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  1. #3046

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    I guess, as a government agency, we are stuck with the concept of that position being a "political appointee". But it is one of MANY government appointments (compare with the Supreme Court and a million other examples) in which one's politics should be checked at the door when the appointee shows up for the first day on the job. This guy is not there at all. With that one press conference, he showed me that he might be even more dangerous than Dr. Birx. She has at least on occasion tried to give a different opinion from that of the president. Like Dr. Redfield, Dr. Birx has been far too willing to bend to Trump's wishes. If Biden is elected, I think it is safe to assume both of them will be looking for work by January 21.


  2. #3047
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    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    A Conan writer shares her experiences and emotions with losing her politically conservative mother to COVID in an interview with him.

    Last edited by James7; Yesterday at 07:15 AM.
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  3. #3048

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    CDC will issue new guidance on school openings, Pence says, after criticism from Trump
    John Wagner
    July 8, 2020 at 2:34 p.m. EDT

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue new guidance on school openings, Vice President Pence said Wednesday, hours after President Trump criticized earlier recommendations as “very impractical” and vowed to meet with the agency himself.

    “We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open,” Pence said. “I think that every American, every American knows that we can safely reopen our schools. . . . We want, as the president said this morning, to make sure that what we’re doing doesn’t stand in the way of doing that.”

    “I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump wrote. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

    In May, the CDC recommended a raft of social distancing policies for schools: desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff and daily temperature screenings for everyone.

    Appearing alongside Pence at Wednesday’s briefing, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said that he recognized that “there is a variety of unique circumstances for different schools”and that the additional guidance would reflect that.

    “It would be personally very disappointing to me and, I know, my agency if we saw that individuals were using these guidelines as a rationale for not reopening our schools,” he added.

    The announcement about additional CDC guidance came as Trump and other officials made a concerted effort Wednesday to portray reopening schools as key to the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

    “It’s absolutely essential that we get our kids back into classroom for in-person learning,” Pence said at the outset of the task force briefing at which a parade of other officials argued that the health risks to children were outweighed by the disadvantages of keeping them at home, including stunted academic growth.

    During the briefing, Pence, who leads the task force, struggled at times to explain what the president meant by his tweets, including another on Wednesday morning in which he threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that refuse to open their campuses.

    The far more dominant message was that the cost of keeping schools closed is greater than allowing them to open.

    “We can’t let our kids fall behind academically,” Pence said.

    Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia argued that reopening schools was important so that parents can schedule their workdays “in a predictable manner,” while Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said “reopening schools safely may be the single most important thing that we can do to support healthy families during this pandemic.”

    “Reopening schools comes with some risk, but there are risks to keeping kids at home, too,” he said. “At home, kids aren’t benefiting from social stimulation. They may be falling behind in learning. They may be more vulnerable to abuse that goes unreported by the mandatory reporters in our school system. They may not be getting special services.”

    Redfield: “Clearly, the ability of this virus to cause significant illness in children is very, very, very, very limited,” he said. Perhaps, but the children don't exist in a vacuum with no adults in a functioning school
    Obviously, there is no way schools can reopen under CDC recommendations. There is no way I could teach a class of 30+ students, keeping them 6 feet away from each other at all times, and have them see the board/effectively monitoring their work and activities. It is just laughable. If you to to 50% in each room, perhaps, but where do you get the other space and teachers for the other students. And you can't do half via zoom one week and the other 1/2 in class at the same time. I suppose theoretically it could work, but the practical implications are staggering. Perhaps we train the best student in each class to teach the subject? Because as the adults become ill, who will be there? While the students might be possibly less impacted, the teachers and support staff have a lot more potential issues. Just giving temperature screenings to the 1300+ students as they arrive would be staggering in terms of time. How do you stagger start times? Do you stagger end times? How does this affect buses? And where will the additional funds come from to make this work?

    There may be important implications and issues to discuss, and they should be discussed intelligently and rationally, but a quick "slap this together" and put on a happy face does nobody any good. If we had control over the situation, as say, in NZ or Denmark, this could work. Unfortunately, this is part of the larger problem when so many refuse to take even the most basic steps to try to get a handle on this virus's spread in the United States. This is just another situation when people are so myopic that they cannot or will not recognize the interconnections of behavior and our society's overall function. I know that if I were still in the profession, I would be thinking long and hard about this situation, and not because I didn't want to teach the kids, but because I would have to be evaluating my own risks being surrounded by so many people/students. And in elementary school, the issues (it would seem) would be magnified.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  4. #3049

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    CDC feels pressure from Trump as rift grows over coronavirus response
    Lena H. Sun and
    Josh Dawsey
    July 9, 2020 at 7:02 p.m. EDT

    [BThe June 28 email to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was ominous: A senior adviser to a top Health and Human Services Department official accused the CDC of “undermining the President” by putting out a report about the potential risks of the coronavirus to pregnant women.

    The adviser, Paul Alexander, criticized the agency’s methods and said its warning to pregnant women “reads in a way to frighten women . . . as if the President and his administration can’t fix this and it is getting worse.” [/b]

    As the country enters a frightening phase of the pandemic with new daily cases surpassing 57,000 on Thursday, the CDC, the nation’s top public health agency, is coming under intense pressure from President Trump and his allies, who are downplaying the dangers in a bid to revive the economy ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. In a White House guided by the president’s instincts, rather than by evidence-based policy, the CDC finds itself forced constantly to backtrack or sidelined from pivotal decisions.

    The latest clash between the White House and its top public health advisers erupted Wednesday, when the president slammed the agency’s recommendation that schools planning to reopen should keep students’ desks six feet apart, among other steps to reduce infection risks. In a tweet, Trump — who has demanded schools at all levels hold in-person classes this fall — called the advice “very tough & expensive.”

    “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Trump tweeted Wednesday. Within hours, Vice President Pence had asserted the agency would release new guidance next week.

    “The president said today we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence told reporters. “And that’s the reason next week the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools.”

    Analysts say the deepening divide is undermining the authority of one of the world’s premier public health agencies, which previously led fights against malaria, smallpox and HIV/AIDS. Amid the worst public health crisis in a century, the CDC has in recent months altered or rescinded recommendations on topics including wearing masks and safely reopening restaurants and houses of worship as a result of conflicts with top administration officials.

    “At a time when our country needs an orchestrated, all-hands-on-deck response, there is simply no hand on the tiller,” said Beth Cameron, former senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council.

    In the absence of strong federal leadership, state and local officials have been left to figure things out for themselves, leading to conflicting messaging and chaotic responses. Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the World Health Organization further undermined efforts to influence global strategies against the coronavirus, including how vaccines will be distributed.

    The CDC, meanwhile, is increasingly isolated — a function both of its growing differences with the White House and of its own significant missteps earlier in the outbreak.

    Those stumbles include the botched rollout of test kits likely contaminated at a CDC lab in late January, which led to critical delays in states’ ability to know where the virus was circulating. And the CDC’s initial decision to test only a narrow set of people gave the virus a head start spreading undetected across the country.

    During a May lunch with Senate Republicans, Trump told the group the CDC “blew it” on the coronavirus test and that he’d installed a team of “geniuses” led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner to handle much of the response, according to two people familiar with the lunch who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    “There is a view the CDC is staffed with ‘deep state’ Democrats that are trying to tweak the administration,” said one adviser who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal private conversations.

    White House officials, who see the president’s reelection prospects tied to economic recovery, also say they’ve been deeply frustrated by what they view as career staffers at the agency determined “to keep things closed,” according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.

    Trump believes the CDC is “ineffective” and a “waste of time” but doesn’t blame CDC Director Robert Redfield and generally likes him, said another official speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He just thinks he is a poor communicator,” the official added.

    Joe Grogan, former head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said Redfield had fans inside the White House who work on “addiction issues, on life issues, on HIV issues,” among other topics.

    But he said Redfield has few political appointees to help him run a complex agency. “How do you run a place like that with . . . [few] appointees?” Grogan asked.

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar called the director “a key scientific guide for the President and his administration, a trusted source for the American people, and a closely engaged partner of state and local governments.”

    But Redfield is not a voice in coronavirus task force meetings, and “is never really in the Oval [Office] with the president,” said another senior administration official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal dynamics.

    Even Redfield’s supporters say he has failed to be an effective advocate for the agency.

    “Bob Redfield’s commitment to public health is completely strong,” said William Schaffner, a veteran infectious-disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. But he said Redfield lacks the standing, deftness and communication capacity to persuade skeptical audiences, including those in the White House, that protecting public health and fostering economic recovery are not opposing goals.

    Redfield, for his part, downplayed Trump’s criticism of the CDC school reopening guidelines after a coronavirus task force briefing Wednesday, saying the agency and the president were “totally aligned.”

    “We’re both trying to open the schools,” he said.

    White House spokesman Judd Deere also disputed big differences, saying in a statement that the White House and the CDC “have been working together in partnership since the very beginning of this pandemic to carry out the President’s highest priority: the health and safety of the American public.

    “The CDC is the nation’s trusted health protection agency and its infectious-disease and public health experts have helped deliver critical solutions to save lives. We encourage all Americans to continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines and use best-practices they have learned, such as social distancing, face coverings, and good hygiene, to maintain public health and continue our Transition to Greatness.”

    But some health experts were indignant the agency had been ordered to rewrite guidance to reopen schools to “make it easier and cost less” — a demand that effectively “turns science on its head,” said Tom Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security.

    “CDC should be giving their best judgments on how to lower risks to make schools safer,” he said. “That’s their job. If they aren’t allowed to do that, the public will lose confidence in the guidance.”


    'Boogeyman where there aren't any'

    The report that drew the email attack, accusing the agency of undermining the president, had provided detailed but incomplete information about pregnancy risks related to the coronavirus. It found pregnant women with covid-19 were more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and to need ventilator support than infected women who are not pregnant.

    The sender, Alexander, a specialist in health research methods, is a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump ally who was recently appointed assistant HHS secretary for public affairs, which includes the CDC.

    The email was directed to Redfield and Caputo.

    Even amid the intense criticism of the agency, the email “crosses the line,” said the official, who was aware of the content.

    Like all of the CDC’s reports, the analysis itself noted several limitations. One key one that researchers acknowledged was that they did not have data to indicate whether the pregnant women were hospitalized because of labor and delivery, or because they had covid-19.

    Administration officials are “seeing political boogeymen where there aren’t any,” the federal health official said, adding that such narratives could further hamper the U.S. response.

    “It could feed the fire to limit the flow of scientific data and communication to the general population,” the official said. “People are getting sick and dying. Can we just focus on the science?”

    Alexander said in his email that the lack of data about why women were hospitalized was a “key issue.”

    “The CDC is undermining the President by what they put out, this is my opinion and sense, and I am reading it and can see the subtle and direct hits,” he wrote.

    Alexander, also a part-time assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, did not respond to emails and telephone calls seeking comment.

    Caputo said in an interview that he agreed with Alexander. The CDC represents itself as the gold standard for public health agencies, he said, “but in the case of pregnancy analysis, it wasn’t even bronze.”

    He called CDC’s track record “spotty” and “questionable,” pointing to Zika diagnostic testing errors in 2016.

    “In many cases over the years, regardless of administration, the CDC has undermined presidents and themselves,” Caputo said, referring to leaked drafts of CDC guidances. “Who says the CDC is the sole font of wisdom when it comes to detecting and fighting deadly pathogens?”

    Experts say that even with some big unanswered questions, the pregnancy findings represent the best available evidence and are important. The lack of data reflects decades of long-neglected national surveillance on pregnancy.

    “I don’t think this is frightening women,” said Denise Jamieson, who heads the obstetrics and gynecology department at Emory University and Emory Healthcare. True, the report “suffers from completeness of data,” she said. But now doctors can be more confident that pregnant women are more likely to have severe disease and use “this really important information” to counsel patients, she said.

    Yasmeen Abutaleb, Alice Crites and John Hudson contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  5. #3050

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    CDC has been basically useless, IMO, everytime Mr Distractor say something mean
    2017 & 2018 Australian Open Champions

  6. #3051

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Bolivia's President Anez has tested positive for coronavirus
    LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia’s President Jeanine Anez said on Thursday she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Anez said in a tweet she was “well” and continuing to work while in isolation. “Together, we will come out of this,” she said. The Bolivian government confirmed that at least seven ministers, including its health minister, had tested positive and were either undergoing treatment or recuperating at home.

    Anez said she had conducted a test given that many of her team had fallen ill. “I feel well, I feel strong, I am going to keep working remotely from my isolation, and I want to thank all the Bolivians who are working to help us in this health crisis,” she said.

    Bolivia is due to hold general elections on Sept. 6. The elections were originally planned for May but delayed due to the pandemic. Political turmoil gripped the country last October when a disputed election led to widespread protests that eventually toppled longtime leftist leader Evo Morales.

    Anez, a conservative former senator, assumed the interim president role in the political vacuum and initially said she would not run for full office, but later threw her hat in the ring. Rival candidate and former President Jorge Tuto Quiroga, who is running again, said it was “indispensable” for Anez to be in full health and working towards the democratic transition.

    Other leaders around the world also have contracted the virus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, spent three days in intensive care sick with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed on Wednesday he had tested positive.

    Bolivia, a landlocked Andean nation of over 11.5 million people has registered more than 42,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,500 deaths and is one of the worst affected countries per capita in the world.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  7. #3052

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    This week, Dr. Redfield has been a total embarrassment. I know I've already harped on this, but of all the things that have changed with this pandemic, the reduction of the CDC to a group catering to the whims of Trump has been perhaps the thing I would have least expected during a pandemic. I would have always expected them to be a major leader and a beacon of rational thinking regardless of whatever Trump would do.

    I'm embarrassed for my country that our foreign friends have to watch how profoundly we have fallen from leader in the world to laughing stock. The CDC is one more shining example.


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