Biden administration budget chief Shalanda Young refused to say that Joe Biden would stop funding gain of function research at the Wuhan, China research lab. For clarity, the term gain of function is used to describe any field of medical research that alters an organism or disease in a way that increases transmissibility or pathogenesis.
This comes as mounting evidence shows Chinese scientists manipulated bat coronaviruses while increasing their ability to infect humans. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a Pentagon sub-agency were recently found to be giving money for those risky experiments. This is something Dr. Fauci had previously denied he was aware of regarding the lab in Wuhan.
“And the funds made available by the agency which Fauci heads, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to the tune of $600,000 went to this Wuhan Institute of Virology,” stated Alan Jones, host of Sky News Australia. “This is a lab involved in gain of function research that is creating more dangerous pathogens.
”House Republicans said the remarks by Biden’s budget chief suggest this administration will continue to give taxpayer money to the Chinese lab that evidence increasingly suggests may have played a key role in the emergence of COVID-19 and a pandemic the rocked the entire world.
HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 580 new Coronavirus cases and 45 additional deaths.
This brings the statewide total to 1,203,443 cases and 27,259 total COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began.
There are 989 people across the state in the hospital with COVID-19, and 248 patients are in ICUs.
The state says 10,619,481 total vaccine doses have been administered and 4,722,449 people are fully vaccinated. So far, 54.4% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, and 58.5% of Pennsylvania’s entire population has received a first dose.
Pennsylvania is adopting the CDC’s newly relaxed mask-wearing guidelines, meaning fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks in most places.
The Department of Health says the mask mandate will be lifted on June 28, or even sooner if 70% of adults are fully vaccinated before then.
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci had little patience for claims his messages in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic were being restricted by the Trump administration, a tranche of newly public emails shows.
The more than 3,200 pages of emails, obtained by BuzzFeed News and covering a period between January and June 2020, are dotted with messages to Fauci from public health experts and ordinary Americans alike asking variations of the same question: “Have you been muzzled?”
That’s the subject line of a March 1, 2020, email to Fauci from a man named Thomas Murray, who describes himself as a “nuclear/aerospace engineer who subsequently obtained an MPH [Master of Public Health degree] at the University of Washington.”
“The news media is reporting that the White House has muzzled you. Is that true?” asked Murray, who further asked Fauci to “let me know if I should stay silent or become noisy.”
As COVID-19 started becoming a threat last year, Dr. Anthony Fauci started receiving emails from people asking if he was being censored by the Trump administration. He denied the assertions.
Baylor University’s Peter Hotez adds his voice to a chorus that includes prominent Democrats and Republicans,
“There’s going to be COVID-26 and COVID-32 unless we fully understand the origins of COVID-19. This is absolutely critical,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Hotez said that he believes the US needs to do more than launch an intelligence investigation into theories that the virus emerged naturally from animals or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
“I’m personally of the opinion that we’ve pushed intelligence as far as we can,” Hotez said, saying that the US needs to send experts to the original epicenter of the pandemic in Wuhan.
“We need a team of scientists, genealogists, biologists, bat ecologists in the Hubei province for six months to a year-long period and fully unravel the origins of COVID-19.”
A top Chinese scholar has reportedly admitted that the coronavirus outbreak was an act of biological warfare against the U.S. In a recent video, Professor Ping Chen of China’s Fudan University, said in 2020 Beijing won in both a trade war and a biological war against the U.S.
This comes after bioweapons expert Lawrence Sellin discovered China released COVID-19 intentionally to gain economic advantage of the U.S. and remove President Donald Trump from office. Professor Ping’s video further confirmed China’s biological warfare program served a political purpose of derailing President Trump’s America First agenda.
Bill Maher has tested positive for, forcing the cancellation of the Friday taping of his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the show announced Thursday. The comedian is fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and “feels fine,” the show said.
No other staff or crew members have tested positive, the show said. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Max Brooks and Dan Carlin were the guests scheduled for the canceled show on Friday.
Maher, 65, thanked fans concerned about his health and expressed disappointment at missing his show and ending his streak of consecutive tapings.
The CDC is greatly exaggerating the risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors, claiming there is a roughly 10 percent chance — when in reality the figure is less than 1 percent, a report said Tuesday.
The higher federal figure “seems to be a huge exaggeration,” Dr. Muge Cevik, a top infectious disease doctor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, told the New York Times.
Dr. Aaron Richterman of the University of Pennsylvania added, “I’m sure it’s possible for transmission to occur outdoors in the right circumstances.
“But if we had to put a number on it, I would say much less than 1 percent.”
At issue is the research cited by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in touting its outdoor transmission statistic, which put the figure at a murky and allegedly too high “less than 10 percent.”
The figure is key because the agency has used it to justify its current coronavirus safety recommendations to the public, which include vaccinated people still wearing masks at “large public venues’’ and the unvaccinated using the face gear in most outdoor settings.
Excela Health released a statement regarding the incident, telling those who received a bill to ignore it.
“We have attempted to contact those patients immediately to inform them to disregard the statement and apologized for the confusion,” Tom Albanesi, Excela Health Chief Financial Officer, said in a statement. “Patients are not responsible for any cost for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, and Excela strongly encourages those who haven’t received the vaccine yet to do so immediately.”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can exercise outdoors or with members of their household without a mask.
- The CDC added that fully vaccinated people can hold small gatherings outdoors with others who are inoculated, or with a mix of unvaccinated people, without face coverings.
- The agency did not define how big those gatherings can be, and said Americans should still wear masks in crowded outdoor spaces.
“The tiny green thing in there, you put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body. And that signal means you’re going to have symptoms tomorrow,” retired Col. Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician said.
The implant was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which claimed the device can not be used for surveillance purposes.
Young students wearing masks entered the doors and were greeted by school staff, including Principal Nathan Berkowicz.
“This was very, very exciting today,” Berkowicz said. “I didn’t sleep a wink last night. This has been a year in the making since the students have last been in the building.”
Inside the school, stickers were on floors to remind students to keep 6 feet of distance, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says 3 feet will suffice.
Teachers sat in classrooms behind their plastic shields near rearranged student desks.
It may not be perfect, but Berkowicz said in-person learning is the focus here.
“It’s very difficult in a remote environment — you know, students holding devices and keeping their attention span — so at that age, it’s real important to get them in front of their teachers,” Berkowicz said.
When you don’t get students in front of teachers, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said the educating starts to become undone, which is why expanded summer learning and Saturday courses are being explored for potentially 6,000 students.
“That’s something we’re planning for next year, and, so, traditionally, being in the situation we are with the learning loss, we’ve already had the summer slide, now what I call the COVID slide coupled with the summer slide, we know some kids will be behind,” Hamlet said.
To bring the students up to speed for later, day one for in-person is the first step.
“I was always confident we would be here at some point,” Hamlet said.
We’ve now endured a year of life-disrupting measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, which the country — and world — has adapted to. Sadly, it appears as though our own social lockdown measures created needless death and despair.
The cure was worse than the problem.
If you ask one Bloomberg columnist, who formerly worked as a columnist for The Economist, the nightmare will never end– and why should it? Everything is bad and sad and most definitely hopeless, despite the fact that states across the country are rolling back restrictions with great success.
Andreas Kluth, who writes opinions for the left-wing publication, argued Wednesday, “We must start planning for a permanent pandemic,” and he cited the emergence of these supposedly deadly new viral “variants” we keep hearing so much about.
“For the past year, an assumption — sometimes explicit, often tacit — has informed almost all our thinking about the pandemic: At some point, it will be over, and then we’ll go ‘back to normal,’” Kluth wrote. “This premise is almost certainly wrong.”
BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Legislature voted Friday to hit pause on the 2021 session after multiple lawmakers became infected with COVID-19.
The motion to halt the session until noon on April 6, 2021 passed both the House and the Senate with a unanimous vote.
Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell and Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, have all said they were infected.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, the question has been, “Where did COVID-19 originate?”
According to a report by NPR, a member of the World Health Organization investigative team says the most likely source of the COVID-19 pandemic are “wildlife farms in southern China.”
Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist with EcoHealth Alliance, and a member of the WHO delegation that traveled to China earlier this year, told NPR that during that trip, new evidence was found by the WHO team, that vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan were being supplied with animals from these wildlife farms.
Since late January, when he defied the calls of scientists and some in his government to lock down the country, Macron has said he would do whatever was needed to keep the euro zone’s second-largest economy as open as possible. However, this week he ran out of options just as France and other European countries briefly suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZenca vaccine.
The prime minister, Jean Castex, said on Thursday that France was in the grip of a third wave, with the virulent variant first detected in Britain now accounting for about 75% of cases. Intensive care wards are under severe strain, notably in Paris where the incidence rate surpasses 400 infections in every 100,000 inhabitants. “The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control,” Castex told a news conference.
The lockdowns will start from Friday at midnight in France’s 16 hardest-hit departments that, with the exception of one on the Mediterranean, form a corridor from Calais to the capital. Barbers, clothing stores and furniture shops will have to close, though bookstores and other shops selling essential goods can stay open.
According to new research from the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, about 60% of colleges have done away with spring break this year. Many campuses are instead offering smaller, shorter breaks or wellness days. Of the more than 600 colleges offering alternative breaks, scheduling days off mid-week was the most common option, likely an attempt to curb travel away from campus, and ultimately keep coronavirus cases down.
“You can make all of the rules and tell students to stay on campus, but at the end of the day, they’re going to do what they want to do,” says Daniel Mangrum, an economist who has studied the connection between last year’s spring break and the spread of COVID-19. Mangrum found that student travel in March 2020 was associated with the virus spreading more on campuses and in nearby communities. It was also associated with higher mortality rates.
(CNN)A second wave of Covid-19 is ripping through Brazil, pushing hospitals and ICUs toward collapse and claiming record numbers of daily deaths.While a new variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout the country, many Brazilians continue to defy mask mandates mobility restrictions following the example of President Jair Bolsonaro, who recently said people need to “stop being sissies” and “whining” about the virus.The consequences of that combination are deadly, experts say. “We are going through the worst-case scenario since the beginning of the pandemic. You just have to look at the trends in the average number of deaths,” Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a Sao Paulo University professor of Public Health, recently told Reuters television. “This could have been avoided and the most important factor is gatherings.”Brazil has broken its own record three times this month for number of deaths in a 24-hour period. On Wednesday, Brazil’s Health Ministry registered a devastating new high — 2,286 lives lost to the virus. In total, more than 270,000 people are known to have died due to Covid-19, making Brazil’s the second-highest national death toll after the United States.
Why it matters: European countries reported around 1 million new cases last week, around a 9% increase from the week prior. Last week’s surge ended a six-week decline in new infections, the WHO said Thursday, according to AP.
By the numbers: The variant first found in the United Kingdom, which may be more transmissible and more deadly than the original strain of the virus, is spreading in 27 European countries monitored by WHO, according to AP.
- It’s now the dominant strain in at least 10 countries: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.
- Meanwhile, the variant first discovered in South Africa has been found in 26 European countries. Vaccine producers Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax have each reported their vaccines, while still effective, offer less protection against the South African variant.
- The Brazilian variant, detected in 15 European countries, may be able to reinfect people who survived infections with earlier versions of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
The big picture: Italy’s government tightened coronavirus restrictions in some of its 20 regions this week in response to the surge.
A Fair Health Study shows that lockdowns due to COVID-19 greatly affect the mental health of kids and often leads to suicide, a cause of death for kids that is more rampant than the infection of the virus itself.
In Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight broadcast on March 2, Carlson explained in depth how kids are 10 times more likely to die from suicide due to mental health issues brought about by the lockdown than “from the coronavirus they’re meant to be protected from.”
“Ivermectin is currently being used widely,” said Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a doctor and researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Cali, Colombia, who led the new trial. “In many countries in the Americas and other parts of the world, it’s part of the national guidelines of treating Covid.”
But the drug has also proved divisive. While some scientists see potential, others suspect that effectively inhibiting the coronavirus may require extremely high, potentially unsafe doses. Health officials have also worried that people desperate for coronavirus treatments might take versions of the drug that have been formulated for pets. (It is commonly used to prevent heartworm in dogs.)
MERIDEN, Conn. — Having told educators that they would soon be vaccinated, the Biden administration began an aggressive push on Wednesday to drum up support for reopening schools, putting on a show of unity with the leaders of teachers unions and highlighting measures to keep students and staff safe from the coronavirus.
A day after President Biden announced a new federal program to give teachers nationwide access to at least a first dose of the vaccine by the end of March, the administration sought to position itself as intent on opening schools as soon as possible while also addressing the concerns of teachers that their fears were being ignored.
To carry the message, the White House dispatched the first lady, Jill Biden, and the newly confirmed education secretary, Miguel Cardona, on a trip to Connecticut and Pennsylvania to emphasize that teachers should no longer fear returning unprotected to the classroom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that teachers do not have to be vaccinated for schools to reopen safely.
Getting shots into the arms of educators and school staff would be his “top priority” as education secretary, Dr. Cardona said in Connecticut, where he and the first lady were joined by Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are jamming their agenda forward with a sense of urgency, an unapologetically partisan approach based on the calculation that it’s better to advance the giant COVID-19 rescue package and other priorities than waste time courting Republicans who may never compromise.
The coronavirus pandemic is driving the crush of legislative action, but so are the still-raw emotions from the U.S. Capitol siege and the hard lessons of the last time Democrats had the sweep of party control of Washington. Republicans are mounting blockades of Biden’s agenda just as they did during the devastating 2009 financial crisis with Barack Obama.
Democrats, in turn, are showing little patience for the GOP objections and entertaining few overtures toward compromise, claiming the majority of the country supports their agenda. With fragile majorities in the House and the Senate, and a liberal base of voters demanding action, Democrats are operating as if they are on borrowed time.For many lawmakers, it’s personal.Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., led the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to House passage Wednesday on the 30th anniversary of the Rodney King beating by police in Los Angeles that she thought at the time would spur policing reforms. Instead, more Black Americans and others have died in police violence, even after Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement last summer.“It’s examples like that that lead to the urgency,”
Bass said Wednesday.The start of the first congressional session of the Biden administration was supposed to be a new era of bipartisan deal-making. The Senate evenly split, 50-50, and the House resting on a slim majority for Democrats set prime conditions for Biden to swoop in and forge across-the-aisle compromises.
But the rush through Biden’s first 100 days is shaping up as an urgent era of hardball politics, with Democrats prepared to go it alone, even if that means that changes to the Senate filibuster rules are needed to work around Republican roadblocks to legislation that many Americans support.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday said the state will give the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to PreK-12 teachers and other school staff, an announcement that comes as Pittsburgh Public Schools employees are expected to return to their buildings this month for the first time in a year.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — On the heels of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement Tuesday to take down the statewide mask and occupancy mandates, many groups and businesses are letting people know where they stand.
“It’s time to reopen Texas 100%,” Abbott said. “Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to be open, should be open.”
“Travelers at AUS are required to wear a mask at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties,” a spokesperson wrote.
Capital Metro will also be keeping its requirements for passengers who want to board its buses.
Reporters will not be allowed inside the Carrizo Springs facility for unaccompanied minors that was recently opened under the Biden administration in Texas, a Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF) spokesperson told the DCNF.
“The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is not hosting media tours of unaccompanied children (UC) facilities currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” an ACF spokesperson told the DCNF. “If media tours resume, we will send a media advisory,” the spokesperson added.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Along Glen Bay Drive in Mehlville, there are lots of heavy hearts.
“It’s really a terrible, tragic thing,” said neighbor Chuck Duy.
St. Louis County police say last Thursday morning the husband and wife were found dead in their bed by their only child, a girl aged 11.
The girl made the grim discovery on Feb. 18, NBC reported. It was unclear whether she was living with her parents while they were quarantined.
“To lose both parents at one time you know for an 11-year-old, it’s really tragic,” neighbor Chuck Duy told KSDK-TV. “We’re praying for them. They were the nicest people. We’re so happy they moved into the neighborhood.”
Police say both were in their 40s and both died of COVID-19.
Senate parliamentarian strikes down minimum wage hike in latest COVID-19 relief bill
Progressives are willing to accept defeat on the minimum wage for now and vote for President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. But they’re channeling their energy into a renewed push to kill the filibuster.
One day after the Senate parliamentarian effectively forced a $15 minimum wage hike out of Democrats’ coronavirus relief package, leading liberal activists are racing to turn their bitter setback into opportunity. The need to sacrifice a key Biden priority in order to ensure the Covid aid bill can pass the Senate with a simple majority has handed progressive lawmakers and their allied groups a new talking point in their long-running quest to eliminate the legislative filibuster.
Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted Covid-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.
Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of Covid-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.
The incident appears to be isolated — the only confirmed case among nearly 40,000 transplants in 2020. But it has led to calls for more thorough testing of lung transplant donors, with samples taken from deep within the donor lungs as well as the nose and throat, said Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced Wednesday that they have agreed to provide low-income Californians a $600 state stimulus payment to help them weather financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, part of a $9.6-billion economic recovery package that also includes $2.1 billion in grants for small businesses.
The “Golden State stimulus” payments provided under the state proposal, which will be expedited for legislative approval next week, are in addition to the $600-per-person stimulus checks already approved by Congress and would be on top of direct payments of up to $1,400 per person that have been proposed by House Democrats.
Pushback among doctors and pharmacists is mounting to a state Department of Health pivot in vaccine strategy that aims to boost the number of COVID-19 inoculations by favoring bigger hospitals over smaller physician practices and clinics.
Within hours of the Health Department’s announcement Friday that it will shrink the number of providers administering COVID-19 vaccines by eliminating the smallest ones, three physician groups lodged their objections — calling the new policy a “misguided allocation change” and a “woeful mistake.”
“We urge acting secretary Alison Beam and Gov. Tom Wolf to immediately rescind the order to avoid further problems in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” their statement said. It was signed by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.