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Coronavirus Fight

Dr. Fauci Continues To Battle Administration On Covid-19 Handling

Dr. Anthony Fauci has acted at the US’s figurehead in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic and ways we as a country can curve the spread. President Donald Trump and his administration, however, are continuing to sideline Fauci as a Covid-19 expert and contradict his advice by expressing their skepticism about the severity of the virus/treatments for the virus. 

More recently, Trump claimed that he “disagreed” with Fauci’s claim that the US was in a bad place in its coronavirus response, despite the fact that the US is one of the only countries in the world that’s still seeing an increase in case numbers and deaths. Trump went on to claim that Fauci was the one who’s been “making a lot of mistakes” in terms of Covid response. 

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The public has generally stayed on Fauci’s side as he, along with the rest of the countries healthcare professionals, have been basing their claims off the national/international data that’s been collected regarding the virus and how it works, however, that hasn’t stopped the administration from trying to take Fauci down. 

Trump retweeted a call for Fauci to be fired back in April after he continuously has had to correct the president specifically on his false claims regarding the virus; for example, when Trump was telling individuals that taking hydroxychloroquine could kill the virus, despite the FDA’s warning against doing exactly that. 

Trump can’t actually fire Fauci, and if he did the public would likely be very outraged; Fauci currently has a 67% approval rating for how he’s handled the pandemic, which is about three times the approval rating for Trump’s response. White House officials instead have taken to the media and internet to damage Fauci’s reputation, one recent example being an official telling CNN that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr Fauci has been wrong on things.” 

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Fauci himself has had enough of standing on the podium after Trump to disprove the false claims he’s spread about the pandemic, so much so that according to insiders Fauci hasn’t briefed Trump on the coronavirus since the first week in June. 

For those who may not be aware, Fauci has had a long career in public health. His name first entered the public eye during the AIDS epidemic where he also, at the time, contradicted the president’s handling of the virus. In a recent podcast interview, Fauci delivered an assertive assessment of the US’s handling of the pandemic in comparison to the rest of the world.  

“You have to be having blind-folders on and covering your ears to think that we don’t live in a very politically divisive society now, from a political standpoint. So I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach.”

The pushback from the president and his administration has been continuously detrimental to the way in which the US has fallen victim to this virus. More American citizens have been killed by Covid-19 than in World War 1. America alone makes up about 28% of all Covid-19 cases in the world as well. 

Regardless of your opinions on Fauci, we can’t deny that America is currently enduring one of the biggest crises it’s ever seen. Listening to your own healthcare professionals/providers is of the utmost importance right now and regardless of political beliefs, make sure you do your research and see for yourself what the facts are.

COVID

WHO Director Claims Lack Of Unity Among World Leaders Is Bigger Threat Than Covid-19

It’s been over six months since the coronavirus initially appeared in Wuhan, China. Now, half a year later, the virus is continuing to rapidly spread in what experts are calling the “once-in-a-century pandemic.” 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently held a mission briefing in Geneva where he told members that the virus can be brought under control, however, in most of the world it’s doing the opposite and getting worse. As of this week the Covid-19 virus has infected more than 12 million people worldwide and has killed at least 550,000; although lack of testing facility data has experts believing that number to be much higher, especially in the US.

More than half of the world’s cases have been found in North and South America according to WHO’s latest report.  

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“The pandemic is still accelerating. The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”

Although the world is seeing massive spikes in cases, there are also many countries that have the pandemic relatively under control and contained. These countries used fundamental public health measures such as widespread testing of all citizens, contact tracing, and isolating all exposed individuals. 

Ghebreyesus went on to explain how this virus may have “upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations,” but other countries, such as New Zealand, were able to rise to the occasion and implement a successful response to the outbreak by putting its countries healthcare experts at the forefront of policy-making decisions. This briefing also came days after president of the United States Donald Trump and his administration submitted their notice to the United Nations that the country would be withdrawing from the WHO.

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This news has many Americans worried, however, the submission of the notice to the UN is just step 1 in a major yearlong process to actually withdraw from the WHO. There are many outside factors that will make the US’s withdrawal difficult in the long run; such as the election coming up this November and Trump’s need to convince Congress that withdrawing would be the best decision during a pandemic. 

While the Trump administration has consistently criticized WHO’s response to the virus, Ghebreyesus continued to defend it, stating that the UN health agency warned countries early on about the threat of this virus to coordinate global research responses. 

“For years, many of us warned that a catastrophic respiratory pandemic was inevitable. But despite all the warnings, the world was not ready. Our communities were not ready. Our supply chains collapsed. It is time for a very honest reflection.”

The WHO has now created The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response which will be led by the former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and the former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Both Clark and Sirleaf will have full control over who else is added to the panel based on how well their countries have coped with Covid-19. 

Ghebreyesus also called on the world’s leaders to unite in collaboration against this virus, as they should’ve been this whole time. Now that we’ve seen how this virus works within different systems and policies for half of a year, we can better understand how to contain it and stop the spread; it’s more so now about actually implementing those changes.

Voting in Election

Multiple States Report Long Lines And Polling Issues For 2020 Primary Elections

This past Tuesday Georgia held its primary elections which gave America an unfortunate look at the possible mess the presidential election in November could become if this pandemic doesn’t begin to ease up. Voters in Georgia claim that they were standing in lines for up to four hours and that they never even received a mail-in ballot, forcing them to go to the actual polls and wait. Local officials and poll workers were unable to manage the major influx of voters as well. 

Poll worker shortages are also a major problem amid Covid-19, as many are either sick, or don’t want to risk their health to go work in a community space. Since March local officials have been prioritizing easy and safe means of voting during a worldwide health crisis, however, as many states are seeing now, not a lot of work was actually done. 

“We’re just going to have a catastrophe in November. We’ve already passed the point of catastrophic failure. It doesn’t get any better if we have two to three times the number of people who are trying to vote in these polling locations,” said Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who studies elections. 

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Voters in Nevada also waited for hours in line for their primaries this past Tuesday, despite having a majority of the state choose to mail-in their ballots. Election officials in Pennsylvania and Washington DC also claim that they struggled to provide acceptance to all of the absentee ballot requests before the elections, even if they were sent in on time. Voters in those states also claim to have been waiting on line for multiple hours. 

Maryland and Wisconsin also had reports of long lines and a struggle to receive mail-in ballots, more specifically, it was reported in Milwaukee that they had to reduce their normal 180 polling locations to just five for everyone in the city. The biggest problem, however, is the issue of communities of color receiving an even greater amount of election failures. 

“Black voters are especially hard-hit, in some parts of the country, it feels like officials are making reckless decisions that are a recipe for disaster. It took me three hours to vote in my majority African American precinct in Atlanta, but I saw no line at a polling place in a predominantly white area later in the day,” LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter, told Politico.

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Activists have been very vocal about their concern over mass polling closures amid the pandemic, mainly because politicians have a valid reason for these closings, but not a valid reason as to why they haven’t come up with an easier solution to vote in these massively important upcoming elections. 

Many states who haven’t had their primary elections yet are calling for an extension as to when citizens are able to send in applications for absentee ballots. In Wisconsin, Democrats were able to secure a court order that demanded all mail-in ballots be counted as long as the postage was marked six days before the election; and is received by the election date of course. 

Wisconsin has been acting as the inspiration for voter activists in many states, as after they had a similar disastrous primary election to Georgia, they released a detailed analysis as to what went wrong and an extensive plan to send absentee ballots to every single registered voter, regardless of if they requested one or not. California and Michigan followed suit and said that they would also be sending ballots to every registered voter in the state. 

Right now, all of the states are in a league of their own in terms of how they handle voting in the primaries during two major worldwide pandemics. Some things you can do for yourself in terms of voting is ensuring that you are registered in your proper county, check if your state is offering absentee ballots and request one if you still have time. This is the easiest way to ensure that your vote/voice is still heard, and will hold the least amount of risk in terms of contracting the virus.

Black Lives Matter Paper

Trump Faces Backlash For Scheduling Rally On Juneteenth In Tulsa, Oklahoma

President Donald Trump is planning on restarting his campaign rallies for the November 2020 election, however, he’s already received some major backlash given the context of the entire announcement. Trump’s campaign trail was put to an obvious halt amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which is still very much a public health issue that has infected nearly 2 million Americans and killed more than 112,000 people in the US alone. 

The New York Times reported this week that Trump’s first “rebooted rally” will be taking place on June 19th in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Right away, individuals on social media pointed out that Trump scheduled this rally on Juneteenth; a national holiday meant to celebrate the end of slavery, it’s also referred to as Independence Day for Black Americans. Beyond that, the fact that the rally is taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma – the same spot that the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 that killed over 300 black Americans took place – has many individuals angry with the president’s tone deafness given the current protests against police brutality in light of George Floyd’s murder. 

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The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred almost 100 years ago in Oklahoma in a place referred to at the time as “Black Wall Street.” This area of Tulsa was technically known as the Greenwood District, and was known for its large population of successful black Americans (there were over 300 black-owned businesses in the district). Unfortunately, successful black individuals caused racial tensions to heighten among white individuals living in Tulsa, as they were threatened by that success. 

One day, a 17-year-old white girl named Sarah Page claimed that a 19-year-old black man, Dick Rowland, assaulted her, igniting massive mobs of armed white men to storm Black Wall Street. Rowland was arrested and held in court, where even larger white mobs waited outside for him to be released so that they could lynch him. The next part of the story varies based on who you ask, but basically, a group of black veterans came to the courthouse to try to deescalate the situation, eventually a gun shot was heard and complete chaos broke out, leaving two white men dead, and over 300 black individuals dead and many unaccounted for; even to this day. The newspaper headlines the next day, however, only reported on the white deaths. More than 1,200 houses were destroyed, and now an interstate is paved over the spot where Black Wall Street used to thrive. 

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Many individuals weren’t even aware of this massacre until these protests began, as they don’t teach about it in American schools. It’s ignited an even larger conversation about the type of history that’s taught in our education system, and the many stories/historical events involving black individuals, and POC in general, that have been completely erased from all textbooks. The president’s announcement that this will be where he hosts his first reboot rally has ignited that same frustration induced by lack his of acknowledgment in the protests as well. 

In a statement from Trump’s campaign adviser Katrina Pierson, she defended the decision to host the rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth, stating that: “As part of the party of Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the last reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Joe Biden spent last Juneteenth raising money at a private fundraiser and defending comments he made celebrating his work with segregationist senators,” Pierson wrote.

Beyond the racial insensitivity that many are calling out Trump for in relation to this Juneteenth rally, many are also calling him out for restarting political rallies while we’re still in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic. This move was likely due to the fact that Trump is already behind Biden in the polls and the fact that Trump has done historically very well among his Oklahoma voters. 

The Centers for Disease Control is still emphasizing that all Americans should avoid mass gatherings at all cost. Oklahoma is one of the 19 states that has recently reported a spike in new Covid-19 cases amid many states reopening weeks ago. Within the past week alone Oklahoma has reported 7,480 new cases and 355 deaths. 

What’s most important is that everyone continues to take this pandemic as seriously as they were in March. Continue to social distance, where a mask in public settings, wash your hands consistently, and stay home unless absolutely necessary.

White House

Trump Losing Major Support For His Handling Of Covid-19 and ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protests

As the United States battles two major pandemics, the coronavirus and systematic racism, the citizens of America are condemning president Trump for his complacency in both of these health crises that are killing thousands of Americans in very different ways.

Facebook App

Facebook Employees ‘Outraged’ With Mark Zuckerberg For Keeping Trump’s Protest Posts Up

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been put under fire by his own employees this week after claiming that he wouldn’t be taking any enforcement action against a post made by the President of the United States following the murder of George Floyd.

Immigration

Trump Plans To Suspend Immigration Into The U.S. Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

President Donald Trump announced this past Monday that he will be signing an Executive Order that would suspend all immigration into the United States in order to prevent further economic damage brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Statue of Liberty with Mask

Governor Cuomo Says Covid-19 Cases In New York Are Down, But The Fight Is Far From Over

The state of New York has seen the most number of cases and deaths caused by the Covid-19 virus in the US; which is due to the extremely dense populations in areas like New York City and Long Island.

Doctors working on COVID-19 Treatment

India Loosens Export Restrictions For Potential Covid-19 Treatment

The Indian government recently announced that it would be relaxing it’s exporting policies on hydroxychloroquine (HC), which is the “controversial” drug that president Trump has mentioned in relation to combating the coronavirus.  The reason it’s seen as controversial is because scientists barely know anything about the drug, and there’s no evidence-based results on the effectiveness of HC against covid-19. 

Even though experts still know barely anything about HC’s safety, long-term effects, and toxicity levels, president Trump made it clear that if India did not cooperate with the US in easing exporting measures then there “would be retaliation.” In response, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he would indeed comply with the US’s request and lift the exporting restrictions on HC. 

“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister@NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight,” Trump tweeted

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India in general holds a majority of the world’s HC production market, hence the urgent demand from the US. The country manufactures about 70% of the world’s supply, and the drug itself is mainly known as a key treatment for malaria, hence it’s heavy use in India where malaria is unfortunately a major issue. The pharmaceutical industry in India is worth over $19 billion, which is thanks to drugs like HC, and Paracetamol (more commonly known as Tylenol) being consistently exported around the world. 

Historically, India’s large pharmaceutical industry has been the top vaccine producer in the world, has provided resources for nearly 3,000 pharmaceutical companies, and has created a system that makes manufacturing costs in general 30% cheaper than in the US. For these reasons, and more, India has become the main focus when it comes to trying to find a way to combat the coronavirus. 

“Global players in the pharma industry cannot afford to ignore India. The country, many predict, will be the most populous in the world by 2050. India will make its mark as a growing market, potential competitor or partner in manufacturing and R&D, and as a location for clinical trials.” Global Consulting Firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said

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India has already begun developing and experimenting with clinical trials and research that will hopefully lead to a breakthrough in relation to curing covid-19. It’s imperative that the US, and other countries around the world as well, are working alongside each other so that when we do find a real solid way to treat this virus, it will be completely accessible to all. 

For example, the Serum Institute of India (SII) has been working with Codagenix, an American based pharmaceutical company, on a potential covid-19 vaccine, and has recently announced that a viable and market-ready vaccine could be ready as early as 2022. This is just one example, however, of the multitude of companies working with one another to fight this virus. SII is the specific institution in India that’s known as the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer as well, and is a “prominent producer of many routinely used and effective vaccines across the globe, including for polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and measles, among many others.”

The Indian Pharmaceutical industry will likely play a major role in the effort to combat the coronavirus, as they have always been a key player in the realm of curing infectious diseases/viruses. It’s imperative that the United States maintains a civil relationship of communication, negotiation, and exchange with the entire world’s pharmaceutical industry so that we all can return to a life of normalcy sooner rather than later.

Test for Coronavirus

Testing For COVID-19 Should Be Priority, Says World Health Organization

The United States has officially declared a National State of Emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. A major part of this declaration entails that the U.S. makes testing for COVID-19 more accessible and more frequent for those exhibiting even the slightest of symptoms. However, the country is still struggling to ramp up basic testing for the virus, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized that social-distancing is not going to be enough to contain the spreading of this virus. 

“These measures [social distancing] can slow transmission and allow health care systems to better cope, but they are not enough to extinguish this pandemic. What’s needed is a comprehensive approach, but we have not seen an urgent-enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response. The most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of transmission, and to do that, you must test and isolate,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (aka Dr. Tedros) said in a press release.

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Dr. Tedros also noted that the numbers of cases and deaths in China have begun decreasing since they’ve taken proper containment measures from the start. However, the numbers of cases and deaths in countries outside of China, including the US, have only continued to increase exponentially. 

While the US has taken containment measures such as social-distancing, closing schools/colleges/universities, canceling events, and having most work remotely, it’s still not enough. To put it numerically, other countries have already tested hundreds of thousands of patients since initial cases began appearing, the United States has only tested around 40,000 patients total; South Korea alone has been testing 20,000 people a day. 

President Trump along with many members of his Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, have been appearing in a series of televised press conferences in which they announced plans to dramatically increase our countries testing capacity. A major part of this initiative includes partnerships with major private companies and chains, such as Walmart and Walgreen’s, to help distribute tests in a contained and efficient matter. 

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The United States is projecting to test up to 100,000 patients weekly with its new testing initiatives. However, many citizens aren’t confident in the administration’s ability to deliver on their promises considering the government has made many over exaggerations, and under-exaggerations, in terms of this virus before. Trump has made countless comparisons to the virus and the flu, meanwhile, all major sports leagues, restaurants, bars, and social gatherings have never been closed down for the flu before. 

Trump so far has also announced that Google was creating a website that would allow anyone to log in and determine if they should get tested or not. Once determined the website’s algorithm would help connect people to those who could set up testing facilities at local labs. 

According to reports, “so far, the US has detected over 4,200 cases in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This number is expected to be far lower than the actual number of cases due to the delayed and limited testing. There have been 74 reported deaths in the US. Worldwide, there are over 181,000 cases in at least 148 countries. More than 7,000 people have died.”

The Trump administration has only emphasized testing for those with noticeable symptoms who individually believe that they’re symptomatic enough to be ill. However, WHO recommends testing for all, even with minor symptoms who may have come in contact with others infected, as previously stated, we still aren’t aware of the severity of this pandemic in the US due to its long incubation period. Testing is being prioritized for those working in the healthcare industry and who are more susceptible to getting infected; those with preexisting conditions and those over the age of 65.