Former Justice Department official says Trump is 'basically calling for the shooting of protesters'
Fri, 29 May 2020 16:43:51 -0400

Former Justice Department official says Trump is 'basically calling for the shooting of protesters'Vanita Gupta, head of the department's Civil Rights Division in the Obama administration, said the Minneapolis Police Department was on her “radar” during her tenure.

Lessons from Japan on containing coronavirus could help U.S. reopen safely
Fri, 29 May 2020 12:01:05 -0400

Lessons from Japan on containing coronavirus could help U.S. reopen safelyIn many ways, Japan’s experience of the coronavirus pandemic has paralleled America’s, and yet Japan’s outbreak has stalled — at much lower levels of infection and death.

How should the U.S. respond to China's Hong Kong power grab?
Fri, 29 May 2020 15:46:43 -0400

How should the U.S. respond to China's Hong Kong power grab?The Chinese government passed a law giving it sweeping new powers to stamp out dissent on the semiautonomous island of Hong Kong. Should the U.S. and others nations push back?

Israel police kill Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed
Sat, 30 May 2020 15:53:21 -0400

Israel police kill Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armedIsraeli police in annexed east Jerusalem on Saturday shot dead a disabled Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed with a pistol, prompting furious condemnation from the Palestinians. The incident happened in the alleys of the walled Old City near Lions' Gate, an access point mainly used by Palestinians. "Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol," an Israeli police statement said.

Minnesota Riots Hurt Klobuchar’s VP Nomination Prospects, According to Biden Ally
Fri, 29 May 2020 18:06:52 -0400

Minnesota Riots Hurt Klobuchar’s VP Nomination Prospects, According to Biden AllyThe ongoing riots in Minnesota hurt Senator Amy Klobuchar's prospects for Democratic nomination as vice president, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said on Friday.Klobuchar declined to bring charges against multiple Minneapolis police officers involved in shootings over the course of her seven-year tenure as attorney for Hennepin County. Minneapolis has seen four days of riots after resident George Floyd, an African-American man, died following his arrest at the hands of white officers."We are all victims sometimes of timing….This is very tough timing for Amy Klobuchar, who I respect so much," Clyburn told reporters. When asked directly if Klobuchar's chances at the nomination were diminished, Clyburn said, "that is the implication, yes,” although he added that Klobuchar "absolutely is qualified" to be vice president.Clyburn is the highest-ranking African American member of Congress, and was instrumental in Biden's victory over Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the Democratic primaries. Following Clyburn's endorsement of Biden, the former vice president received overwhelming support from African American primary voters.Biden on Friday denied that his campaign's vice presidential nomination process was affected by the Minnesota riots."What we are talking about today has nothing to do with my running for president or who I pick as a vice president," Biden told MSNBC. "It has to do with an injustice that we all saw take place."Klobuchar has expressed regret for not prosecuting police officers accused of offenses, instead opting to send the cases to grand juries."I think that was wrong now,” Klobuchar said in a Friday interview on MSNBC. “I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”

Can you contract coronavirus from a surface or object? 
Fri, 29 May 2020 18:48:40 -0400

Can you contract coronavirus from a surface or object? The CDC says that it may be possible to contract COVID-19 by coming in contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it, but you're much more likely to get the coronavirus through person-to-person transmission.

Trudeau: Canadians watching US unrest and police violence in ‘shock and horror’
Fri, 29 May 2020 14:25:08 -0400

Trudeau: Canadians watching US unrest and police violence in ‘shock and horror’Prime minister condemned racism and called on Canada to ‘stand together in solidarity’ against racial hate as protests continue in US * George Floyd killing – follow live updatesCanadians are watching unrest and police violence in the United States in “shock and horror”, Justin Trudeau said on Friday – but the prime minister cautioned that his country also has entrenched problems with racism. The city of Minneapolis has been rocked by a third night of violent protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground following arrest. “Many Canadians of diverse backgrounds are watching, like all Canadians are, the news out of the United States with shock and with horror,” Trudeau told reporters at a daily briefing.“Anti-black racism – racism – is real. It’s in the United States but it’s also in Canada and we know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” said Trudeau, calling on the country to “stand together in solidarity” against racial hate. “We have work to do as well in Canada.” Racial inequities continue to persist throughout the country – a grim reality that is often apparent during interactions with police. In December 2018, the province of Ontario released a landmark report that found black residents in Toronto – the country’s largest city – are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than white residents. “It’s a very Canadian tradition to speak in platitudes, to refer to the underground railroad and to speak about Canada as a haven and a place that acknowledges its past mistakes,” said Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives. “But we continue to see similar structural harms and structural kinds of violence as we do in places where leaders make more overtly vitriolic statements towards black communities.”Last month, 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell was shot dead by police inside his own home, north of Toronto, after Campbell himself called 911.Earlier this week, the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet said a police officer shoved the young woman over the balcony of the family’s 24th-floor apartment, where she fell to her death. The case is currently under investigation by an arms-length police watchdog.Maynard also pointed out the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on black and indigenous residents, who are overrepresented in the country’s prison population.“We continue to see prisons and jails being epicentres of outbreaks,” she said. “Yet there is failure on the part of the federal government to meaningfully release to release prisoners.”Trudeau’s unprompted remarks marked a notable departure for a leader who has gone to great lengths to avoid irritating his US counterpart, Donald Trump.Canadian prime ministers have traditionally refrained from discussing political and social turmoil in the US – Canada’s main ally and largest trading partner. Justin Trudeau has long spoken about the need to tackle racism, but his re-election campaign was marred by pictures of him in blackface as a young man.

Florida’s Seen a ‘Statistically Significant’ Uptick in Pneumonia Deaths. The CDC Says It’s Likely COVID.
Sun, 31 May 2020 02:08:47 -0400

Florida’s Seen a ‘Statistically Significant’ Uptick in Pneumonia Deaths. The CDC Says It’s Likely COVID.Since the beginning of this year, Florida has experienced an uptick in the number of pneumonia and influenza deaths, according to data from the Centers for Disease and Control. Experts and Trump administration officials responsible for keeping tabs on mortality rates across the country believe that many of those individuals had likely contracted and died from COVID-19.According to the data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, since the beginning of the year there has been a total of 1,519 deaths in Florida where pneumonia and influenza were listed as the underlying cause. By comparison, in the same time period last year, Florida recorded 1,207 such deaths. The CDC has historically counted pneumonia and influenza deaths together. CDC officials told The Daily Beast that most of the deaths included in that category are pneumonia. Bob Anderson, the chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch in CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told The Daily Beast that the increase of deaths in Florida where pneumonia and influenza were the underlying cause was “statistically significant” and that those mortalities were “probably COVID cases that weren’t reported as such.” The coronavirus can cause lung complications such as pneumonia.The increase has sparked a conspiracy theory on the left, that Florida is deliberately trying to undercount coronavirus fatalities by labeling them as something else. There’s no evidence to suggest any such underhand efforts, or that the state is unique across the country. But officials, including Anderson, do believe that a portion of the pneumonia and influenza deaths in Florida involved patients who were infected with, but never tested for, COVID-19. In such scenarios, though the virus likely contributed to the death, it may not have been recorded as the cause of death by the physician, coroner or medical examiner. “We’re definitely experiencing an underreporting issue nationwide,” Anderson said, pointing to the CDC’s study of “excess deaths” during the coronavirus. “[In Florida] most likely what we’re seeing are folks dying without having been tested and the best evidence that the doctors or whoever is filling out the death certificate had pointed to the person dying of pneumonia.”Anderson added that the numbers currently reflected on the CDC’s website for pneumonia and influenza deaths for 2020 are lower than reality because the death certificate reporting system lags by several weeks, especially in states that do not have digitized systems to process the papers. ‘F*cking Dangerous’: Dems in Pennsylvania Lose It After GOP Kept Virus Diagnosis a SecretThough other states are experiencing a similar phenomenon, there has been notable scrutiny placed on Florida, due to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) handling of the coronavirus response and his decision to move to quickly reopen the state. DeSantis allowed some Florida beaches to reopen in the middle of April, even as the number of coronavirus cases and related deaths continued to rise across the state. The governor has since criticized members of the press for rushing to warn that Florida would experience a spike in COVID-19 cases, and calling his actions cavalier. Conservative and Trump supportive commentators have pointed to the absence of a notable uptick as evidence that fears of a hasty reopening were overblown. DeSantis’ office did not return a request for comment. But the actual story, like much related to the pandemic, appears to be more complicated. And it underscores how much of the public’s understanding of, and opinions about, the pandemic are affected by bureaucratic decisions and accounting formulas related to categorizing fatalities. As The Daily Beast previously reported, President Trump and members of his coronavirus task force have pressed the CDC to change how the agency works with states to count coronavirus-related deaths, arguing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being attributed to the disease. The administration has also moved to allow nursing homes the ability to only report coronavirus deaths that occurred after May 6—well after facilities across the country experienced a massive uptick in coronavirus-related deaths. States, as well, have different methods of collecting relevant data and calculating COVID-19 death counts and that, in turn, has sowed speculation about political motivations. On that front, few governors have been as closely watched as DeSantis. Part of that is because of his close relationship with the president. Part of that is because of decisions he has made. Earlier this month the DeSantis administration fired Rebekah Jones, the data manager for the Florida Department of Health who worked on the state’s coronavirus online dashboard. In a statement posted to her website, Jones said she was removed from her position because she pushed back when officials in the health department asked her to “manipulate and delete data in late April as work for the state’s reopening plan started to take off.” The DeSantis administration has since said Jones was fired for insubordination.FL Gov. Overrides County Officials to Allow Church During Coronavirus LockdownWith Florida already under a national microscope, news of the state’s pneumonia fatalities circulated on social media this week as liberals accused DeSantis and members of his administration of manipulating data and deliberately downplaying the number of coronavirus deaths. Howard Dean, the former Democrat governor from Vermont, commented on Florida’s statistics Thursday, going so far as to accuse Florida of “cooking the books on COVID-19 deaths.” Andy Slavitt, the former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said while Florida appears to have the coronavirus under control, it was experiencing an “unprecedented ‘pneumonia’ crisis.”But Anderson said it is unlikely that a physician with a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus would have marked anything other than COVID-19 as the underlying cause on the death certificate. If individuals die, for example, in their homes or in nursing facilities without having been tested, a medical examiner or coroner could hypothetically mark the individual as having died of pneumonia. That scenario would have likely played out in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak when testing was difficult to access and when physicians were still learning how the coronavirus presented itself, Anderson said. According to a report by the Miami Herald, officials inside the DeSantis administration kept the Florida public in the dark in February for about two weeks as they scrambled to come up with a plan on how to respond to the state’s outbreak. A similar phenomenon took place in Flint after a switch in water supply exposed thousands of people to lead poisoning and caused one of the largest outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history. Last year, a team of reporters at PBS Frontline found that there may have been about 70 more deaths from Legionnaires’ during the outbreak than the 12 that were officially recorded. But because the government was not forthcoming about the crisis, doctors were not alerted to it and therefore did not know to look or test for the disease. Many people who died of Legionnaires’ disease were originally reported as having died from other causes, such as pneumonia. Donald Trump Is Gaslighting Andrew Cuomo and Sucking Up to Ron DeSantisCurrently, health officials and statisticians are researching how many of the states’ “excess deaths” over the last several months should be attributed to the coronavirus. One study by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene published earlier this month said that there were thousands of “excess deaths” in the city from March 11 to May 2. About 18,879 of those deaths were explicitly tied to the coronavirus. But the study said there were also an additional 5,200 deaths that were not identified as either laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19-associated cases, but could have been tied to the virus in some other way. At the CDC, officials found 1,500 individuals who were mistakenly overlooked in the first few weeks the agency was calculating the coronavirus death count, and Anderson’s team is now going back and correcting those calculations to produce a more accurate death toll.The CDC relies largely on the state department of health systems and a reporting system that is more than 100 years old to calculate the annual death toll in the U.S.. When an individual dies, a doctor, coroner or medical examiner records on the death certificate a sequence of events that contributed to that person’s demise and what ultimately caused it. The certificate then goes to the state’s registrar, or sometimes a funeral director, who examines the certificate and determines whether to send it back to the physician, coroner or medical examiner for more information. Once the state registrar is satisfied with the certificate, he or she sends it on to the state’s department of health. Then, the state sends portions of data from the death certificate onto the CDC. Anderson’s team is charged with using that death certificate data, along with data from a national digital coding system, to tabulate causes of death per state each year. The emergence of the coronavirus strained the reporting system in a way that has led to a significant national undercounting, Anderson said, adding that the death-certificate count usually lags anywhere from two to eight weeks. “We’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Anderson said. “We’re still learning new things about this virus every day. The reporting will only get better.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.