'liked' several racist and transphobic tweets. One tweet said ''white privilege doesn't exist,'' while another suggested that if football player Colin Kaepernick ''realized that if he grew an afro and played the part of victim, he could scam the Black community out of millions.''
It took six weeks for her new professional team, CANYON//SRAM Racing, and Rapha, the clothing sponsor of CANYON//SRAM, to publicly condemn her actions. TWENTY20 Pro Cycling, the team she was with when she reacted to those racist tweets, and Red Bull, another sponsor, have yet to weigh in on the matter.
Chlo(C) Dygert at the 2019 Women's Colorado Classic, at which she won all four stages of the race and was the overall winner. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images Getty Images
Dygert, who has since unliked the tweets, has faced no real consequences that we know of, so far. She hasn't raced since crashing at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in September of last year, but she has returned to training with Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Such public respect and civility toward Dygert, no doubt aspects of white privilege and power, allow her and her corporate sponsors a path to redemption, a means to restore or even reshape their image, build character and come out on top. And given redemption is nothing new to the sport of cycling, for one has to look no further than those accused and found guilty of doping.
As David Leonard states in Playing While White: Privilege and Power on and Off the Field, ''To be white is to exist as an Angel even in the face of counter evidence.'' This is obvious as Dygert made her own attempt at asking for forgiveness. In November of last year, she posted a photo of herself on Instagram, resplendent in her USA time trial suit and Red Bull aero helmet, head down as if exhausted from a long, hard effort'--although this time, the head down appears to signal embarrassment, not exertion. In the caption, Dygert wrote the following:
''Cycling should be for everyone regardless of color, gender, sexuality or background. Like CANYON//SRAM Racing, I am committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality in cycling and our wider communities. I apologize to those who I offended or hurt by my conduct on social media. I am committed to keep learning and growing as an athlete and a person.''
To me, Dygert's apology was out of context in that it lacks sincerity and does not refer to her transgression of liking racist and transphobic social media posts. CANYON//SRAM Racing released its own statement alongside Dygert's, but neither apologies attend to the root of the problem'--the white privilege and power that feeds anti-Black racism.
After those statements were released, Rapha emailed its own follow-up statement to its customers; it called out Dygert's ''very serious errors of judgment'' and said that Dygert's apology was not sufficient. On the surface, that statement appeased those who were disgusted with the world champion's denial of white privilege.
However, if you frame Rapha's statement within the context of the power and privilege of whiteness, you'll see that it sets the tone for even greater redemption. Rapha, a global company that is conscious of its whiteness and unearned privilege, could be seen as trying to position itself as an ally. Yet, efforts at solidarity'--working to be a good ally or destroying privilege'--often become subtle quests to regain control over whiteness and thereby contain or incorporate the disruption to the brand. Their statement that Dygert's actions were nothing more than a lapse in judgement opens up the channels for redemption.
What Dygert did was not simply a deviation in an otherwise magical career, but rather an expression of the violent normality of anti-Black racism in the world. While Rapha's condemnation is no doubt more forceful than CANYON//SRAM, Red Bull, and Twenty20 Pro Cycling put together, framing it as exceptional only obscures the root of the problem.
Quinn Simmons during the 2021 E3 Saxo Bank Classic. Tim de Waele Getty Images
Dygert isn't the only cyclist who has been criticized for social media use. In early October, rookie Quinn Simmons was suspended from racing by his team, Trek-Segafredo, for sending tweets described by the team as ''divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team.'' Dutch cycling journalist Jos(C) Been posted a now-deleted tweet that read, ''My dear American friends, I hope this horrible presidency ends for you. And for us a (former?) allies, too. If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man.'' Simmons, who is white, responded to that tweet by posting the word ''bye'' and a hand-waving emoji in a black skin tone, which many interpreted as being racist.
The team's manager stated, ''We remain committed to helping Quinn as much as we can.'' Along with a two-month suspension, Simmons said the team underwent social media training in the offseason. He has since returned to racing.
Why We Must Talk About Race When We Talk About Bikes
I Got Stopped on Bike Rides Because I 'Fit' a Description
There Is a Tremendous Untold Story of Black People on Bikes
Black Cyclists Are Stopped More Often Than Whites, Police Data Shows
At Group Rides, I Was Treated Like I Didn't Exist
What It's Like to Be Black for a Day
Ask Yourself, Who Gets Left behind in Cycling?
Racism Should Be Treated Like Doping
As pro cyclist K(C)vin Reza recently pointed out, there needs to be zero tolerance for anti-Black racism in cycling. As powerful as Rapha's apology might seem, anti-Black racism is still understood and framed to be an individual act. In other words, the whiteness of cycling, in part, is the ability to reduce anti-Black racism to a misunderstanding that can simply be overcome by introspection. And if we are honest, when it comes to managing diversity and moral missteps, the whiteness of cycling does not require dismantling the anti-Black world in which we all live.
Cyclists and the cycling industry must come to terms with the reality that cycling is a powerful narrator in the power of whiteness that feeds anti-Blackness. Anti-Black racism becomes all the more powerful because actions like those taken by Dygert and Quinn are simply seen as youthful, uneducated blunders.
If cycling and its stakeholders are to take anti-Black racism seriously, it must frame its understanding of the world beyond the individual. To proclaim that Black lives matter would also mean being attuned to the ways in which whiteness, as a position of power, continues to be normalized on and off the bike.
As scholar and recreational cyclist Tryon Woods makes plain in his recent book Blackhood Against the Police Power: Punishment and Disavowal in the "Post-Racial" Era, ''the only ethical way of being white in the world is to tell the truth about anti-Blackness and to embark wholeheartedly on the affirmation of Blackness, as if life hangs in the balance'--which it does.''
P. Khalil Saucier is Professor and Director of Africana Studies at Bucknell University. He is the author of the forthcoming book titled Black Frames: (Anti)Blackness and the Sport of Cycling.
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What If We Just Stopped Calling the Cops?
Wed, 26 May 2021 21:06
Illustration by Grace Shin/VICE News
For decades, the solution to Black Americans' distrust of cops has often been to not call them. Now white people are catching on too.
On May 25th a reckoning with systemic racism was reignited. It's still here '-- and so are we.
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JeAnnette Singleton heard gunfire outside her home in Warren, Ohio, one night in August 2020. Two days later, she saw bullet holes in her and her son's cars. She was scared. But she knew she wouldn't call the police.
Singleton, a 60-year-old licensed therapist and social worker, is Black. So is her 29-year-old son. And just a few months earlier, she'd seen yet another example of what could happen to a Black American when the police were called even for the most innocuous of crimes. The footage of George Floyd pleading for his mother and his life while under the knee of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin left an indelible mark on her mind. Floyd had allegedly used a fake $20 bill at a local convenience store the day he died.
Singleton wanted someone to investigate the bullet holes. Yet she had to consider the optics. Officers might look at the damage and turn to her son, who just happens to wear his hair in locs. She worried they would assume he was a drug dealer or a gang member. They could hurt him, she thought, or more likely do nothing at all.
In the end, Singleton said, ''I didn't report it, and I hated it.''
Singleton's personal experiences further shaped her decision to not call the police that day: Her brother, Che Taylor, was killed by Seattle cops in 2016. Ohio police also once filed charges against Singleton's son simply because a white man accused of stealing was in a car registered to someone of the same last name'--even though her son had never been to the town where the alleged crime occurred and looked nothing like the suspect.
''It's very scary,'' Singleton said. ''Scary enough to say, 'I'm not calling the police, because they could do anything, and it could go bad real fast.'''
For decades, many Black Americans have believed that cops' presence will either make a situation worse'--or won't have any impact. And the solution has sometimes been to not call the police at all, even in circumstances where they felt unsafe.
''Police do not create safety. Policing is largely reactionary. They come onto the scene after the fact.''
But it's not just communities of color anymore: White people are now occasionally rethinking whether it's a good idea to rely so heavily on law enforcement, especially if summoning the police could potentially harm someone. And entire cities have considered whether police officers are the best response to certain kinds of offenses.
Floyd's fatal arrest last May seems to have hardened that perception. Even the teenage corner store clerk expressed regret over having taken the counterfeit $20 bill from Floyd, which later caused another employee to call the police. "If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,'' the clerk, Christopher Martin, said on the witness stand during Chauvin's murder trial. An owner of the store, Cup Foods, decided after cops killed Floyd that from then on he and his employees would only call the cops to report violence, according to the New York Times.
That's the same mindset Leah Knox, a 36-year-old sales operation analyst from Greensboro, North Carolina, took when someone pulling out of a gas station hit her car in October.
The driver appeared to be a Latino teenager, who was also very stressed and scared. Sensing his fear, she didn't want to put any more pressure on him by calling the cops. So Knox told him that if he could exchange his insurance information with her and admit fault, they both could move on without getting the police involved. He cooperated completely, and his insurance came through and paid for the repairs.
Although some of her family members were shocked that she didn't call the cops, Knox said she'll probably do the same if she gets in another accident. She doesn't want to call the police anymore unless it's over something ''imminently violent, where I wouldn't know what else to do,'' she said.
''I'm a white, mid-30s woman, lower-middle-class,'' she said. ''Most of my run-ins with police haven't been great, but this past year has really opened my eyes to what other people go through.''
Marie Reimers and her dog. (Photo courtesy of source)
While the dialogue about when it's appropriate to call the police and if they really keep people safe isn't new, it's a conversation that some white communities seem increasingly willing to join.
Misha Viets van Dyk, the national chapter network organizer for Showing Up for Racial Justice, which organizes white communities for racial and economic justice, said their organization saw a ''giant wave'' of white people concerned about police accountability this past year.
''As people learn about their own background or the backgrounds of people around them, they see more and more reasons why putting their trust into this institution of policing is one that harms us," Viets van Dyk said.
A Gallup poll conducted after Floyd was murdered last summer found that Americans' confidence in the police had slid to a record low of 48 percent, the first time in nearly 30 years without a majority.
Being a ''Karen'''--a white woman who calls the cops on a Black birdwatcher for telling her to leash her dog, a Black driver for temporarily parking in a reserved spot, or a Black neighbor following a permit dispute'--has also become more of a concern in the past year.
Still, the gap between Black and white people's faith in the police is larger now than it's been historically, according to the same Gallup poll. After Floyd's murder, only 19 percent of Black adults reported they fostered ''a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the police, down from 30 percent. For white adults, trust only dropped from 60 percent to 56 percent.
'Police do not create safety'
But if not the cops, who are people supposed to call when they're in need? Places like New York City, Portland, and Anaheim, California, have toyed with at least one solution: Social workers or other professionals could respond to certain reports of people experiencing mental distress or homelessness, rather than the cops. Other cities have also championed community-based violence prevention programs to mediate disputes and support crime survivors.
That doesn't mean proposals for reform always go over smoothly. Plenty of police officers continue to say that communities are only hurting themselves by defunding police departments to boost other social services. And some police chiefs have cited the rise in violent crime during the coronavirus pandemic or serious drop in law enforcement staffing as a pressing reason to protect police budgets, even though many officers continue to spend much of their time responding to nonviolent calls and dealing with traffic offenses.
Still, the ''defund the police'' movement, which broadly calls for shrinking police departments' budgets so local leaders might instead fully invest in alternatives and preventive solutions, persists, despite not being all that politically popular.
Austin, Texas, for example, slashed its policing budget and poured some of the leftover funds into providing services for homeless people living in permanent supportive housing.
''The things that create safety are also the things that create strong individuals, strong families, strong communities,'' said Dr. Amara Enyia, the policy and research coordinator for the Movement for Black Lives. ''And those things are about investments in education, in economic developments, in housing, in mitigating public health hazards. Those are the things that create safety.''
''Police do not create safety,'' Enyia added. ''Policing is largely reactionary. They come onto the scene after the fact. ''
Marie Reimers, a white, 28-year-old legal aid attorney, believes that too. She was at home in Detroit on March 23 when her dog started barking and going berserk. She tried not to overthink it: Maybe she was being paranoid. Maybe it was directed at the cat, she thought.
''I know from experience, from education, from other people's experience that I have been gifted, that most often when the police come, there are more problems'--not less.''
But Reimers slowly realized it wasn't her imagination. An intruder had broken in. And calling the police for help wasn't an option. Police scare Reimers more than any home intruder could. Officers severely beat her when she was working as a legal observer at a racial justice protest in the city last summer. Involving the cops goes against her politics, too, she said.
So, as an unknown person wandered around her first floor, Reimers barricaded her bedroom door on the second floor and started to text friends to let them know what was going on. And for reasons that she still can't explain, she also posted about what was happening on Twitter.
''There is currently someone robbing my house. I am upstairs safe and fine but not sure what to do? I was hoping they would just leave. They haven't,'' Reimers tweeted. She added: ''If any of you call the cops I will murder you. I do not want cops at my house.''
Instead, Reimers called a friend to pound on her door and scare the intruder off. But someone had called the cops anyway, and officers still arrived at her address. The person who had broken in, however, was able to escape without harm or arrest. Later, Reimers realized they hadn't taken anything and had just rearranged some furniture.
Reimers now believes the intruder was a local homeless woman who has a mental illness and had come by and dropped off gifts on her porch before.''When I realized that, I was even more thankful that I didn't call the police,'' she said.
'I don't want him dead'
Years ago, Jennifer Lewinski, 44, was in a relationship that became abusive. She couldn't call the cops in her town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, to report that violence. Although numerous barriers keep women from reporting domestic abuse, as a Black woman and an activist, Lewinski feared the police would hurt her or her boyfriend. He was also on parole, so an arrest could have ruined his life.
''Is he going to go back to jail? Are they going to beat him up? Are they going to shoot him?'' Lewinski said of her thinking at the time. ''Even though he's hurting me, he's still a person that I love and I don't want him dead. And that's something you have to think of when you call the cops on Black people: 'Is what they're doing, should it be a death sentence?'''
Jennifer Lewinski wearing a shirt that says, "Black is my happy color." (Photo courtesy of source)
By the time Lewinski and someone else were forced to call law enforcement in 2015, the conflict between the couple had seriously escalated: In an attempt to protect herself, Lewinski stabbed her boyfriend in the arm after she said he put her in a chokehold. She went to jail for three days and wound up with a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on her record.
If there'd been an alternative to the cops for addressing her domestic abuse'--a chance to call someone earlier'--Lewinski would've taken it. Partly because of that, she's trying to create a solution for other people in similar situations.
After her arrest, Lewinski co-founded the Asbury Park Transformative Justice Project. The group is hoping to formally establish so-called ''community-run safety units,'' staffed by volunteers and social workers, so residents have someone they can call for de-escalation when they don't want to involve the police. And some people in Lewinski's community are already relying on her and her colleagues for help.
Recently, someone called Lewinski's group because they thought their neighbor might be in a domestic violence situation and didn't want to rely on traditional law enforcement. Lewinski and a volunteer therapist went and knocked on the neighbor's door to see what they could do. Nobody answered, but they were able to leave a note saying they didn't want to call the police and were able to help.That's an option Lewinski wishes she'd had. Her arrest did nothing to solve the actual problem at hand, she said. After she got out of jail, Lewinski went back to her abuser for a time, until she was eventually able to leave. And to her knowledge, he still hasn't gotten counseling or resources that might help him deal with his anger or abusive tendencies.
''We're taught that they [police] will help you,'' Lewinski said, ''but I know from experience, from education, from other people's experience that I have been gifted, that most often when the police come, there are more problems'--not less.''
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"Cancel Culture," Hypocrisy, and Double Standards - Cathy Young
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:44
Nikole Hannah-Jones at an event in June 2018 Photo: Alice Vergueiro/AbrajiLast Wednesday, a surge of Twitter outrage followed reports that Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times' 1619 Project, recently appointed Knight Chair in race and investigative journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, did not get the automatic tenure that should have come with that post because of political objections. (The 22-year-old Knight Chair program supports teaching by professional journalists with an emphasis on innovative digital-age journalism.)
The news was quickly deplored as an attack on freedom of the press and an example of ''cancel culture'' on the right, with the inevitable accusations of hypocrisy on the part of conservatives and ''free speech warriors.''
In fact, several people who write about academic freedom from a right-of-center viewpoint, including Reason's Robby Soave and The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, did criticize the situation at UNC. Additionally, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the premier group battling ideological speech suppression on college campuses, has said that it's ''investigating'' the story.
Meanwhile, the narrative of a powerful ''cancel culture'' on the right was further boosted by news that the Associated Press had fired Emily Wilder, a recently hired reporter, after conservative activists and media targeted the 2020 Stanford graduate over her college involvement in Students for Justice for Palestine and her past social media posts. Wilder, who says she has been ''canceled,'' was apparently told that she was being fired for violating AP's social media policy during her brief time at the organization, but her request to know which specific posts were in violation was denied.
To many, this is evidence that critics of Israel are specifically singled out for ''cancellation.''
For the record, I think what happened to Wilder was egregious. I also believe that there may well have been inappropriate political pressure with regard to Hannah-Jones's UNC post. If so, it should absolutely be condemned.
But do these cases prove that, as Heer, Serwer and others are suggesting, the ''real'' assault on freedom of speech and discourse today is from the right? Hardly.
Let's take the Wilder case first, because it's fairly simple. Basically, Wilder was collateral damage in the right's war on the Associated Press. After an Israeli airstrike demolished the building that housed AP's news bureau in Gaza while (according to the Israeli military) targeting Hamas, a controversy broke out on the question of whether the Hamas target existed'--and if it did, whether AP knew of Hamas' nearby presence and tailored its coverage accordingly. AP says it has no knowledge that Hamas operatives were in the building. Its critics have pointed to a 2014 Atlantic article by former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, who wrote that armed Hamas militants sometimes entered the bureau's Gaza office, complained about coverage and intimidated the staff (and that AP reported none of this).
Earlier this week, Stanford College Republicans, a group that clashed with pro-Palestinian activists during Wilder's time on campus, discovered that Wilder had been hired by AP and decided to use her to go after the news organization.
Several conservative outlets including The Washington Free Beacon and The Federalist picked up the story, with headlines like ''AP Hires Anti-Israel Activist as News Associate'' and suggestions that Wilder's employment further called AP's objectivity about Israel into question. The AP got cold feet and unceremoniously ditched her.
It was pretty craven behavior on AP's part. But it was also, frankly, a pretty low blow from Wilder's detractors. For instance, the unsigned Free Beacon article noted with a straight face that it's ''unclear whether Wilder will cover the Middle East,'' but a simple query could have ascertained that she was not. Wilder had been an intern at the Arizona Republic covering local news and was starting as a ''news associate'' in AP's Phoenix bureau. What seems to be her first and last story for AP was a co-authored piece about a school shooting in Boise, Idaho.
What's more, some of Wilder's social media behavior denounced as scandalous by the Stanford College Republicans was pretty mild. She called the late pro-Israel tycoon Sheldon Adelson a ''naked mole rat-looking billionaire'' and Ben Shapiro ''a little turd.'' Fetch the smelling salts! I'm sure no College Republican has ever called, say, George Soros or Rachel Maddow bad names.
I cannot say strongly enough that Wilder should not have been fired. What happened to her is a classic witch-hunt. It smacks of a media organization throwing an employee under the proverbial bus to ward off negative publicity. It's unfair and sets a bad precedent.
If there's a ''but'' coming (and there is), it applies not to AP's behavior in this case, but to the question of what this incident says about ''cancel culture'' in general.
First of all: I greatly respect Adam Serwer, but Palestinian rights as the issue that consistently gets the most people fired or blacklisted? Really? I may not be aware of every such case, to be sure, but I doubt that the list approaches the firings and other ''cancellations'' related to violations of racial orthodoxy. I was easily able to compile a list of more than thirty such cases just from the past year, from high-profile (veteran New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil, pressured into resigning because of allegedly racially insensitive comments on a 2019 trip with a group of high schoolers) to obscure (a Kentucky hospital nurse fired after she posted an admittedly obnoxious video criticizing Black Lives Matter and refusing to ''apologize for being white''). Some of these cases involve declarations that black lives matter but ''all lives matter'' too, or an insufficient show of solidarity with BLM. How many people in North America (other than a politician getting blowback from constituents) suffered repercussions for inadequate solidarity with Israel, or for saying something along the lines of ''both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to be safe''? (By contrast, the tweets that cost pro-Palestinian English professor Steven Salaita a job offer'--wrongly, in my view'--at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014 appeared to suggest that Zionism justified anti-Semitism and cheered the disappearance of three teens from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank who were later found murdered.1)
I'm not engaging in ''whataboutism.'' Obviously, none of this justifies firing even vitriolic critics of Israel, or using state laws barring public contracts with entities that boycott Israel to require speakers at state universities to pledge that they don't support such boycotts (a practice I deplore). My point is simply that pro-Palestinian views are not the biggest cause for speech-related firings and blacklists in the U.S.
But it is currently the biggest (only?) progressive position that may, at least in its more extreme forms, get people in trouble at mainstream liberal or centrist institutions in the United States. That's mainly because radical anti-Israel views may overlap with a recognized form of bigotry against a religious, cultural, and ethnic minority, i.e. Jews.
While I have been critical of the conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel polemics, I think that it would be absurd to deny that strident anti-Israel animus often manifests itself in Jew-hating forms, especially now. After the recent string of anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one can't dismiss claims by Jewish college students that anti-Israel militancy makes them feel unsafe. Here, ''unsafe'' may actually mean ''in fear of physical violence,'' not ''traumatized by an offense to my identity.''
Students for Justice in Palestine is pretty militant. A backgrounder by the Anti-Defamation League, which stresses supports for SJP's First Amendment rights, also notes that it has a history of demonizing pro-Israel Jews and comparing them to white supremacists, as well as a history of confrontational behavior'--from disrupting events and shouting down speakers to putting fake ''eviction notices'' on dorm room doors to dramatize Palestinian evictions.
One incident of SJP-related extremism recounted in the ADL backgrounder indirectly involves Wilder. In July 2018, Stanford SJP member Hamzeh Daoud made a Facebook post promising to ''physically fight Zionists on campus next year'' (then edited it four hours later to change ''physically'' to ''intellectually''). In the ensuing outcry, Wilder defended Daoud's post as an expression of ''Palestinian pain.''
Should Wilder be blacklisted for her activism or attacked as anti-Semitic? No, absolutely not. (For what it's worth, Wilder is Jewish.)
But there is another question that I think is useful to ask. Would a recent college graduate who had been involved in a right-wing campus group with a similar history of aggressive behavior'--for instance, a pro-life group that routinely shouted down pro-choice speakers, vilified pro-choice women as ''baby killers,'' and plastered dorm room doors with photos of dismembered fetuses'--have gotten a job with a national media organization? And if she had, would progressive groups have shied away from targeting her? My guess is that if Emily Wilder had been a pro-life, pro-gun rights, or anti-affirmative action activist, this story would not exist because she never would have had a job at AP.
Which, I repeat, she should not have lost.
The Nikole Hannah-Jones saga at the University of North Carolina raises somewhat similar issues, though unlike Wilder, Hannah-Jones did not lose a position'--she simply gained one that was not as prestigious or secure as was originally offered.
In the Hannah-Jones case, we still don't know exactly what happened. The initial story by the left-leaning website NC Policy Watch that sparked such a strong social media reaction suggested that Hannah-Jones's tenure at UNC's Hussman School of Journalism and Media was revoked after a conservative backlash against her hiring. The article quoted an unnamed member of the UNC Board of Trustees as saying that ''politics'' was the reason Hannah-Jones was not granted tenure:
''This is a very political thing,'' the trustee said. ''The university and the board of trustees and the Board of Governors and the legislature have all been getting pressure since this thing was first announced last month. There have been people writing letters and making calls, for and against. But I will leave it to you which is carrying more weight.''
The ''thing'' was Hannah-Jones's appointment as Knight Chair, announced on April 26. The article then discussed the intense criticism from conservative websites that followed, specifically noting a column on the site of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal arguing that Hannah-Jones's hiring indicated ''failed university governance'' and should have been blocked by the Board of Trustees.
This account seemed to suggest that the Board denied Hannah-Jones instant tenure because of the backlash. But in fact, as the Raleigh News and Observer clarified, ''the lack of action from the Board of Trustees on granting tenure for Hannah-Jones came before UNC's announcement of her hire in April. She accepted the position as a non-tenured professor this spring.'' The departure from standard procedure was that the board failed to approve tenure even though it was recommended by faculty and administrators. (In most university hiring decisions, faculty and administrators are the difficult hurdles, and trustees a rubber stamp.)
This sequence was confirmed to me by Hussman School Board of Advisors chair Joyce Fitzpatrick. When I emailed Joe Killian, the principal author of the NC Policy Watch article, for clarification, he replied that while the unnamed trustee's comment concerned the public backlash, ''it was in the context of the political pressure (from outside the board that impacts the inter-board politics) that is ongoing'' and that ''legislators and conservative groups were aware this was coming down the pipeline and had conversations with the BOT members before it went public.''
Regardless of whether there was outside pressure on the board, the charge of viewpoint discrimination against Hannah-Jones rests on the fact that the previous two Knight Chairs at UNC both got tenure at the time of their appointment. (Some Knight Chairs at other schools have held untenured posts.) Hannah-Jones has received a fixed five-year term at the end of which she is eligible for tenure.
Board of Trustees chairman Richard Stevens has also said that it was UNC Hussman School Dean Susan King who suggested a fixed five-year term after being told that the board needed more time to ''vet'' Hannah-Jones. While Dean King is currently unavailable due to previously scheduled medical leave, Fitzpatrick disputed this version of the events in response to my email query, stating, ''This is not my understanding.''
Whether the board refused to act outright or tried to bide time, it appears that its official objection to instant tenure for Hannah-Jones was that she is a ''non-academic.'' Dean King said as much in her message to faculty, and a second unnamed trustee mentioned it to NC Policy Watch: ''There was some discussion about 'She is not from a teaching background, she is not from academia, so how can she just get a tenured position?''' However, as that trustee noted, this objection ''doesn't hold water,'' since the whole idea of the Knight Chairs is to bring in professional journalists. UNC's two other Knight Chairs, Penelope Abernathy and JoAnn Sciarrino, are also non-academics.
It's possible, however, that the board was jittery about Hannah-Jones not because of her specific views, but because she is a controversial figure. (The closest any other Knight Chair comes to being controversial is Michael Pollan, critic of factory farming and defender of psychedelic drugs.) That may still count as political discrimination, but it's a bit more complicated.
Now let's try another ''reverse the politics'' exercise. Suppose the chair was offered to New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Bret Stephens'--or to Hannah-Jones's ''canceled'' ex-colleague Donald McNeil, the veteran, award-winning science reporter and Pulitzer contender.
Can anyone doubt that in either case, many of the same professors now up in arms over the lack of tenure for Hannah-Jones would be vocally against even a non-tenured post? This is especially true since the faculty statement explicitly mentions politics (''Nikole Hannah-Jones does necessary and transformative work on America's racial history'') even as it laments the ''politicization of universities, journalism, and the social sciences.''
If Hannah-Jones got her job offer downgraded because of political pressure, that's alarming. But it's also impossible to discuss this situation fairly without discussing the politics on the other side.
I have written two long articles looking into the 1619 Project and specifically into its Pulitzer-winning lead essay by Hannah-Jones. For the record, I think the personal parts of her essay'--about her effort to understand her father's patriotic love for a country that had treated him as a second-class citizen and her own embrace of an American identity'--were moving and beautifully written. A retelling of history in which black people's struggle for freedom and dignity is central to the American story is an essential project.
Regrettably, in Hannah-Jones's retelling, this story becomes a false narrative claiming that the Founders' vision of liberty was not just profoundly marred by hypocrisy about slavery and race, but concocted to win independence from England ''to ensure that slavery would continue.'' (A later ''clarification'' noted that only ''some'' of the founders had such an agenda.) The Revolution's anti-slavery and abolitionist elements are ignored.
To some extent, these are matters of legitimate disagreement. But some aspects of the 1619 Project raise questions about Hannah-Jones's professionalism. Northwestern University historian Leslie Harris, a black scholar who supports the project's goals, has written that she pointed out serious inaccuracies in the essay to a Times research editor; the errors still got into print. Eventually, Hannah-Jones admitted to The Washington Post that she should have sought more input from ''scholars with particular focus on colonial history, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.''
Hannah-Jones has dismissed 1619 Project detractors as ''a small group of white professors and conservatives.'' In fact, they include historians who have worked to correct narratives that downplayed the role of slavery and white supremacy in U.S. history'--such as Paul Finkelman, president of Gratz College in Greater Philadelphia and author of numerous books on slavery and race'--and left-wing black scholars such as political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. and historian Barbara J. Fields.
There is also little doubt that the 1619 Project has been, to some extent, insulated from criticism by politics, i.e. reluctance to challenge (at least openly) a media project regarded as a key cultural moment for the black community. This was evident from Serwer's sympathetic account in The Atlantic in late 2019.
I came across the same attitude last year in phone interviews with two history professors, both award-winning authors. One told me that the project and especially Hannah-Jones's essay was full of ''omissions and distortions,'' but would only speak anonymously. The other speculated that it was ''possible'' that the stirrings of anti-slavery opinion in Britain were seen as a threat by some American colonial slaveholders in the early 1770s'--while conceding there was no record of controversy about this'--and did not respond to my follow-up query about the accuracy of other 1619 Project claims.
Notably, the only historian on the 2019-2020 Pulitzer Board, New York University's Steve Hahn, later told The Washington Post that ''any serious historian would have questions about some of the [essay's] claims'' and that he voiced these concerns to the board, with no effect. (Also notably, within a month of the announcement of Hannah-Jones's Pulitzer on May 4 of last year, the description of her prize-winning work on the Pulitzer site as ''a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay'' was stealth-edited to replace ''deeply reported'' with ''provocative.'')
Hannah-Jones's post-Project actions, especially on social media, raises more concerns. She has made startlingly irresponsible claims, from the assertion in a New York University lecture that Germany has done a better job of reckoning with its past than the U.S. because it has virtually no Jews left to serve as a living reminder of its crimes, to the amplification of a conspiracy theory about government agents setting off fireworks in New York boroughs to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement. Her penchant for attacking and taunting can verge on James Lindsay-like trolling. Most recently, she responded to what she considered an irksome query from a right-of-center journalist by tweeting a screenshot from his email complete with the phone number'--which triggered a rash of harassing calls'--and leaving it up for two days even after it was brought to her attention.
Given such issues, one can surely see valid reasons to demur on an instant lifetime appointment. One can also legitimately wonder if the political climate made it difficult for any UNC faculty or administrators with such concerns to voice objections.
Even in this case, interference by a politically appointed Board of Trustees is hardly (contra the Martin Center) a desirable remedy. It simply adds a new layer of political pressure'--the proverbial two wrongs that don't make a right.
But here's another wrinkle to this story. Assuming this is a matter of political pressure and thus a ''cancellation,'' Hannah-Jones is the second person at UNC to be canceled for political reasons in the past year.
The first, at UNC-Wilmington, was criminology professor Mike Adams, strong-armed into accepting early retirement last July due to outrage over his provocative tweets mocking women's studies, slamming rioters as ''thugs'' (while also, it should be noted, strongly condemning police actions in the death of George Floyd), and comparing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to slavery. He committed suicide a few days before he was due to retire.
In contrast to Hannah-Jones, no faculty rallied to support Adams last year'--just as no faculty rallied to support him in 2006 when he was denied a full professorship despite extensive qualifications, apparently because of some faculty members' displeasure at his often acerbic conservatism. In 2014, with the help of FIRE, he won a viewpoint discrimination lawsuit against UNC.
FIRE will also side with Hannah-Jones if the evidence shows she was similarly targeted. Most of Hannah-Jones's supporters would not side with Adams.
This brings me back to the point I made last week about free speech and criticism of Israel, occasioned by the controversy at the University of Toronto about the withdrawal of a job offer to pro-Palestinian legal scholar Valentina Azarova.
When ''cancellation'' targeting journalists or academics comes from the right, it is almost invariably met with a strong pushback from within the profession. This is already the case with both Wilder and Hannah-Jones.
When ''cancellation'' targeting journalists or academics comes from the left, it almost invariably comes from within the profession. Who speaks for Donald McNeil or Mike Adams? Certainly not their colleagues.
That makes right-wing ''cancel culture'' more episodic and easily contained. Yes, it can still be damaging and should be resisted by any genuine advocate for freedom of speech. (So, of course, should state-level bills championed by conservatives that would restrict teaching of ''divisive concepts'' on race and sex'--a different, but extremely bad, kettle of fish.) But to argue that the real ''chilly climate'' for speech in the mainstream media and the academy comes from occasional right-wing hits? That's projection on a par with claims that it's the Democrats who are really responsible for subverting democracy by delegitimizing election results.
Correction: The original version of this post said that Donald McNeil was fired by the New York Times. In fact, he resigned under pressure.
Build Back Better
The pandemic should permanently change how we tip
Tue, 25 May 2021 16:07
(C) Getty Images The US is an outlier when it comes to how crucial tipping is in determining service workers' wages. Last spring, when most of the country was under lockdown, essential workers were celebrated as American heroes. They were applauded for risking their lives to take care of others and to keep the economy running. This attention was eagerly extended to those in food service jobs that are traditionally overlooked and underappreciated. Under quarantine, the thinking went, people could no longer take for granted the fast food workers, kitchen staff, and delivery drivers who help transport food and other necessities to their doorsteps. Customers were encouraged to generously tip these workers '-- at minimum 20 percent, and even more if they were able.
That generosity didn't exactly bear out: Last December, a survey of 1,600 tipped workers from UC Berkeley and the nonprofit One Fair Wage showed that more than 80 percent of workers reported that their tips actually declined during the pandemic, and 78 percent witnessed or experienced ''hostile behavior'' from customers when asking them to comply with Covid-19 protocols. More than half said they felt reluctant to enforce safety rules out of fear of losing tips. According to Michael Lynn, a Cornell University professor and researcher on the psychology of tipping, tipping rates didn't always hold steady in the past year. Seasonal fluctuations also affect how people tip, as does location, and these factors were compounded by the virus's effect on the food service industry.
Now that many states are on track to fully reopen and indoor capacity limits have eased, more people are comfortable dining out at restaurants and bars. This has prompted some to ask: What should tipping standards look like now?
The backdrop of this conversation shouldn't be limited to just etiquette, or what's typically expected from customers. It should be centered on what millions of service workers across the country deserve, in light of how the pandemic has exacerbated existing social inequities. Restaurant owners, workers, and industry advocates have clamored for a government bailout since last spring, but federal aid was only approved in March. In the meantime, the responsibility primarily fell on American consumers to keep local restaurants afloat.
As many as one in three independent restaurants will close permanently as a result of the pandemic, while the businesses that managed to stay open have had to operate with significantly lower margins. Millions of people became unemployed or struggled with job insecurity, leaving many households without a steady paycheck and health insurance. For the food workers and delivery drivers who did manage to hold on to their jobs, many didn't receive hazard pay for their labor.
Now that mask mandates have eased in parts of the country (to the concern of some epidemiologists), things have begun to feel more ''normal,'' at least for customers. One etiquette expert in the Wall Street Journal recently advised customers to tip at least 15 percent, with 18 to 20 percent on average and more for ''exceptional service.'' A bartender told Grub Street that 20 percent should be ''the absolute baseline,'' but encouraged patrons to tip 25 percent.
''I have no data, but I presume people who are used to tipping for carryout may continue to do so,'' Lynn told Vox. ''It's likely that tips went up during Covid because people recognized there was a greater need, and felt that workers deserve extra by facing some risk interacting with the public.'' If customers aren't able to quantify that risk, then they might start tipping less, he said.
As a patron, it might seem natural to base tips off of a subjective experience at an establishment. But the nature of the tipping system elevates customers' subjectivity at the cost of service workers, and has done so since the practice began in feudal Europe. ''Tipping further entrenched a unique and often racialized class structure in service jobs,'' according to one Politico article on tipping's racist history, ''in which workers must please both customer and employer to earn anything at all.''
The US is an outlier when it comes to how crucial tipping is in determining service workers' wages. The federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13, although the amount can vary by state. Restaurants are still legally required to pay tipped workers the federal minimum wage (which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009), but they do so via a ''tip credit.'' That means employers only have to make up that amount if their workers don't get enough tips to make the minimum wage. This isn't always the case in all states and localities that have raised wages, but 26 states and Washington, DC, still have a tipped minimum between the federal $2.13 and the regular state minimum wage.
As the US prepares for a full reopening, it appears that people are hesitant to return to service jobs that offer low pay. Eateries across the country are reportedly struggling amid staffing shortages. The US hasn't fully recovered the millions of jobs lost from the pandemic, most of which are minimum wage. Plus, the UC Berkeley survey sheds some light on why some workers aren't eager to work in food service again, including the frequency of customer harassment and disrespect, lack of proper protective equipment, and low pay.
This has led major restaurant chains like McDonald's and Chipotle to raise their minimum wages at corporate-owned stores to attract workers. Still, the vast majority of restaurants across the country rely on tipping, in spite of its loaded history. Granted, it's not exactly the customer's fault that the practice is so prevalent in America. So what can patrons do?
Customers, if they are so inclined, can keep tipping that 20 percent minimum standard. The amount could vary by city or establishment, depending on whether the majority of a worker's wage is reliant on tips. For gig workers employed by delivery startups like Seamless, Grubhub, and DoorDash, for example, tips are a crucial part of their total earnings. And in addition to being mindful about the economic impact of gratuity, Americans have a role to play at the ballot box at the state and federal levels. The Senate in February rejected the Raise the Wage Act, which would establish a $15 federal minimum wage, in the Covid-19 relief package.
It also might require people to reevaluate their idea of service work, before it can be reflected in their tips. In a recent newsletter on hospitality, food writer Alicia Kennedy observed that most customers, even after a year of not being serviced, appear to still not ''value the exchange in going out to eat and drink'' unless it's on their terms. ''As more people in rich countries are vaccinated and are returning to bars and restaurants, I've seen the word 'overpriced' emerge in a very specific use. Something like, 'I can't wait to have an overpriced cocktail,''' Kennedy wrote. ''I don't know how these people tip, and I don't know what kind of places they go to, and I don't know why precisely they are going somewhere where they don't find the cocktail quality on par with the asking cost.''
In a post-pandemic world, it might be worth considering why we tip. Should it represent our satisfaction as customers, or our desire for the person who's doing the servicing to be fairly paid? And is that a responsibility that ultimately should fall on the consumer at all? Even if the answer is no, it's still a choice we all have to make.
Biden Global Tax Proposal Faces Setback After Ireland Objects
Tue, 25 May 2021 23:43
US President Joe Biden's push to get major economies to agree on a 15 percent minimum tax rate for multinational corporations has hit turbulence after Ireland's finance minister expressed "significant reservations" about the plan.
The objection from Dublin's finance minister Paschal Donohoe on Tuesday carries weight because Ireland hosts an outsized number of technology and pharmaceutical firms that were attracted to the country for its lower tax rate.
His objections come as finance ministers from the Group of Seven advanced nations are set to meet next week in London, where they could endorse the US proposal.
Biden's administration last week called for agreement on unified tax rate of a minimum of 15 percent rate in negotiations with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and G20.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, pictured on May 18, 2021, said the fund supports establishing a global minimum tax Photo: POOL / Ludovic MARIN
The European Union's top economies France and Germany said they would support a tax at that level, and the IMF's leader on Tuesday also offered her endorsement.
A person close to the G7 talks told AFP they expect a political agreement next week, though two other people with knowledge of the matter said member states may opt for a less definitive measure.
Finance chiefs have characterized a minimum tax as necessary to stem competition between countries over who can offer multinationals the lowest rate. They say that "race to the bottom" saps revenues that could go to other government priorities.
US President Joe Biden's proposal to enact a global minimum tax of 15 percent has run into opposition from Ireland Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON
For Biden, a global tax agreement also would help maintain US competitiveness, since he has proposed hiking domestic corporate taxes to pay for an infrastructure and jobs program with a price tag of around $2 trillion.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will represent the United States at next week's meeting, and her deputy, Wally Adeyemo, told Reuters on Monday that he expects to see "a lot of unified support" for the plan from the G7 nations.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire last week called the 15 percent proposal "a good compromise."
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said establishing a global minimum tax would be "a benefit," and something the Washington-based crisis lender has long supported.
"Why? Because when we have it, there is no race to the bottom and less tax avoidance," Georgieva said Tuesday during a conversation with The Washington Post.
That means "more money in the public purse to invest in education and healthcare, and infrastructure, digitalization -- all the good things we recognize we have to invest more into."
However, she acknowledged the challenge in finding "the sweet spot" for the global economy between those priorities and the best rate for national governments, given some countries have relied on low tax rates to compete for revenue.
Ireland is among that group, and according to Sky News, Donohoe said it intends to hold its corporate tax rate at 12.5 percent for a few more years.
Last month, Dublin's finance ministry released a projection saying it could lose two billion euros ($2.4 billion) each year in revenue starting in 2025 if a global minimum tax rate is enacted.
Lumber firms applaud, home builders angry as U.S. moves to double Canadian lumber tariffs | Woodworking Network
Wed, 26 May 2021 20:59
Lumber firms applaud, home builders angry as U.S. moves to double Canadian lumber tariffs
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce says it will seek to double tariff rates on most Canadian softwood lumber, angering home builders.
New rates vary by company. West Fraser goes from 9 percent to 11.4 percent, Canfor from 4.6 to 21 percent, Resolute Forest from 20.3 to 30.2 percent, and J.D. Irving from 4.2 to 15.8 percent.
The overall increase is from 9 percent to 18.32 percent.
Home builders, who had been urging for a removal of tariffs, expressed their disappointment.
''At a time when soaring lumber prices have added nearly $36,000 to the price of a new home and priced millions of middle class households out of the housing market, the Biden administration's preliminary finding to double the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments shows the White House does not care about the plight of American home buyers and renters who have been forced to pay much higher costs for housing," said National Association of Home Builders chairman Chuck Fowke.
''The administration should be ashamed for casting its lot with special interest groups and abandoning the interests of the American people. It knows that the lumber tariffs are nothing less than a tax on American home buyers, renters and businesses that rely on lumber products and they could not have come at a worse time. Lumber prices are already up more than 300 percent from a year ago. If the administration's decision to double tariffs is allowed to go into effect, it will further exacerbate the nation's housing affordability crisis, put even more upward pressure on the price of lumber and force millions of U.S. home buyers and lumber consumers to foot the bill for this ill-conceived protectionist action.
U.S. lumber producers on the other hand, applauded the decision.
"A level playing field is a critical element for continued investment and growth for U.S. lumber manufacturing to meet strong building demand to build more American homes," said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber Coalition Co-Chair and Co-President of Pleasant River Lumber Company. "The U.S. Lumber Coalition applauds the Commerce Department's continued commitment to strongly enforce the U.S. trade laws against subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber imports."
Canada, as one would predict, was also unhappy.
"U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber products are a tax on the American people," said Mary Ng, Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. "We will keep challenging these unwarranted and damaging duties through all available avenues. We remain confident that a negotiated solution to this long-standing trade issue is not only possible, but in the best interest of both our countries."
The decision comes as somewhat of a surprise. Home builders had been lobbying hard for a temporary removal of tariffs. Many Republicans had championed the NAHB's claims. They had asked trade chief Katherine Tai to eliminate the tariffs.
It's unclear how much the new tariffs will affect lumber prices.
Lumber companies say tariffs hardly make an impact.
"Lumber only makes up 4 percent of the cost of a new home'-- with near-zero impact on homebuyers," the Lumber Coalition wrote in an opinion article published on Woodworking Network. "The NAHB's claim that import duties cause today's high lumber prices and therefore drive up the cost of homes is false. Supply and demand, not import duties, cause price fluctuations."
The article was controversial, drawing in heavy scrutiny online.
The NAHB argued back, saying the Coalition was severely and intentionally underrating the cost of lumber in a home.
"If you walk into a home, you may notice that cabinets, windows, doors, and trusses are also often made of wood. And if you watch a home being built, you will see a lot of plywood and OSB being used for sheathing, flooring underlayment, siding, and interior wall and finishing, just to name a few uses. Also, builders do not in general buy lumber from sawmills, but from an intermediary like a lumber yard that operates with a profit margin."
See that article here.
Stay tuned for more coverage.
Let us know what you think in the comments.
About the author
Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at
Minister: Frankrijk winnaar Eurovisie Songfestival als Italiaanse zanger drugs gebruikte
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:25
Geen video? Klik hier.
De Franse minister van Europese Zaken, Cl(C)ment Beaune, die zaterdag in Rotterdam het Eurovisie Songfestival bijwoonde, stelt dat de Italiaanse inzending gediskwalificeerd moet worden als zanger Damiano David positief op drugs wordt getest. De Italiaan werd er op sociale media van beschuldigd dat hij live op tv coca¯ne snoof tijdens de bekendmaking van de winnaar.
Heeft hij nu net bijna lijntje gesnoven op CAMERA hahahaha #Eurovision
'-- Nieke Braet (@niekebraet) May 22, 2021
Anderen wijzen er nog eens op dat videobeelden, in tegenstelling tot wat ze suggereren, vaak niet de ware toedracht duidelijk maken.
De meeste maatschappelijke fenomenen zijn meerduidig en begrijp je pas goed als je ze langer en van verschillende kanten, op verschillende manieren, bekijkt. Mooi filmpje uit 1986 van de Guardian.
'-- Ruben van Gaalen (@rubenivangaalen) March 10, 2021
De zanger van de rockband M¥neskin ontkent bij hoog en laag de beschuldiging, die gebaseerd is op een videobeeld waarop alleen te zien is dat hij zijn hoofd naar een tafelblad buigt. David stelt dat hij enkel scherven opraapte van een glas dat in de commotie was stukgevallen. Hij zegt zelfs in het geheel geen drugs te gebruiken en toonde zich bereid een drugstest te ondergaan om zijn onschuld te bewijzen.
Minister Beaune meent dat het niet zonder gevolgen kan blijven als die test positief uitvalt. ''Ik denk dat er geen enkele twijfel mag blijven bestaan en dat totale transparantie noodzakelijk is. Als er een probleem is, dan volgen er sancties, waaronder mogelijk diskwalificatie. Ik wil geen slechte verliezer zijn maar voor wat betreft het beeld van de competitie kunnen we dergelijk gedrag niet toestaan.''
De Franse Barbara Pravi werd met haar chanson Voil tweede met 499 punten tegen 524 punten voor M¥neskin. De Italianen wonnen op het nippertje dankzij publieksstemmen. Het is 44 jaar geleden dat Frankrijk het songfestival won.
Pravi zelf voelt er niks voor om zo alsnog de titel in handen te krijgen. ''Zij kregen zowel van de vakjury als het publiek de stemmen. Of ze drugs gebruiken of hun ondergoed binnenstebuiten dragen of wat dan ook, dat is niet mijn probleem.''
Out There
Marvell Movie for UFO's
Angelina Jolie
Your Missionary Knight in West Africa, checking in.
I'm a huge Marvel fan, comics and movies. So when you and John were trying to figure out which movie may be tied to the recent UFO stuff, Marvel's Eternals quickly popped into my head.
Watching the trailer, it's not hard to jump to the conclusion that the general public is being conditioned to allow "someone" (aliens or progenitors or creator beings) who have the answers to finally "interfere" in today's world of chaos.
The trailer clearly says that the Eternals have never interfered...until now.
Senate Prepping $10 Billion Bailout Fund for Bezos Space Firm
Tue, 25 May 2021 21:24
Now that Jeff Bezos's space flight company Blue Origin has lost a multibillion contract to Elon Musk's SpaceX, Congress is prepping the ground for Bezos to win a contract anyway, ordering NASA to make not one but two awards.
The order would come through the Endless Frontier Act, a bill to beef up resources for science and technology research that's being debated on the Senate floor this week. An amendment was added to that legislation by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to hand over $10 billion to NASA '-- money that most likely would go to Blue Origin, a company that's headquartered in Cantwell's home state.
Cantwell's amendment is no sure bet though: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a last-minute amendment Monday to eliminate the $10 billion. ''It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America,'' Sanders told The Intercept Tuesday.
The Bezos space company had been competing against SpaceX for a contract to put astronauts on the moon, the first such trips since 1972, but lost the bidding process with a price tag twice that of SpaceX. NASA announced the award to the Elon Musk-owned company last month.
Cantwell's measure wouldn't rescind the grant to SpaceX but would create an additional contract that Bezos's company would be in line to win. A third company, Dynetics, had also bid for the moonshot, but the author of the new amendment offers a strong suggestion of which company it's likely to benefit.
Cantwell told NASA's incoming administrator, former Sen. Bill Nelson, that she was surprised at the way the award unfolded, before introducing the legislation to add a new one.
''I think there needs to be redundancy,'' or multiple contractors in case one fails, she told Nelson at his confirmation hearing. ''And it has to be clear this process can't be redundancy later. It has to be redundancy now.''
The measure has been attached to the Endless Frontier Act as part of a manager's amendment and authorizes $10.032 billion through the year 2026 for the moon program. Authorization alone does not fund the program, and Congress would still need to appropriate the money, or the executive would need to find other appropriated funds.
The bill is currently on the Senate floor and has broad bipartisan support. A procedural vote last week passed by a 71-27 margin, and Senate Democratic leaders are eyeing a Thursday vote for final passage, after which it would need to move through the House of Representatives.
''It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America.''
Blue Origin spent $625,000 lobbying the Senate in the first three months of 2021, according to lobbying disclosure records. Among that spending was $50,000 to a team of lobbyists at a firm called Clark Hill that would specifically focus on the moon landing program. The team includes John Culberson, a former member of the House from Texas and onetime chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that covers science policy. The White House also appointed Culberson last year to the National Space Council Users' Advisory Group that makes policy recommendations to NASA.
Last month's award to SpaceX did come as a surprise. According to a report by the Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, NASA awarded the deal to SpaceX, owned by one of the richest men in the world, ''to preserve a competitive environment.''
After the loss, Blue Origin and Dynetics filed protests with the Government Accountability Office, which currently remain open, but Congress seems to want to bypass the watchdog with a multibillion dollar handout to NASA to award more contracts.
Asked by The Intercept if the agency views Cantwell's amendment as a means to override its down-select decision, NASA spokesperson Monica Witt declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Meanwhile, the fight over the NASA contract is the latest development in the growing contest between two of the world's richest men for government contracts. In May 2019, for example, SpaceX filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims against the Air Force's decision to exclude it from $2.3 billion in funding for space launch services. The funding instead went to United Launch Alliance, Northrop Grumman, and Blue Origin.
Tesla is found guilty of throttling charging speed, asked to pay $16,000 to thousands of owners - Electrek
Mon, 24 May 2021 23:02
In court in Norway, Tesla was found guilty of throttling charging speed and battery capacity through a software update.
Unless it appeals, Tesla is going to have to pay $16,000 to each of the thousands of owners affected in the country. The fine could be even more significant as other similar legal efforts are on the way in other countries.
Back in 2019, Electrek reported on several reports from Tesla owners about seeing significant drops in range from 12 to 30 miles following a software update.
Only Model S and Model X vehicles with 85 kWh battery packs, which were discontinued in 2016, seem to be affected at that point.
For most owners, the range drop happened after updating to Tesla's 2019.16.1 and .2 software updates.
Tesla owner David Rasmussen was among the ones affected, and he got one of the most severe drops we have seen.
At the time, he told Electrek:
My 2014 Model S 85 was getting Rated Range of 247 miles until May 13. Now after the next update, it continued to drop to now 217 miles. This is an 11% drop in 5 weeks.
Rasmussen has been plotting the battery capacity degradation of his Model S over the last 100,000 miles or so, and the drop is quite obvious:
On top of the range loss, the DC fast-charging rate at Supercharger stations has also been reduced. Affected owners are seeing much slower charging sessions.
When Electrek reported on the issue, Tesla told us that the goal of the update is to ''protect the battery and improve battery longevity,'' and it resulted in a range loss for only ''a small percentage of owners.''
This created a lot of confusion among the owners affected by the update who wanted more details about the sudden need to ''protect'' the battery pack.
It led to a series of lawsuits in different markets for Tesla to compensate the affected owners.
One of those lawsuits was filed in Norway, and the court has now delivered its judgment '' finding that Tesla indeed throttled the charging speed with the update.
According to Norway's Nettavisen, Tesla didn't respond to the lawsuit and the 30 owners behind the case were automatically awarded 136,000 kroner (~$16,000 USD) each in compensation unless Tesla appeals to the case, which it has a few weeks to do.
There could be over 10,000 Tesla owners affected by the update in Norway alone, which could make the fine quite pricey for the automaker, but more importantly, it could also set the tone for several other similar lawsuits, including one in the US.
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Austin-area Black leaders want a new list of potential homeless camps |
Tue, 25 May 2021 18:48
The Black Leaders Collective said the current list is racist and full of inequities.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- From housing to land development and now deciding where to put homeless camps, Black leaders in the Austin area said they've had enough of what they call the City's decades-long racist policies.
The Black Leaders Collective is a group coming together to send one message to the City of Austin: redraw the map of 45 proposed homeless campsites and include the community in the process.
One member, Barbara Scott, is the president of the Colony Park Neighborhood Association. She said her neighborhood needs a grocery store.
"We're considered a food desert," she said.
She has also been fighting for a health care facility and other resources for years.
"We don't have a library east of 183," Scott said.
Instead, what the East Austin neighborhood may get sooner is a homeless camp near the Colony Park District Park, which was completed just last year.
But that has neighbors confused. Scott and others said the only available land for a homeless camp is 208 acres that have already been designated for the Colony Park Sustainable Community project.
"I think it was absolutely unconscionable," Scott said.
On Monday, Scott joined other Black leaders in the Austin area to call on the City to come up with a new proposal for homeless camps. They pointed out most of the proposed locations are on the east side, where six of the 45 are not in food deserts and nine of the 45 are on landfills.
Austin Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha Harper-Madison said it's time for disparities and racism to stop.
"Ever since the 1928 master plan, this city has been sweeping all of its unwanted people and things to the east side of I-35. All the Black schools and libraries and pools were put over here to keep us over here. Then came the landfills, the power plants, the tank farms. The disinvestment and lack of opportunities and concentration of poverty have led to massive equity gaps. And we're still struggling to close those today," Harper-Madison said.
Reverend Daryl Horton, the president of the Baptist Ministers Union of Austin, said the faith community is concerned for the homeless.
He said he is concerned when the City starts to draw maps, citing more COVID-19 testing sites on the west side of town than the east as an example of disparity. He also pointed out the proposed sites are too far from where the homeless can get help.
"The issue that we have is why would you put people in a place that will not provide the resources, that will not provide access to the things that they need?" Horton asked.
The Black Leaders Collective said even coming up with this preliminary list is an issue because of the optics. That's why they want the City to come up with a new list, this time with community input.
The list of proposed campsites is only preliminary. The city council is expected to meet next week to talk about the next step for choosing locations.
WATCH: Groups pushing to boost funding for housing for the homeless
VIDEO - (227) Nick Offerman testifies on COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence - YouTube
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:59
VIDEO - 'He Took A Guess': Joy Behar Says Trump Scapegoated China, It's Just A 'Lucky Break' That He Was Right | The Daily Caller
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:52
Joy Behar of ABC claimed Wednesday that former President Donald Trump had only blamed China for the novel coronavirus because he was looking for a scapegoat at the time.
Behar argued on ABC's ''The View'' that Trump had simply taken a guess at where the virus had originated and had caught a ''lucky break'' when it became apparent that he was probably right. (RELATED: 'Excuse Me, I'm Not Done': Joy Behar And Meghan McCain Square Off In Explosive Segment On Fauci And Vaccine Hesitancy)
Cohost Whoopi Goldberg raised the question of the coronavirus' origins, asking cohost Sara Haines to weigh in on the conflicting theories.
Haines argued that the lab-leak theory '-- which has steadily gained credibility in recent weeks '-- might have been dismissed early on because it was promoted by the Trump administration and people were predisposed not to believe him.
''I think more investigation is needed. Whether the World Health Organization is the one to do it is debatable,'' Haines added, noting that the WHO might be overly influenced by the Chinese government. ''We need people from all over the globe to come together and get in there because China has not been transparent about this.''
Goldberg then turned to Behar, asking, ''Is it fair to criticize Fauci for not knowing the exact answer when everyone wanted it?''
''No. I mean, you know, this anti-science crowd on the right with the '-- with Trump has been criticizing Fauci from the giddy-up as if he's an Oracle of Delphi,'' Behar replied, saying that Dr. Anthony Fauci was limited by the scientific information available and had changed his opinion as the science developed.
''Trump was blaming the Chinese from the beginning. He was using them as scapegoats,'' Behar continued. ''If it happens to be true it was from Wuhan, that was a lucky break on his part because he took a guess, in my opinion.''
VIDEO - They Lied And People Died
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:26
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VIDEO - Mr. & Mrs. Fred Fredderson on Twitter: "What does a Canadian Premier look like when completely controlled by the CCP and Big Pharma? @BrianPallister 1v3rmectin." / Twitter
Thu, 27 May 2021 00:54
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Fredderson : What does a Canadian Premier look like when completely controlled by the CCP and Big Pharma? @BrianPallister 1v3rme'...
Wed May 26 15:49:41 +0000 2021
🇨ðŸ‡... in birth 🇺🇸 in ðŸ'— FK FORD/FK TRUDEAU : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Didn't even answer
Thu May 27 00:54:10 +0000 2021
LizzieBeth : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Does he usually blink a lot??
Thu May 27 00:54:07 +0000 2021
RJ2020 : @FredFredderson1 @ashkaur @BrianPallister Is he still crying? Man up Manitoba
Thu May 27 00:53:46 +0000 2021
Ferrol El. 🇨ðŸ‡... : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister
Thu May 27 00:52:52 +0000 2021
DEPLORABLE CANADIAN 🇨ðŸ‡...🇬🇧🇺🇸ðŸ‡"🇱 : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Crimes against humanity ARE coming to ALL Premiers and government members at all l'...
Thu May 27 00:52:34 +0000 2021
Lisa Z : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister I think he's completely cracking! What the hell was that? Something in me feels so'...
Thu May 27 00:51:59 +0000 2021
6% Ryan_anti-ccp : @FredFredderson1 @ashkaur @BrianPallister @AlexGpar14 Maybe he didn't hear the question correctly? 🤥
Thu May 27 00:50:56 +0000 2021
FREEDOM 4-ALL| WIPA-PPC : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister He had to look at his notes provided, for this type of question being asked. Response #12
Thu May 27 00:49:56 +0000 2021
FREEDOM 4-ALL| WIPA-PPC : @FredFredderson1 @ashkaur @BrianPallister All Premiers are controlled by the infiltrators, but they willingly initiated the process.
Thu May 27 00:48:29 +0000 2021
Mario : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Wow that was a Trudeau-esque answer. Do they teach that at politician school?
Thu May 27 00:44:12 +0000 2021
2019GreyCupChamps : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister At least he didn't start crying again.
Thu May 27 00:37:41 +0000 2021
PANNANODEMIC101 : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister ðŸ¤--
Thu May 27 00:33:51 +0000 2021
Explore the World : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister He proved her point x 100 by refusing to even acknowledge the subject.
Thu May 27 00:30:30 +0000 2021
Canadian Centres' For Self Governance : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Canada will not socially evolve until the concept of government is rejected by the'...
Thu May 27 00:25:38 +0000 2021
Jerry S : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister He is selling vaccines. You decide why.
Thu May 27 00:25:17 +0000 2021
HelpCoin- Bitcoin = Freedom #ActivateTaproot : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister They should make a cartoon for @BrianPallister like they did for #littlepotato.'...
Thu May 27 00:23:00 +0000 2021
A European Looking In : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister Wow..So no answer. Disgraceful, evil on fact
Thu May 27 00:20:48 +0000 2021
Steve W 🇨ðŸ‡... 🇺🇸 : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister The more I watch this F'r, the more I'm convinced he is as evil as can be!
Thu May 27 00:19:07 +0000 2021
Roy : @FredFredderson1 @BrianPallister
Thu May 27 00:16:43 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Starship Alves on Twitter: "@GettingCooked @adamcurry #clip" / Twitter
Wed, 26 May 2021 23:52
Starship Alves : @GettingCooked @adamcurry #clip
Wed May 26 19:25:21 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Daily Caller on Twitter: "JEAN-PIERRE: "We're just going to continue to work with the WHO and the WHO is going to continue to work with China on this [on probe into origin of covid]" "Why do we think that China would cooperate? JEAN-PIERRE: "This
Wed, 26 May 2021 23:48
Daily Caller : JEAN-PIERRE: "We're just going to continue to work with the WHO and the WHO is going to continue to work with China'...
Wed May 26 18:02:19 +0000 2021
VIDEO - HEB Vaccine Claims
Wed, 26 May 2021 20:54
disgruntledpartner Published May 25, 2021 1 rumble
Rumble '-- HEB and their "Chief Medical Officer" make wildly untrue claims about the safety of current available shots being administered. And just three weeks ago that same doctor had this to say about returning to normal and herd immunity! Is he just saying what HEB is paying him to say? And why is HEB making such verifiably FALSE claims?! just check the VAERS website to see the thousands of reactions to the different shots being given.
1m57sRescued deer gives birth to fawn, immediately greeted by family dogjillzymarie$4.54 earned
20sRottweiler just loves to play with the sprinklerkatfishhere$8.15 earned
14sAmazon delivery guy's rough day caught on camerajustinhopper$46.13 earned
9sSilly puppy not quite sure how her tongue workselsatherotty$5.65 earned
32sDevastating before & after effects of volcanic eruption in the CaribbeanDevonbraave$4.75 earned
8sDog finds rock at the bottom of the lake, instantly becomes his favorite toytheschnoutsquad$16.25 earned
1m11sBeautiful foals play an adorable game of tagFriesdaleFarms$15.54 earned
1m59s2-Year-Old Golden Retriever REALLY Loves MudViralHog$4.68 earned
2m06sMini dachshund adorably babysits and entertains foster puppiesjillzymarie$19.48 earned
17sToddler discovers hidden chocolate, immediately runs away with ittilaandjustin$19.27 earned
VIDEO - Senate ERUPTS in Cheers as Funding for Gain-of-Function Research in China is Banned
Wed, 26 May 2021 18:48
Rumble '-- The US Senate by unanimous voice vote banned the funding of gain-of-function research in China.
VIDEO - Lame Cherry: Vax Zombies Predicted 25 years ago
Wed, 26 May 2021 05:54
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Dr. Pierre Gilbert had some revealing things to say in 1995 AD in the year of our Lord, and they match exactly what is taking place with the vax, and confirms what this blog has posted exclusively in observations and projections on the Vax Lepers and this fiberforming which is taking place.
The synopsis is in the electromagnetic field, a contamination of human blood will follow creating intentional infections.  There will then be forced vaxing. The vaxes will have in them liquid crystals which will infect brain cells to become micro receivers, of these 5G fields, which will interfere with the ability to think, thus creating the vax zombie.
25 years ago they were accomplishing this in Rwanda in Africa. It has now been unleashed on the world., Lies & Shadows: Pierre Gilbert: 9781894791175: Amazon ...About the Author. Pierre Gilbert  is Associate Professor of Biblical Studes and Theology at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, MB and is also associate ...
Nuff Said
VIDEO 5mins -10mins -- (221) Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Tackling the Homeless Problem - YouTube
Wed, 26 May 2021 00:28
VIDEO - Jack Posobiec on Twitter: "BREAKING: Drive-by shooting caught on Live TV in George Floyd Square as reporter talks about reforming police" / Twitter
Tue, 25 May 2021 21:25
Jack Posobiec : BREAKING: Drive-by shooting caught on Live TV in George Floyd Square as reporter talks about reforming police
Tue May 25 16:35:54 +0000 2021
Jobu : @JackPosobiec Stay out of blue cities
Tue May 25 21:25:28 +0000 2021
Autophage : @JackPosobiec Mostly peaceful protest
Tue May 25 21:25:22 +0000 2021
Iron Patriot 3ID : @JackPosobiec Yep those are gun shots.
Tue May 25 21:24:45 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (220) DISCLOSURE! - YouTube
Tue, 25 May 2021 15:31
VIDEO - COVID Shot Killing Large Numbers, Warns Top COVID Doc Peter McCullough - The New American
Tue, 25 May 2021 15:27
In this interview with The New American magazine Senior Editor Alex Newman, the internationally renowned Dr. Peter McCullough''the doctor with the most citations in the National Library of Medicine on these topics''warned that the COVID shot was already causing thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations that have been recorded. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, he warned. In normal circumstances, 50 deaths reported to VAERS would result in a drug being taken off market immediately. In the case of the COVID shots, thousands have already been reported, and yet the mass vaccination programs continue to be pushed. Dr. McCullough, a professor of medicine who developed a globally acclaimed and highly successful COVID treatment protocol, also emphasized that there have been many unnecessary deaths as a result of policy decisions made at various levels of government.
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VIDEO - (17) Tony Lin 林æ'±å°¼ on Twitter: "Per popular request, here's Mr. John Cena's apology video with English subtitles. I kept all the incoherence in the video, as well as the curious absence of what he's actually apologizing for
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:50
Tony Lin 林æ'±å°¼ : Per popular request, here's Mr. John Cena's apology video with English subtitles. I kept all the incoherence in the'...
Tue May 25 13:50:18 +0000 2021
Ann Laabs ðŸ'–ðŸ''ðŸ'ðŸ"¸'ðŸŒ : @tony_zy .@JohnCena, groveling apologist? Didn't have that on my 2021 Bingo card.
Tue May 25 14:37:45 +0000 2021
qpop : @tony_zy Thank you for translating this. I guess he is normally more coherent?
Tue May 25 14:35:52 +0000 2021
Oh, Valencia! : @tony_zy Cheers. He speaks the language but takes no responsibility for knowledge of the political situation which'...
Tue May 25 14:34:15 +0000 2021
Drty : @tony_zy He didn't do anything wrong. If you're offended by Cena calling Taiwan a country, you have some pretty thi'...
Tue May 25 14:30:29 +0000 2021
J in HK : @tony_zy That's so he can save time and just re-use the same video next time the little pinks are on at him.
Tue May 25 14:26:31 +0000 2021
No I'm not like Dracula but... : @tony_zy Corporate tool John Cena is acting like a corporate tool, shocking. You think he gives a damn about any of'...
Tue May 25 14:19:01 +0000 2021
A Dad who will soon be tuning out politics : @tony_zy @BethanyAllenEbr Man, if money had dick, John would be choking on it.Embarrassing
Tue May 25 14:13:03 +0000 2021
Jordan Schneider 司é(C)¬ä¹--丹 : @tony_zy ''æ'‰ä¸ä¸ªé--误'' as "I made a mistake" is pretty generous tony!
Tue May 25 14:05:10 +0000 2021
Tony Lin 林æ'±å°¼ : Context:
Tue May 25 14:04:36 +0000 2021
George Purcell : @tony_zy Pathetic.
Tue May 25 13:59:45 +0000 2021
HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE : @tony_zy @austinramzy Aww Bort Cena is so thirsty
Tue May 25 13:58:32 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (220) Facebook Whistleblowers LEAK DOCS Detailing Effort to Secretly Censor Vax Concerns on Global Scale - YouTube
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:42
VIDEO - 4 ways the US can help stem COVID deaths globally | PBS NewsHour
Tue, 25 May 2021 14:36
World May 21, 2021 06:45 PM EDT Transcript
While the pandemic's toll is easing in the U.S., COVID-19 still has a deadly grip on many other countries. The estimated global death toll remains around 13,000 people a day, and the World Health Organization's new estimates are far higher. William Brangham discusses them with Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases and global medicine specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Amna Nawaz:
While the pandemic's toll is easing here in the U.S., it still has a firm, deadly grip on a number of other countries.
The estimated global death toll from COVID-19 remains around 13,000 people a day. And the WHO's new estimates are far higher than many realize.
William Brangham looks now at some of the implications.
William Brangham:
Amna, things are indeed better in the U.S., but, still, more than 600 people died from COVID-19 in America in the past 24 hours, though, in other countries, the official toll is many times higher, and new infections keep climbing.
India reported more than 4,200 deaths in the last day, Brazil more than 2, 400. In fact, six of the countries with the highest current death rates are in South America. And, according to the WHO, that's likely a significant underestimate of the real toll, off by three to four million deaths, at least.
And for many of these nations, lifesaving vaccines are barely available.
Dr. Monica Gandhi specializes in infectious diseases and global medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Gandhi, great to have you on the program.
Do you think that these WHO estimates are accurate? And if those horrible numbers are real, what does that say about the real danger we are still in from this virus?
Dr. Monica Gandhi:
You know, this is a very dangerous virus.
And like you just said, there's this paradox of places that have vaccinated quickly and are wealthy and have access to those vaccines going back to normal and discussing, when do we get to take off masks?
And that paradox is completely in '-- out of sync with what's going on in so many places in this world. This is a highly deadly virus. But beyond that, health systems matter. So, places where health systems are equipped to manage this load don't have the oxygen, don't have the capacity.
The fatality rate of this infection is going to be higher. And I'm not surprised '-- I'm sad, but not surprised that the death toll, as the WHO said, is likely much higher, 13,000 a day.
William Brangham:
You touched on, of course, what we know is the way out of this pandemic, which are these lifesaving vaccines.
What role should the U.S. and the U.S. policy-makers play in trying to accelerate the spread of those vaccines globally?
Monica Gandhi:
Yes, you know, you're exactly right.
The only way we can get out of the vaccines. And we actually have the solution. We have it.
And I think that the United States can play a role in four ways. I think that we are '-- want to go back to being that global health leader, that we have played that role so often in the past
And the four ways really are something that we have already done, which is, for the future, work with the WTO to temporarily waive vaccine patents. This has already been signaled that the Biden administration supports this. Other countries aren't signing on. It's important for them to keep on pushing on that, or '-- the U.S., because this is for the future for countries that are not yet in trouble.
For what countries that are in trouble right now, we need to donate or loan doses. And we do have excess doses. In fact, I wrote a piece in The Atlantic with others, and many people have echoed this, that our young, our kids in this country could even wait to get their doses of vaccine to help people who are much, much more likely to get severe disease in other countries.
And we do have surplus doses. Duke has actually estimated with 300 million surplus doses. So, although I appreciate the 20 million doses that President Biden signaled the other day, plus 60 million AstraZeneca, we have more than that.
Third is that pharmaceutical companies should use philanthropy. This is a global health crisis. They will make money. They should use philanthropy. They should give doses. And I do believe the U.S. could help with urging them.
And then fourth is the U.S. global role as convening the U.N. in terms of global manufacturing, and really, along with the WHO, figuring out how to get vaccines immediately into places that are surging, and later into places that are likely to surge.
William Brangham:
I want to touch back on one of those points that you made, which is the Biden administration supporting temporarily waiving the patent rights for these vaccines.
You wrote recently that, back in the 1990s, during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, that adherence to patent rights killed millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa? Do you think, in this debate, we have given too much credence to pharmaceutical companies' arguments about this?
Monica Gandhi:
Yes, we have, because what we '-- I wrote about was that, as an HIV doctor, I saw from 1996 to 2001, and even all the way to 2005, arguments about whether we should temporarily waive patents, while millions died in sub-Saharan Africa of AIDS, and people who were living with HIV in the U.S. and Europe had access to lifesaving medications.
The disparity was so great, and the arguments went on for so long, years and years, while people were dying. And, finally, a lawsuit actually was filed by pharmaceutical companies against South Africa because they were purchasing cheaper drugs from India, India, who provided antiretroviral therapy to the world, who's now in trouble.
And that lawsuit got so much international pressure to drop that the pharmaceutical companies dropped it, and it was recognized that this was terribly important, that, if we have access to these medications, we can't let people die in other places.
So, yes, we have to work on vaccine patent waivers now, because if sub-Saharan Africa right now is improving, they will, COVID will eventually get everyone. It will come to every country until we can get them vaccinated.
William Brangham:
All right, Dr. Monica Gandhi, U.C. San Francisco, thank you very much.
Monica Gandhi:
Thank you.
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4 ways the US can help stem COVID deaths globally first appeared on the PBS NewsHour website.
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VIDEO - Americans should prepare for coronavirus crisis in U.S., CDC says
Mon, 24 May 2021 16:15
Top U.S. public health officials said Tuesday that Americans should prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in communities across the country.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a media briefing Tuesday.
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Measures to contain the virus in the U.S. so far have involved restricting travel to and from China '-- the center of the outbreak '-- and isolating identified cases.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
But Messonnier said evidence that the virus is spreading to countries outside the region, such as Iran and Italy, has raised the CDC's "level of concern and expectation that we'll see spread" in the U.S.
As of Tuesday, more than 300 cases had been reported in Italy. Iran had nearly 100 cases.
"When you start to see sustained transmission in other countries throughout the world, it's inevitable that it will come to the United States," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News.
In the U.S., 57 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The majority are among repatriated residents who were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Japan.
The CDC said Americans should prepare for the possibility of disruptions to their daily lives if the virus were to start spreading in the U.S. That could include closing schools, working from home and delaying elective medical procedures.
"We should all be dusting off our pandemic preparedness plans and rehearse them very quickly," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. "The core concept is social distancing."
Business leaders, Schaffner said, should start considering which employees could work from home. Perhaps the time will come, he and other experts said, to observe religious practices and ceremonies at home, rather than attend larger community gatherings at places of worship. And families should start asking themselves how they would handle a week or two at home, without traveling even short distances for food, medicine or entertainment.
Coronaviruses tend to spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. Staying at least 6 feet from other people is thought to minimize the risk.
In a news conference later Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: "The immediate risk to the general American public remains low. But, as we have warned, that has the potential to change quickly.
"The fact that we have been able to keep cases to this low level is an accomplishment, especially given that we are, unfortunately, beginning to see community spread in a growing number of other countries," Azar said.
Travel restrictions enacted in early February have played a role in keeping cases down in the U.S., he said, adding that there are no plans to ease the restrictions at this time.
The community spread in countries outside China, however, is "deeply concerning," he said.
In China, aggressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus appear to be working.
The declining rate of new cases in China indicates that the virus can be contained, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the leader of a World Health Organization team of scientists who investigated the crisis in China.
But if other countries are to control the spread of the virus, they need to act quickly to find cases as soon as possible.
"There needs to be a real shift in mindset," Aylward said. "This virus will show up. Think the virus is going to show up tomorrow."
Hospitals need to prepare for potential spread by focusing on resources that would count most in keeping the most vulnerable patients alive: hospital beds that are isolated from others, ventilators to help people breathe and an adequate supply of protective equipment for health care workers, including gowns, masks and gloves.
The Trump administration asked Congress this week for $2.5 billion to combat and contain spread of coronavirus. The money would, in part, go toward expanding public health surveillance systems to pick up any unusual respiratory illnesses, as well as testing for the new coronavirus, which is currently done at the CDC for the most part.
Much of it would also go toward development of a coronavirus vaccine. Clinical trials could begin at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within weeks.
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New Research Unveils The Highest-Earning Podcasts - ValueWalk
Wed, 26 May 2021 14:34
In 2004 a pirate radio DJ working out of a loft apartment in Amsterdam decided to try something different. Rather than broadcasting during the usual timeslot, he pre-recorded an episode and made it available as a digital file on the web. The DJ's name was Adam Curry, and his new idea became known as podcasting.
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Podcasting is now one of the fastest-growing forms of new media. In the USA over half of people aged 12 and over listen to podcasts every week. And 50% of those say they're more likely to buy a product after hearing about it on a podcast. As such, advertisers are scrambling for shout-outs on the worlds' most popular podcasts. And now ad revenue from podcasts is expected to smash through the $1billion barrier by the end of 2021.
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That means there's some serious money on the table for the best content creators. So who's making the big bucks? What's the best country to launch a successful podcast? And what topics or conversations attract the most listeners and paying advertisers? Top Dollar has the answers. Its researchers analyzed data from streaming platforms and AdvertiseCast to find the highest-earning podcasts in the world.
The Highest-Earning PodcastsToday's undisputed podcast king is Joe Rogan. The stand-up comedian started podcasting back in 2009. In Rogan's own words, podcasting was a chance to sit around and "bullsh*t with other comedians."
By 2015 over 16million people were downloading the show every month. This caught the attention of streaming service Spotify, which was looking for a way to bite into Apple's share of the podcast market. So in May 2020 it offered Rogan a licensing agreement worth an estimated $100million! But that's small potatoes compared to what Spotify will make out of the deal. With an incredible 5million listeners per episode, the Joe Rogan Experience is set to generate $72,287,456 in annual ad revenue. That makes it the world's richest podcast.
There's a huge drop-off to second place. It's a $60million drop-off, to be exact. That's because the world's second-richest podcast, UK-based comedy show Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed, brings in a 'measly' $10million from its advertisers.
Journalist Gabor Steingart is the host of the world's third-richest podcast. Around 400,000 people log onto Steingart's Morning Briefing for updates and interviews covering the latest political news. And advertisers pay Steingart $8million a year to reach all those ears and eyeballs.
The rest of the top 20 highest-earning podcasts are a mixture of current affairs shows, chat shows, comedy podcasts, and sports programs. However, none of them come close to the top 3 in terms of ad revenue. Instead, they make between $3millon to $500k a year from advertisers.
USA Tops Podcast RankingWith Rogan leading the charge, it's no surprise that the USA is the epicenter of this new medium. But Rogan isn't doing all the heavy lifting. The USA is home to the number one business podcast - The GaryVee Audio Experience - and the world's top sportscast - the ESPN-syndicated Dan Le Batard Show. According to Top Dollar calculations, these shows make $35million in combined ad sales.
US content creators also dominate the comedy-podcast genre. Almost every comic in LA and New York has their own podcast. But no comic anywhere generates the same numbers as Armchair Expert host Dax Shepherd. His comedy/confessional show celebrates the messiness of being human by interviewing celebrities and actors with a 'colorful' past, including Monica Lewinsky and Rob Lowe. The Armchair Expert reaches 2,484,881 pairs of ears every week, and advertisers pay $27,969,825 to get their messages into them.
Some podcasts help us learn, grow, or laugh. But others attempt to understand the darker side of our nature, and lots of listeners are keen to see what's hiding under the surface. The Conspiracy Theory Pod is the highest-earning podcast in Norway. At the same time, Singapore and Indonesia's number one shows focus on real-life horror stories.
But when it comes to exploring human transgressions, most listeners go straight to the True Crime podcasts. True Crime is the subject matter for seven of the world's highest-earning podcasts. Over 3million 'muderinos' watch or listen to the weekly My Favorite Murder US podcast. Top Dollar thinks those viewing/listening figures translate to $27,080,566 in ad revenues; that's 10x more than the world's second most popular crime podcast, the Australian True Crime Show.
The podcasting revolution has already happened. And it's about to enter an exciting new phase. Podfather Adan Curry recently launched an open-source platform that aims to decentralize the podcasting ecosystem entirely. How will it affect content creators? What impact will it have on censorship? And which shrewd advertisers will be the first to take advantage of this new opportunity? Who knows? But whatever happens, there are some exciting times ahead.

Clips & Documents

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