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Public health lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic



A lot has gone wrong during the coronavirus pandemic as the virus spreads through a polarized nation and public health leaders, politicians and elected officials have struggled to respond.

Chronic underfunding of public health at the federal, state and local levels has only worsened the situation. In total, more than 1.1 million people have died from Covid-19 in the United States, and more than 1,000 people die every week.

More than three years after the Trump administration declared the virus a public health emergency in January 2020, the government’s response to the pandemic is now entering a new phase. On Thursday, the Biden administration will allow the emergency to expire, providing a moment to take stock of how the nation has responded to the worst public health crisis in a century.

Here are some lessons from the country’s fight against the virus.

Public health experts say that when dealing with an infectious disease outbreak, communication is not part of the response. This is answer.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that confusing messages can exacerbate the spread of the disease and undermine confidence in public health institutions. But messaging during a pandemic isn’t easy. Science changes often, sometimes from day to day, and the instructions from health officials are to mask or not to mask? — must also change, which can create confusion and distrust.

Experts say the key to success is for public health leaders to captivate their audience by explaining that the advice they give today may change tomorrow, and then admitting that what they said yesterday may not have been correct. .

“When you talk to the public on a daily basis, you can explain these mistakes and what you have learned from them,” the doctor said. Richard E. Better, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Obama administration. “You can own them.”

During the pandemic, the CDC was hampered by outdated data systems and inconsistent data sharing between the federal government, states, and healthcare providers. And unlike the UK and Israel, which have national health systems, the United States does not have a mechanism for the free exchange of data between public health agencies and private providers.

Better and faster data is needed to respond to a rapidly mutating virus that poses different risks to different populations, experts say.

“We were in the awkward position of having to call the UK, Israel or South Africa to find out what was going on – how many people got this new infection, what was the variant of it,” the doctor said. Anthony S. Fauci, who helped lead the pandemic response during the Trump and Biden administrations. “How many people were vaccinated and how did this data affect? We literally had to wait months instead of getting it in real time.”

Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, cited school closures as an example where real-time data could help.

He said some variants of the coronavirus were more deadly to children than others, adding that if officials had access to timely data on the impact of the virus on children, they could tailor school closures to times when students are most at risk.

“We need instant data to know what’s going on,” the doctor said. Osterholm, who advised President Biden’s transition team. “And as conditions change, we must change.”

School closures have been a particularly contentious topic, but many experts now agree that some schools have been closed for too long and that the abrupt removal of millions of children from American classrooms has had a detrimental effect on their emotional and intellectual health.

both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said the pandemic showed that officials should carefully consider school closures and limit them as much as possible. Both said that improving indoor air circulation could be one way to safely reopen schools.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that we’ve been closing schools for much longer than other countries and we’ve had a terrible impact on education levels and we’ve seen test scores go down,” the doctor said. Emanuel, who also advised Mr. Biden’s transition team.

Dr. Fauci said that at the start of the pandemic, “at a point when hospitals were literally a day or two from overflowing,” closing public places like restaurants, bars and schools was important to keep health systems running by slowing the spread of the virus. . .

“But once you limit the acceleration,” he said, “then you need to really look into how we keep kids safe at school.”

In the early months of the pandemic, frontline healthcare workers faced a severe shortage of funds, forcing them to reuse face masks, wear inappropriate personal protective equipment, or go without such equipment at all.

The federal government has substantially expanded its stockpile of pandemic supplies since it gave it the edge in responding to another devastating wave of coronavirus or another virus outbreak that would require similar resources.

Prior to the pandemic, government procurement for the Strategic National Reserve was heavily focused on defense against agents of bioterrorism such as anthrax. In March 2020, there were 13 million N95 masks in stock. As of the beginning of this month, he had 352 million. During the same period, the number of ventilators rose from 12,700 to 150,000.

As a model for responding to future pandemics, experts point to Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine development program. This initiative enabled Americans to obtain effective vaccines in record time. Fauci said because the federal government has been investing in basic scientific research for years.

Federal officials under the Warp Speed ​​program made huge bulk purchases of shots that were still in development. The federal government has funded or supported clinical trials being conducted by Moderna and Pfizer, makers of two widely used coronavirus vaccines. And it has provided experience for companies with clinical research specialists, epidemiologists and budget experts.

Early treatments for the virus, such as hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration without conclusive evidence from large randomized controlled trials, which are considered the gold standard of evidence used by regulators to test drugs and vaccines.

Trials of treatments have stalled due to a lack of funding or participants. Scientists, physicians and federal regulators have relied on foreign data such as the UK study on dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat Covid-19.

“Large randomized trials have been set up in the UK with very vague inclusion criteria, involving thousands of patients,” the doctor said. Emmanuel said. “Within 30 to 60 days, we learned that steroids do save people who have been hospitalized or very sick.”

Dr. Walid F. Gellad, a drug safety expert at the University of Pittsburgh, pointed to ongoing litigation is being conducted by British researchers who he says will soon produce results on the effectiveness of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral for Covid-19, which is widely used in the United States.

“We didn’t have the infrastructure to collect the data we needed to make decisions,” he said of the US response to the pandemic.

Vaccines have proven to be the most effective treatment against hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19. But according to public health experts, attention to vaccination often overshadows efforts to develop and implement treatments. Antibody-based drugs critical to immunocompromised Americans are no longer approved for use by the FDA, and experts say more antivirals are needed.

The Biden administration has placed a lot of emphasis on rolling out booster shots, which have steadily declined since the initial round was authorized in the fall of 2021. But other strategies aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, such as improving indoor air quality, have received support. comparatively little attention.

“Myopically focusing only on vaccines, to the exclusion of other areas that are actually lightweight fruits for a much better answer, is like saying you are going to build a house with one wall or no roof,” the doctor said. Luciana Borio, former FDA acting chief scientist who advised Mr. Biden’s transition team.


Drama “Debt Ceiling” Is Performing Arts



As if the planet isn’t on fire and on the brink of nuclear war, the White House, the Treasury Department, Congress and the press have launched another round of Washington’s favorite parlor game, The Debt Crash!™. voxDylan Matthews explained semi-hidden policy. Both sides need a win, he argues. Nobody has votes. Thus, there is a search for a result that both can live with. President Biden’s immutable demand is for a net increase in the debt ceiling. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is demanding massive cuts in federal spending, to which Biden has no fundamental objections. These goals are not incompatible, which means that both will be achieved. The rest is stagecraft, timing, optics and rotation.

With a recession approaching, a year of spending cuts — on health care, food stamps, unemployment insurance, aid to states and cities — is just the ticket to return the Senate to Mitch McConnell and the presidency to Donald Trump. McCarthy knows this. Biden? Probably. Nose his approval rating hardly better than Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter, perhaps some of the key players on his team are less focused on elections than on preparing for their next job.

Matthews may be right here, but he’s hesitant on some of the other issues outlined in these pages back in January. To recap a few key points: First, the US Treasury is required by law to make payments. The debt ceiling does not cancel this obligation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen does not have discretionary power to withhold payments or choose what to do and what to defer. If the payments stop, she will break the law and her oath. For this she could and should be impeached.

The debt ceiling is also the law. He orders the Treasury Department not to stop paying, but to stop issuing securities above the $31.4 trillion limit. Yellen could also be impeached for ignoring this limit and issuing more securities anyway, which violate Constitution, and it will not continue to pay. But no jury in America will ever reach a guilty verdict, certainly not the US Senate.

You don’t need to break the ceiling either. V Trillion dollar platinum coin will solve the problem – without additional borrowing and without violating the debt limit. Otherwise, will the Federal Reserve pay US Treasury checks if no securities are issued and there are insufficient funds in the Treasury General Account? Will the checks come out?

Maybe! If they did, the returned checks would be returned to the banks, who would know perfectly well that the sovereign US government was the issuer. Will they refuse to credit checks? I doubt it. These checks in limbo would be assets like any other, and excellent collateral for short-term loans.

But suppose the bankers, perhaps following some sort of rule, refused to credit Treasury checks that, because of the debt ceiling, were temporarily unsettled. And suppose it went on for more than a few days. The consequence will be a wave of real defaults—defaults on debt in the private sector. Not the public sector! But business loans, mortgages, car loans and student loans will go unpaid. Who will be hit first? Obviously banks. Even without the mixing of the federal debt ceiling, the US banking sector is not exactly stable right now. Except for a few high-profile cases, the bankers had to be even more suicidal than usual to refuse to credit these “bad” checks.

In short: Biden and Yellen are playing out the debt drama, not because we’re facing some kind of financial Armageddon, but to make a last-minute empty win seem like a big deal. When this happens, all participants will breathe a sigh of relief. Debt Disaster!™ will be packaged and put back on the shelf until impressionable grandchildren come back to visit.

What matters to the economy is that they give McCarthy in budget and appropriations to achieve their small success. For elections, what matters is how deep the cuts go, who suffers, and how those affected respond to the election. It’s a poisoned apple from another children’s story. Just a few stings now could put the Democrats to sleep for 2024 and erase what’s left of Biden’s agenda.

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Prince Harry’s lawyer says British tabloid was spying on an ‘industrial scale’



LONDON (AP) – Britain’s Daily Mirror publisher has apologized for one incident of surveillance of Prince Harry, but refuted his other allegations on Wednesday as a lawsuit over one of Harry’s phone hacking lawsuits began with the prince’s lawyer accusing the paper of illegally collecting information. on an “industrial scale”.

However, admitting that the publisher hired a private eye for a 2004 article titled “Sex on the Beach with Harry” can only give the Duke of Sussex a sense of satisfaction. Since the story in question was not one of nearly 150 that Harry claimed to have originated from the scam, disclosure may have little bearing on the verdict.

The seven-week trial, which began in London, is the biggest test for Harry in his legal battle against the British media. He and three others, including two soap opera actors, sued Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged misuse of private information between 1991 and 2011.

Prince was not in court as his lawyer, David Sherborne, began his opening remarks by saying that illegal activities were “widespread and habitual” for reporters and editors of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.

“It was a stream of illegal activities,” Sherborne said. “But to make matters worse, this stream was approved by senior management, managing editors and board members.”

Invoices and phone records – some so old that they came from obsolete Palm Pilots – showed how the news, entertainment, sports and photography departments relied on investigators’ unscrupulous tactics.

Sherborne said former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan knew about the break-in and was even involved in it. Morgan has publicly denied any involvement in the phone hacking.

The accusations date back to a scandal that erupted over journalists and private investigators who intercepted voice messages to obtain information about members of the royal family, politicians, athletes, celebrities and even crime victims. It has evolved from being a simple default password cracker in the early days of voicemail to using deception to obtain medical records, tap phones, and bug houses.

Mirror Group Newspapers denied that it hacked phones to intercept Harry and three others’ voicemail messages, and said they filed their claims well over the six-year time limit.

But in court documents outlining its defense, the publisher acknowledged “some evidence of third party directives to engage in other forms of UIG (Unlawful Information Gathering).” It stated that this activity “requires compensation”, but did not specify what form this might take.

“MGN unconditionally apologizes for all such UIG incidents and assures Plaintiffs that such behavior will never happen again,” the court documents say.

The company said its apology was not a tactical move to mitigate damage, but was made “because this behavior should never have happened.”

The case, the first of three phone hacking lawsuits the Duke has taken to court, threatens to do what he says his family has long feared: bring a member of the royal family as a witness to discuss embarrassing revelations.

Harry is expected to testify in person in June., his lawyer said. It won’t be the first time he has appeared in the High Court since his surprise appearance last month. to watch most of a four-day hearing on one of his other trials.

The Prince waged a war of words against British newspapers in lawsuits and in his best-selling memoirs. A “spare” who has vowed to make it his life’s mission to reform the media, which he blames for the death of his mother, Princess Diana. She died in a car accident in Paris in 1997 while trying to hide from the paparazzi.

His lawsuits could further strain a family relationship that has been strained since Harry and his wife Meghan left royal life in 2020 and moved to California following complaints of racist treatment from the British press.

In a stunning revelation of a related case last month that opened an embarrassing chapter in his father’s life, Harry blamed him for the delay. in suing, in particular, his family.

He claimed he was barred from taking legal action against The Sun and other newspapers owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch because of a “secret agreement” allegedly approved by Queen Elizabeth II that involved reaching a private settlement and receiving an apology.

He said the deal was to save the royal family from having to answer questions about “private and highly sensitive” information in court, Harry said in testimony against News Group Newspapers.

“The institution was very nervous about this and wanted to avoid the reputational damage it suffered in 1993 at all costs,” he said, referring to a transcript of a leaked recording of an intimate conversation published in the Sunday Mirror. his father, then the Prince of Wales, had a mistress, now Queen Camilla, in whom he compared himself to a tampon.

Harry said his brother, Prince William, quietly settled his own hacking claims with the News Group for a “massive amount of money” in 2020. He also claimed that his father ordered the palace staff to order him to drop the lawsuit because it was bad. for family.

Murdoch’s company denied there was a “secret agreement” and did not comment on the proposed settlement. The palace did not respond to requests for comment.

Harry claimed that Mirror Group reporters used illegal methods to collect material from his family and friends for 147 stories, but the trial will only focus on 33 of them.

The publisher has said the allegations are exaggerated and denies that its reporters relied on illegally collected information for almost all of these articles, although in some cases it simply “did not acknowledge” the allegations.

He apologized for a February 2004 article in the Sunday People that described how the “Royal Romeo Prince Harry” dated two “stunning” models at London’s Chinawhite nightclub “during his drunken night”.

The publisher said an investigator was hired to take part in the illegal activity, but the £75 ($95) fee suggests little work has been done.

“MGN unconditionally apologizes and acknowledges that the Duke of Sussex is entitled to appropriate compensation for this,” lawyer Andrew Green wrote.

In 2015, The Mirror publishers printed a front-page apology for the phone hack and tripled the victims’ compensation fund to £12 million ($15 million).

The Mirror Group said more than 600 of the approximately 830 claims have been settled. Of the remaining 104 active cases, 86 were filed too late for trial, court documents say.

Harry’s co-plaintiffs in court are Nikki Sanderson and Michael Turner, best known for their roles in Coronation Street, and Fiona Whiteman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse.

The lawsuits were combined as a test case that could determine the outcome of hacking claims also brought against the Mirror Group by former Girls Aloud member Cheryl, the estate of the late singer George Michael and former footballer Ian Wright.

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No shiny deal Musk-Carlson



At least that’s what the billionaire claims.

Shortly after Tucker Carlson announced in a video praising Elon Musk’s social media platform as the only safe place left for truth-tellers like himself that he would be moving his “show” to Twitter, the billionaire set a record.

Musk – who was do favors for white nationalists and giving far-right extremist rhetoric raised platform since his takeover of Twitter — tweeted to clarify that there is no deal with Tucker, and also to confirm that he, the founding father of free speech, is not playing favorites.

“On this platform, unlike a one-way street, people can interact, critique and rebut whatever they say,” he tweeted. “I also want to make it clear that we have not signed any agreements. Tucker is subject to the same rules and rewards as all content creators.

“Rewards means subscriptions and a share of ad revenue (coming soon), which depends on the number of subscribers and ad views associated with the content,” he continued. “I hope that many others, especially those on the left, will also choose to become content creators on this platform.”

Meanwhile, Tucker does the following:

Perhaps that is what he meant yesterday when he said he would announce “some other things as well.”

The Best of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Follow our livestream of the Santos allegations here: George Santos is accused of wire fraud, money laundering, false statements.

New from Kate Riga: Birth Control Pills Closer Than Ever to OTC Availability Amid Anti-Abortion Crackdown

Slandered poll workers accuse Jenna Ellis of dodging subpoena in Giuliani circus’ final act

Feinstein says she’s back in Washington but will be working on an “easier schedule” on doctor’s advice

Republican outlook for 2024 largely eludes Trump’s rape verdict

Watchdog Files New Complaint With FEC Alleging Reasons To Believe Santos Treasurer Doesn’t Exist

Most read story yesterday

Jurors find Trump responsible for sexual harassment, battery and defamation in E. Jean Carroll rape case – Kate Riga

What do we read

Tuberville Defends Defense Candidacy, Says Pentagon Wrong to Weed Out White Nationalists — VBHM

CNN is throwing a town hall for the guy who tried to kill me — Michael Fanon, Rolling Stone

The author believes that MLK’s famous criticism of Malcolm X was a “fraud”. — VaPo

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