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Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:00 am

‘We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy, emails reveal
Then-HHS science adviser Paul Alexander called for millions of Americans to be infected as means of fighting Covid-19.

by Dan Diamond
Politico
12/16/2020 12:10 PM EST
Updated: 12/16/2020 01:22 PM EST

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A top Trump appointee repeatedly urged top health officials to adopt a "herd immunity" approach to Covid-19 and allow millions of Americans to be infected by the virus, according to internal emails obtained by a House watchdog and shared with POLITICO.

“There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD," then-science adviser Paul Alexander wrote on July 4 to his boss, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs Michael Caputo, and six other senior officials.

"Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…" Alexander added.

"[I]t may be that it will be best if we open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected" in order to get "natural immunity…natural exposure," Alexander wrote on July 24 to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Caputo and eight other senior officials. Caputo subsequently asked Alexander to research the idea, according to emails obtained by the House Oversight Committee's select subcommittee on coronavirus.

Alexander also argued that colleges should stay open to allow Covid-19 infections to spread, lamenting in a July 27 email to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield that “we essentially took off the battlefield the most potent weapon we had...younger healthy people, children, teens, young people who we needed to fastly [sic] infect themselves, spread it around, develop immunity, and help stop the spread.”

Alexander was a top deputy of Caputo, who was personally installed by President Donald Trump in April to lead the health department's communications efforts. Officials told POLITICO that they believed that when Alexander made recommendations, he had the backing of the White House.

“It was understood that he spoke for Michael Caputo, who spoke for the White House,” said Kyle McGowan, a Trump appointee who was CDC chief of staff before leaving this summer. “That’s how they wanted it to be perceived.”

Senior Trump officials have repeatedly denied that herd immunity — a concept advocated by some conservatives as a tactic to control Covid-19 by deliberately exposing less vulnerable populations in hopes of re-opening the economy — was under consideration or shaped the White House's approach to the pandemic. “Herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government with regard to coronavirus," HHS Secretary Alex Azar testified in a hearing before the House coronavirus subcommittee on Oct. 2.


In his emails, Alexander also spent months attacking government scientists and pushing to shape official statements to be more favorable to President Donald Trump.

For instance, Alexander acknowledges in a May 30 email that a draft statement from the CDC about how Covid-19 was disproportionately affecting minority populations was "very accurate," but he warned HHS and CDC communications officials that "in this election cycle that is the kind of statement coming from CDC that the media and Democrat [sic] antagonists will use against the president." The problems were "due to decades of democrat neglect," Alexander alleged.

Alexander also appeared to acknowledge that the White House's own push to let states wind down their Covid-19 restrictions was leading to a spike in cases.

"There is a rise in cases due to testing and also simultaneously due to the relaxing of restrictions, less social distancing," Alexander wrote in a July 24 email. "We always knew as you relax and open up, cases will rise."

The emails represent an unusual window on the internal deliberations of the Trump administration, and the tensions between political appointees like Alexander — a part-time professor at a Canadian university — and staff members in health agencies. On Sept. 16, HHS announced that Alexander would be leaving the department, just days after POLITICO first reported on his efforts to shape the CDC's famed Morbidity and Mortality and Weekly Reports and pressure government scientist Anthony Fauci from speaking about the risks of Covid-19 to children.

In a statement, an HHS spokesperson said that Alexander’s demands for herd immunity “absolutely did not” shape department strategy.

Donald Trump has said it is “terrific” that nearly 15 per cent of Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the outbreak began in the US, citing the “powerful vaccine" of herd immunity.

During an Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on Tuesday [DECEMBER 8, 2020], Mr Trump was asked how Americans in areas with surging cases should protect themselves over Christmas ahead of the likely distribution of a vaccine.

In response, Mr Trump deferred to the Centres for Disease Control guidelines before citing growing immunity in the population as a result of the virus’ virulent spread throughout the country.

“Plus, you do have an immunity. You develop immunity over a period of time, and I hear we’re close to 15 per cent. I’m hearing that, and that is terrific,” Mr Trump said.

“That’s a very powerful vaccine in itself. And just tremendous progress has been made.”


-- Powerful vaccine in itself’: Trump says it’s ‘terrific’ that nearly 15 per cent of Americans got Covid: Daily death toll across US has exceeded 2,000 in recent days, by Louise Hall


“Dr. Paul Alexander previously served as a temporary Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and is no longer employed at the Department,” the spokesperson said.

Alexander did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Caputo, who took medical leave the same day that Alexander left the department, has referred previous inquiries to HHS.

Public health experts have decried calls to deliberately infect younger, healthier Americans with Covid-19, saying that it would unnecessarily put millions of people at risk of long-term complications and even death. “We certainly are not wanting to wait back and just let people get infected so that you can develop herd immunity. That's certainly not my approach,” Fauci said in September.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who chairs the coronavirus subcommittee, said in a statement that the documents "show a pernicious pattern of political interference by Administration officials."

"As the virus spread through the country, these officials callously wrote, 'who cares' and 'we want them infected,'" Clyburn added. "They privately admitted they ‘always knew’ the President’s policies would cause a ‘rise’ in cases, and they plotted to blame the spread of the virus on career scientists."

Clyburn said that the documents — which the Trump administration only released to his subcommittee after the election, more than two months after his probe began — underscore why HHS must cooperate with his investigation and that CDC Director Redfield must appear for an interview about an email that he allegedly told staff to delete. Otherwise, "I will be forced to start issuing subpoenas," Clyburn said.

The email cache provided a real-time look at the administration’s deliberations as the Covid-19 crisis first began to rebound during the summer.

"So the bottom line is if it is more infectiouness [sic] now, the issue is who cares?" Alexander wrote in a July 3 email to the health department's top communications officials. "If it is causing more cases in young, my word is who cares…as long as we make sensible decisions, and protect the elderely [sic] and nursing homes, we must go on with life….who cares if we test more and get more positive tests."

"How can this be researched and proven true or false?" Caputo asked Alexander in one July 25 email exchange, after Alexander had emailed Hahn and nine top communications officials across HHS and FDA about the value of herd immunity.

Alexander wrote back with data that he said he'd pulled from several studies, including a link to a June 30 Quanta Magazine article about the "tricky math" of herd immunity.

"I did not want to look like a nut ball and if as they think and as I think this may be true ... several hard hit areas may have hit heard [sic] at 20% like NYC," Alexander added. "[T]hat's my argument….why not consider it?"

The health department has worked to distance itself from Alexander since his mid-September departure, and several Trump appointees said that Alexander was often isolated during his roughly six-month stint advising department officials.

“His rants had zero impact on policy and communications,” a senior administration official insisted. “Caputo enabled him to opine, but people pushed back and it even got to a point where Caputo told him to stop sending the emails.”

But McGowan, the former CDC chief of staff, said that Alexander was effective at delaying the famed Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports and watering down guidance that came from his agency.

“He absolutely put pressure on the CDC on different guidance documents, on MMWRs,” McGowan said. “He wanted to change MMWRs that were already posted, which is just outrageous.”

While McGowan said that even though agency officials fended off Alexander’s demands to edit the morbidity and mortality reports, “it’s the type of political meddling that delayed guidance, delayed MMWRs from getting them out as quickly as possible to be effective,” McGowan added.


FILED UNDER: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL,
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:05 am

‘Powerful vaccine in itself’: Trump says it’s ‘terrific’ that nearly 15 per cent of Americans got Covid
Daily death toll across US has exceeded 2,000 in recent days

by Louise Hall
Independent.co.uk
Wednesday 09 December 2020 13:55

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Donald Trump has said it is “terrific” that nearly 15 per cent of Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the outbreak began in the US, citing the “powerful vaccine" of herd immunity.

During an Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on Tuesday, Mr Trump was asked how Americans in areas with surging cases should protect themselves over Christmas ahead of the likely distribution of a vaccine.

In response, Mr Trump deferred to the Centres for Disease Control guidelines before citing growing immunity in the population as a result of the virus’ virulent spread throughout the country.

“Plus, you do have an immunity. You develop immunity over a period of time, and I hear we’re close to 15 per cent. I’m hearing that, and that is terrific,” Mr Trump said.

“That’s a very powerful vaccine in itself. And just tremendous progress has been made.”


The comments come as the country struggles with a resurgence of the virus, with record infections and a daily death toll that has exceeded 2,000 in recent days.

In total, more than 15 million Americans have been infected with the virus since the pandemic gripped the US in March, leading to the deaths of over 286,000 people.

Last week, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted that a total of half a million people will have lost their lives by 1 April as a result of the disease.

In October, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would be “unethical” to establish widespread immunity within a population by allowing the virus to spread and infect people.

"Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.


During the conference, Mr Trump celebrated the expected approval of the first US vaccine, branding it a “miracle” while praising his administration’s effort for its production and distribution.

The US Food and Drug Administration made research data public for the first time that showed the vaccine was found to be strongly protective against Covid-19, making the approval of the shot seem likely and imminent.

If the vaccine is approved, the first recipients would be health care workers and nursing home residents, according to plans laid out by each state.

President-elect Joe Biden has told Americans that he will oversee the distribution of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days as president, but only if the Trump administration cooperates.

In the speech on Tuesday, Mr Biden outlined his immediate plans for his first term in office, including the reopening of most of the nation's schools and a mask-wearing mandate.

“Masking, vaccination, opening schools, these are the three key goals for my first 100 days,” he said.
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:38 am

Here’s how the Trump administration crushed the C.D.C., according to two who were there.
by Noah Weiland
New York Times
Dec. 16, 2020
Updated 9:08 a.m. ET

Image
Kyle McGowan, a former C.D.C. chief of staff, outside his home in Roswell, Ga., this month. He and his deputy have gone public with their disillusionment.
Audra Melton for The New York Times


Kyle McGowan, a former chief of staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his deputy, Amanda Campbell, were installed in 2018 as two of the youngest political appointees in the history of the world’s premier public health agency, young Republicans returning to their native Georgia to dream jobs.

But what they witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic this year in the C.D.C.’s leadership suite shook them: Washington’s dismissal of science, the White House’s slow suffocation of the agency’s voice, the meddling in its messages and the siphoning of its budget.

In interviews this fall, the pair decided to go public with their disillusionment.

“Everyone wants to describe the day that the light switch flipped and the C.D.C. was sidelined. It didn’t happen that way,” Mr. McGowan said. “It was more of like a hand grasping something, and it slowly closes, closes, closes, closes until you realize that, middle of the summer, it has a complete grasp on everything at the C.D.C.”

Last week, the editor in chief of the C.D.C.’s flagship weekly disease outbreak reports — once considered untouchable — told House Democrats investigating political interference in the agency’s work that she was ordered to destroy an email showing Trump appointees attempting to meddle with their publication.

The same day, the outlines of the C.D.C.’s future took more shape when President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced a slate of health nominees, including Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, as the agency’s new director, a move generally greeted with enthusiasm by public health experts.

“We are ready to combat this virus with science and facts,” she wrote on Twitter.

Mr. McGowan and Ms. Campbell — who left the C.D.C. together in August — said that mantra was what was most needed after a brutal year that left the agency’s authority crippled.

One of Ms. Campbell’s responsibilities was helping clear the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, a widely followed and otherwise apolitical guide on infectious disease renowned in the medical community. Over the summer, political appointees at the health department repeatedly asked C.D.C. officials to revise, delay and even scuttle drafts they thought could be viewed, by implication, as criticism of President Trump.

Often, Mr. McGowan and Ms. Campbell mediated between Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, and agency scientists when the White House’s requests and dictates would arrive: edits from Russell T. Vought, the White House budget director, and Kellyanne Conway, the former White House adviser, on choirs and communion in faith communities, or suggestions from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and aide, on schools.

“Every time that the science clashed with the messaging, messaging won,” Mr. McGowan said.


A HAUNTING ARTIFACT: Mr. McGowan has held on to the email thread from Dec. 31, 2019, about a “cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China.”

Noah Weiland is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, covering health care. He was raised in East Lansing, Michigan and graduated from the University of Chicago. @noahweiland
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:57 am

There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave’
by Michael R. Pence, Vice President of the United States
Whitehouse.gov
June 16, 2020

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In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is far stronger than it was four months ago, and we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.

While talk of an increase in cases dominates cable news coverage, more than half of states are actually seeing cases decline or remain stable. Every state, territory and major metropolitan area, with the exception of three, have positive test rates under 10%. And in the six states that have reached more than 1,000 new cases a day, increased testing has allowed public health officials to identify most of the outbreaks in particular settings—prisons, nursing homes and meatpacking facilities—and contain them.

Lost in the coverage is the fact that today less than 6% of Americans tested each week are found to have the virus. Cases have stabilized over the past two weeks, with the daily average case rate across the U.S. dropping to 20,000—down from 30,000 in April and 25,000 in May. And in the past five days, deaths are down to fewer than 750 a day, a dramatic decline from 2,500 a day a few weeks ago—and a far cry from the 5,000 a day that some were predicting.

The truth is that we’ve made great progress over the past four months, and it’s a testament to the leadership of President Trump. When the president asked me to chair the White House Coronavirus Task Force at the end of February, he directed us to pursue not only a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-America approach. The president brought together major commercial labs to expand our testing capacity, manufacturers to produce much-needed medical equipment, and major pharmaceutical companies to begin research on new medicines and vaccines. He rallied the American people to embrace social-distancing guidelines. And the progress we’ve made is remarkable.

We’ve expanded testing across the board. At the end of February, between Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs and state public health facilities, the U.S. had performed only about 8,000 coronavirus tests. As of this week, we are performing roughly 500,000 tests a day, and more than 23 million tests have been performed in total.

We’ve also vastly expanded our supplies of crucial medical equipment. In March, there were genuine fears that hospitals in our hot spots would run out of personal protective equipment like N95 masks, gloves or, even worse, ventilators for patients battling respiratory failure. The Strategic National Stockpile hadn’t been refilled since the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, and it had only 10,000 ventilators on hand.

Since then, we’ve increased the supply of personal protective equipment by the billions. Our administration launched Project Air Bridge—a partnership between the federal government and private companies—that, as of June 12, had conducted more than 200 flights from overseas to deliver more than 143 million N95 masks, 598 million surgical and procedural masks, 20 million eye and face shields, 265 million gowns and coveralls, and 14 billion gloves. In addition, we’ve worked with the private sector to ramp up ventilator production. Today, we have more than 30,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and we’re well on our way to building 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. No American who required a ventilator was ever denied one.

We’ve also made great progress on developing therapeutics and a vaccine. Last month, the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced it would donate about 940,000 vials of its new drug remdesivir to treat more than 120,000 patients in the U.S. Under Operation Warp Speed, the federal government is already funding research into multiple vaccine candidates, and we are well on our way to having a viable vaccine by the fall.

But our greatest strength is the resilience of the American people. From the outset of this pandemic, the American people have stepped up and made great personal sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our nation. And it’s because of their embrace of social-distancing guidelines that all 50 states have begun to reopen in a safe and responsible manner.

The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different. The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success. We’ve slowed the spread, we’ve cared for the most vulnerable, we’ve saved lives, and we’ve created a solid foundation for whatever challenges we may face in the future. That’s a cause for celebration, not the media’s fear mongering.
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:37 am

Chris Christie Urges Americans To Wear A Mask
by Chris Cuomo
CNN
Dec 17, 2020



[Chris Christie]This message isn't for everyone. It's for all those people who refuse to wear a mask. You know, lying in isolation in ICU for seven days, I thought about how wrong I was to remove my mask at the White House. Today, I think about how wrong I was to let mask-wearing divide us. Especially since we now know you're twice as likely to get COVID-19 if you don't wear a mask. Because if you don't do the right thing, we could all end up on the wrong side of history. Please, wear a mask.

[Chris Cuomo] The line that grabbed me in that was "the wrong side of history". You could have ended it different ways. You could have said, "You may wind up sick, or worse. Your family might miss you." Instead you said "the wrong side of history." Why?

[Chris Christie] Because I think we'll look back on this pandemic for decades to come and see what we did right and what we did wrong. Now let me be clear, Chris, and you know this, because we've talked all during this pandemic -- I wore a mask for seven months. That's how I stayed healthy. I wore a mask; I socially distanced; I washed my hands ten, twelve times a day. It was just those four days when I went into the White House; I was tested every day when I went in, and I was under the impression that that was a safe place to take your mask off.

The message that I want to convey in that ad is, "There is no safe place from this virus." And even the place in the world which was being tested more than any other place, there's not a safe place from the virus. And so it's not just that I didn't wear a mask before -- I wore a mask before! But I let my guard down for just four days, and that put me into the ICU. I want folks to understand that in these next number of months before people are vaccinated, that we need to not let our guard down for a minute. There is no place to hide from this thing, and YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET THIS VIRUS! You may get lucky, and have very little symptoms. But you may get unlucky, and you might wind up dead. And so to me, the risk is not worth taking, and I want people to hear me say, that those four days when I didn't put my mask on, that was a mistake, and I was wrong, and I paid the price.
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Fri Dec 18, 2020 3:14 am

LA County Death Counts
by Race/Ethnicity, Per 100,000
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health December 15, 2020

Image

Asian: 58
Black: 82
Latino: 123
White: 44
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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:21 am

The Virus: What Went Wrong? (full film)
by Frontline PBS
Jun 16, 2020

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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:50 am

The Full Story of Trump and COVID-19
by NowThis News
Oct 6, 2020

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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:51 am

An inside look at Trump’s failed coronavirus response: America’s Pandemic
by Washington Post
Premiered Oct 29, 2020

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Re: U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at

Postby admin » Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:54 am

Coronavirus: How the deadly epidemic sparked a global emergency
by Four Corners
Feb 24, 2020

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