Trump Wants More States To Reopen As Coronavirus Surges — He’s Clearly Learned Nothing

28 Jul

Trump thinks more states should reopen, even as Dr. Fauci warns that there will be further death and suffering if we don’t get the virus under control. Trump’s initial push to unsafely reopen states led to a surge in new cases and hospitalizations and once again brought our economy to a halt. Trump still hasn’t learned anything about how to lead us out of this crisis.

Trump said yesterday that more states should be opening up, even though the coronavirus is surging.

TRUMP: “I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening.”

Dr. Fauci also said yesterday that we are going to have further suffering and death if we don’t contain the coronavirus.

FAUCI: “If you look at the deaths as they’re occurring right now — about 1,000 per day — unless we get our arms around this and get it suppressed, we are going to have further suffering and further death.”

Hospitalizations are surging in Florida, including among children, just weeks before schools are being forced to reopen.

CNN: “Child hospitalizations from Covid-19 surge 23% in Florida as schools statewide must reopen”

The economic recovery has stalled after Trump’s failed response led to a surge in cases and forced states and businesses to shut down again.

CBS News: “The economic recovery that began in May is sputtering. Recent data show Americans cutting their spending and many businesses re-closing their doors as the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. crosses 4 million, raising concerns about another slowdown in growth.”

Even Trump’s own allies say he has failed to confront the pandemic with a clear strategy and consistent leadership.

Washington Post: “But both allies and opponents agree he has failed at the one task that could help him achieve all of his goals — confronting the pandemic with a clear strategy and consistent leadership.”

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In Late Night Tweet Tirade, Trump Again Promotes Debunked Coronavirus Conspiracies

28 Jul

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country and we approach 150,000 deaths, Trump spent his Monday night showing off his apparent “new tone” by tweeting fringe coronavirus conspiracies, promoting dangerous misinformation about the virus, and undermining the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Late Monday night, Trump tweeted multiple versions of a viral video making dubious claims about hydroxychloroquine that also undermined Dr. Fauci.

Overnight, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube removed the videos Trump retweeted for promoting false information.

CNN: “’We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,’ a Facebook spokesperson told CNN, adding that the platform is ‘showing messages in News Feed to people who have reacted to, commented on or shared harmful COVID-19-related misinformation that we have removed, connecting them to myths debunked by the WHO.’”

CNN: “Twitter worked to scrub the video late Monday night after Trump shared versions of the video that amassed hundreds of thousands of views. ‘We’re taking action in line with our Covid misinfo policy,’ a Twitter spokesperson told CNN.”

CNN: “The video was also removed by YouTube, where it had been viewed more than 40,000 times. Users attempting to access the video late Monday were greeted with a message that said it had been removed for ‘violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.’”

Dr. Fauci again pushed back on Trump’s promotion of an unproven drug while warning that the White House was painting an inaccurate picture of ongoing challenges with testing and PPE.

NBC News: “Fauci reiterated that the ‘overwhelming prevailing clinical trials’ that have looked at the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it’s ‘not effective’ in treating the coronavirus.”

ABC News: “Fauci was pressed to explain why, months after COVID-19 first reached U.S. soil, the U.S. government is still struggling to provide adequate testing for Americans and sufficient personal protective gear for essential workers. ‘We keep hearing when we go to these task force meetings that these [issues] are being corrected,’ Fauci said. ‘But yet when you go into the trenches, you still hear about that.’”

Trump and his advisors have routinely pushed hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, despite various studies finding that the drug does not treat or prevent coronavirus. 

Washington Post: “Multiple studies have disputed claims that antimalarial and antiviral drugs like hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and chloroquine can help treat or even prevent the coronavirus. Last month, the FDA revoked an emergency approval that allowed doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to covid-19 patients even though the treatment was untested.”

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WATCH: NEW DNC VIDEO: ‘Thumbs Down’

28 Jul

Today, on the three-year anniversary of Sen. John McCain’s “thumb down” vote to block Trump and Republicans from repealing the Affordable Care Act, the DNC War Room released a new video contrasting Sen. McCain’s courage against Trump’s continued attacks on Americans’ health care.

WATCH HERE:

“Senator John McCain stood up to Trump and Senate Republicans three years ago when they tried to strip health care from millions. Now, in the middle of the worst health crisis of our time, Trump is still fighting to take away health care from 20 million Americans and gut protections for as many as 133 million people with preexisting conditions,” said DNC War Room senior spokesperson Lily Adams. “The American people have the chance to put an end to these attacks on health care by picking someone in November who will protect and build on the Affordable Care Act. That person is Joe Biden.”

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FACT SHEET: Trump Didn’t Just Fail to Address Racial Disparities, He Made Them Worse

28 Jul

Despite his promises and boasting about everything he has done for minority communities, Trump has failed to address racial disparities in our nation and instead only made them worse, particularly now with his coronavirus response that led to a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities.

Trump failed to respond to the racial disparities present in the coronavirus pandemic and botched the rollout of aid to Black and Latino small business owners.

  • Trump’s failed coronavirus response made the fallout worse than it had to be, particularly in communities of color where the virus already had a disproportionate impact.

  • As Trump failed to mount a serious response to the coronavirus, unemployment has been particularly high for Black and Latino workers and business owners. As of June, Black unemployment was 15.4% and Latino unemployment was 14.5%.

  • Even after legislative action required the Trump administration to publish data on racial disparities in coronavirus cases, it only shared insufficient information and media outlets had to sue the administration for more accurate data.

  • Black- and Latinx-owned businesses suffered as the Trump administration botched the delivery of assistance to small businesses hurt by the coronavirus.

Trump’s economic policies have supported big corporations and wealthy investors instead of communities of color.

  • Black and Latino households were disproportionately left out of the benefits from Trump’s tax law. The average tax cut for Black households was less than a third of the average white household, and for Latino households it was less than half.

  • Trump marketed opportunity zones as a means of helping underserved communities, yet many of the benefits have flowed to wealthy investors, including those close to Trump.

  • As president, Trump threatened to veto a minimum wage increase and proposed a tip-pooling rule that could undercut earnings and job opportunities for many workers of color.

  • Trump’s budgets have called for steep cuts or the full elimination of the minority business development agency, which funds a network of centers that provide minority businesses with assistance services.

Trump’s policies undercut the American dream and affordable housing for communities of color while lining the pockets of  bankers and lenders.

  • The Trump administration’s proposal to roll back disparate impact claims will make it harder to fight housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

  • Trump’s administration proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act that would boost lenders at the expense of low-income neighborhoods.

  • Under Trump’s CFPB, fair lending enforcement orders against mortgage lenders have dropped off and in 2019 only one was issued at all.

  • The Trump administration rolled back the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which aimed to fight racial bias in housing.

  • While Black and Latino families have lower homeownership rates and are more likely to be low-income renters, Trump repeatedly called for cuts to affordable housing programs.

  • Trump has also called for drastic cuts to subsidized housing and voucher programs, and for changes that could raise rents for low-income families.

Time and again, Trump has undermined efforts to reduce racial disparities in education and expand opportunities for communities of color.

  • Trump failed to live up to his promise of easing the burden of student loans, which is especially acute for students of color, and added to students’ worries about college affordability.

  • The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era guidance on school discipline aimed at protecting Black students from being punished more severely in school.

  • The Trump administration illegally delayed implementing regulations that helped identify racial disparities in special needs programs in public schools.

  • The Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance on affirmative action as well as guidance encouraging public schools to achieve diversity without isolating students.

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Children are the key to behaviour change to reduce infection

28 Jul

Schoolboy Yangyang was growing weaker by the day. When his symptoms worsened into diarrhoea and abdominal pain, his parents took him to the nearest hospital in Guangxi, southeastern China, where the doctor examined him on arrival and administered treatment. To confirm his suspicion, the doctor ordered a fecal examination. The result confirmed that Yangyang was suffering from a parasitic infection of the liver that can be caused by eating raw fish – a traditional dietary practice that has developed into a growing public health problem in China.

This practice of eating raw freshwater fish is passed from generation to generation, particularly among the class of labourers that includes farmers, manual workers and fishermen,” said Dr Men-Bao Qian, Vice-Chief of the Department of Control of Soil and Food-borne Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 10 million Chinese people suffer from clonorchiasis (Chinese liver fluke disease), which is caused by infection with Clonorchis sinensis. This parasite is believed to be largely prevalent in the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Heilongjiang.

Behavioural trial

Besides medical treatment, researchers believe that behaviour can be changed among young people by providing correct information to trigger change. A recent school-based behavioural intervention trial in southeastern China revealed that clonorchiasis can be significantly controlled by informing and educating children of the harms of eating raw or insufficiently cooked freshwater fish or shrimps.

According to Dr Xiao-Nong Zhou, “Capturing the mechanism driving raw-freshwater fish-eating practice is crucially important to design a sustainable strategy against clonorchiasis,” adding that “Previously we have focused on adults because they are the main population afflicted by this disease. We neglected to assess how they develop this special dietary practice.”

Persistent raw-fish eating practices, particularly in adult males, result in frequent reinfection. Health education must discourage such practices while recognizing the challenges of advocating changes in dietary practice in adult males. Experiences from the field demonstrate a relationship between these eating practices among family members. 

Study findings

The study explored raw-freshwater fish-eating practices among families in four major clonorchiasis‐endemic provinces in eastern China. A total of 23 222 students from 15 counties were included as participants and provided data for themselves and their parents. The practice was found to be higher in families with boys than with girls. 

Parental habits had a strong influence. The adjusted odds ratio of students’ raw-eating practice was 10.5 (95% confidential intervals (95% CI): 9.4–11.7) in those with fathers’ practice, 33.6 (95% CI: 26.3–42.9) in those with mothers’ practice and 47.1 (95% CI: 42.0–52.8) in those with both parents’ practice.

Interaction also existed between spouses, with impact from the husband on his wife being higher than that from the wife on her husband. 

The belief that they would not eat freshwater fish in future decreased by age and was lower in boys than in girls. This decreasing belief in children was related to the raw-eating practice in parents; children who had previously eaten raw freshwater fish were less likely to believe that they would not eat raw fish in future. 

These results suggest that individuals become accustomed to ingesting raw freshwater fish due to intergenerational assimilation from parents and by marriage. These individuals then pass on the practice to their children, resulting in continued practice and clonorchiasis infections in subsequent generations.

The findings explain the epidemiological profiles, namely higher prevalence in males and adults; the persistence of clonorchiasis in East Asia, as well as the difficulty in persuading adult males to giving up raw-eating practice,” said Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder, Team Leader, Veterinary Public Health, Vector Control and Environment unit, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “It also implies that early education during childhood will be useful in long‐term control of clonorchiasis.

Early behavioural intervention decreases raw-freshwater fish-eating practice in schoolchildren.

The researchers then implemented a cluster-controlled trial in primary schools in southeastern China to explore the effectiveness of behavioural intervention targeting schoolchildren. The baseline survey collected knowledge on transmission and symptoms of clonorchiasis, raw freshwater fish ingesting practice and the belief that this practice would be discontinued in future. Comprehensive educational activities were implemented in one interventional school, and evaluation surveys were conducted after 6 and 12 months to capture the change in knowledge, practice and belief.

The application of suitable education products and education approaches is important,” said Dr Qian from Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “We must take consideration of the distinguishing features of children.”

The researchers also designed a cartoon, called "a changing life of liver fluke", to introduce the story of Yangyang and the doctor educating him and his classmates. Information on transmission, symptoms, prevention and control is shown sequentially, with real pictures integrated into the cartoon to improve student engagement. Comprehensive education activities were launched at the school and bulletin boards with disease information were put up in public areas. The cartoon film was shown to the students, they were each given an educational brochure, and encouraged to take part in drawing and essay writing competitions on control and prevention of clonorchiasis.

In the school where the trial took place, the percentage of pupils with knowledge about transmission route, early symptoms, complications and carcinogenicity increased from 15.0% to 78.5%, from 6.5% to 36.8%, from 4.0% to 93.9% and from 4.5% to 49.4% respectively after 12 months. 

Of the 247 students (6.5%), 16 had eaten raw freshwater fish during the year immediately before the baseline survey; this number decreased to 3 (1.2%) 12 months later. The percentage of students who were convinced they should discontinue eating raw freshwater fish in the future was 70.9% at the baseline and 97.2% 12 months later.

“Similar studies are needed for other foodborne trematodiases,” said by Dr Abela-Ridder. “Further robust evidence will promote the control of foodborne trematodiases and benefit populations in endemic areas.

Other foodborne trematode infections that also result in a high burden of disease are caused by the other human liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and O. felineus, which have biological and epidemiological characteristics similar to C. sinensis.


Further reading

Qian MB, Jiang ZH, Zhou CH, Ge T, Wang X, Zhou XN. Familial assimilation in transmission of raw-freshwater fish-eating practice leading to clonorchiasis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020;14(4):e0008263. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0008263. https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008263

Qian MB, Gan XQ, Zhao JG, Zheng WJ, Li W, Jiang ZH, et al. Effectiveness of health education in improving knowledge, practice and belief related to clonorchiasis in children. Acta Trop. 2020;207:105436. doi:10.1016/j.actatropica.2020.105436. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001706X20300668?via%3Dihub

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Study provides comprehensive view of terrestrial venomous snakes and snakebite in the Middle East

28 Jul

 

Snakebite envenoming is a common problem in many parts of the world, but little is known about its magnitude in the Arab countries of the Middle East, where cases are not widely reported.

The aim is to halve the numbers of deaths and cases of disability due to snakebite envenoming over the next 12 years through a programme that targets affected communities and their health systems, and by ensuring access to safe, effective treatment through increased cooperation, collaboration and partnership at all levels.

An interdisciplinary group of zoologists and snakebite experts recently reviewed existing English and Arabic literature on terrestrial venomous snakes and snake bites in Arab countries of the Middle East providing an up to date and comprehensive view of the situation in the region.

With a wide range of habitats, the review found that the region hosts 19 species of terrestrial venomous snakes of varying medical importance. These include 14 viperids (excluding a very dubious record of Montivipera xanthina in Syria) (Photo 1), 3 elapids (Photo 2) and 2 atractaspidines.

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D.A. Warrell / Oman saw-scaled viper (Echis omanensis) specimen from Rustaq, Oman.

The review shows that available scientific literature is heterogeneous across the region, and that epidemiological and clinical data on snakebite are generally limited or even absent from some countries.

Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen report the largest numbers of snakebite cases (for example, a study in Saudi Arabia described 1,019 snakebite cases for the period 2005-2010), with common epidemiological patterns: males being predominantly bitten outdoors on their feet. On the other hand, only two snakebite case reports were found from Kuwait and no information was available from Qatar.

Countries in this region should be encouraged to make snake bites and scorpion stings notifiable diseases, and to record associated mortality and morbidity, so that the public health importance of these conditions can be more reliably assessed.” said Professor David Warrell of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, who is the coordinating author of the study.

Antivenoms

There are only two antivenom producers in this region. The Scientific Studies & Research Centre SYRIA now manufactures only scorpion antivenom. Their “Polyvalent Anti snake Venom sera” is no longer obtainable. National Antivenom & Vaccine Production Center (NAVPC), National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, manufactures bivalent Naja/Walterinnesia Snake Antivenom, polyvalent Snake Antivenom, and polyvalent Scorpion Antivenom.

Imported Indian Vins “Snake Venom Antitoxin (Biosnake)” is claimed to neutralise Naja haje, Naja nigricollis and Cerastes cerastes venoms, but the geographical origin of these venoms and the clinical effectiveness of the antivenom for snakebites in Arab countries is unproven.

Current political turbulence in the region is jeopardising local production, and importation from adjacent Middle Eastern countries. It also makes the development of a coordinated regional initiative to overcome this deficiency far more difficult. Responsible international producers outside the region should consider developing appropriate antivenoms to meet the humanitarian need and marketing opportunity. However, new regional antivenoms must be designed based on sound knowledge of the species known to be of the greatest medical importance and raised using venoms obtained from snakes in Arab countries” said Professor Zuhair S. Amr, lead author, Jordan University for Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.

Adequate prevention and increased awareness of this public health problem in the region should also be promoted, particularly among farmers and other groups in rural areas and exposed to encounters with snakes in their everyday life.  

 

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Concerned by Worsening Situation in West Africa, Sahel, Security Council Presidential Statement Calls for National, Regional, International Support

28 Jul

The Security Council, expressing concern about security and humanitarian challenges in West Africa — as well as the potential of the COVID-19 pandemic to exacerbate existing fragilities — today adopted a presidential statement calling for national, regional and international support for countries of the region.

Security Council Committee Concerning Central African Republic Amends List Entries of Six Individuals on Its Sanctions List

28 Jul

On 28 July 2020, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic amended the list entries of the following individuals included on its list of individuals and entities, as specified in underline below.