#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: The coroner recorded a conclusion that Mr Nash was unlawfully killed: Mr Nash wrote and illustrated children’s books, including The Winter Wild:
James Nash killing: Gunman ‘accused author of Russia #COVID19 plot’ he was attacked in his garden in Upper Enham, Hampshire, on 5 August and died three days later’ & the gunman, Alex Sartain, died in a motorbike crash while being pursued by police on the same day according to BBC News
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Hampshire Coroner’s Court was told Mr Sartain’s mental health problems dated back to 2008 and his father had tried to raise concerns with a GP in June last year but “only got as far as the receptionist”.
OtherAlex Sartain used a homemade shotgun during the attack
John Sartain said his son had become paranoid that Mr Nash, his next-door neighbour, was trying to control him.
The inquest was told Mr Sartain, 34, had been heard “muttering” in the days before the attack about Mr Nash working for Russian president Vladimir Putin and being involved in a conspiracy to “spread Covid”.
The hearing was told that Mr Sartain also believed he was being tracked by the “CIA, MI6 and SO19”.
On the day of the attack, Mr Nash was working in his front garden when raised voices were heard by his wife Sarah Nash – who had been on a video call indoors – followed by a bang.
“As soon as I opened the front door I could see a man in full black leathers stamping on the face of my husband who was flat out on his back,” Mrs Nash said.
The author had managed to deflect the gunshot with his hand but died from head injuries, the inquest heard.Parts of Upper Enham were cordoned off following the shooting
Mr Sartain had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was under the care of a community mental health team until April last year, it was heard.
Coroner Jason Pegg said a letter discharging him into the care of a GP was sent by the community mental health team to the Adelaide Medical Centre in Andover.
“That discharge letter… was never seen by the GP. Instead the letter was received by the administration staff at the practice and never passed on as perhaps it should have been,” he added.
The coroner added that it “cannot be ascertained” whether Mr Sartain would have been detained in June if his father’s concerns had been passed on by the GP’s receptionist.
He said he would not be taking the matter further as a new partnership was now running the surgery and practices had changed.
An inquest into the death of Mr Sartain will be held on Wednesday.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.20: Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for National Institutes of Health (NIH) records of communications, contracts and agreements with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China:
The lawsuit was filed against Health and Human Services after the NIH denied an April 22, 2020, FOIA request, for:
All internal NIAID communications regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China;
All agreements, contracts and related documents between NIAID and the Wuhan Institute of Virology; and
All records, including agreements, funds disbursement records and related NIAID communications regarding a reported $3.7 million in grants provided by NIH to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In April 2020, the Daily Mailreported that documents “show the Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan – funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.”
The NIH in April 2020 suspended funding a grant to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance that “had previously established a partnership with a virology laboratory in Wuhan, China” but in August gave the EcoHealth Alliance a grant of $7.5 million. The grant will reportedly “focus on Southeast Asia and the emergence of coronaviruses; filoviruses, the family responsible for Ebola; and paramyxoviruses, a family of viruses that includes measles and mumps.”
“For almost a year now, Dr. Fauci’s agency has stonewalled Judicial Watch’s lawful request for information about the agency’s connections to the controversial Wuhan lab,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The American people have a right to know about Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ involvement with the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In March 2021, Judicial Watch uncovered HHS/NIH records that show NIH officials tailored confidentiality forms to China’s terms and that the World Health Organization conducted an unreleased, “strictly confidential” COVID-19 epidemiological analysis in January 2020. Additionally, the records reveal an independent journalist in China pointing out the inconsistent COVID numbers in China to NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Special Projects Cliff Lane.
In October 2020, Judicial Watch received records from the HHS that show Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, approved a press release supportive of China’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.19: In a rare admission of looming hardship, the authoritarian leader of the single-party state on Thursday called on officials to “wage another, more difficult ‘Arduous March’ in order to relieve our people of the difficulty, even a little”
‘Kim Jong-un warns of North Korea crisis similar to deadly 90s famine he has told citizens to prepare for hard times ahead, following warnings from rights groups that the country faces dire food shortages and economic instability’ Speaking at a party conference, Mr Kim appeared to compare the situation to the devastating 1990s famine, estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands’
Kim Jong-un is shoring up support within his party as times get tough: He’s making sure that the warnings are coming from him – perhaps so that when things get worse, he can point the finger at his officials for not acting on his orders.He can also pin blame for the dire economy on the Covid-19 pandemic and the strict economic sanctions designed to curb his nuclear weapons programme.And yet his regime continues to design and test new missiles.The weapons tests are something we can all see on satellite images and state media photos, and use them to question world leaders about how they are going to act.The North Korean people cannot get images of their suffering to us without the risk of being imprisoned or shot.Unseen, and according to warnings by their own leader, they now face going hungry amid a looming humanitarian crisis.Why is North Korea in trouble?Tightly controlled by the government, North Korea’s economy is one of the least free in the world and is said to be highly inefficient. The enormous cost of maintaining the military and security structures has left very little for the ordinary North Korean. The almost complete border closure aims to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in a country that does not have the public health infrastructure to handle an outbreak.However there are indications that Pyongyang is feeling pressure to reopen borders at least a bit, Mr Zwirko said. “North Korea has shown signs of wanting to increase trade with China again. They have passed a law a few months ago to help facilitate border trade,” he said.”But fundamentally, North Korea remains extremely paranoid about the virus. They’d really have to change and trust in the ability to disinfect goods that would come through.”North Korea claims that so far the border shutdown has kept it Covid-free, though analysts doubt this claim. North Korean potato propaganda is making a comeback… but what does it mean?
‘Kim made his rare admission of looming hardship at a party conference: North Korea has shut its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic: Trade with China, its economic lifeline, has come to a standstill’
This is on top of existing international economic sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme:
The Arduous March is a term used by North Korea officials to refer to the country’s struggle during the 1990s famine, when the fall of the Soviet Union left North Korea without crucial aid. The total number of North Koreans who starved to death is not known, but estimates range up to 3 million.
North Korea often struggles to feed its people
“It is not unusual for Kim Jong-un to talk about difficulties and hardship but this time the language is quite stark and that’s different,” Colin Zwirko, North Korea analyst at NK News, told the BBC.
The UN Special Rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights, Tomás Ojea Quintana, warned last month in a report of a “serious food crisis” already leading to malnourishment and starvation: Deaths by starvation have been reported, as has an increase in the number of children and elderly people who have resorted to begging as families are unable to support them: “ It is unclear whether any aid at all is currently coming into the country. North Korea has rejected offers of external aid and almost all diplomats and aid workers, including staff of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), have left.
Meanwhile North Korea’s border closures means trade with China dropped by 80% last year from levels that had already fallen significantly in 2018 when the UN expanded sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear programme.
Reports suggest North Korea restricted imports of staple foods from China last August and then cut almost all trade, including food and medicines, in October.
The country has also ramped up punishments for smuggling, describing it as “anti-socialist” and “enemy” behaviour, according to HRW.
North Korea was also hit by two major storms last summer, which caused flooding that is believed to have damaged crops, exacerbating the shortages.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.15: The program is open to American citizens, nationals of U.S. territories, and non-citizens legally admitted to the United States, regardless of income. If you apply, you’ll need to show documents including receipts for your expenses and a death certificate that says the death happened in the United States or its territories and was likely caused by #COVID19.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Scammers target loved ones of #COVID19 victims: ‘A real government relief program will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses that people have paid since January 20, 2020 for loved ones who died of COVID-19. Survivors can apply for benefits by contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 844-684-6333.The number is toll-free and multi-lingual services are available’
The program just began yesterday, but even before it started, FEMA said it had reports of scammers contacting people and “offering” to register them for assistance.
Here’s what you need to know:
FEMA will not contact you until you have called FEMA or have applied for assistance. Anyone who contacts you out of the blue and claims to be a federal employee or from FEMA is a scammer.
The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this financial help. Anyone who does is a scammer.
The government won’t call, text, email, or contact you on social media and ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
Don’t give your own or your deceased loved one’s personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Anyone who does that and asks for that information is a scammer.
FEMA’s Funeral Assistance FAQs have information about the documents you need to apply for funeral expenses. The FAQs also tell you what to do if the death certificate didn’t identify COVID-19 as the likely cause of death, as sometimes happened early in the pandemic.
If you doubt a caller claiming to be from FEMA is telling the truth, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Tell us too, at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
“Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right,” said spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer. “Also, a common nationwide approach would be important here.”
The differing rules across the country’s 16 states “is not contributing to security and acceptance at the moment,” she added.
Demmer told reporters that Germany was seeing a growing number of intensive care patients.
Germany: a patchwork of COVID-19 regulations
“At the moment, we don’t have a particularly good data basis as far as the numbers of new infections are concerned. But the number of occupied intensive care beds speaks a very clear language. It is increasing very much, very strongly and very much too fast. Intensive care physicians are worried.”
“The health system is under intense pressure,” she said, underlining a 5% increase in intensive care bed occupancy in just 24 hours.
“We need a stable incidence below 100,” she said, referring to Germany’s number of new COVID-19 cases over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants.
The national figure currently lies at 110.1, according to the country’s Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.
Demmer told the reporters that the regional patchwork of rules was “not contributing to security and acceptance at the moment.”
Under Germany’s federal system, each state ultimately has the power to decide its own coronavirus rules. Some have failed to impose tougher restrictions despite case numbers that exceed a nationally-agreed “emergency brake,” and even gone ahead with a relaxation of the rules.
NRW Premier Armin Laschet: ‘We need a bridge-lockdown’
Among those calling for a short and tougher lockdown is Armin Laschet, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, who said a “bridge lockdown” could be needed to keep cases down until more people have been vaccinated. He has also called for talks between the chancellor and other state premiers, scheduled for next Monday, to be brought forward.
Merkel has previously criticized Laschet — a potential candidate to replace her as chancellor — for resisting tougher measures in the past.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.07: Argentina has approved an extraordinary levy on large personal wealth. The measure is meant to raise some $3.6 billion to fund recovery after the #Covid19#pandemic. Critics say it’s not an option for the stagnant economy:
The so-called “millionaires’ tax” was approved in the Senate late on Friday in a 42 to 26 vote. The measure targets Argentinian citizens with declared personal wealth of over 200 million pesos ($2.5 million). It will apply a progressive tax rate of at least 2 percent on their total fortunes, including assets they may hold outside the country.
The tax was earlier passed by the lower chamber of the Argentine parliament, with 133 votes for it and 115 against.
Proponents say almost 12,000 people qualify to pay the levy, with the 380 richest taxpayers expected to cover over half of the total sum.
The government hopes to raise as much as $3.6 billion, which is to be spent on medical supplies, support of small and medium-sized businesses, social projects, student scholarships and exploration of natural gas
The tax was floated by the leftist government of Alberto Fernandez and his Frente de Todos (Everybody’s Front) coalition and was described as an opportunity for rich individuals to show “solidarity and extraordinary contribution” to the nation. The spending will boost the ailing national economy, they argued.
Argentina went into recession in 2018, which was a major factor in why Fernandez last year managed to unseat his predecessor, Mauricio Macri, in a general election. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused almost 40,000 deaths in Argentina, further aggravated its economic woes.
Critics from Macri’s Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) coalition said the move was “anti-investment, confiscatory and discriminatory”, and voiced concern that instead of being a one-time measure it would persist in some form.
#AceHealthReport – Apr.04: Figures show that 23.5% experienced harassment, bullying or abuse during the #Covid19#pandemic: The report added that 3.5% of staff also reported abuse from colleagues:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – ‘Nearly a quarter of hospital staff in North Yorkshire have been abused by patients in the past 12 months, according to David Watson, from the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told a meeting that safety had become a priority in the wake of the Sarah Everard case, the Local Democracy Reporting Services said’
1 day ago
Hospital bosses in York said they were looking at what they can do to improve staff safety both at work and on journeys to and from hospital sites.
“I think it’s an important issue for our staff,” he said.
“We are looking at what we can do to enhance the safety of our staff, both at work and where we have some control on their commute – lighting of pavements between a car park and hospital premises, if there are cycle racks we will look at what can be done to make those safer.”
Nearly a third of employee sickness at the trust is down to mental health, the meeting also heard.
The reports said there had been a “very slight decrease in the number of absences due to mental health in January”, but added: “Although with a recorded absence rate of 28.8 per cent, mental health continues to dominate the primary reason for absences across the trust.
“The trust continues its programme of interventions to support staff mental health and wellbeing.”
#AceNewsReport – Apr.05: These were for a range of offences including breach of the peace; violent disorder; assault on police and breaches of #Covid19 legislation:
Arrest update from central London protests: ‘One woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon as outcomes await for those arrested’
Commander Ade Adelekan who led the policing operation for yesterday’s protests said: “While our advice to people remains not to attend large gatherings, the vast majority of people who attended central London yesterday, adhered to social distancing, and engaged and listened to my officers.: “ However, as the afternoon wore on it became clear that a small number of people were intent on remaining to cause disruption to law-abiding Londoners: “ Despite repeated instructions from officers to leave, they did not and, amid increasing levels of disorder, arrests were made: “ We should not allow the behaviour of a few individuals who attend these events with the purpose of committing criminal acts to taint the good behaviour of the majority who attended yesterday.”
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – #COVID19#pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on the global economy and has strained financial liquidity. Global growth contracted 3.5% in 2020—the worst peace-time recession since the Great Depression—and will likely inflict long-term scars on the global economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of a stark divergence in economic growth prospects for advanced economies versus low-income and developing countries. Overall, the IMF projects that 150 economies will have per-capita incomes below their 2019 levels in 2021.
An allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would help build reserve buffers, smooth adjustments, and mitigate the risks of economic stagnation in global growth. Importantly, it could also enhance liquidity for low-income and developing countries to facilitate their much-needed health recovery efforts.
Containing the pandemic across the globe is paramount to a robust economic recovery. To this end, Treasury is working with IMF management and other members toward a $650 billion general allocation of SDRs to IMF member countries. Addressing the long-term global need for reserve assets would help support the global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. A strong global recovery would also increase demand for U.S. exports of goods and services—creating U.S. jobs and supporting U.S. firms.
An SDR allocation is not a catch-all solution. It is part of a package of broader international efforts to support the global recovery. This package also includes robust support from the IMF, multilateral development banks, and debt relief in some cases—all alongside countries taking necessary reform steps. Bilateral assistance and debt relief under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and Common Framework, as well as financial support to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, all remain integral to help prevent long-term scarring from the pandemic and worsening global wealth divergence.
As part of our support for an SDR allocation, Treasury is working with the IMF and other member countries to maximize the benefits and limit the possible downsides of an allocation by enhancing transparency, accountability, and equitable burden sharing.
Below are some common questions about the nature and uses of SDRs and the mechanics of an SDR allocation. For more information on SDRs please see the IMF’s Factsheet available here.
Question: Is the Administration trying to bypass Congress in approving an SDR allocation?
Answer: As required by U.S. law, the Administration is consulting Congress on our proposed support for an SDR allocation. Under the Special Drawing Rights Act, Congress has authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to support an SDR allocation without additional legislation where the amount allocated to the United States does not exceed the current U.S. quota in the IMF in the applicable five-year basic period. The proposed SDR allocation is below this level.Based on current global liquidity conditions, Treasury does not support an additional SDR allocation beyond the proposed $650 billion at this time. Treasury would only consider an additional SDR allocation beyond the proposed $650 billion at some point in the future if circumstances justify it at that time.
Question:Does an SDR allocation impose a large financial burden on the United States?
Answer: An allocation itself imposes no direct cost on the United States. Based on a $650 billion allocation, the United States will receive about $113 billion in SDRs. The idea that an SDR allocation imposes a financial burden arises from potential exchanges of SDRs for U.S. dollars. If countries wish to sell their SDRs to the United States in exchange for dollars, Treasury would exchange SDRs for dollars held in the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF). The U.S. cash position would decline, and federal borrowing requirements would increase. However, the United States would also earn interest on the SDRs we purchased, largely (and perhaps entirely) offsetting any increase in Treasury’s borrowing costs. This is the case with our existing SDR resources, and the same process would occur with a new allocation. The differential between the SDR interest rate and the interest rate on Treasuries varies over time, so at times there is a small cost and at other times a small benefit to Treasury. This potential implicit cost is much lower than the benefits of a strong global recovery.
Question:Will the United States be required to exchange dollars for SDRs with any IMF member on demand?
Answer: Treasury has agreed to voluntarily purchase SDRs up to a certain level from other IMF members to promote an orderly system of exchange rates and to help provide liquidity support to our global partners. The United States retains the right to refuse to purchase SDRs from any country whose policies run counter to U.S. interests. Many large countries, such as most advanced economies and China, already hold excess SDRs and are very unlikely to request to exchange their new SDRs for hard currency.
Even if there is strong demand for dollars after the potential allocation, the United States is not alone in voluntarily agreeing to purchase SDRs. The IMF spreads the transactions across 32 members who have similar voluntary arrangements. We are working with the IMF to further ensure our potential transactions are proportional to others’ commitments.
Question:Is there a need for an SDR allocation to support global reserves?
Answer:In 2016, the IMF estimated the global reserves gap to be $430 billion to $1.4 trillion. This shortfall of international reserves is likely larger now. In addition, many low-income and developing countries remain constrained in their ability to issue debt in international markets, either to replenish reserves or to finance fiscal spending. Providing reserves will help prevent countries from engaging in FX purchases that could weaken their currencies and lead to a further buildup of the U.S. trade and current account deficits.
Question: Is there a need for an SDR allocation given the global economy is recovering?
Answer:After contracting 3.5% in 2020, the IMF projects a partial recovery in economic growth in 2021 of 5.5%. Yet, this recovery faces significant downside risks, is uneven, and will leave global output below the pre-crisis level over the medium term. Moreover, the global recession has strained central bank foreign exchange reserves in many countries. The proposed SDR allocation will help buffer reserves, supporting governments’ efforts to address the health and economic crises. Importantly, an SDR allocation will increase confidence and liquidity needed to promote a global recovery that benefits the American worker and U.S. economic growth.
Low-income and developing countries have been particularly hard hit in this crisis, and we face a critical window to prevent a permanent global divergence between rich and poor countries. The pandemic is expected to reverse the progress made in poverty reduction across the past two decades with close to 90 million people expected to fall below the extreme poverty threshold during 2020-21. Low-income countries have seen their real annual GDP growth decline by about 5% in 2020. The IMF estimates that low-income countries will need to deploy around $200 billion over the next five years just to fight the pandemic and an additional $250 billion to return to the path of catching up with advanced economies. The IMF forecasts the medium-term output losses for low-income countries will be about 6%, compared to 1% for advance economies. The proposed SDR allocation, by providing liquidity and potential fiscal space, could help low-income and developing countries finance vaccines and other COVID-19 related spending.
For more information see the IMF’s blog post on the pandemic’s legacy here.
Question: Is an SDR allocation a cash giveaway?
Answer: SDRs are neither money nor currency, but an international reserve asset. SDRs are allocated by the IMF and only to IMF members and a limited number of international institutions. SDRs cannot be exchanged by private entities, and all transactions involving SDRs must go through the IMF’s SDR Department. To use SDRs, a country must find an IMF member willing to provide a usable currency (generally, dollars, euros, or yen) in exchange for SDRs. The transaction is thus an exchange of assets. The country pays an interest rate to the IMF if their SDR holdings are below its allocation.
Question:Does an SDR allocation only benefit rich countries, as opposed to the countries that need it?
Answer: A $650 billion SDR allocation would provide about $21 billion worth of SDRs in liquidity support to low-income countries and about $212 billion to other emerging market and developing countries (excluding China), complementing existing multilateral efforts to assist countries in need. By comparison, the G20/Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative has delivered about $5 billion in liquidity relief to more than 40 eligible countries as of March 2021. The IMF’s concessional lending provided about $13 billion in emergency financing in 2020.
We are working with our international partners to pursue ways for advanced economies to lend a portion of their SDR allocation to support low-income countries. For instance, during the current crisis, several countries have used part of their existing SDR holdings to expand the IMF’s concessional financing through loans to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust’s (PRGT). Total new PRGT loan resources mobilized since the start of the crisis amount to about $24 billion, of which about $15 billion is from existing SDRs.
Question:Is theretransparency and accountability in how SDRs are used?
Answer: The IMF already reports the SDR holdings of each of its members on a monthly basis. As part of our support for a new SDR allocation, Treasury is working with our international partners and the IMF on a number of initiatives to improve the transparency of SDR transactions and the effectiveness of how countries use SDRs. For example, the IMF could expand quarterly country-level data on SDR transactions, breaking out the transactions that occurred each quarter by major categories (e.g., IMF operations and exchanges with other SDR holders). Moreover, we are encouraging the IMF to publish an ex-ante guidance note on how countries could use and account for SDRs, consistent with macroeconomic and debt sustainability and good governance. We are also urging the IMF to conduct an ex-post review of the results two years after the allocation to describe the various uses. We are working closely with the IMF and other members to advance these initiatives.
Question: Is an SDR allocation a lifeline for dictators?
Answer: The United States retains the right to refuse to purchase SDRs from any countries that we choose, including those under U.S. sanction regimes, and we are working to coordinate with other countries to do the same. Because all IMF members receive an SDR allocation proportionate to their quota share, some countries whose policies the United States opposes will receive an SDR allocation. However, these countries will not necessarily be able to exchange their SDRs for hard currencies. First, the country’s authorities must be recognized by the IMF membership. Then, the country would need to find a willing country to provide them with hard currency in exchange for their SDRs. We are working to increase transparency around SDR exchanges.
Question: Will an SDR allocation put at risk the dollar’s reserve currency status?
Answer: The dollar currently makes up 57% of global reserves, while SDRs only make up 2%. After the proposed allocation, SDRs as a share of global reserves would only grow to around 7%, while dollars would comprise about 54%, more than three times the next most significant currency. Additionally, restrictions on who can hold and transact SDRs and the IMF’s role in clearing all SDR transactions significantly limits the ability of the SDR to function as a replacement for the dollars’ reserve currency status.
Note that as detailed in the Rescission of the Statement on Bureau Supervisory and Enforcement Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, identified above, the Bureau intends to exercise its supervisory and enforcement authority consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act. As such, the Bureau does not intend to continue to provide the flexibilities afforded entities in the following interagency statements as of April 1, 2021:
#AceNewsReport – Mar.30: According to a recent CFPB report, the pandemic has left more than 8.8 million consumers behind on their rent. Tenants at risk of homelessness are disproportionately people of color, primarily Black and Hispanic families. Federal, state, and local governments, including the CDC, have put temporary holds on evictions for non-payment of rent – a measure proven to help stop the spread of #COVID19.
A word to landlords who may be receiving CDC-issued forms from your tenants: The FTC has more information about that process, including links to sample declarations’ If you work in the housing sector, you’ll want to read a joint statement from FTC Acting Chair Slaughter and CFPB Acting Director Uejio on that subject.
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By: Lesley Fair | Mar 29, 2021 11:23AM
For businesses, the important message from Acting Chair Slaughter and Acting Director Uejio is that staff at the FTC and CFPB will be monitoring eviction practices – particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms – to ensure companies are complying with the law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and prohibitions against unfair or deceptive practices. Companies shouldn’t evict tenants (or threaten to evict them) in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoriums.Honoring those standards is an important step toward protecting consumers and public health.
#AceHealthReport – Mar.30: The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the government to prioritise people for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine who are over 16 and living with adults who have weakened immune systems, such as those with blood cancer, HIV or those on immunosuppressive treatment including chemotherapy:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – New vaccine advice for adults living with adults who are immunosuppressed: ‘JCVI recommends that adults living with adults who are immunosuppressed should be prioritised for the #COVID19 vaccine’
Adults who are immunosuppressed have a weaker immune system, meaning they are less able to fight infections naturally. These individuals are more likely to have poorer outcomes following COVID-19 infection and recent evidence suggests that they may not respond as well to the COVID-19 vaccine as others.
There is growing evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines may reduce the chance of someone who has been vaccinated passing the virus on. Given this emerging evidence, the JCVI advises that those over 16 years of age who live with severely immunosuppressed adults are offered the COVID-19 vaccination alongside priority group 6. This will help limit the spread of the virus to immunosuppressed adults.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 Immunisation within the JCVI, commented:
The vaccination programme has so far seen high vaccine uptake and very encouraging results on infection rates, hospitalisations and mortality. Yet we know that the vaccine isn’t as effective in those who are immunosuppressed. Our latest advice will help reduce the risk of infection in those who may not be able to fully benefit from being vaccinated themselves.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, said:
Our surveillance systems and research studies are showing that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce asymptomatic infection and limit transmission of the virus. By vaccinating those who live with adults who are immunosuppressed, we can further help protect vulnerable people.
Household contacts considered as a priority would be those over 16 who share living accommodation with adults who are immunosuppressed. The JCVI does not currently advise vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed children, or household contacts of immunosuppressed adults who are themselves children.
Letter from the Health and Social Care Secretary to the JCVI: 24 March 2021
From:Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 39 Victoria Street London SW1H 0EU
To:Professor Wei Shen Lim Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Chair COVID-19 Immunisation (Nottingham University Hospitals)
24 March 2021
Dear Professor Lim,
Thank you for your letter on 24 March from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) with your advice about COVID-19 vaccination of adult household contacts of severely immunosuppressed adults.
I note your findings that early data indicate lower protection in vaccinated adults who are immunosuppressed and that those with severe immunosuppression are therefore more likely to suffer poor outcomes following infection and are less likely to benefit from the vaccines offered.
I also note your advice that there is now data indicating the potential for a reduction in transmission in those vaccinated. I welcome your advice that adult household contacts of adults with severe immunosuppression should be offered COVID-19 vaccination alongside priority group 6 on the basis that this would in your view reduce the risk of infection in the immunosuppressed who may not be able to fully benefit from vaccination.
I am asking NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) to take this advice forward and prioritise household contacts of the severely immunosuppressed for vaccination as you recommend alongside priority group 6 in phase 1 of the vaccination programme.
My officials have also shared your advice with colleagues leading the COVID-19 vaccines programmes in each of the 4 nations of the UK.
Thank you for your continued advice and support for the vaccination programme and I look forward to receiving further advice and discussions over the coming weeks.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – New study finds strong immune response following #COVID19 vaccination: ‘Study led by Sheffield and Oxford Universities finds that 99% of people have robust immune response against COVID-19 after one dose of Pfizer vaccine’
237 healthcare workers tested for antibody and T cell responses, as part of the largest and most in-depth study on the immune response following COVID-19 vaccination
First findings from DHSC-funded PITCH study shows one dose of the Pfizer vaccine generates robust T cell and antibody responses in 99% of people
Study shows people who have previously had COVID-19 generate stronger T cell and antibody responses following one dose of the Pfizer vaccine
A new study led by Sheffield and Oxford Universities with support from the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium has found that 99% of people generate a robust immune response against COVID-19 after just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The Protective Immunity from T cells to COVID-19 in health workers study (PITCH) examined how the immune system responds to COVID-19 after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine among people who have been infected by COVID-19 before and those who have not.
It suggests one dose of the vaccine protects against severe disease, supporting the decision to delay the second dose and provide protection to as many higher-risk groups as possible by providing more first doses. The study showed after 2 doses levels of protection were even stronger, underlining the importance of people coming forward for their second dose.
Between 9 December 2020 and 9 February 2021, researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, Oxford, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham analysed blood samples from 237 healthcare workers to understand their T cell and antibody responses following vaccination from the Pfizer vaccine.
The study also sheds light on the impact of previous infection from COVID-19 on people’s immune response to vaccination. It found people who had previously been infected with COVID-19 showed higher T cell and antibody responses after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine compared with people who had never had COVID-19 before and had one dose of the vaccine.
The researchers discovered that among people who had had COVID-19 in the past, the T cell response expanded after vaccination to recognise more regions of the COVID-19 spike protein – which attacks the immune system and causes severe disease. This means, even in those already infected, vaccination from the Pfizer jab provides better protection and an enhanced immune response to COVID-19 than the immune response from natural infection.
It is not yet known how long T cell and antibody response lasts following infection. The first dose of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection it is vital everyone gets a second dose when invited as 2 doses of the vaccine will provide longer-lasting protection from the virus.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
The PITCH study presents further proof that vaccines provide excellent protection against the virus. Thanks to the incredible efforts of our vaccination programme, over half of all adults in the UK have had the jab, and we remain on track to offer all adults a vaccine by the end of July.
A second vaccine jab is crucial for longer-term protection, regardless of whether you have previously had COVID-19 or not, and I urge everyone to make sure they attend their second appointment – to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
These findings from the PITCH study are crucial to increasing our understanding of the immune response to COVID-19 and how the Pfizer vaccine is working to protect people across the UK already.
I urge everyone to come forward to be vaccinated when invited and to take up both doses of the vaccine as both are vital to ensuring long-term protection from COVID-19.
Key findings from the PITCH study
Among individuals who had not had COVID-19 in the past and had received 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, T cell response was as strong as people who had had previous COVID-19 infection and one vaccine dose.
After one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, individuals who had previous COVID-19 infection showed higher antibody and T cell responses compared with people who had not been infected before. Antibody responses were 6.8 times higher and T cell responses 5.9 times higher.
Among individuals who had not had COVID-19 in the past and had received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, antibody and T cell responses were at a similar or higher level compared to those who had previously been infected but not been vaccinated.
There was a 10-fold greater spike-specific T cell responses following vaccination in people with previous infection compared to those who had no prior infection.
There was no link between age and levels of T cell/antibody response.
An effective vaccine is one that that saves lives and reduces hospitalisations. Both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years, according to previously published research carried out by Public Health England. In the over 80s, data suggest that a single dose of either vaccine is more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation, around 3 to 4 weeks after the jab.
Further research will continue to deepen our understanding of the immune responses over the longer term and what it means for protection against COVID-19 in the real world.
Even after vaccination everyone must continue to follow the rules – remembering Hands, Face, Space – as it may still be possible to pass the virus on to others after having the jab.
Dr Thushan de Silva, study author from the University of Sheffield, said:
Our study is one of the largest and most comprehensive accounts of the immune response to one dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine comparing previously infected and infection-naive individuals. Our results demonstrate that T cell and antibody responses induced by natural infection are boosted significantly by a single dose of vaccine. While the response to a single dose was lower in infection-naïve individuals, it was still equivalent or better than the immunity in previously infected individuals before it is boosted by vaccination.
Professor Susanna Dunachie, PITCH study lead from the University of Oxford, said:
Our study highlights the importance of studying both aspects of immune protection when trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination. Interestingly, we also found that vaccination improves the breadth of T cell responses generated in previously infected individuals. In immunology, this is a good thing as it means that you are more likely to maintain protection against new mutations of the virus, and further work will assess how long these vaccine responses last. It’s still important that everyone follows NHS guidelines to get 2 doses of the vaccine, even if you think you may have previously had COVID-19.
The PITCH study has been a great opportunity to work collaboratively across 5 university hospitals and with Public Health England to look at T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 at greater scale and depth than a single research centre can. By building on the national SIREN Study and putting our heads together, we are contributing towards illuminating the role of T cells in protection against COVID-19 from vaccines and previous infection.
Professor Paul Klenerman, PITCH study lead from the University of Oxford, said:
T cells are an important component of immunity to viruses – but typically much harder to measure than antibodies. To set this up at scale across the UK in the midst of a pandemic was a big challenge but the very clear data found by PITCH show just how informative this approach can be.
Of the 237 healthcare workers, 113 had previously been infected with COVID-19 compared to 124 healthcare workers who had not. For those who had not previously had COVID-19, 103 were given one dose of the vaccine and 21 were given 2 doses, with a gap of 23 days between doses. The researchers took blood samples from participants prior to and 28 days after vaccination to measure various aspects of the immune response, including antibodies and T cells.
A range of analyses were used to examine aspects of the T cell response including the magnitude of response and the response to different proteins from SARS-CoV-2. Carrying out these T cell analyses is much more complex than antibody studies and difficult to undertake at scale – but this study is the largest and most in depth in the world to date in this field.
Polack et al. Safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine 2020; 383(27): 2603-15.
Hall et al. Do antibody positive healthcare workers have lower SARS-CoV-2 infection rates than antibody negative healthcare workers? Large multi-centre prospective cohort study (the SIREN study), England: June to November 2020. medRxiv 2021: 2021.01.13.21249642.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.28: The decision is alarming child welfare experts who say the waiver compromises safety as thousands of unaccompanied child migrants cross the border.
Biden administration waives FBI background checks on caregivers at new migrant facilities: ‘In the rush to get children out of overcrowded and often unsuitable Border Patrol sites, President Joe Biden’s team is turning to a measure used by previous administrations: tent camps, convention centers and other huge facilities’
These facilities are operated by private contractors and funded by U.S. Health and Human Services.
In March alone, the Biden administration announced it will open eight new emergency sites across the Southwest adding 15,000 new beds, more than doubling the size of its existing system.
These emergency sites don’t have to be licensed by state authorities or provide the same services as permanent HHS facilities. They also cost far more, an estimated $775 per child per day.
And to staff the sites quickly, the Biden administration has waived vetting procedures intended to protect minors from potential harm.
Staff and volunteers directly caring for children at new emergency sites don’t have to undergo FBI fingerprint checks, which use criminal databases not accessible to the public and can overcome someone changing their name or using a false identity.
New migrant shelter opens in San Diego to deal with influx
HHS issued a statement Friday saying that direct care staff and volunteers ‘must pass public record criminal background checks.’ Public records checks generally take less time but are reliant on the subject providing correct information.
The agency says those giving direct care are supervised by federal employees or others who have passed fingerprint-based background checks.
‘In the Emergency Intake Sites, HHS is implementing the standards of care used for children in an emergency response setting,’ the agency said.
During former President Donald Trump´s administration, HHS for months did not ensure FBI fingerprint checks or child welfare screenings were done for workers at a large camp in Tornillo, Texas.
An Associated Press investigation in 2018 also found staff at another camp at Homestead, Florida, were not given routine screenings to rule out allegations of child abuse or neglect.
HHS´ inspector general warned then that FBI fingerprint checks ‘provide a unique safeguard’ over most commercial background checks that search a person´s name.
‘While the various background checks could identify some past criminal convictions or sexual offenses, these checks were not as extensive as the FBI fingerprint background checks,’ the inspector general found.
Laura Nodolf, the district attorney in Midland, Texas, where HHS opened an emergency site this month, said that without fingerprint checks, ‘we truly do not know who the individual is who is providing direct care.’
‘That´s placing the children under care of HHS in the path, potentially, of a sex offender,’ Nodolf said. ‘They are putting these children in a position of becoming potential victims.’
Dr. Amy Cohen, a child psychiatrist who is executive director of the immigration advocacy group Every Last One, noted that HHS requires fingerprint checks of relatives who seek to take in children as part of a vetting process that takes more than 30 days on average.
‘Failure to check fingerprints of frontline facility staff exposes vulnerable migrant children to a significant danger of physical and sexual abuse,’ she said.
The Biden administration has 18,000 children and teenagers in its custody, a figure that has risen almost daily over the last several weeks.
While Biden continues to expel most adults and many families crossing the border, he has declined to reinstate expulsions of unaccompanied immigrant children, which stopped last year after a now-stayed federal court order.
More than 5,000 youths are in border custody, many of them in a South Texas tent facility with limited space, food and access to the outdoors.
But Border Patrol is apprehending hundreds more minors than HHS is releasing every day – a difference of 325 just on Thursday.
At the downtown Dallas convention center, one of HHS’ emergency sites, almost all of its 2,300 beds were filled just one week after it opened this month.
Child advocates say that rather than opening more unlicensed emergency facilities, the administration must speed up placing children with sponsors, especially the approximately 40% of youths in custody who have a parent in the country ready to take them.
HHS has tried to expedite processing of minors in recent weeks, allowing some youths to be placed with parents while fingerprint checks are pending and authorizing the use of government funds to pay for airfare when a child is released.
Ana, the mother of a 17-year-old teen detained in Dallas, told AP said her son fled gangs trying to recruit him in El Salvador and hoped to join her in Virginia.
After an eight-day journey, the teenager crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on March 9. Eight days would pass until she heard from authorities at the border that they had him in custody.
She received a 10-minute call from him on March 20, after he was taken to the Dallas facility. It was the first time she’s spoken to him since he entered the country.
She says she has repeatedly called HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to ask if they would release him to her family, but they have refused, saying they have to process her case. In the meantime, she’s ready to present documentation proving she is his mother and fit to take him.
‘I don´t understand why they are making it so difficult,’ said Ana, who is not being identified by her last name to protect her son´s privacy. ‘I know that we are in a pandemic, but maybe I think that it is that they are behind schedule, that maybe there are a lot of people there.’
Tornillo and Homestead were sharply criticized by Democrats and child welfare experts who warned of the potential trauma of detaining thousands of teenagers without adequate support.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross provided care at the first two emergency HHS sites, a converted camp for oil workers in Midland, Texas, and the Dallas convention center. Those volunteers are now being phased out.
The Red Cross and HHS for several days refused to acknowledge that the volunteers weren´t given FBI fingerprint checks. The Red Cross first said that all of its volunteers underwent background checks when they joined the group. On Tuesday, the group said it was ‘refreshing’ checks on about 300 volunteers sent to care for children and that it had not found any new red flags.
HHS spokesman Mark Weber said he could not yet identify which companies or groups will now step in. The department asked contractors in mid-March to submit bids to provide child care and transportation.
Leecia Welch, an attorney for the nonprofit National Center for Youth Law who monitors the treatment of immigrant children, said lawyers would pay ‘close attention to whether this temporary waiver becomes standard operating practice.’
‘Given the urgency of the current placement crisis, families deserve the same flexibility as the for-profit companies contracting with the federal government,’ she said.
Safety concerns have already been raised about the Midland camp. One official working there noted a lack of new clothes and caseworkers when teenagers initially arrived, and state regulators last week warned that the water on site may not be safe, forcing U.S. authorities to give teens bottles until they could arrange for water deliveries.
Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez, a Dallas-based immigration lawyer, described the Dallas convention center as reminiscent of a barracks but ‘very welcoming.’
She visited the convention center in its first days as a volunteer for Catholic Charities and said that cots for more than 2,000 boys have been placed in socially distanced rows in a ballroom.
After being bused to the site, the boys get clean clothes, a pillow, a blanket and a COVID-19 test, Saenz-Rodriguez said. She saw them last week sitting together at tables, talking and playing card games. Most did not understand why they´d been brought to Dallas or what would happen to them next, she said.
‘Their number one question is `How long are we going to be here? What´s going to happen to us?´’ Saenz-Rodriguez said.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.27: With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, the risks to the public are clear: these can include buying a product which not only does not protect against #COVID19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected. Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked:
Legitimate vaccines are not for sale. They are strictly administered and distributed by national healthcare regulators.“Counterfeit vaccines threaten the health of consumers who are duped by nefarious actors seeking to exploit the pandemic situation for financial gain. HSI and its law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate and seek prosecution for criminals taking advantage of the public’s quest for COVID-19 vaccinations and those who endanger the lives of the very people the vaccines are intended to protect,” said HSI Assistant Director, and Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Steve Francis.
Anyone buying these products online also runs the risk of potentially giving their money to organized criminals.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on people’s fears in order to make fast cash. Fake vaccines are the latest in these scams, which is why INTERPOL and HSI are warning the public to be extra vigilant,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “Anyone ordering a vaccine online rather than obtaining it from their national provider, will be buying a fake product.”
“The networks behind these crimes have global ambitions. No country or region can fight this type of crime alone. INTERPOL is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them,” added Secretary General Stock.
Following a global alert issued by INTERPOL in late 2020 the world police body recently announced the first internationally linked arrests and seizures in connection with fake vaccines after criminal networks were disrupted in China and South Africa.
INTERPOL has also been receiving additional information on fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, including nursing homes.
“HSI will continue to work with INTERPOL to coordinate investigations targeting every level of the transnational criminal organizations trafficking in counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines,” added Francis.
An emerging trend has seen cybercriminals set up illicit websites claiming to be legitimate national and/or world organizations offering pre-orders for vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. These websites offer payments in bitcoins and other payment processing methods.
Using trademark logos of major pharmaceutical companies producing approved COVID-19 vaccines, the fake websites are suspected of being used to conduct phishing attacks and/or dupe victims into giving charitable donations.
In addition to opening up their computer to cyberattacks when attempting to purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines online, people also run the risk of having their identity stolen.
In December 2020, HSI seized two websites purporting to be those of biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus. Instead they appeared to have been used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites, in order to use the information for criminal purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.
Ransomware attacks have also been conducted against hospitals, laboratories, local governments and other targets, remotely blocking computer systems and demanding a payment to release them.
Given the need for a global response against these types of cyber-enabled fraud and financial crime, INTERPOL created the Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF) in 2020 with member countries in order to enhance international cooperation and innovation with public and private sector partners.
To report suspected illicit criminal activity or fraudulent schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, email Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.
#AceHealthReport – Mar.26: In total, more than 29 million people have now had their first dose of one of the available vaccines, while the number having gone on to receive their second has now passed three million:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Another 70 people die as 6,187 test positive for #Covid19 over the last 24 hours, the latest figures from the Department of Health show. This brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 4,325,315 with over half U.K.population now had there first jab according to the MetroUK today’
Friday: 26 Mar 2021 4:30 pm
The update comes after the Government insisted it has absolute confidence in UK vaccine supplies, with all adults still on track to receive a first dose by the end of July.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the UK’s vaccine programme will continue to be ‘world-leading’, despite a row with Europe over vaccine exports.
He told Good Morning Britain on Friday: ‘We are confident we have got the supplies that we need both to meet our mid-April target of vaccinating all the over-50s and those people with clinical vulnerabilities, and the bigger target, which is that every adult at least has had their first jab by the end of July.
‘Of course, anyone who has an appointment for a jab, either their first one or second one, there is no need to worry – those appointments will be honoured.’
Meanwhile, the Government has denied reports from France that the UK could struggle to secure second doses due to the row in the EU.
A spokesman said: ‘We’re on track to meet our vaccination targets and everyone will get their second dose within 12 weeks of their first.’
It comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate around one in 340 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to March 20 – unchanged on the previous week, suggesting a levelling off.
The picture remains broadly similar in Wales and Northern Ireland, with a slight rise in infections in Scotland.
According to the latest Government figures, the reproduction number – the R value – across the UK is between 0.7 and 0.9. This is compared to 0.6 to 0.9 last week.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Germany to require #COVID19 tests on all flight arrivals everyone entering the country by plane to undergo a test starting on Sunday whereas previously it was, only travelers from high risk areas were required to present a negative test’
#AceHealthReport – Mar.26: The stricter rules were originally supposed to have been enacted on Friday. However, health officials said they would push them back to Sunday to allow passengers and airlines time to prepare. Travelers will have to pay for the tests themselves:
The German Health Ministry announced on Thursday that people flying into Germany will be required to undergo coronavirus testing as of midnight (2300 UTC) on Sunday, March 28: As German tourists flock to ‘pandemic safe’ Mallorca as
News of the changes were first reported by the tabloid newspaper, Bild.
The old rules had required tests only from travelers coming from high-risk areas. Now, travelers coming from popular vacation destinations with lower case numbers, like Mallorca, will need a negative test.
The testing requirements are expected to last until mid-May.
Airlines have said they will lay on hundreds of extra flights to cope with the surge in demand.
The number of virus cases per 100,000 population stands at 113 in Germany.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.25: We’ve been looking forward to so many ways we could return to normal, to the way things were before the pandemic,” tweeted Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. “Mass shootings were not what anyone had in mind.”
Politifact: Gun violence spiked during pandemic, even as the deadliest mass shootings waned: ‘After a year of social distancing and closures from the #COVID19 pandemic, the tragedy of two mass shootings, less than a week apart, has led people to worry what a return to everyday American life will really be like’
Is it true that mass shootings tapered off during the pandemic? …….Large-scale public mass shootings, like those that just occurred in Georgia and Colorado, did indeed decline throughout the pandemic. However, other forms of gun violence rose dramatically over the past year.
Competing definitions of mass shootings: One common definition of a mass shooting is based on the old FBI definition of a “mass murder” — an incident in which four victims are shot and killed. Gun violence databases that abide by this definition have reported that the number of large-scale public mass shootings declined sharply during the pandemic.
One such database, compiled by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, found that two mass shootings occurred in 2020, down from eight or nine per year during the previous three years. And both of the 2020 shootings took place before pandemic lockdowns were instituted in the U.S.
However, some researchers prefer a more expansive definition, defining a mass shooting as a firearm-related incident that results in four or more individuals shot, rather than killed.
The Gun Violence Archive, a research group that monitors gun violence, uses the broader definition. This allows the organization to track shootings typically excluded from other mass shooting statistics, such as domestic shootings, as well as forms of gun violence that occur disproportionately in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
By this definition, 2020 was the most violent year since the Gun Violence Archive first started tracking gun deaths in 2013. According to the organization, 611 mass shootings took place in 2020, exceeding any other recent year by more than 50%.
In fact, many forms of gun violence spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of overall gun homicides at its highest rate in over 20 years. Much of the violence was centered in major cities such as New York, Houston and Philadelphia.
However, many of these shootings, which disproportionately featured Black victims, tend to receive less coverage in the media.
The reasons for this are varied and complex. University of Texas-Austin professor Michael Sierra-Arévalo said that the phenomenon is rooted in the way that the media often devalues the lives of Black and brown people. As evidence, he pointed to a study that analyzed homicides in Chicago and matched them to media stories to analyze which got the most coverage. The study found that Black victims were less likely to receive media coverage than white victims. It also found that the Black victims who were covered were far less likely to be discussed as complex and sympathetic people than white victims.
Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, an assistant professor who researches violence prevention at the University of California, Davis said that the COVID-19 pandemic likely played a major role in contributing to rising violence.
“The COVID-19 pandemic worsened many of the underlying conditions that contribute to community gun violence risk — poverty, unemployment, food and housing insecurity — while also taxing many of the systems and interpersonal networks of support in communities that foster safety, health and wellbeing,” she said. “These, in combination with the pandemic’s unique effects on feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness, likely had an impact on the increase in interpersonal community gun violence over the past year.”
#AceHealthReport – Mar.25: Pressure is growing on the European Commission and EU member states to reconsider their staunch opposition to measures that could open the possibility of a massive increase in #Covid19 vaccine production worldwide.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – The EU Should Stop Blocking Efforts to Increase Global Vaccine Access: European Lawmakers Join Push for Waiving Intellectual Property Rules for #Covid19 Response: https://t.me/reuters_news_agency/69546 Reuters Wire News, [Mar 24, 2021 at 6:18 PM] UK and EU say looking to create ‘win-win’ situation on COVID-19 vaccines
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Commission said they are discussing how they can work together to create a “win-win” situation on COVID-19 vaccines after the bloc threatened to take tougher measures to curb the export of deliveries of shots: The European Commission has threatened to ban exports to countries like Britain that have higher vaccination rates but do not export shots to the EU. The aim is to safeguard supplies for the bloc’s own citizens as they face a third wave of the pandemic.: Given our interdependencies, we are working on specific steps we can take – in the short-, medium- and long term – to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens,” they said in a joint statement: In the end, openness and global cooperation of all countries will be key to finally overcome this pandemic and ensure better preparation for meeting future challenges. We will continue our discussions.”
The proposal would facilitate technology transfers so that Covid-19 medical products, including vaccines, could be produced quickly and affordably by manufacturers around the world, in line with a rights-based approach to the pandemic and growing calls for a “peoples’ vaccine” freely available to all.
As EU heads of state prepare to discuss the bloc’s response to the pandemic later this week, they should heed the calls coming from elected representatives and citizens and reconsider their opposition to the intellectual property waiver. As European lawmakers put it, “we will not defeat the virus until we defeat it everywhere.” And with new strains emerging all the time, we will hardly defeat it anywhere without a mass global vaccine rollout. The pandemic has already had an enormous human and economic cost. European leaders should stop standing in the way of a measure that could accelerate and increase global vaccine production and availability and bring us closer to ending the pandemic.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.23: “ People who attempt to illegally enter the United States by taking to the sea put their lives, and the lives of their accompanying family members at grave risk,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, Coast Guard liaison officer, U.S. Embassy Havana. “We strongly discourage these dangerous and deadly voyages in favor of safe and legal ways to enter the United States.”
‘Coast Guard repatriates 17 migrants to Cuba they were interdicted Thursday by the Charles Sexton crew approximately 54 miles south of Key West and brought aboard due to safety of life at sea concerns’
U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 03/22/2021 02:43 PM EDTNews Release
Editor’s Note: Click on image to download high-resolution version.
Since Oct. 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 107 Cubans compared to:
5,396 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
1,468 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
259 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
313 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
49 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention: Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of #COVID19. There were no migrants in these cases reported to have any #COVID19 related symptoms: