Aug 302021
 


John French Sloan Sunset, West Twenty-Third Street 1905-6

 

Informed Consent Disclosure To Vaccine Trial Subjects (NIH)
COVID-19 Mandates Will Not Work for the Delta Variant (AIER)
The WHO Oversold the Vaccine and Deprecated Natural Immunity (Tucker)
Americans Traded Their Freedoms for Safety, And Now We Have Neither (TFTP)
UK Gov’t Release 30th Report On Adverse Reactions To Covid-19 Vaccines (Tap)
Interleukin-6 and the Covid-19 Cytokine Storm Syndrome (ERJ)
Burial Costs Covered For Canadians Killed By Approved Vaccines TSun)
Insanity in Vietnam (Berenson)
The Delta Scam (Jim Quinn)
Fears Over Metal Flakes In Moderna Vaccine After Two Deaths (Times)
New Covid Variant Detected In South Africa, Most Mutated Variant So Far (JPost)
Australian Truckers Protest Mandatory Vaccines And Lockdowns (ET)
Hurricane Ida Reversed the Course of the Mississippi River (Gizmodo)

 

 

Ivermectin used as a parasitic. Nice coincidence.

 

 

 

 

 

From Dec 2020.

How many people have been warned of the ADE risk since? This is mandatory. For everyone with a syringe in their hands.

Note: they are all “Vaccine Trial Subjects”.

Informed Consent Disclosure To Vaccine Trial Subjects (NIH)

Aims of the study: Patient comprehension is a critical part of meeting medical ethics standards of informed consent in study designs. The aim of the study was to determine if sufficient literature exists to require clinicians to disclose the specific risk that COVID-19 vaccines could worsen disease upon exposure to challenge or circulating virus.

Methods used to conduct the study: Published literature was reviewed to identify preclinical and clinical evidence that COVID-19 vaccines could worsen disease upon exposure to challenge or circulating virus. Clinical trial protocols for COVID-19 vaccines were reviewed to determine if risks were properly disclosed.

Results of the study: COVID-19 vaccines designed to elicit neutralising antibodies may sensitise vaccine recipients to more severe disease than if they were not vaccinated.


Vaccines for SARS, MERS and RSV have never been approved, and the data generated in the development and testing of these vaccines suggest a serious mechanistic concern : that vaccines designed empirically using the traditional approach (consisting of the unmodified or minimally modified coronavirus viral spike to elicit neutralising antibodies), be they composed of protein, viral vector, DNA or RNA and irrespective of delivery method, may worsen COVID-19 disease via antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). This risk is sufficiently obscured in clinical trial protocols and consent forms for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials that adequate patient comprehension of this risk is unlikely to occur, obviating truly informed consent by subjects in these trials.

Conclusions drawn from the study and clinical implications: The specific and significant COVID-19 risk of ADE should have been and should be prominently and independently disclosed to research subjects currently in vaccine trials, as well as those being recruited for the trials and future patients after vaccine approval, in order to meet the medical ethics standard of patient comprehension for informed consent.

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Mandatory vaccines, vaccine passports, lockdowns, facemasks, the protests if they try will be ferocious.

COVID-19 Mandates Will Not Work for the Delta Variant (AIER)

Our core position since the start of the Covid-19 response in February 2020 (and which remains fixed for how the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Caribbean nations, European nations, and all other global nations must presently respond to the Delta variant/mutation) is that we do not lock the society down or close schools or impose mask mandates, etc. These policies did not apply to this emergency and certainly not after the first 3 to 4 weeks or so. This applies just as much for the initial Wuhan variant and now for the Covid-19 Delta variant or any other variant to come, if the variant is not one with an extremely high level of lethality, as was presumed erroneously for the initial Wuhan variant. In fact, even with respect to the initial variant it became clear very early on in the pandemic that it was probably no more lethal than annual influenza, yet we persisted with draconian devastating lockdown policies that only served to harm the people.

These restrictive policies worked to ruin and kill (direct and indirect) more persons than SARS-CoV-2 itself. It is why leading infectious diseases experts especially with regards to pandemics (such as Dr. Donald Henderson of Johns Hopkins) never supported the non-pharmacological measures noted above, as they knew that such policies would be catastrophic; even for more lethal pathogens. “As experience shows, there is no basis for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals. The problems in implementing such measures are formidable, and secondary effects of absenteeism and community disruption as well as possible adverse consequences, such as loss of public trust in government and stigmatization of quarantined people and groups, are likely to be considerable.”

None of these restrictive policy measures such as lockdowns and school closures have worked in the past for Covid-19 and they will not work now with this media-driven hysteria over the Delta variant. If reimposed, they will once again cause crushing harms and deaths due to the collateral effects. The leaders in public health and government spokespersons as well as the corrupted media are quickly progressing towards endorsing and implementing and registering of individuals under the guise of a public health emergency. That our Governments are even considering the issuance of what have become known as Covid-19 ‘vaccine passports’ is very troubling on many levels. The very idea is anathema to our democratic principles and rights that are enshrined in the US Constitution.

Athens Demo

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“People given both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were almost six-fold more likely to contract a delta infection and seven-fold more likely to have symptomatic disease than those who recovered.”

The WHO Oversold the Vaccine and Deprecated Natural Immunity (Tucker)

Experience with Covid-19 is a textbook case of how the immune system scales naturally to take on the newest pathogens that have always and will always vex the world. The vaccine (especially one using a new innovation rather than a traditional inoculation) for this type of virus – respiratory, widespread, and mild for most – will necessarily be more hit-and-miss, simply because of the pace of mutation and the emergence of variants. The Isreali study is notable only because of the scope of the study and the precision of the results. Reuters summarizes the study in English: “The results are good news for patients who already successfully battled Covid-19, but show the challenge of relying exclusively on immunizations to move past the pandemic. People given both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were almost six-fold more likely to contract a delta infection and seven-fold more likely to have symptomatic disease than those who recovered”.


Now to the problem: the overselling of the vaccine and the deprecation of natural immunity. Who was responsible? Indeed, WHO was responsible. Let’s have a look at their FAQ concerning herd immunity. The site was actually changed dramatically over the last twelve months, at one point even removing entirely the possibility that natural infection makes any contribution at all to creating herd immunity. The head of the WHO routinely pushed the idea that the new vaccines have created a great new way to be immune without ever being exposed to the virus. Herd immunity is a fascinating observation that you can trace to biological reality or statistical probability theory, whichever you prefer. It is certainly not a “strategy” so ignore any media source that describes it that way. When a virus kills its host – that is, when a virus overtaxes the body’s ability to integrate it, its host dies and so the virus does not spread to others.

The more this occurs, the less it spreads. If the virus doesn’t kill its host, it can hop to others through all the usual means. When you get such a virus and fight it off, your immune system encodes that information in a way that builds immunity to it. When it happens to enough people (and each case is different so we can’t put a clear number on it, especially given so many cross immunities) the virus loses its pandemic quality and becomes endemic, which is to say predictable and manageable. Each new generation incorporates that information through more exposure. This is what one would call virology/immunology 101. It’s what you read in every textbook. It’s been taught in 9th-grade cell biology for probably 80 years. Observing the operations of this evolutionary phenomenon is pretty wonderful because it increases one’s respect for the way in which human biology has adapted to the presence of pathogens without absolutely freaking out.


And the discovery of this fascinating dynamic in cell biology is a major reason why public health became so smart in the 20th century. We kept calm. We managed viruses with medical professionals: doctor/patient relationships. We avoided the Medieval tendency to run around with hair on fire but rather used rationality and intelligence. One day, this strange institution called the World Health Organization – once glorious because it was mainly responsible for the eradication of smallpox – suddenly decided to delete everything I just wrote from cell biology basics. It has literally changed the science in a Soviet-like way. It has removed with the delete key any mention of natural immunities from its website. It has taken the additional step of actually mischaracterizing the structure and functioning of vaccines.

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“You can’t tyranny your way out of a pandemic — but you can pandemic your way into tyranny.”

“Since George W. Bush declared a national emergency on September 14, 2001, every president after him has extended it.”

Americans Traded Their Freedoms for Safety, And Now We Have Neither (TFTP)

To be clear, no one here is claiming that COVID-19 is not serious and you shouldn’t take precautions. However, granting government tyrannical powers in the form of business closures, mandates, vaccine passports, and more lockdowns, is most assuredly not the answer. As John Locke famously stated in A Letter Concerning Toleration, “It is one thing to persuade, another to command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. This the civil power alone has a right to do; to the other good-will is authority enough.” In summary, good ideas do not require force. What’s more, as the data analyses above illustrate, it is difficult to tell the difference between places which had strict lockdowns and mandates verses the ones that did not. You can’t tyranny your way out of a pandemic — but you can pandemic your way into tyranny.

Sadly, Americans have a short memory when it comes to giving up their freedoms for a false sense of security. When a society surrenders individual liberty to the state, the state never gives it back. Case in point: 9/11. After the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government declared a state of emergency. That order granted the Office of the President broad discretionary powers over the military, powers that the President normally does not have. It also gives the Executive far more power than it should have which allowed for the creation of the massive surveillance state we see today. Since that September day, we’ve entered into multiple wars of aggression while bypassing Congress, waged a massive domestic spying campaign, eroded the Bill of Rights, and constructed a monumental police state hear at home.

Under the National Emergencies Act, national emergencies expire after a year, unless the president renews them by notifying Congress. Since George W. Bush declared a national emergency on September 14, 2001, every president after him has extended it. Because Americans have such short memories, we are once again yielding our freedom for the perception of safety. And, just like the government has done since 9/11, they will hold on to those freedoms and refuse to give them back. Now, as the bogus and freedom-diminishing war on terror comes crumbling down, the tyrant class needs a new war to keep you in line and ready and willing to relinquish your rights. The targeted “terrorists” are no longer brown people in the Middle East, the new enemies are those who refuse to give up their rights at home.

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10% reported, says the MHRA itself. How many vaccine deaths are labeled Covid deaths?

UK Gov’t Release 30th Report On Adverse Reactions To Covid-19 Vaccines (Tap)

[..] the number of reported adverse reactions to the Pfizer vaccine has increased to 302,146 as of the 18th August. The AstraZeneca jab has fared much worse though, with the total number of adverse reactions now standing at 816,393. There have also been 43,949 adverse reactions to the Moderna jab of which 2.1 million doses have been administered, and 3,148 adverse reactions reported where the brand of vaccine was not specified. This now means the current rate of people suffering a serious adverse reaction after having one of the experimental Covid vaccines stands at 1 in every 142 people, with 1,165,636 adverse reactions having now been reported to the MHRA Yellow Card scheme. But it’s important to remember that this rate only accounts for the adverse reactions that are actually reported, which is estimated to be around only 10% according to the MHRA themselves, meaning the actual rate of adverse reactions occurring is frighteningly higher.

[..] The most concerning disorder to have occurred due to the Covid-19 vaccines, is one that has only recently been reported – Congenital disorders. A congenital disorder is a medical condition that is present at or before birth. These conditions, also referred to as birth defects, can be acquired during the foetal stage of development or from the genetic makeup of the parents. There have been 59 birth defects reported as adverse reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, 93 birth defects reported as adverse reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 6 birth defects reported as adverse reactions to the Moderna vaccine. Birth defects which include heart disease, cerebral palsy, foetal malformation, and congenital cystic lung –

[..] The total number of nervous system disorders reported as adverse reactions to the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines now stands at 234,270. This includes serious events such as seizure, brain damage, paralysis and stroke. There have been an array of strokes reported to the Pfizer jab and they include 41 cases of cerebral hemorrhage resulting in 8 deaths, 33 cases of ischaemic stroke resulting in 1 death, and 313 cases of cerebrovascular accidents resulting in 13 deaths. The AstraZeneca viral vector injection has however fared much worse so far causing at least 165 cases of cerebral haemmorhage resulting in 45 deaths, 90 cases of cerebral infarction resulting in 5 deaths, and 1,157 cases of cerebrovascular accidents resulting in 44 deaths.

[..] As of the 18th August there have been 302,146 adverse reactions and 508 deaths reported to the MHRA against the Pfizer mRNA injection. As well as 816,393 adverse reactions and 1,056 deaths reported to the MHRA against the AstraZeneca viral vector injection. The Moderna mRNA injection meanwhile has caused at least 43,949 adverse reactions and 17 deaths as of the 18th August 2021. This vaccine has also mainly been administered to younger adults who are least at risk of suffering debilitating disease if infected with Covid-19. Around 1.4 million people have received the Moderna jab which means at least 1 in every 31 people have suffered and adverse reaction and at least 1 in every 82,000 people have sadly died. The overall number of deaths due to all three jabs now stands at 1,609 when including the 28 deaths that have been reported where the brand of vaccine was not specified.

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Good graphs, excellent article.

Interleukin-6 and the Covid-19 Cytokine Storm Syndrome (ERJ)



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Morbid humor, Justin?

Burial Costs Covered For Canadians Killed By Approved Vaccines TSun)

Burial costs will now be covered by Ottawa for individuals killed by federally approved vaccines. According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the department of health will pick up the tab and says the new program “addresses a longstanding gap in Canada’s national immunization programming by providing a timely, no-fault financial support mechanism for all people in Canada, in rare instances where they are seriously and permanently injured performing a public good, being immunized.” A briefing note from the department says vaccine injuries are rare but do happen. “The program will provide death benefits and support for funeral expenses in the rare case of a death as a result of having received a Health Canada authorized vaccine,” said the note Vaccine Injury Support Program.

The department has budgeted $75 million for all claims but said it was unclear how many submissions there could be. Management of the program is contracted to RCGT Consulting. “In the rare event a person in Canada is seriously and permanently injured as a result of vaccination, they should be fairly supported,” wrote department staff. “The Vaccine Injury Support Programprovides financial support to individuals who are seriously and permanently injured due to vaccination with a Health Canada authorized vaccine.” Canada’s COVID-19 health experts admit there are unknown long-term effects of vaccines, but they provide another layer of protection.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said she has always been realistic about vaccines. “We have never said the vaccine was going to be a 100% effective. But people pick at that concept for unrealistic expectations. So, we have to go out there and set some expectations,” she said, adding the pandemic has been stressful and that “everyone is an armchair epidemiologist.”

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“..the post-first-dose spike..”

Insanity in Vietnam (Berenson)

Vietnam’s success at containing Covid abruptly ended this spring. Its coronavirus epidemic began in May and exploded in late June. Since then, cases have risen 25-fold. On Friday, Vietnam reported more than 17,000 cases, its most ever – more than 10 times as many as it had in all of 2020. Deaths are soaring too. Over the last week, Vietnam has averaged more deaths per-capita than the United States. With this number of cases, individual contact tracing is effectively impossible, even for a centralized and authoritarian state. So Vietnam has implemented far more aggressive lockdowns than it did last year, including bringing in soldiers to enforce quarantines in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

[..] maybe the biggest question of all remains unanswered: why now? Inevitably, the media and government are blaming the Delta variant. But the variant was widespread worldwide well before the explosion in cases Vietnam saw two months ago. But Vietnam did see one big change this summer: the beginning of a mass vaccination program. Vietnam didn’t depend on Chinese vaccines, either (not surprising, given the long history of conflict between the two countries). It has mostly used the AstraZeneca DNA/AAV vaccine, along with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines – the same trio that have dominated Europe. As of early June, almost no one in Vietnam was vaccinated. Today, almost 20 percent of the country has received at least one dose.

The pattern is exactly the same as we saw in Israel and Britain in January, and many other countries over the spring. The first dose of mass vaccination campaigns is associated with a huge spike in cases. Too many countries have seen this trend for it to be called coincidental. The question is what’s causing it. Possibilities include post-vaccine behavioral changes (hot vaxxed summer!), vulnerable people clustering together at vaccination sites, or (most likely) some short-term vaccine-driven suppression of the immune system. Given that we know now peak mRNA vaccine protection lasts a matter of months at most, the post-first-dose spike is even more important in judging the costs and benefits of vaccines. But vaccine advocates will not even acknowledge the existence of the post-first-dose spike, much less admit that it leaves the case for mass vaccinations even murkier than before.

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Ha ha ha, US testing went up 500% AFTER the FDA called the PCR test unreliable?

The Delta Scam (Jim Quinn)

As of July 4, the entire covid fear narrative was dying out, with cases crashing to new lows and the Big Pharma vaccine profit machine sputtering. That is when those controlling the media narrative began running the stories about the Indian variant and the imminent tragedy. As cases soared over 350,000 per day, the MSM was predicting bodies piling up in the streets. They failed to give context that India has 1.4 billion people, four times the population of the U.S. On a cases per million basis, India’s surge was still 70% lower than the U.S. peak in January. And then the cases collapsed by 75% in a matter of weeks, with no mass rollout of vaccines. But they did distribute copious amounts of ivermectin. Must just be a coincidence. Everyone knows ivermectin is only for cows and horses, per the “experts” at the FDA.


With the Indian case collapse, the purveyors of fear needed to give the Indian variant a new scary name – Delta Variant. So India, with a 10% vaccination rate has seen a complete collapse in cases. Meanwhile, the UK and Israel, with some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, 64% and 60% respectively, have seen huge surges in Delta cases. It’s almost as if the vaccines have created the Delta surge. You might even conclude the vaccines are a complete and utter failure, with significant numbers of adverse reactions, 5 months of limited efficacy, and unknown long-term health effects.

The U.S. “surge” began shortly after July 4th, with the MSM building the Delta fear narrative day after day. Biden, Fauci, Walensky and the rest of the Big Pharma whores did their daily duty of feeding bullshit to the sheep. They bribed corporations, universities and left wing governors to mandate the jab, since they couldn’t mandate it Federally. As they began reporting the case totals again, despite the fact the PCR test was already completely discredited, with the FDA pulling its EUA and taking it off the market as of 12/31, I noticed what they were not reporting – number of tests. The number of reported cases in the U.S. went up by 750% since July 4. Coincidentally, the number of tests grew by over 500% since July 4. Why the tremendous increase in testing? If you want more cases, just do more mass testing of people showing no signs of illness. This is why the death rate is 65% lower than when cases were at the same level in February.

A critically thinking individual might look at the data and conclude these vaccines are enhancing the virus and creating the variants. They might also conclude the Delta variant is far less lethal than the original virus. They might also conclude the unholy alliance between the government, mass media, social media, and Big Pharma have ramped up the fear in order to force vaccinations into the veins of vaxx resisters, instilling vaccine passports, and attempting to install a digital surveillance system to track those who resist and destroy their lives.

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Must be real hard to find out what metal this is. Either that or they won’t tell. Started out with “contaminants”, but yeah, those magnets…

Fears Over Metal Flakes In Moderna Vaccine After Two Deaths (Times)

Two men with no pre-existing illnesses died days after receiving Moderna vaccines from a batch in Japan contaminated with tiny metal flakes. Thirty-nine vaccine vials were found to contain the fragments last week at eight centres in five prefectures, including Tokyo. They were part of three batches made for Moderna in Spain. At least 180,000 people are understood to have been injected from the batches. More than 1.6 million doses have been withdrawn. The men, aged 30 and 38, developed fevers shortly after receiving their second doses early this month and died within days. “At this time we do not have any evidence that these deaths are caused by the Moderna vaccine, and it is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether there is any connection,” Moderna and the distributor Takeda Pharmaceutical said.


The material has not yet been identified and experts in Japan doubt that the fragments could pass down needles. The government released the batch numbers so that people would know if they had been injected from the potentially contaminated vials. Norihisa Tamura, the health minister, told Sunday Debate on the public broadcaster NHK that an investigation would establish whether the contamination was linked to the deaths. On Saturday authorities on Okinawa announced that they had found Moderna vials with foreign bodies that did not belong to the identified batches. About 44 per cent of the Japanese population is now fully vaccinated. The country registered nearly 23,000 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with cases of serious illness topping 2,000, a new record.

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I get the feeling the community is trying to separate the mutations from the vaccines.

New Covid Variant Detected In South Africa, Most Mutated Variant So Far (JPost)

A new coronavirus variant, C.1.2, has been detected in South Africa and a number of other countries, with concerns that it could be more infectious and evade vaccines, according to a new preprint study by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform. The study is awaiting peer review. Scientists first detected C.1.2 in May 2021, finding that it was descended from C.1, which scientists found surprising as C.1 had last been detected in January. The new variant has “mutated substantially” compared to C.1 and is more mutations away from the original virus detected in Wuhan than any other Variant of Concern (VOC) or Variant of Interest (VOI) detected so far worldwide.

While first detected in South Africa, C.1.2 has since been found in England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland. The scientists believe that the number of available sequences of C.1.2 may be an underrepresentation of the spread and frequency of the variant in South Africa and around the world. The study found consistent increases in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa on a monthly basis, rising from 0.2% of genomes sequenced in May to 1.6% in June and then to 2% in July, similar to the increases seen with the Beta and Delta variants there. The study also found that the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, which is nearly twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants. The scientists stated that this short period of increased evolution was also seen with the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants, suggesting that a single event, followed by a spike in cases, drove faster mutation rates.

More than half of the C.1.2 sequences have 14 mutations, but additional mutations have been noticed in some of the sequences, suggesting that evolution within the lineage is ongoing, according to the study. More than half (about 52%) of the mutations in the spike region of the C.1.2 sequences have previously been seen in other VOCs and VOIs. The mutations N440K and Y449H, which have been associated with escape from certain antibodies, have also been noticed in C.1.2 sequences. The scientists stressed that the combination of these mutations, as well as changes in other parts of the virus, likely help the virus evade antibodies and immune responses, including in patients who have already been infected with the Alpha or Beta variants.

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Ha ha, they actually did it.

“But it’s all about choice at the end of the day. If you don’t want to get the vax, don’t get the vax. If you do want to get it, get it. But just don’t keep locking up people.”

Australian Truckers Protest Mandatory Vaccines And Lockdowns (ET)

Australian truck drivers have blocked a major highway in the north-eastern state of Queensland in a protest against vaccine mandates and tough border restrictions, causing traffic to back up for several kilometres. The action marks a series of ongoing protests from Australians frustrated with state government COVID-19 lockdowns and mandated restrictions based on emergency public health orders. The drivers parked their prime movers at 5:30 a.m. on the southbound lanes of the M1 highway at Reedy Creek in the Gold Coast portion of the arterial on Monday. The highway is used by tens of thousands of Queenslanders each morning. A banner was unfurled and covered the front of both vehicles, reading: “Truckies Keep Australia Moving, Not Politicians.”

One driver named Brock, who did not give his surname, said the drivers were protesting the Queensland government’s strict health orders that prevented all individuals from entering the state, except for essential workers. Those deemed essential workers need to be involved in skilled construction, farming, or healthcare, and must prove that a Queensland resident cannot do their job. Further, they need to prove they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. “End all lockdowns, people go back to work, and kids go back to school,” Brock told Nine’s Today show. “That’s all we want out of it; we’ve had enough of it.

“We’ve had a lot the support mate, the people that showed up today is amazing. We appreciate everyone that’s come down,” he added, saying the police had been lenient about the protest, and he respected what they did. “But it’s all about choice at the end of the day. If you don’t want to get the vax, don’t get the vax. If you do want to get it, get it. But just don’t keep locking up people.”

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It can take weeks before power is restored in NOLA. Load imbalance likely took out major transformers.

Hurricane Ida Reversed the Course of the Mississippi River (Gizmodo)

The incredible power of Hurricane Ida was on display on Sunday as the storm reversed the course of the mighty Mississippi River. The river temporarily flowed from south to north on Sunday afternoon after Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm that underwent rapid intensification. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that a river gauge at Belle Chasse, just southeast of New Orleans, recorded the stunning about-face of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi was discharging roughly 350,000 cubic feet (9,910 cubic meters) of water per second in the days prior to Ida’s arrival. Water moved upstream at a rate of 40,000 cubic feet (1,132 cubic meters) per second. That’s a staggering amount of water to turn around.

Ida is expected to push 16 feet (about 5 meters) of storm surge inland, with the highest inundation covering an area from the petrochemical hub of Port Fourchon to the mouth of the Mississippi. The turnaround of the river is indicative of how powerful that surge has been. It’s a phenomenon we’ve seen with other storms, notably Hurricane Florence in 2018. That contributed to what’s known as compound flooding, in which storm surge pushes water inland where rain is falling. With water pushing ashore, there’s nowhere for the rain to drain. With Ida, that could become a bigger concern as day turns into evening and the storm lingers. The National Hurricane Center noted in its most recent forecast discussion that “Ida’s forward motion has slowed.” Slower motion means bands of rain can repeatedly sweep over a given location, leading to higher rainfall totals and more flooding.

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George Carlin – Germs, Immune System

 

 

 

 

Lake Peigneur: The craziest thing you’ve ever seen. h/t Dave Collum

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jul 282021
 


Blu Mural Rome, 2015 (click for more)

 

CDC Warns Covid-19 May Be A Few Mutations Away From Evading Vaccines (NYP)
Higher COVID Rate Found In Some Counties With Higher Vaccination Rate (CBS)
Booster Vaccines Could Be Offered As Soon As September (NT)
“Zero COVID” Experts Put Grandkids At Risk (ZH)
Unvaccinated Diners Only: California Restaurant (RT)
America, A Nation Which Once Championed Free Speech (Sinclair)
The Price of Conscience – Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months (Chris Hedges)
Biden DOJ Wants Identity Of NoVA Woman’s Employer Kept Secret (Patch)
The Insecurity Industry (Snowden)
Julian Assange Stripped Of Citizenship By Ecuador (G.)

 

 

Does this say that even if a drug will be found to treat COVID19 the contract cannot be voided?!

 

 

 

 

So why would anyone want to get vaccinated now? Why not wait? “You’ll make it worse!” Me? On my own?

CDC Warns Covid-19 May Be A Few Mutations Away From Evading Vaccines (NYP)

COVID-19 may be “just a few mutations” away from being able to evade vaccines, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Tuesday. Walensky said the current vaccines are effective against severe cases of the coronavirus, including those caused by its known variants, but its continuing spread could allow the disease to mutate beyond the immunizations’ protection. “The largest concern that I think we in public health and sciences are worried about is that virus and potential mutations … [have] the potential to evade our vaccine in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death,” Walensky said at a press briefing.

“Right now, fortunately, we are not there. These vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death. But the big concern is the next area that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines.” The agency chief said the possibility is even more reason for people to get vaccinated — so that the virus can finally be off at the pass before it mutates into something that requires another vaccine. The CDC on Tuesday issued new indoor mask guidelines designed to help slow the spread of the virus in places experiencing surges in cases.

“In areas with substantial and time transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” Walensky said, referring to the highly contagious strain that comprises an estimated 83 percent of new cases nationwide. Health officials have stressed that rising coronavirus case numbers in the US are being driven by unvaccinated Americans. Currently, people who are not vaccinated are responsible for around 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths and 97 percent of hospitalizations, officials said.

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CBS Sacramento. The ways the story is “massaged” is a sight to behold.

Higher COVID Rate Found In Some Counties With Higher Vaccination Rate (CBS)

State workers and health care employees will now be required to show proof of vaccine or get tested for COVID at least once a week. The governor announced the new guidance today and is urging private employers to “replicate the example.” This comes as the highly contagious Delta variant is now dominant in the state and COVID rates have skyrocketed in the month since California officially reopened, including breakthrough cases among vaccinated Californians. A new analysis finds several counties with above-average vaccination rates also have higher COVID case rates, while case rates are falling in counties with below-average vaccination rates.

Statewide data analyzed by the Bay Area News Group found five counties, Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco, have both a higher percentage of people who are fully vaccinated than the state average and a higher average daily case rate. Compare that to these five counties: Modoc, Glenn, Lassen, Del Norte, and San Benito, which have below-average vaccination rates and decreasing case rates. However, UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Phillip Norris clarifies that the data doesn’t mean the vaccine is not working. He notes, first, the counties referenced with higher vaccination and case rates are more densely populated. “If there are a lot of people around you’re more likely to bump into one who has COVID,” Norris explained.

He, like other infectious disease experts, warns that vaccinated people may be unknowingly spreading the virus. Julie: A lot of people think if they’re vaccinated, they can’t transmit. Is that true? Phillip: So, originally we thought that might be true. But he says that’s no longer the case, thanks to the Delta variant. He points to preliminary data from China that indicates the viral load in the nose from the Delta variant may be 1,000 times higher than previous variants. “If that’s the case, even a little bit in somebody who’s vaccinated could be a lot,” he explains.

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Ireland. If I were me, I’d first want to know what’s in those booster shots. Different spike proteins perhaps?

Booster Vaccines Could Be Offered As Soon As September (NT)

A COVID-19 vaccine booster programme could get underway as soon as September, the Health Minister says. Stephen Donnelly says it will be done in conjunction with the flu vaccine, which is usually done in early autumn. It’s believed boosters will be offered first to people at high risk of illness or exposure to COVID-19 – in particular those who were vaccinated early in the rollout. Stephen Donnelly says we’re also likely to see “pop-up” vaccination centres in the coming weeks, to make it as “easy as possible” for young people to get vaccinated. He was speaking after NIAC and the Government gave the green light to extend vaccination to everyone aged 12-15. Around 70% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated against the virus, with nearly 85% having received at least their first dose.


Minister Donnelly told Newstalk Breakfast work is underway to figure out the best way to extend the vaccine programme in the coming weeks. He said: “My priority for some time has been children with underlying conditions. He said teenagers with underlying conditions may be able to book an appointment with their GP. However, it may ultimately be quicker to allow everyone in the age group to register at the same time for appointments in the mass vaccination centres. This weekend will also see the opening of the country’s first walk-in vaccination centres. Minister Donnelly said: “It’s this bank holiday weekend… it’s mRNA vaccines, so Pfizer or Moderna. Anyone over the age of 16… can just walk in.” He said it doesn’t matter if someone has already registered via the vaccine portal – they can still attend the new centre if they haven’t had their first dose yet.

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Zero covid is a thing of the past that hampers effective reactions.

“Zero COVID” Experts Put Grandkids At Risk (ZH)

The need to act on climate change is the fundamental moral imperative of our age, animated by the idea our sacrifices today will save the planet in the future. Yes, energy costs may be higher and some people will lose their jobs, but it’s worth it for the grandkids. Curiously, the grandkids haven’t been given much thought in our response to Covid-19. Our generation has foist extraordinary costs on future generations in a vain attempt to save lives from a disease that is lethal to a few. “The great majority of people … even in their 80s … will survive,” Britain’s chief scientific adviser Chris Whitty said in March last year, before collective psychosis took hold.

“Even in the most vulnerable, oldest groups, in a very stressed health service … the great majority of people who catch the virus – and not everyone will – survive it,” he told a parliamentary committee, having analysed the data from China and Italy. That was true then and it’s true now. Covid-19 was never an existential threat. After 18 months about four million people have died from or with Covid – most of advanced age apart for some tragic exceptions – in a world with a rapidly growing population of almost eight billion people. Sixty million people die every year. But we have behaved like it was, racking up trillions in extra debt and trashing norms of liberal democracy that might not quickly, if ever, return.

The idea that Sydney would be locked down in September 2021 or that American pediatricians would insist anyone over two years old wear a mask outside, to anyone living in February last year would have seemed ridiculous. Yet both, seemingly, are true. On this trend, silencing different scientific opinions or mandating individual tracking devices, all in the name of “saving lives”, may no longer be considered far-fetched. At the end of 2019 the federal budget papers forecast net debt of $361bn by June 2023. The latest budget papers forecast $835bn for the same period, rising to $980bn by mid-2025. Put another way, by 2030 the government’s gross debt burden is forecast to be more than 51 per cent of GDP, compared with 15 per cent forecast in 2019, according to the Intergenerational Report released last month.

By 2060, interest payments on federal debt will have doubled as a share of the economy, if interest rates start to return to more normal levels, it forecasts. A warmer planet won’t be the only burden we’re leaving for the grandkids. Future taxes will need to be higher, and expenditures on other goods and services lower, commensurately, than they otherwise would have been. We will have fewer resources to invest in cancer and dementia research, for example, much greater threats to welfare than Covid-19. “The Covid-19 pandemic and associated containment measures, however, have profoundly affected Australian society and the economy, and are likely to shape the future in ways that are not yet apparent,” the Intergenerational Report says. Who would have foreseen, for instance, a surge in babies being admitted to hospital in New Zealand for an “immunity debt” potentially caused by the government’s closed border policy?

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Of course not, or it would be no fun:

“An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status.”

Unvaccinated Diners Only: California Restaurant (RT)

A California restaurant has refused to back down after being bombarded with negative press and customer reviews for posting a sign demanding that all diners provide proof that they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. With vaccination status increasingly becoming a prerequisite to participate in many ordinary activities, one Huntington Beach eatery has decided to take a slightly different approach to granting privileges based on personal medical decisions. On its storefront window, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino taped a sign reading: “PROOF OF BEING UNVACCINATED REQUIRED. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.”

The restaurant’s owner, Tony Roman, said that the unorthodox policy is designed to get people thinking as some Southern California businesses begin asking customers for proof of vaccination. “With the new and aggressive push for mandatory vax policies, we couldn’t resist, so we are sending a message of our own. Hopefully most are smart enough to read between the lines. Otherwise we will just sit back and have fun watching their heads explode over it,” Roman said in a statement to local media. An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status. The restaurant previously declared itself a mask-free zone and refused to shut its doors when eateries were ordered in March 2020 to curtail indoor dining as part of Covid restrictions.

Some appear to appreciate the intended message behind the odd measure. A vaccinated woman who cuts hair at a nearby barbershop told local media that she didn’t feel slighted by the no-vaxxed-allowed policy. “You got other places that want you vaccinated to come in. No different, right?” she noted to a local ABC affiliate. However, many others were furious over the move. The restaurant has been pelted with negative reviews on Yelp. One comment said that the provocative rule was a “slap in the face to all those who died from Covid-19.”

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Good idea, so-so rendition:

America, A Nation Which Once Championed Free Speech (Sinclair)

The elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill act as the true overlords of Western thought, guarding the borders of allowable speech. How on earth did we allow this to happen – and what can be done now? America has changed beyond recognition over the past few years, and performed a rather rapid about-face on the issue of free speech, a notion it once championed. The source of this is no longer merely the apparatus of Silicon Valley and its desire to control information flows (which it is meant to merely shepherd without bias). The same pressure has come from the superstate structure of America itself, particularly (and ironically) the politically ‘liberal’ faction, as well as from an overarching pressure from the consumer interests of Western-backed global finance.

There appears to be a mass consensus among American money-powers (and thereby state powers) to tightly control information, and to abandon utterly their so recently lauded values of free speech. The FBI in particular has seemingly transitioned into an institution of speech-referees and political oppressors, on guard primarily against America’s own citizens. Ironically, this has not halted America’s saber-rattling about political and informational oppressions from its geopolitical rivals in the east, which find themselves in the reverse role of shocked concern at the willingness of the American superstate to silence its political and moral enemies. Even to the extent of performing show trials.

[..] Facebook has led an initiative to officially create ‘snitches’ among its users, creating their own ‘social credit scheme’, along the lines of China’s. Again, in an act of unbridled obliviousness to the utter reversal of values they held as core only a few scant years ago, and while complaining out of the corner of their mouths about a Chinese variation of the same system. The nation which championed ‘free speech’ will now ban you from the public space and force you out of your job for the crime of ‘misgendering’. Among those who support the hard turn away from free speech, you will find devoted imbibers of neoliberal media, (CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NYT, etc). It is possibly here where you will find these attitudes are ‘created’ before being disseminated downstream among the elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill.

Once in consensus with the latest media buzzwords, these three may be considered part of a closed feedback loop. From there the true overlords of Western thought are those newly emerged sentinels who guard the borders of allowable speech. Today American citizens are tracked, monitored, and generally threatened more than ever before. Even my writing of this article, what would have been considered an innocuous expression of free political criticism only five or so years ago, might today be considered controversial to the new ‘American Stasi’. We in the West now live behind what we might call a new ‘iron curtain’ – and for those living behind this curtain, there is no longer any illusion of free speech, it is simply no longer talked about.

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Hale was caught because the Intercept got involved.

The Price of Conscience – Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months (Chris Hedges)

Daniel Hale, a former intelligence analyst in the drone program for the Air Force who as a private contractor in 2013 leaked some 17 classified documents about drone strikes to the press, was sentenced Tuesday to 45 months in prison. The documents, published by The Intercept on October 15, 2015, exposed that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. For one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The civilian dead, usually innocent bystanders, were routinely classified as “enemies killed in action.”

The Justice Department coerced Hale, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, on March 31 to plead guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act, a law passed in 1917 designed to prosecute those who passed on state secrets to a hostile power, not those who expose to the public government lies and crimes. Hale admitted as part of the plea deal to “retention and transmission of national security information” and leaking 11 classified documents to a journalist. If he had refused the plea deal, he could have spent 50 years in prison. The sentencing of Hale is one more potentially mortal blow to the freedom of the press. It follows in the wake of the prosecutions and imprisonment of other whistleblowers under the Espionage Act including Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison for exposing the routine torture of suspects held in black sites.


Those charged under the act are treated as if they were spies. They are barred from explaining motivations and intent to the court. They cannot provide evidence to the court of the government lawlessness and war crimes they exposed. Prominent human rights organizations, such as the ACLU and PEN, along with mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and CNN, have largely remained silent about the prosecution of Hale. The group Stand with Daniel Hale has called on President Biden to pardon Hale and end the use of the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers. It is also collecting donations for Hale’s legal fund. The bipartisan onslaught against the press — Barack Obama used the Espionage Act eight times against whistleblowers, more than all other previous administrations combined — by criminalizing those within the system who seek to inform the public is ominous for our democracy. It is effectively extinguishing all investigations into the inner workings of power.

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US woman kills someone on UK motorway, her fault, flees the country. US calls diplomatic immunity of sorts, no extradition. The US attorney who makes that case happens to be the same who tries hard to get Assange extradited the other way around.

Biden DOJ Wants Identity Of NoVA Woman’s Employer Kept Secret (Patch)

Radd Seiger, adviser and spokesperson for the Dunn family, said in a statement Monday that “as any parent might imagine, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you.” “But having to deal with the U.S. Government’s abuse and denial of justice as Harry’s family have had to since he died is unprecedented for us here in the U.K.,” he said. “Their conduct is and continues to be frankly unAmerican and against the core values of decency and compassion that we know most Americans hold dear to their hearts, including those who work for the intelligence agencies, many of whom have come forward to us privately to tell us how ashamed they are of their employer.”

Among the Justice Department officials who signed the motion for a protective order was Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and an appointee of the Biden administration. In an ironic twist, Parekh supervises hundreds of Justice Department attorneys, including many who are seeking the extradition of foreign nationals to the United States. The most prominent case currently under Parekh’s direction is the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, from the U.K. to the United States to face charges under the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. David Davis, a Conservative member of the U.K. Parliament, wrote in an op-ed on Saturday that his government appears to have a one-sided relationship with the United States on the issue of extradition.

“[T]he UK is one of most amenable nations in the world to the surrender of its citizens to overseas courts — but we do not insist on corresponding arrangements with other governments,” Davis wrote in his July 24 column for the Daily Mail. [..] Sacoolas is scheduled to be deposed by the Dunn family’s lawyers on Aug. 24 as part of the lawsuit against her and her husband. Dunn’s parents were deposed in the civil proceeding in early July. At Sacoolas’s deposition, “she will be questioned regarding her activity as she drove from the base to the accident scene, and Plaintiffs are deeply concerned that the Government’s motion will needlessly thwart a legitimate inquiry on this and other relevant subjects,” the Dunn family lawyers wrote in their court filing on Monday. Seiger, the spokesperson for the Dunn family, said the July 23 motion filed by the Justice Department “is not an attempt to protect state secrets or national security.” “It is an attempt to keep Harry’s family from the truth and minimize what happened to him,” he said.

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“The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart.”

The Insecurity Industry (Snowden)

The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart. I don’t do this to satisfy a tinkerer’s urge, or out of political principle, but simply because it is unsafe to operate. Fixing the hardware, which is to say surgically removing the two or three tiny microphones hidden inside, is only the first step of an arduous process, and yet even after days of these DIY security improvements, my smartphone will remain the most dangerous item I possess. Prior to this week’s Pegasus Project, a global reporting effort by major newspapers to expose the fatal consequences of the NSO Group—the new private-sector face of an out-of-control Insecurity Industry—most smartphone manufacturers along with much of the world press collectively rolled their eyes at me whenever I publicly identified a fresh-out-of-the-box iPhone as a potentially lethal threat.

Despite years of reporting that implicated the NSO Group’s for-profit hacking of phones in the deaths and detentions of journalists and human rights defenders; despite years of reporting that smartphone operating systems were riddled with catastrophic security flaws (a circumstance aggravated by their code having been written in aging programming languages that have long been regarded as unsafe); and despite years of reporting that even when everything works as intended, the mobile ecosystem is a dystopian hellscape of end-user monitoring and outright end-user manipulation, it is still hard for many people to accept that something that feels good may not in fact be good. Over the last eight years I’ve often felt like someone trying to convince their one friend who refuses to grow up to quit smoking and cut back on the booze—meanwhile, the magazine ads still say “Nine of Ten Doctors Smoke iPhones!” and “Unsecured Mobile Browsing is Refreshing!”

In my infinite optimism, however, I can’t help but regard the arrival of the Pegasus Project as a turning-point—a well-researched, exhaustively-sourced, and frankly crazy-making story about a “winged” “Trojan Horse” infection named “Pegasus” that basically turns the phone in your pocket into an all-powerful tracking device that can be turned on or off, remotely, unbeknownst to you, the pocket’s owner.


The microphones inside my actual phone, prepped for surgery

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Officially stateless now? Nice. What says Australia?

Julian Assange Stripped Of Citizenship By Ecuador (G.)

Ecuador has revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is currently in a British prison. Ecuador’s justice system formally notified the Australian of the nullity of his naturalisation in a letter that came in response to a claim filed by the South American country’s foreign ministry. A naturalisation is reconsidered when it is granted based on the concealment of relevant facts, false documents or fraud. Ecuadorian authorities said Assange’s naturalisation letter had multiple inconsistencies, different signatures, the possible alteration of documents and unpaid fees, among other issues. Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, said the decision was made without due process and Assange was not allowed to appear in the case.


“On the date [Assange] was cited he was deprived of his liberty and with a health crisis inside the deprivation of liberty centre where he was being held,” Poveda said. Poveda said he will file appeals asking for an amplification and clarification of the decision. “More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality.” Assange received Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018 as part of a failed attempt by the government of then-President Lenín Moreno to turn him into a diplomat to get him out of its embassy in London. On Monday, the Pichincha court for contentious administrative matters revoked this decision. Ecuador’s foreign ministry said the court had “acted independently and followed due process in a case that took place during the previous government and that was raised by the same previous government”.

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Feb 192021
 
 February 19, 2021  Posted by at 9:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Ito Shinsui Snowy night 1923

 

Mutations Made Coronavirus 8 Times More Infectious Than Original (RT)
Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Make 3x Less Antibodies vs South African Strain (RT)
130 Countries Have Not Received A Single Covid Vaccine Dose (G.)
Florida Ranks 11th Lowest In Covid Deaths Per Capita Among Seniors (Blaze)
FBI, US Attorney In Brooklyn Probing Cuomo Admin On Nursing Homes (TU)
The Myth of Andrew Cuomo the Competent, Steady Statesman (Jac.)
De Blasio Says Threatening Phone Call To Lawmaker Is ‘Classic Andrew Cuomo’ (F.)
Texas Was “Seconds And Minutes” From Complete Disaster (ZH)
The Failure Of The Texas Power Grid Is Worse Than You Think (Fed.)
Beleaguered Texas Hospitals With No Water Evacuate Patients (Fox4)
The Slippery Slope from Censoring ‘Disinformation’ to Silencing Truth (RI)
Trump’s Former Fixer Cohen Interviewed By Manhattan DA’s Office (R.)
Biden Privately Tells Governors: Minimum Wage Hike Likely Isn’t Happening (Pol.)
Greece in Talks with the UK to Create Tourism Corridor (GR)
Why Vitamin D Probably Still Can’t Cure Covid-19 (Gideon)

 

 

 

 

Our daily good news segment.

Mutations Made Coronavirus 8 Times More Infectious Than Original (RT)

New research has found that a mutation in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, present in variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, can make the virus up to eight times more infectious than the original. The new research into the D614G mutation on the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, present in all the latest variants currently plaguing healthcare systems the world over, was led by researchers at New York University, the New York Genome Center, and Mount Sinai. “Confirming that the mutation leads to more transmissibility may help explain, in part, why the virus has spread so rapidly over the past year,” said Neville Sanjana, assistant professor of biology at NYU, who added that the mutation has reached “near universal prevalence” among the coronavirus variants spreading across the globe.

The Mount Sinai researchers injected a virus with the D614G mutation into human lung, liver, and colon cells and compared it against cells from the original strain detected in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. They found a whopping eight-fold increase in transmissibility between the two strains, with the mutated spike protein making the virus more resilient to being split by other proteins in the human immune system, highlighting the importance of continued vaccine research and development to combat this hardier version. “…[O]ur experimental data was pretty unambiguous – the D614G variant infects human cells much more efficiently than the wild type,” said Zharko Daniloski, a postdoctoral fellow in Sanjana’s lab at NYU and the study’s co-first author.

Thankfully, however, the mutation has not yet been linked to more intense progression of Covid-19 leading to more severe forms of the disease or an increase in hospitalization. On the other hand, this does pose another issue: the current generation of vaccines were developed based on the original Wuhan-variant spike protein structure, highlighting the need for booster vaccines or even annual vaccination programs to halt the spread of the coronavirus for good.

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More good news.

Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Make 3x Less Antibodies vs South African Strain (RT)

Vaccines developed by US companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are producing fewer antibodies against the coronavirus mutation that has emerged in South Africa, according to studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. A lab study jointly conducted by Pfizer/BioNTech and researchers at the University of Texas in Galveston showed that the neutralization of the South African strain “was weaker by approximately two thirds,” but concluded that it was “unclear what effect” that would have on protection the vaccine provided from the disease. This is according to the letter by the researchers published on Wednesday in NEJM, the oldest US medical journal.

Another study conducted by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – whose head, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is the Biden administration’s “coronavirus czar” at the moment – showed “reductions by a factor of 2.7” in the titers of neutralizing antibodies against the variant known as the B.1.351 – and by a factor of 6.4 when pitted against the full range of South African mutations. “Protection against the B.1.351 variant conferred by the mRNA-1273 vaccine remains to be determined,” says the letter from the Moderna/NIAID researchers, also published by NEJM on Wednesday. Moderna said it is working on booster shots if needed. Pfizer and BioNTech are also preparing to develop an update or a booster shot if needed, according to a statement cited by Bloomberg.

In a statement released in January, ahead of the study’s review, they said the performance of their vaccine was “slightly lower” against the South African strain when compared to other mutations, but that “small differences in viral neutralization observed in these studies are unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the vaccine.” South Africa has halted the vaccination with Astra Zeneca’s formula after a study showed it didn’t work as well in preventing Covid-19 caused by the mutant strain. President Cyril Ramaphosa took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday.

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We’re on a roll.

130 Countries Have Not Received A Single Covid Vaccine Dose (G.)

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has sharply criticised the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of Covid vaccines, saying 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations and demanding a global effort to get all people in every country vaccinated as soon as possible. The UN chief told a high-level meeting of the UN security council on Wednesday that 130 countries had not yet received a single dose of vaccine. “At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” said. Guterres called for an urgent global vaccination plan to bring together those with the power to ensure equitable vaccine distribution – scientists, vaccine producers and those who can fund the effort.

He called on the world’s major economic powers in the Group of 20 to establish an emergency taskforce to establish a plan and coordinate its implementation and financing. He said the taskforce should have the capacity “to mobilise the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors”. Guterres said Friday’s meeting of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations – the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Canada and Italy – “can create the momentum to mobilise the necessary financial resources”. Thirteen ministers addressed the virtual council meeting organised by Britain on improving access to Covid vaccinations, including in conflict areas.

[..] China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, criticised the growing “immunity divide” and called on the world to “come together to reject ‘vaccine nationalism,’ promote fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, and, in particular, make them accessible and affordable for developing countries, including those in conflict”. At the WHO’s request, he said, China will contribute 10m doses of vaccines to Covax “preliminarily”. China has donated vaccines to 53 developing countries including Somalia, Iraq, South Sudan and Palestine, which is a UN observer state. It has also exported vaccines to 22 countries, he said, adding that Beijing has launched research and development cooperation on Covid with more than 10 countries.

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Schools open. No mask mandate. Make of it what you will.

Florida Ranks 11th Lowest In Covid Deaths Per Capita Among Seniors (Blaze)

There’s a reason why the Biden regime is trying to attack Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and create an illusion of a disproportionate viral crisis in the state. With no declared emergency restrictions in place at the state level since last September, the fact that Florida is doing better than the national average completely exposes the lie of lockdown and masks having any effect whatsoever on the fixed natural progression of the virus. Dr. Fauci is suggesting a novel scientific principle – that schools can’t reopen until Congress passes yet another “stimulus” bill. Yet in Florida, schools have been open all year, and the state’s excess deaths for 2020 rank the 16th lowest in the nation, according to a new analysis. What’s more, the Sunshine State, which is regarded as God’s waiting room for seniors, experienced the 11th lowest per capita rate of COVID deaths for seniors in 2020.

A new analysis conducted by RationalGround.com and exclusively obtained by TheBlaze collated CDC excess death data for 49 states (excluding North Carolina, which has incomplete data) and ranked the states from smallest to largest increase in excess deaths from 2019 to 2020. As we have seen in study after study, there is absolutely zero correlation between non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as business and school closures or mask mandates, and a lower rate of excess deaths. According to the CDC’s excess death table, there was a 16.9% national average increase in all-cause mortality in 2020 over 2019.


Given the loose way we count COVID deaths, it will take quite some time to sort out how many of those deaths are due to COVID and how many are due to the panic, anxiety, lockdowns, and missed care, but what is clear is that there is no correlation between the political measures taken by a state and fewer all-cause deaths. Florida, which is the third largest state, has the 16th lowest increase in all-cause deaths, and all of the states that had fewer excess deaths than Florida are much smaller and are mostly states with lower population density. California, on the other hand, ranked No. 40.

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I have no high hopes.

Did CNN just ban one Cuomo from interviewing the other?

FBI, US Attorney In Brooklyn Probing Cuomo Admin On Nursing Homes (TU)

The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn have launched an investigation that is examining, at least in part, the actions of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s coronavirus task force in its handling of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the pandemic, the Times Union has learned. The probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is apparently in its early stages and is focusing on the work of some of the senior members of the governor’s task force, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who is not authorized to comment publicly. Last March, as the virus began spreading in New York, Cuomo issued a news release listing the 13 initial members of his coronavirus task force, which has been headed by Linda Lacewell, an attorney and former chief of staff for Cuomo.

Lacewell is the superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services. Other task force members include state health Commissioner Howard Zucker, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Beth Garvey, counsel to the governor. “As we publicly said, DOJ (Department of Justice) has been looking into this for months,” said Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor. “We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to.” Azzopardi did not disclose whether any members of the administration have been interviewed or if they have been served with any subpoenas. John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, on Wednesday afternoon said he could not “confirm or deny” whether the office has initiated an investigation.

Nearly three weeks after the governor’s task force was announced last year, the state health department issued an order directing nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that they must accept residents who were being discharged from hospitals even if they were still testing positive for the infectious disease, as long as they were able to care for them properly. That directive, which was rescinded less than two months later, has been the focus of a firestorm of criticism directed at Cuomo’s administration, including allegations that the order — which the governor said was based on federal guidance — had contributed to the high number of fatalities of nursing home residents in New York. That assertion was largely dismissed in a report by the Department of Health that was released in July.

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“Even if Cuomo never sinks low enough to lose reelection next year — given his enormous war chest and New York’s horrific campaign finance laws, it’s still an unlikely scenario..”

The Myth of Andrew Cuomo the Competent, Steady Statesman (Jac.)

Even if Cuomo never sinks low enough to lose reelection next year — given his enormous war chest and New York’s horrific campaign finance laws, it’s still an unlikely scenario — he will never again be the governor feted by Ellen and celebrated by self-described “Cuomosexuals.” He’s not getting another Emmy. His moment is over. What happened? In some sense, this has been slow-building. For months, more and more people have been waking up to the fact that the popular, media-created conception of Cuomo was nonsensical. More than 45,000 people have died of COVID-19 in New York State, the second highest absolute death toll in America, just trailing California. (California is more than twice as large, so New York maintains a far higher rate of death.)

Cuomo, like Trump, downplayed the pandemic in its earliest days and issued a shutdown order for New York far too late, defying the opinions of experts and other elected officials. It was the nursing home issue, however, and the subsequently botched vaccine rollout that began to trigger a much-deserved reevaluation of his legacy, which is one of arrogance, secrecy, and failure. Last March, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients who had been discharged from hospitals instead of directing them to large temporary facilities that had a surplus of beds. This decision likely contributed to outbreaks in nursing homes, which the state oversees.

Unlike most other states in America, if not all of them, Cuomo’s New York decided to keep a highly skewed count of nursing home deaths, only tallying those who died while physically in facilities. If you were a nursing home resident who got infected in a home, became sick there, and were transferred to a hospital dying, you were not a part of the official Department of Health tally. Confirming the suspicions of health care experts and many journalists, the state attorney general revealed in a January report that the Department of Health had undercounted nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent. Shortly after, Cuomo was forced to revise the tally far higher, increasing it by more than 60 percent.

Last week, it was revealed that the Cuomo administration had purposefully withheld nursing home data from lawmakers for months out of fear the Department of Justice, under Donald Trump, would investigate. Several legislators have contemplated calling for Cuomo’s impeachment. In a rage, Cuomo called up a leftist assembly member from Queens, Ron Kim, and threatened to “destroy” his career. This is just the news that has grabbed the most headlines. Cuomo is a Clintonian Democrat with a lust for austerity, and he has been quietly slashing and burning New York’s social safety net since the pandemic arrived last year. The City University of New York, which educates a largely working-class and nonwhite student body, has faced severe budget cuts, as have local public schools and social services.

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The more I read about Cuomo, the more he resembles a character in a Scorsese movie.

De Blasio Says Threatening Phone Call To Lawmaker Is ‘Classic Andrew Cuomo’ (F.)

Compounding a month of bad press for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday morning that he believes the state lawmakers who claimed Cuomo threatened to “destroy” his career after he publicly criticized his administration’s handling of Covid-19 in nursing homes. De Blasio—who has had a publicly contentious relationship with the governor since the start of the coronavirus pandemic—painted Cuomo as a bully during a Thursday interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The mayor said he believes New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim’s account of the phone call because “a lot of people in New York State have received those phone calls.”

“It’s a sad thing to say … but that’s classic Andrew Cuomo,” said de Blasio, explaining he’s heard complaints like Kim’s “many, many times.” Representatives for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, though the governor’s Senior Advisor Richard Azzopardi released a statement accusing Kim of “lying about his conversation with Governor Cuomo.” “At no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup,’” said Azzopardi, describing a “long, hostile” relationship between the two men. The comments come a day after revelations that Cuomo’s handling of nursing home death data is now under federal investigation.

“The bullying is nothing new,” said de Blasio. “I believe Ron Kim and it’s very, very sad. No public servant, no person who is telling the truth should be treated that way. But, the threats, the belittling, the demand that someone change their statement right that moment … Many, many times I’ve heard that.” Kim said he received an angry phone call from the governor last week after he publicly accused Cuomo of obstructing justice by withholding data on nursing home deaths. According to Kim, Cuomo threatened that he could “destroy” him if he did not help “cover up” comments made by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, who stirred controversy earlier this month by suggesting the state had purposefully delayed releasing the full Covid-19 death toll in long-term care facilities because of concerns about a potential federal investigation.

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Something tells me you should go talk to the old time engineers who’ve worked on the grid all their lives. That’s where the stories are, not in politics.

Texas Was “Seconds And Minutes” From Complete Disaster (ZH)

As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly. At the same time, demand was increasing as consumers and businesses turned up the heat and stayed inside to avoid the weather. “It needed to be addressed immediately,” said Bill Magness, president of ERCOT. “It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system.” With energy prices exploding to record highs, and with demand soaring, grid operators had to “act quickly” to cut the amount of power distributed, Magness said, because if they had waited, “then what happens in that next minute might be that three more [power generation] units come offline, and then you’re sunk.”

Magness said on Wednesday that if operators had not acted in that moment, the state could have suffered blackouts that “could have occurred for months,” and left Texas in an “indeterminately long” crisis. In other words, the millions of households left without power – in some cases for days – were sacrificing for the greater good. So by manually shutting down entire parts of the grid, ERCOT avoided the worst case scenario: one where demand for power overwhelms the supply of power generation available on the grid, causing equipment to catch fire, substations to blow and power lines to go down.

If the grid had gone totally offline, the physical damage to power infrastructure from overwhelming the grid would take months to repair, said Bernadette Johnson, senior vice president of power and renewables at Enverus, an oil and gas software and information company headquartered in Austin. “As chaotic as it was, the whole grid could’ve been in blackout,” she said. “ERCOT is getting a lot of heat, but the fact that it wasn’t worse is because of those grid operators.” If that had occurred, even as power generators recovered from the cold, ERCOT would have been unable to quickly reconnect them back to the grid, Johnson said.

And since nobody can disprove a negative, one just has to take them at their word that dozens of people died so that millions more could live… or something. Grid operators would have needed to slowly and carefully bring generators and customers back online, all the while taking care to not to cause more damage to the grid. It’s a delicate process, Johnson explained, because each part of the puzzle — the generators producing power, the transmission lines that move the power and the customers that use it — must be carefully managed. “It has to balance constantly,” she said. “Once a grid goes down, it’s hard to bring it back online. If you bring on too many customers, then you have another outage.”

Read more …

A disaster long in the making.

The Failure Of The Texas Power Grid Is Worse Than You Think (Fed.)

[..] Yes, some coal plants closed because of freezing temperatures and some natural gas pipelines froze. But as Jason Isaac of the Texas Public Policy Foundation explains in our pages today, the main problem with the Texas power grid isn’t that renewables failed or that fossil fuels failed. It’s that the grid itself has been made unstable by state and federal subsidies that distort the energy market and prevent the buildup of reliable power generation. Subsidies for renewables and fossil fuels have been around for a long time in Texas, supported by both Democrats and Republicans. For as much as Texas has a reputation as a deep-red oil and gas state, it was under Republican Gov. Rick Perry that billions were spent on wind turbines and transmission lines in West Texas, spurred on by massive tax credits for wind producers.

The same thing happened at the federal level when George W. Bush was governor of the state. In the months to come, there will be lengthy and bitter debates about who was responsible for this fiasco. The obvious partisan arguments are already out in the open. If any actual reforms come out of these debates, they will have to begin with an acknowledgment that the way things have been done for decades in Texas has not worked. That much, at least, is now painfully undeniable. For example, goosing the wind and solar industries with billions in tax credits in a state that produces almost a third of America’s fossil fuel energy was perhaps unwise and imprudent.

In hindsight, it looks like cronyism. So do the subsidies for fossil fuels, even if they are not as extravagant as subsidies for renewables. Maybe all of that was a bad idea from the beginning, and maybe it’s time to cut it out. Hardship like what Texas is going through right now can bring clarity. And in the teeth of this winter storm, the entire energy industry, with its high-powered lobbyists and its billions in taxpayer subsidies, is beginning to look like every other elite institution in America: a corrupt and parasitic enterprise whose failures come at the expense of ordinary Americans—in this case, people who are now trying to stay alive in their own homes.

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“Emergency rooms were crowded “due to patients being unable to meet their medical needs at home without electricity..”

Beleaguered Texas Hospitals With No Water Evacuate Patients (Fox4)

After a deadly blast of winter weather overwhelmed the electrical grid and left millions of Texans without power, hospitals in the state are also facing the additional stress of water shortages, crowded emergency rooms and even being forced to evacuate patients. Record-low temperatures damaged infrastructure and pipes, seriously jeopardizing drinking water systems in the Lone Star state. Authorities in Texas ordered 7 million people — a quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking it. Some hospitals, already contending with COVID-19 patients and vaccine distribution, were also impacted by the winter storm’s havoc on state power grids and utilities. In Austin, hospitals dealt with a loss in water pressure and heat.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center said Wednesday night that it had lost water pressure from the City of Austin. Since water feeds the facility’s boiler, the hospital was also losing heat. Hospital officials were working to evacuate some patients to other area facilities and said they were distributing bottles and jugs of water to patients and employees. Officials added that they were working with the city to secure portable toilets. “Because this is a statewide emergency situation that is also impacting other hospitals within the Austin area, no one hospital currently has the capacity to accept transport of a large number of patients,” said David Huffstutler, CEO of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.

In southwest Austin, officials with Ascension Seton Southwest Hospital said they too were facing intermittent issues with water pressure, the Austin American-Statesman reported. The hospital was rescheduling elective surgeries to preserve bed capacity and personnel as a result. At Houston Methodist, two of its community hospitals did not have running water but still treated patients, with most non-emergency surgeries and procedures canceled for Thursday and possibly Friday, spokeswoman Gale Smith told the Associated Press. Emergency rooms were crowded “due to patients being unable to meet their medical needs at home without electricity,” Smith said. She added that pipes had burst in Methodist’s hospitals but were being repaired as they happened.

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“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

The Slippery Slope from Censoring ‘Disinformation’ to Silencing Truth (RI)

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell. This is the slippery slope that leads to the end of free speech as we once knew it. In a world increasingly automated and filtered through the lens of artificial intelligence, we are finding ourselves at the mercy of inflexible algorithms that dictate the boundaries of our liberties. Once artificial intelligence becomes a fully integrated part of the government bureaucracy, there will be little recourse: we will be subject to the intransigent judgments of techno-rulers. This is how it starts. Martin Niemöller’s warning about the widening net that ensnares us all still applies.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” In our case, however, it started with the censors who went after extremists spouting so-called “hate speech,” and few spoke out—because they were not extremists and didn’t want to be shamed for being perceived as politically incorrect.

Then the internet censors got involved and went after extremists spouting “disinformation” about stolen elections, the Holocaust, and Hunter Biden, and few spoke out—because they were not extremists and didn’t want to be shunned for appearing to disagree with the majority. By the time the techno-censors went after extremists spouting “misinformation” about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, the censors had developed a system and strategy for silencing the nonconformists. Still, few spoke out. Eventually, “we the people” will be the ones in the crosshairs.At some point or another, depending on how the government and its corporate allies define what constitutes “extremism, “we the people” might all be considered guilty of some thought crime or other. When that time comes, there may be no one left to speak out or speak up in our defense.

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The MSM will be pushing this for all they’re worth.

Trump’s Former Fixer Cohen Interviewed By Manhattan DA’s Office (R.)

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a newly hired high-profile litigator interviewed Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Thursday, as part of a criminal probe of the former president’s business dealings, said two people familiar with the investigation. The interview came after Mark Pomerantz, who has extensive experience in white-collar and organized crime cases, joined District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s team investigating the Trump family business. Pomerantz started on Feb. 2 as special assistant district attorney, said Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance. Pomerantz’s hiring is part of a flurry of recent activity in Vance’s investigation, including the issuance in recent days of roughly a dozen new subpoenas, according to the sources.

One of those went to Ladder Capital Finance LLC, a major creditor used by Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, to finance the former president’s commercial real estate holdings, the sources said. Vance’s office has also conducted interviews with Ladder’s staff, one source familiar with the matter said. The district attorney’s office has said little publicly about the probe, but noted in court filings that it was focused on “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, including alleged falsification of records, and insurance and tax fraud. It is the only known criminal inquiry into Trump’s business practices.

Separately, New York state Attorney General Letitia James is leading a civil probe into whether Trump’s company falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits. Ladder issued the loans on several of Trump’s big commercial holdings, including a $160 million mortgage on the Trump Building, a skyscraper in Manhattan’s financial district.

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He knew this a long time ago. But dangling the sausage gets votes.

Biden Privately Tells Governors: Minimum Wage Hike Likely Isn’t Happening (Pol.)

When Joe Biden met with a group of mayors and governors last week he bluntly told them to get ready for a legislative defeat: his proposed minimum wage hike was unlikely to happen, he said, at least in the near term. “I really want this in there but it just doesn’t look like we can do it because of reconciliation,” Biden told the group, according to a person in the room. “I’m not going to give up. But right now, we have to prepare for this not making it.” The comments, which were confirmed by two other people familiar with the conversation, were the furthest Biden has gone in conceding the coming axing of the $15-an-hour minimum wage provision from his first major legislative package.


And they suggest that the president is more inclined to manage the fallout of it not being included than to pursue long-shot, political-capital consuming efforts to fight for its insertion. Sitting in the Oval Office with Republican and Democratic elected officials last Friday to advocate for his $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, he didn’t hide his skepticism. “Doesn’t look like we can do it,” he said of the minimum wage hike. For weeks now, the White House has been trying to manage expectations on the feasibility of advancing a $15-an-hour minimum wage provision through a broader “rescue” package. Biden first suggested it might not make it into the final Covid relief bill in an interview with CBS prior to the Super Bowl, noting his belief that the Senate parliamentarian would determine it did not jibe with budgetary rules that allow a bill to pass with just 51 votes in the Senate.

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I still wonder what the legal status is of requiring people be vaccinated with a vaccine whose producer says it doesn’t prevent the spread of the virus. And then on the basis of that, allowing them into your country without testing etc., where they can spread the virus.

If you would let people fly in to an island, and they would stay there, that’s one thing. You could monitor them, trace them. But Greek tourism is based on people traveling a lot, island-hopping etc.

Greece in Talks with the UK to Create Tourism Corridor (GR)

Soon, vaccinated British citizens may be able to travel to Greece without any restrictions whatsoever, according to Greek Minister of Tourism Haris Theoharis. Greece has entered into preliminary discussions with the UK regarding tourism, Theoharis stated, and may allow vaccinated travelers from the UK into the country this summer without being tested for the coronavirus first. Inoculated tourists may also be able to avoid Greece’s mandatory seven-day quarantine once they arrive in the country. Those who have been vaccinated and hope to enter Greece may have to present a vaccine certificate, or vaccine passport, in order to skip the strict anti-virus measures currently in place in the country.

Currently, all those entering Greece must present a negative PCR test for the coronavirus, within 72 hours of their flight, before entry is allowed. In addition to the PCR test, visitors from the UK must also now take a rapid test upon arrival to Greece. Employing nearly one in five Greeks, tourism is one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy. Greece welcomes around 4 million visitors from the UK each year. The Mediterranean country hopes that opening up a tourist corridor with the UK for the summer will bring a much-needed boost to Greece’s economy, which has suffered a great deal due to travel restrictions and strict anti-virus measures. Greek tourism took a giant plunge in the third quarter of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

In total, in the first nine months of last year, the accommodation sector had revenues of only 1.89 billion euros, when last year in the corresponding period revenues were 6.15 billion euros — representing a staggering loss of 4.26 billion euros. When discussing the outlook for Greece’s tourism sector in the summer of 2021, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated to Reuters: “I am a realist, but I am also cautiously optimistic that we will do much better than last year.” The potential deal with the UK may well add to Mitsotakis’ optimism for a successful tourist season this year. The country has already struck a deal with Israel, which will allow vaccinated travelers from the Mediterranean country to enter Greece without coronavirus restrictions.

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Saved this for last because I would like some comments. Did anyone ever state vit. D was a cure for Covid? We sure did not. This epidemiologist appears to take studies on giving people already in hospital large doses of vit. D, to claim it’s useless. This is exactly how HCQ was discredited. But do chime in.

Why Vitamin D Probably Still Can’t Cure Covid-19 (Gideon)

There are many scientific questions that have come up during the pandemic. We’ve investigated the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, looked into school closures, and even checked to see whether spectacles could protect you from getting Covid-19 (the jury is still out on that one). But perhaps the most consistent question that has been asked, over and over again, is whether vitamin D supplements can treat coronavirus effectively. The allure is understandable — vitamin D is cheap, relatively safe, and there’s some evidence that it can help with the common cold, which is often caused by coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. If it worked, it could make an enormous difference in the lives of people with Covid-19 and at a very low cost.

Sadly, this has inspired endless shoddy studies that have meant that the question of whether vitamin D works for Covid-19 wasn’t answered very well (or at all) the last time I wrote about it in October 2020. This makes the recent headlines all the more understandable. A study was put up on SSRN — a preprint server run by The Lancet — a few weeks ago that purported to show a 60% decrease in mortality for people with Covid-19 who were given calcifediol (a metabolite of vitamin D) compared to a control group given treatment as usual. With such impressive-sounding results, the study soon went viral on Twitter and has been reported in news outlets around the world. If supplements really could prevent 60% of Covid-19 deaths, it would be a research finding that could literally change the course of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, as with most of the previous research, the evidence is much shakier than you might expect given the glowing headlines. Even more than a year into all of this, we still don’t really know if vitamin D does anything for Covid-19 at all.

Read more …

 

 

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#Perseverance has captured the first images of life on Mars.

 

 

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Feb 042020
 


DPC The heart of Chinatown, San Francisco, after the earthquake and fire 1906

 

China Death Toll Hits 427 As New Cases In Hubei Increase By Record High (SCMP)
Coronavirus: China Admits ‘Shortcomings And Deficiencies’ (BBC)
Chinese Military Takes Control Of Medical Supplies In Wuhan (SCMP)
Coronavirus Tally In Epicentre Wuhan May Be ‘Just The Tip Of The Iceberg’ (SCMP)
‘Striking’ Coronavirus Mutations Found Within One Family Cluster (SCMP)
Coronavirus Found On Doorknob Of Infected Patient (ZH)
Gordon Chang: Chinese Authorities Falsifying Coronavirus Death Toll (SAC)
Crisis-O-Rama (Jim Kunstler)
Press Freedom Is At Risk If We Allow Julian Assange’s Extradition (G.)
2019 Was Record-Breaking Year For Supertall Skyscrapers (DeZeen)
Unprecedented Cybersecurity Measures To Safeguard Iowa Caucus Results (DMR)

 

 

Lots of Wuhan corona again today, how can I not? For coverage of the Dems boondoggle, see the bottom of this aggregator.

Quite a few articles from SCMP (South China Morning Post), which appears to be “opening up” its news on the crisis. To suggest that what we know about Wuhan may just be the tip of the iceberg is some statement for a Chinese paper. Just last week they could have been arrested for spreading false rumors. SCMP may be based in Hong Kong, but it is owned by Alibaba.

Today’s numbers:

• 20,670 cases (was 17,480 yesterday)

• 427 deaths (was 362 yesterday)

• Mortality rate for city of Wuhan has reached 4.9%. Mortality rate for Hubei province is 3.1%.
– Mortality rate is predicted by doctors to drop because extra medical attention is available, but that extra threatens to be overwhelmed right away. Shortages of beds, equipment, test kits, protective clothing etc.

• New cases in Hubei province reach record high

• First death in Hong Kong, first case in Belgium

• 171,329 cases under observation, up 18,629 overnight, along with 23,214 suspected cases. (These are very fluid numbers)

 

 

 

 

“The latest figures come as the number of daily casualties – and levels of global fear – rise sharply.”

China Death Toll Hits 427 As New Cases In Hubei Increase By Record High (SCMP)

Health authorities in Hubei announced on Tuesday that coronavirus fatalities in the province had risen to 414 after 64 deaths were reported overnight – yet another daily record. In figures current as of midnight on Monday, the health commission of Hubei also reported 2,345 new cases of infection. Of those, 1,242 were reported in Wuhan, the province’s capital and epicentre of the deadly contagion, also known as 2019-nCoV. There have been 425 deaths caused by the virus in mainland China and one in the Philippines. The latest figures come as the number of daily casualties – and levels of global fear – rise sharply.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, America’s leading public health institute, on Monday defended what it called “aggressive actions” it is taking to control the US spread of the coronavirus. These include tough warnings against travelling to China and mandatory federal quarantines for those arriving from the Wuhan area where most of the cases come from. Beijing has criticised the US steps. Meanwhile, the economic fallout from the virus continued amid growing concern that global growth could suffer. CNBC reported Monday that Goldman Sachs was cancelling its annual partner meeting in New York this week over concern that Asia-based partners wouldn’t be able to travel.

The US Department of Health and Human Services notified Congress that it may need to tap some US$136 million to combat the outbreak. On other economic fronts, oil fell to its lowest level in over a year during the US trading day Monday on declining Chinese demand.

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Apparently, Xi has punished over 400 “servants” for failure. When’s his turn?

Coronavirus: China Admits ‘Shortcomings And Deficiencies’ (BBC)

China’s top leadership has admitted “shortcomings and deficiencies” in the country’s response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The Politburo Standing Committee said the national emergency management system had to improve. A crackdown on wildlife markets, where the virus emerged, has been ordered. [..] Chinese television early on Tuesday local time reported new figures from Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, adding another 64 fatalities and 2,345 more cases. The number of deaths in China, excluding Hong Kong, now exceeds the 349 killed on the mainland in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-03.


Reports of the standing committee meeting, chaired by President Xi Jinping, were carried by the official Xinhua news agency. It said lessons had to be learned from what had been a “big test” of China’s governance system. “In response to the shortcomings and deficiencies that were exposed responding to this epidemic, we must improve our national emergency management system and improve our abilities in handling urgent and dangerous tasks,” the report said. One area to be tackled is the trade in illegal wildlife, which should be “resolutely banned”, while supervision of markets should be strengthened. It is thought a market in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province was the source of the viral outbreak. On Monday, a study by a Chinese virologist said bats were the likely source.

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Any way, Xi and the CCP have seen enough. I see everyone talk about that new hospital built in 5 minutes, but with 18,269 added to observation alone in one night, maybe that focus is misplaced.

Chinese Military Takes Control Of Medical Supplies In Wuhan (SCMP)

China has deployed hundreds of military officers to control the flow of medical and essential supplies in Wuhan, ground zero of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, state media and sources said. A People’s Liberation Army logistics team of 260 officers, with 130 military trucks, started delivering basic supplies on Sunday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. It said they delivered 200 tonnes of supplies to supermarkets in the Hubei province city of 11 million people on the first day. The team is made up of officers from the PLA’s airborne troops and air force stationed at the Wuhan garrison, and ground force troops from local military academies.


The logistics operation began the same day as 1,400 medical personnel from the PLA were sent to staff the first completed temporary hospital in Wuhan. The Huoshenshan hospital, which was built from scratch in eight days in response to the crisis and will be controlled by the military, was due to open on Monday. A defence ministry statement said the medical staff deployment had been personally approved by President Xi Jinping. A source close to the PLA, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the logistics team was there to make sure donations to charity organisations like the Red Cross Society reached their intended recipients. “The Beijing leadership realised that almost all the donation points in Hubei and Wuhan have had delivery problems, that there are some opportunists using this crisis to make money,” the military source said.

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“Testing kits are in short supply, meaning only the ‘fortunate’ who test positive are admitted to hospital for treatment…”

“A doctor at the Union Hospital in Wuhan, who declined to be identified, said staff could only test about 100 patients a day, and they had to wait 48 hours for the results.”

Coronavirus Tally In Epicentre Wuhan May Be ‘Just The Tip Of The Iceberg’ (SCMP)

The official number of coronavirus cases in Wuhan might not reflect the true scale of the crisis as there may be many patients who are undiagnosed and not reported, medical experts said. Wuhan – the city of 11 million people where the deadly virus outbreak began in December – has so far reported more than 5,000 confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like illness, or about one-third of the total number across mainland China. But some medical experts have expressed concern that the real number could be much higher because cases are only classified as confirmed once a patient has twice tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus. Given that there is also a shortage of coronavirus testing kits, the figure could be much lower than it actually is.

Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert from Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the official tally in Wuhan could be “just the tip of the iceberg” because it only reflected the acute cases where patients were admitted to hospital. “There are many community cases that remain undiagnosed – unlike in Hong Kong, where cases are more carefully handled, including the mild ones. Of the 15 confirmed cases [in Hong Kong], 10 of [the patients] didn’t even need to be put on oxygen,” Hui said. “So we’re talking about different denominators here. For an actual picture, one usually has to wait until after the outbreak settles for a general population, zero-prevalence study to be carried out – where blood tests would reflect the number of positive cases containing the antibody without presenting the symptoms,” Hui said.

[..] A doctor at the Union Hospital in Wuhan, who declined to be identified, said staff could only test about 100 patients a day, and they had to wait 48 hours for the results. “When the National Health Commission announces the numbers, they’re already two days old,” the doctor said. “We also have to turn away patients with mild symptoms, knowing that many of them will return later [when their condition worsens]. But we don’t have the space in the testing centre, or the hospital beds.” [..] “There have also been many patients who died of undifferentiated respiratory and undiagnosed pneumonia symptoms in Wuhan since December – before the virus testing kits were made available,” Tsang said.

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This is what worries the experts. Any mutation can mean a more infectious and deadly virus.

‘Striking’ Coronavirus Mutations Found Within One Family Cluster (SCMP)

Chinese scientists say they have detected “striking” mutations in a new coronavirus that may have occurred during transmission between family members. While the effects of the mutations on the virus are not known, they do have the potential to alter the way the virus behaves. Researchers studying a cluster of infections within a family in the southern province of Guangdong said the genes of the virus went through some significant changes as it spread within the family. Viruses mutate all the time, but most changes are synonymous or “silent”, having little effect on the way the virus behaves. Others, known as nonsynonymous substitutions, can alter biological traits, allowing them to adapt to different environments.

Two nonsynonymous changes took place in the viral strains isolated from the family, according to a new study by Professor Cui Jie and colleagues at the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai. This case indicated “viral evolution may have occurred during person-to-person transmission”, they wrote in the paper published in the journal National Science Review on January 29. “Close monitoring of the virus’s mutation, evolution and adaptation is needed,” they added. Cui’s team also detected a total of 17 nonsynonymous mutations from cases around the country between December 30 and late January, they wrote.

[..] theoretically, mutations can make recovered patients sick again and cheat existing detection methods because they target only a small segment of the viral genome. A study led by University of Minnesota researcher Li Fang predicted that a single mutation at a specific spot in the genome could significantly increase the virus’s ability to bind with cells on the surface of the human respiratory system, according to their paper published in the Journal of Virology on January 29.

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Lovely. Now we have a 2 week incubation time and 5 days on surfaces.

Coronavirus Found On Doorknob Of Infected Patient (ZH)

Until now, the prevailing conventional wisdom was that China’s coronavirus epidemic, which has spread to over 20,600 people around the globe as of February 3, did so by air or, according to some recent and unconfirmed speculation, human feces. That may be about to change. According to the Global Times, new ways of transmitting the coronavirus have been reported, and virus nucleic acid has been detected outside human bodies, sparking public fears that the virus could be transmitted in unknown and undetected ways. Concerns emerged after scientists found coronavirus nucleic acid on the doorknob of a confirmed Guangzhou-based patient’s house, the first case of novel coronavirus detected outside the human body, Guangzhou Daily reported Monday. The finding was confirmed by China’s Health Commission, which said on Monday that the coronavirus can survive for five days maximum on smooth surfaces under suitable circumstances.


That would mean that mobile phone screens, computer keyboards, faucets and other household objects may indirectly transmit the virus, experts said. A man from Northeast China’s Jilin Province, who was confirmed with coronavirus infection on Monday, shared his experience, saying he had used the same microphone with another confirmed patient during a meeting in January. In another case, a 40-year-old man from North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, who lives upstairs of a confirmed patient, was also diagnosed with coronavirus infection on Saturday. Aside from respiratory droplets and contact transmissions, the person has no clear contact histories with people from other cities, patients, or wild animals and has never been to a market, according to the local health authority on Sunday.

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”..what we are witnessing is essentially a breakdown in government and keeping accurate statistics is a very minor part of their priorities right now.”

“This is only going to get worse,” Chang concluded, adding the virus will likely not be contained until “April or May.”

Gordon Chang: Chinese Authorities Falsifying Coronavirus Death Toll (SAC)

Local Chinese authorities have just lost the ability to pick up corpses due to a breakdown in government,” said Gordon Chang, a well known expert on China on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “So really what we are having right now is, they are completely overwhelmed,” Chang added. “They are not able to keep accurate statistics. So what we are witnessing is essentially a breakdown in government and keeping accurate statistics is a very minor part of their priorities right now.” Chang said that while he understands the preventative measure, he believes the quarantine has “made the problem worse.” “I can understand why they want to quarantine but remember, the Wuhan mayor said about 5 million people from his city left before the quarantine was imposed,” he said.


“Also right now the quarantine has aggravated a problem and that is [that] people can’t get to hospitals, so they are at home…they are dying.” “They are infecting other people in their households because they are not, in a sense, quarantined from wives, husbands, brothers, sisters,” he continued. “The quarantine has made the problem worse. It’s also created panic. That panic has had consequences on, for instance, social cohesion which is absolutely necessary if you want to beat an epidemic.” “It’s not just Wuhan,” he said. “Many Virologists think that [conditions in] Wuhan will be duplicated in cities like Shanghai, maybe even Beijing. Clearly there is fear everywhere throughout China right now.” “This is only going to get worse,” Chang concluded, adding the virus will likely not be contained until “April or May.”

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Releasing a virus to hide economic issues seems a bit far-fetched for now. Not impossible, but we’d like to see some proof.

Crisis-O-Rama (Jim Kunstler)

[..] there’s also a theory that the Coronavirus affords a cover for cascading failures in China’s corrupt and shifty banking system. The country had already stepped across some frontiers in demographics, energy consumption, and industrial growth that were shoving it toward contraction for the first time in two generations. Coronavirus has shut down a lot of production in big things like cars and big-little things like cell phones, and supply lines are shutting down to world markets. This amounts to the first big test of the integrated global economy, as well as the world’s debt-saturated business model. When a lot of parties and counterparties can’t pay each other because their revenue flows are cut off, the securities, currencies, equities, and other abstract representations of wealth go south.

The US and Europe are no better positioned for a crisis in their banking arrangements, and confidence is starting to crack. Both economic mega-regions have relied on central banking hocus-pocus to prop up stock markets and maintain the illusion that the logic of bonds still applies. The first thing to go moneywise in a contracting financial system is the magic of compound interest. The US Federal Reserve has been massively gaming the Repo markets — overnight lending that uses bonds as collateral — since September, raising suspicions that more than one of its “primary dealer” banks are insolvent. Juicing them with “liquidity” is like painting over sheetrock infested with black mold. Looks good for a week or so, and then you’re in intensive care.

Nobody knows yet what the effect of Britain’s escape from the EU will do to the Union’s remainers, but Europe’s bonded debt arrangements are even dodgier than America’s, since there is absolutely no EU central control of each member’s fiscal affairs.

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I kid you not, the Guardian of all outlets has the gall to run a story supporting Julian Assange by a guy named Roy Greenslade. He even quotes editor Kathy Viner, who all but tightened the noose around Julian’s neck along with writer Luke Harding, but now says:

“State power should never be used to suppress the actions of whistleblowers and investigative journalists pursuing stories that are clearly in the public interest. The US extradition case against Julian Assange is a troubling attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know.“

It was the Guardian’s stories on Assange through time that were a troubling attack on press freedom. If you still keep your subscription to them after this, you are lost.

Press Freedom Is At Risk If We Allow Julian Assange’s Extradition (G.)

Later this month, a journalist will appear at a London court hearing in which he faces being extradited to the United States to spend the rest of his life in prison. The 18 charges against him are the direct result of his having revealed a host of secrets, many of them related to the US prosecution of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They included the “collateral murder” video which showed a US helicopter crew shooting 18 people in Baghdad in 2007, including two Reuters war correspondents, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Among the files were thousands of military dispatches and diplomatic cables that enabled people in scores of countries to perceive the relationships between their governments and the US.

They also showed the way in which American diplomats sought to gather personal information about two UN secretary generals. Unsurprisingly, the revelations were gratefully published and broadcast by newspapers and media outlets across the world. “Scoop” is far too mundane a term to describe the staggering range of disclosures. By any journalistic standard, it was a breathtaking piece of reporting, which earned the journalist more than a dozen awards.

So, you might think that this press freedom hero, now incarcerated in Belmarsh prison, would be enjoying supportive banner headlines in Britain’s newspapers ahead of his case. Thus far, however, coverage of his plight has been muted. Why? The answer is that our hero is none other than Julian Assange, the man who skipped bail to avoid an extradition order to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he denies, and took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years until police were allowed to enter and arrest him last April. Many falsehoods were told about Assange during his time inside the embassy, including bizarre stories about his smearing faeces on the walls, ruining the floors by skateboarding and torturing a cat.

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It’s really a shame that the term “tall-building syndromw” was already taken by another phenomenon.

2019 Was Record-Breaking Year For Supertall Skyscrapers (DeZeen)

A record 26 towers over 300 metres were completed in 2019 according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, while there was a drop in the number of 200-metre-tall buildings completed. Of the 26 new supertall towers the 530-metre-high Tianjin CTF Finance Centre by SOM is the tallest. It is the seventh tallest skyscraper in the world, along with its sister tower the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre. The record-number of supertall skyscrapers in 2019 beat the previous year’s 18 supertall towers, which was also a record at the time. Following the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, the second tallest building completed in 2019 was the RMJM-designed Lakhta Centre in Russia. At 462 metres high it is currently the tallest building in Europe.


Lakhta Centre, Russia, by RMJM and Gorproject

Algeria set the record for the tallest building on the African continent with the 265-metre-high Great Mosque of Algiers, or Djamaa el Djazaïr. Designed by China State Construction Engineering, the mosque also has the world’s tallest minaret. Another notable supertall was the Exchange 106 Tower in Kuala Lumpar. The £7.6 billion project stalled during the Malaysia Development Berhad embezzlement scandal. At just over 445 metres it was the fourth tallest to complete last year. Overall there was over a 13 per cent drop in the number of buildings completed that were over 200 metres. In 2019 there were 126 of these skyscrapers built compared to 146 in 2018. The CTBUH report suggested this was due to the lag from projects cancelled during the 2008 financial crash, and not a result of more recent global events.

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Hard to believe in many ways. Robby Mook? Why not, and next you’re bringing back Oliver North?!

Unprecedented Cybersecurity Measures To Safeguard Iowa Caucus Results (DMR)

Both parties in Iowa and their app and web development vendors partnered last fall with Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy Project to develop strategies and systems to protect results and deal with any misinformation that’s reported on caucus night. They worked with campaign experts Robby Mook and Matt Rhodes — as well as experts in cybersecurity, national security, technology and election administration — and simulated the different ways that things could go wrong on caucus night. Mook, 2016 campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, and Rhodes, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, helped develop a public-service video to alert campaigns to the warning signs of hacking and misinformation.

It was released in 2018, days after a federal indictment detailed how Russian intelligence operatives hacked Clinton’s presidential campaign, the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016. According to the indictment stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference, Russian officers targeted state and county offices in several states, including Iowa, to steal voter data and other information. They were successful in Illinois, but not in Iowa. Ever since, both parties in Iowa have been working to safeguard caucus results and held training sessions to assure caucus leaders know about heightened security measures. Party officials acknowledge the 2020 election cycle poses a heightened threat of disinformation. But “until Mitch McConnell decides to act on the bipartisan-passed House of Representatives election security bills sitting on his desk, cybersecurity prevention will continue to play a growing role in our elections,” Price said.

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