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Daily Archives: March 24th, 2020


Again TOTUS is concerned about his image and not the health of the American Citizens. Anyone in his administration who tells the truth is on the short list to be dismissed. His stream of misinformation is dangerous. MA
HuffPost

‘Where Is Dr. Fauci?’ Key Expert Missing From Coronavirus Briefing For Second Day

HuffPost

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s touchstones for scientific wisdom amid the spread of COVID-19, was absent from the White House’s daily briefing for the second day in a row on Monday, prompting many to wonder where the nation’s top infectious disease expert was as the nation reels from the rising pandemic.

President Donald Trump spoke about the administration’s efforts to rein in the outbreak and provide personal protective equipment to some hospitals already straining under an influx of sick patients. But while the president repeated platitudes about the country soon being “stronger than ever before,” there was limited medical advice given.

Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has for many become a beacon of truth and straight talk as coronavirus continues to spread around the country, often walking back unfounded claims made by the president (the timeline of a coronavirus vaccine, for example, or the growth rate of infections).

But Fauci’s microphone has also reportedly drawn the president’s ire. The New York Times reported Monday that Trump has become frustrated with Fauci’s blunt manner and his contradicting of White House statements.

The National Institutes of Health said Monday that Fauci was still a regular part of the White House briefing schedule.

“He has been at the White House today, in fact,” a spokesperson for the NIH told HuffPost. “They are doing a rotating cast for the briefings.”

When asked about reports that Trump had become frustrated with Fauci’s no-nonsense approach to his warnings about the threat of coronavirus, the NIH directed questions to the White House.

The Trump administration did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Fauci’s appearances.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus as Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (Photo: Alex Brandon/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus as Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (Photo: Alex Brandon/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, spoke about the infection rates in states around the country, saying each state would have its own disease curve to deal with. But she declined to answer repeated questions on if she agreed with Trump’s assessments that the country could soon go back to business as usual or about what kind of timeline for a return to normality that Americans should expect.

“What the president has asked us to do is assemble all the data and give us our best medical recommendation,” she said. “We’re pulling all of the data pieces right now. I will never speculate on data. I will have to see that data.”

Fauci gave an in-depth interview to Science this weekend and addressed how he had managed to remain at the White House when many, many others who have stood in Trump’s path have been fired for disagreements.

“Even though we disagree on some things, he listens,” Fauci told the scientific journal. “He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”

Trump did say Monday that he had “learned a lot” from Fauci and Birx.

“I can say I’m a student, you’re a student, we’re all in this together,” Trump said. “I’ve learned a lot from Deborah, I’ve learned a lot from Tony, from a lot of people.”

When pressed about where Fauci was on Monday, the president pledged he would be “back up very soon.”

“I was just with him for a long time,” Trump said. “He understand this is a tremendous test to our country. It was nobody’s fault; it just happened. This horrible virus came from nowhere. He fully understands that.”

“He’s a good man” the president continued. “I like Dr. Fauci a lot.”

Trump said repeatedly he was hoping to “open up” the country and its foundering economy “a lot sooner” than people were expecting. The Washington Post reported Monday that the White House was weighing calls from GOP lawmakers and advisers to scale back social distancing steps in order to kickstart the financial markets despite warnings from public health officials.

When asked what public health officials thought of the plan, including Fauci, Trump said they didn’t disagree with him, but he also alluded that measures called for by the medical community were at odds with what he considers best for the economy.

“If it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s shut down the entire world,” Trump said, noting earlier: “I’m not looking at months. We’re going to be opening up our country. … You can’t keep it closed for years. OK? This is going away. We’re going to win the battle.”

 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Stable Genius again concerned about his own image instead of the whats good for the country ergo the voters. MA

Jim Tankersley, Maggie Haberman and Roni Caryn Rabin-The New York Times

7 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — As the United States entered Week 2 of trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus by shuttering large swaths of the economy, President Trump, Wall Street executives and many conservative economists began questioning whether the government had gone too far and should instead lift restrictions that are already inflicting deep pain on workers and businesses.

Consensus continues to grow among government leaders and health officials that the best way to defeat the virus is to order nonessential businesses to close and residents to confine themselves at home. Britain, after initially resisting such measures, essentially locked down its economy on Monday, as did the governors of Virginia, Michigan and Oregon. More than 100 million Americans will soon be subject to stay-at-home orders.

Relaxing those restrictions could significantly increase the death toll from the virus, public health officials warn. Many economists say there is no positive trade-off — resuming normal activity prematurely would only strain hospitals and result in even more deaths, while exacerbating a recession that has most likely already arrived.

The economic shutdown is causing damage that is only beginning to appear in official data. Morgan Stanley researchers said on Monday that they now expected the economy to shrink by an annualized rate of 30 percent in the second quarter of this year, and the unemployment rate to jump to nearly 13 percent. Both would be records, in modern economic statistics.

Officials have said the federal government’s initial 15-day period for social distancing is vital to slowing the spread of the virus, which has already infected more than 40,000 people in the United States. But Mr. Trump and a chorus of conservative voices have begun to suggest that the shock to the economy could hurt the country more than deaths from the virus.

On Monday, Mr. Trump said his administration would reassess whether to keep the economy shuttered after the initial 15-day period ends next Monday, saying it could extend another week and that certain parts of the country could reopen sooner than others, depending on the extent of infections.

“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Mr. Trump said during a briefing at the White House. “America will, again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. Lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

Similar views are emanating from parts of corporate America, where companies are struggling with a shutdown that has emptied hotels, airplanes, malls and restaurants and sent the stock market tumbling so fast that automatic circuit breakers to halt trading have been tripped repeatedly. Stocks have collapsed about 34 percent since the coronavirus spread globally — the steepest plunge in decades — erasing three years of gains under Mr. Trump.

Lloyd Blankfein, the former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, wrote on Twitter that “crushing the economy” had downsides and suggested that “within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.”

Even Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, whose state has emerged as the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has begun publicly floating the notion that, at some point, states will need to restart economic activity and debating how that should unfold.

“You can’t stop the economy forever,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news conference on Monday. “So we have to start to think about does everyone stay out of work? Should young people go back to work sooner? Can we test for those who had the virus, resolved, and are now immune and can they start to go back to work?”

Any push to loosen the new limits on commerce and movement would contradict the consensus advice of public health officials, risking a surge in infections and deaths from the virus. Many economists warn that abruptly reopening the economy could backfire, overwhelming an already stressed health care system, sowing uncertainty among consumers, and ultimately dealing deeper, longer-lasting damage to growth.

The recent rise of cases in Hong Kong, after there had been an easing of the spread of the virus, is something of an object lesson about how ending strict measures too soon can have dangerous consequences. Yet places like China, which took the idea of lockdown to the extreme, have managed to flatten the curve.

“You can’t call off the best weapon we have, which is social isolation, even out of economic desperation, unless you’re willing to be responsible for a mountain of deaths,” said Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Thirty days makes more sense than 15 days. Can’t we try to put people’s lives first for at least a month?”

For the last four days, some White House officials, including those working for Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, have been raising questions about when the government should start easing restrictions.

Among the options being discussed are narrowing restrictions on economic activity to target specific age groups or locations, as well as increasing the numbers of people who can be together in groups, said one official, who cautioned that the discussions were preliminary.

Health officials inside the administration have mostly opposed that idea, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an infectious diseases expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, who has said in interviews that he believes it will be “at least” several more weeks until people can start going about their lives in a more normal fashion.

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the United States had learned from other countries like China and South Korea, which were able to control the spread of the virus through strict measures and widespread testing.

“Those were eight- to 10-week curves,” she said on Monday, adding that “each state and each hot spot in the United States is going to be its own curve because the seeds came in at different times.”

Dr. Birx added that the response “has to be very tailored geographically and it may have to be tailored by age group, really understanding who’s at the greatest risk and understanding how to protect them.”

Other advisers, including members of Mr. Trump’s economic team, have said repeatedly in recent months that the virus does not itself pose an extraordinary threat to Americans’ lives or the economy, likening it to a common flu season. Some advisers believe the White House overreacted to criticism of Mr. Trump’s muted actions to deal with the emerging pandemic and gave health experts too large a sway in policymaking.

On Monday, Mr. Trump echoed those concerns, saying that things like the flu or car accidents posed as much of a threat to Americans as the coronavirus and that the response to those was far less draconian.

“We have a very active flu season, more active than most. It’s looking like it’s heading to 50,000 or more deaths,” he said, adding: “That’s a lot. And you look at automobile accidents, which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about. That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody no more driving of cars. So we have to do things to get our country open.”

Trump has watched as a record economic expansion and booming stock market that served as the basis of his re-election campaign evaporated in a matter of weeks. The president became engaged with the discussion on Sunday evening, after watching television reports and hearing from various business officials and outside advisers who were agitating for an end to the shutdown.

Casey Mulligan, a University of Chicago professor who served as chief economist for Mr. Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on Monday that efforts to shut down economic activity to slow the virus would be more damaging than doing nothing at all. He suggested a middle ground, one that weighs the costs and benefits of saving additional lives.

“It’s a little bit like, when you discover sex can be dangerous, you don’t come out and say, there should be no more sex,” Mr. Mulligan said. “You should give people guidance on how to have sex less dangerously.”

Many other economists say the restrictions in activity now are helping the economy in the long run, by beginning to suppress the infection rate.

“The idea that there’s a trade-off between health and economics right now is likely badly mistaken,” said Jason Furman of Harvard University, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. “The thing damaging our economy is a virus. Everyone who is trying to stop that virus is working to limit the damage it does to our economy and help our eventual rebound. The choice may well be taking pretty extreme steps now or taking very extreme steps later.”

Mr. Furman and other economists have pushed Mr. Trump and Congress to ease the economic pain by offering trillions of dollars in government assistance to affected workers and businesses. As lawmakers tried to negotiate an agreement on such a bill Monday, an influential business lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said it supported restrictions on the economy to slow the virus.

“Our view is, when it comes to how you contain the virus, you do everything the public health professionals say to contain the virus,” said Neil Bradley, the chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer.

The president’s suggestion that the response may be an overreaction plays into doubts already held by some Americans suffering the economic consequences. Among the self-quarantined, some have questioned the purpose of isolating themselves if the virus is already circulating widely. Students sent home from college have wondered whether they are more likely to infect higher-risk older adults at home.

Dan Patrick, Texas’ lieutenant governor, said Monday on Fox News that he was in the “high-risk pool” but would be willing to risk his life to preserve the country for his children and grandchildren.

“We are going to be in a total collapse, recession, depression, collapse in our society,” said Mr. Patrick, who turns 70 next week. “If this goes on another several months, there won’t be any jobs to come back to for many people.”

But public health officials stress that there would be consequences to ending the measures too quickly. In a tweet on Monday morning, Thomas P. Bossert, the former homeland security adviser who for weeks has been vocal about the need for the U.S. government to take stricter measures, said: “Sadly, the numbers now suggest the U.S. is poised to take the lead in #coronavirus cases. It’s reasonable to plan for the US to top the list of countries with the most cases in approximately 1 week. This does NOT make social intervention futile. It makes it imperative!”

Mr. Trump’s interest in potentially easing some of the restrictions met with pushback from one of his close allies, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who himself self-quarantined after a potential exposure. “President Trump’s best decision was stopping travel from China early on,” Mr. Graham tweeted on Monday. “I hope we will not undercut that decision by suggesting we back off aggressive containment policies within the United States.”

Health officials remain largely united in defense of sustaining the restrictions.

“There is a way to think through how and when to start reopening our economy and society, and it’s important to get this right,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, pointed to the experience of countries like Italy, which did not institute aggressive measures to stop the spread of the virus and saw infection rates and deaths soar as a result.

The United States will need “a couple weeks” to see positive effects from its measures, Dr. Inglesby said, and abandoning them would mean “patients will get sick in extraordinary numbers all over the country, far beyond what the U.S. health care system will bear.”

Reporting was contributed by Carl Hulse, David E. Sanger, Amy Harmon and Eduardo Porter.

Carl Hulse, David E. Sanger, Amy Harmon and Eduardo Porter contributed report

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Online scams that are targeted to major news events have been around for more than a decade. With the constant news cycle on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), fraudsters have been focusing their attention wholly on this topic and finding new ways to gather secure data from scared consumers.

You should be highly skeptical of any emails and websites that claim to provide information or goods related to the ongoing pandemic. Emails and websites are promising vital information about keeping you safe from the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, a flood of them are scams that push malware, ransomware, and disinformation, and attempt to steal passwords and personal information. The key fact to confirm is the primary source of those communications. Never take source claims at face value. One of the most reliable sources for legitimate information the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Communications from local health departments can also be helpful, but only when the emails or websites can be confirmed as coming from a legitimate agency.

What You Can Do?


To avoid these schemes, please observe the following best practices:

  • Do not click on links or attachments from sources that you do not recognize
  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email or the phone
  • Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names
  • Inspect URLs (the address of the website) carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not impostor sites
  • Do not try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive
  • Do not offer any sensitive information to someone who calls you, even if you think you recognize them as a friend or family

Lastly, if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is not true. Products that claim to provide personal health protection against the novel coronavirus are likely untrue or outdated (related to an old strain of coronavirus). For helpful resources regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 fact page.

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