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Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak COVID-19 First Amendment Intelwars New Hampshire

New Hampshire lawsuit challenges state’s coronavirus ban on big gatherings on First Amendment grounds

The ongoing outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — has prompted state and local officials around the country to bar people from getting together in large groups and even leaving their homes in some cases. A recent lawsuit in New Hampshire, however, is challenging one of those orders on constitutional grounds.

According to a story published Thursday in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the plaintiffs in the case say that their First Amendment rights to peaceable assembly have been violated by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s recent order banning gatherings of over 50 people:

“To be clear, of course we do not wish the spread of COVID-19,” said Dan Hynes of Manchester, the lawyer representing the three people who brought the suit.

“However, the government should not be acting in an unconstitutional manner in order to possibly address their concerns.”

In the court filing, Hynes said Sununu has every legal right to advise citizens not to gather in large crowds, but he said that mandating this behavior runs afoul of constitutional protections.

Sununu announced the statewide prohibition of “scheduled public gatherings over 50 people” on Monday along with a mandatory restriction on dine-in services at the state’s restaurants and bars. The restrictions are in place until April 7.

“This action will help slow the spread of this virus in New Hampshire,” Sununu said in a written statement. “We do not take this decision lightly. This will be hard, but we are all in this together.”

“We can choose to assemble if that is our desire. What cannot occur is one man in a position of power deciding to strip us of our rights in the name of safety and without due process,” one plaintiff said in the news release, according to the Associated Press.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesman for Gov. Sununu told the Associated Press that the order was both within the governor’s authority as well as in line other actions taken around the country, and said, “We are confident the court will agree.”

On Thursday, New Hampshire health officials said the Granite State had 44 confirmed cases of the new disease up from 39 the day before, according to WHDH-TV.

New Hampshire isn’t the only state to ban temporarily large public gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The governors of New York, California, Ohio, Washington state, and Oregon took similar steps last week, according to the Washington Examiner.

This week, the governor of Wisconsin announced a public gatherings of 10 or more people, according Wisconsin Public Radio, while WCSH-TV reported that Maine’s governor announced a ban on events of the same size.

On Monday, the White House issued guidance that people avoid getting together in groups of more than 10 people for two weeks in order to help slow the spread of the virus.

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Bayer Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus response COVID-19 Drugs Intelwars President Donald Trump trump WHITE HOUSE

Bayer donates millions of tablets of malaria drug that could fight coronavirus to U.S. government

Pharmaceutical company Bayer has responded to the ongoing outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — by donating millions of tablets of an anti-malarial drug that could be used to combat the disease to the United States government.

According to a story published Thursday at MarketWatch:

U.S. listed shares of Bayer AG bayry rose 3% in trading on Thursday afternoon after it said it had donated three million tablets of Resochin, a chloroquine product, to the U.S. The German drugmaker said that it is seeking an emergency use authorization for the drug in the U.S., where it is not approved. Health care providers in countries like China and France have been using chloroquine-based therapies to treat COVID-19 patients as there are no proven treatments for the disease.

At a Thursday press briefing, President Donald Trump said that he had directed the Food and Drug Administration to speed up trials of various drugs — including chloroquine — an action which he said could be a potential “game-changer” in fighting the disease.

“Nothing will stand in our way as we pursue any avenue to find what best works against this horrible virus,” Trump said at the White House briefing. “Now, a drug called chloroquine — and some people would add to it ‘hydroxy,’ Hydroxychloroquine — So Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine. Now, this is a common malaria drug. It is also a drug used for strong arthritis … But it is known as a malaria drug, and it’s been around for a long time and it’s very powerful.”

The president also cautioned, “When you go with a brand-new drug, you don’t know that that’s going to happen” but that the anti-malarial has shown “very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.”

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn explained that while chloroquine has been approved to treat other conditions, the agency wants to get more information about its efficacy against the coronavirus.

For now, “we’re looking at drugs that are already approved for other indications; so they’re already approved, as the President said, for other diseases,” Hahn explained at the briefing.

“As an example, many Americans have read studies and heard media reports about this drug, chloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug,” Hahn explained. “It’s already approved — as the President said — for the treatment of malaria, as well as an arthritis condition” but officials wants to get more information in the form of “a large, pragmatic clinical trial.”

According to numbers aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, the United States has over 14,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Friday morning and has seen over 205 resulting deaths. The same data show that there are 246,000 confirmed cases of the virus globally.

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Coronavirus Coronavirus america COVID-19 Economy Food Health Intelwars jobs Pizza Restaurants

Domino’s is trying to fill around 10,000 jobs to meet coronavirus-driven delivery demand

As a result of the efforts to combat and slow the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — restaurant dining rooms have been closed down, people have been staying home, and the world’s largest pizza delivery chain says that it needs more people to help with the uptick delivery demand.

According to a Thursday report at CNBC, the company expects to hire somewhere around 10,000 new workers in roles ranging from delivery drivers and pizza makers to commercially licensed truck drivers for its supply chain centers.

Company CEO Richard Allison explained that the hiring surge wouldn’t only benefit the chain’s hungry, homebound customers, but also people from other areas of the service industry who have found themselves in tough financial situations because of the virus’ spread.

“While many local, state, and federal rules are closing dine-in restaurants, the opportunity to keep feeding our neighbors through delivery and carryout means that a small sense of normalcy is still available to everyone,” company CEO Richard Allison said in a Thursday announcement that the company is looking for both part-time and full-time workers.

“Our corporate and franchise stores want to make sure they’re not only feeding people, but also providing opportunity to those looking for work at this time, especially those in the heavily-impacted restaurant industry,” the CEO added.

Those interested in applying for one of the positions can do so on its employment website, the announcement says.

As federal, state and local government officials around the country have worked to combat the spread of the virus, many in the restaurant industry have found themselves at a loss due to mandates that have limited their customers to pickup, delivery and drive-through options. In addition to the orders, the White House has also issued a set of guidelines on Monday advising people to avoid eating in bars, restaurants and food courts for two weeks in order to slow the spread of the virus.

These virus-driven market changes have given businesses already known for their delivery service — like Domino’s — a particular advantage amid the response. In response to Thursday’s announcement, the pizza chain’s stock increased 11% while the company has also been outperforming the S&P 500 index as of late, according to Investors Business Daily.

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‘Above and beyond’: Anonymous couple in Texas leave almost $10K tip to help pay restaurant staff

As American restaurants struggle with the financial fallout of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — some anonymous customers in Houston tipped a restaurant almost $10,000 in order to help the owners pay their staff.

According to a story at KTRK-TV on Tuesday, the hefty $9,400 gratuity was left Monday just hours after local officials ordered restaurants to stop serving dine-in customers.

“We were amazed by their generosity. We didn’t expect it. They went above and beyond what was necessary,” restaurant owner Louis Galvan told the Houston Chronicle of the payout. The newspaper adds that the tip came from a couple who eat at the restaurant regularly and was split between cash and a credit card.

Galvan says that the wait and kitchen staff will split the amount evenly, getting around $300 per person.

According to the new restrictions on Houston-area establishments, which went into effect Tuesday morning, bars and nightclubs have to temporarily shut down while restaurants are permitted to offer only pickup, drive-through, or delivery options.

“I know this is very difficult. It’s a difficult time, and that’s why we’re taking extraordinary measures,” Harris County Judge Lina Hildago said of the measures, according to KHOU-TV. “History will say that we prioritized human life. History will say that we erred on the side of action. This doesn’t work unless we all buy in.”

“What we are attempting to do is slow down the progression and not burden our healthcare system,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted of the order on Monday. “Every time we take a step, it does affect people’s lives. Galvan says that, right now, he’s just trying to keep things afloat while paying his employees.”

Meanwhile, government officials around the country have put in place similar restrictions on dining in at restaurants in efforts to slow the spread of the virus, while other businesses have voluntarily opted to close their own dining areas. In guidance issued on Monday, the White House recommended that people avoid eating and drinking at restaurants, food courts, and bars for 15 days as a precautionary measure.

In response to his current circumstances, Galvan said he’s just trying to keep the business afloat while still paying his employees.

“We’re just trying to make it to that window where everyone has a consistent paycheck,” Galvan told CNN. “We’re not even worried about profitability at this point. We’re in survival mode.”

KTRK has more on the story here:


Irma’s Southwest gets $9,400 tip to help wait staff

www.youtube.com

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In defiance of past federal court ruling, Idaho lawmakers send bill banning transgender birth certificate changes to governor

The Idaho Senate has sent a bill to Republican Gov. Brad Little that would prohibit transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates.

According to KBOI-TV, the Senate passed the measure Wednesday evening by a party-line vote of 27-6 after debating it on Tuesday evening.

The legislative findings section of the bill — H.B. 509 — argues, “The purpose of documenting factual information on vital records is to help the government fulfill one of its most basic duties: protecting the health and safety of its citizens,” and that “Allowing individuals to alter their vital records, including birth certificates, based upon subjective feelings or experiences undermines the government’s interest in having accurate vital records.”

“Biological sex is a real scientific fact, and it never goes away,” GOP state Rep. Julianne Young told the Associated Press when the state’s lower chamber passed the bill by a vote of 53-16 late last month. “No amount of surgery, hormones or other procedures can change a person’s biological sex.”

However, if Gov. Little signs the measure into law, it will undoubtedly kick of a new battle for the state, as its passage comes two years after a federal judge ruled against a previous state prohibition on transgender people changing the sex on their birth certificates on 14th Amendment grounds.

“A rule providing an avenue to obtain a birth certificate with a listed sex that aligns with an individual’s gender identity promotes the health, well-being, and safety of transgender people without impacting the rights of others,” U.S. District Court Candy Dale wrote in March 2018. Dale wrote elsewhere in the ruling that “Social transition includes changes in clothing, name, pronouns, hairstyle, and identity documents to reflect one’s gender identity.”

“Idaho lawmakers might as well try to tear down the federal courthouse if they have this much contempt for the rule of law,” reads a statement from Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn, a member of the legal team that argued against the previous birth certificate policy. “They are explicitly defying a court order and exposing Idaho taxpayers to footing the bill for significant financial consequences – all while putting transgender people back in harm’s way for harassment and even violence, and once again making Idaho a national outlier.”

However, GOP state Sen. Jim Rice says that it was appropriate to pass the bill anyway, even if it does lead to a court challenge.

“Sometimes in the course of exercising legislative authority, the time comes to take an issue and put it through that process,” Rice told the Idaho Press-Tribune. “That’s the organized process by which we maintain ordered liberty under the Constitution. It is not an inappropriate action for a legislature to decide to do something that they know will go through that process.”

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2020 democratic primary 2020 democratic race 2020 Election 2020 presidential election Bernie Sanders Coronavirus COVID-19 Intelwars Joe Biden Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard announces that she will suspend her presidential campaign and endorse Joe Biden

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced Thursday that she will suspend her presidential campaign and endorse former Vice President Joe Biden to take on President Donald Trump in November’s general election.

Gabbard made the announcement in a video message posted on Twitter.

In the announcement, the 38-year-old House member said that her decision was motivated by the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — as well as the primary election results from earlier this week.

“After Tuesday’s election, it’s clear that Democratic Primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election,” Gabbard said.

On Tuesday, Democratic primary voters sided with Biden over rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in primary contests in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona.

“Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people,” Gabbard said. “I’m confident that he will lead our country guided by the spirit of aloha — respect and compassion — and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart.”

In suspending her campaign, Gabbard said that she would give her “full support” to Biden “in his quest to bring our country together.”

At the same time, Gabbard sent her “best wishes to my friends Sen. Bernie Sanders, his wife Jane, Nina Turner, and their many supporters for the work they’ve done.” She also praised the senator’s “love for our country and the American people and his sincere desire to improve the lives of all Americans.”

In regard to the ongoing viral spread, the House member said “the best way that I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the health and wellbeing of the people of Hawaii and our country in Congress, and to stand ready to serve in uniform should the Hawaii National Guard be activated.”

Gabbard added that now “is not the first time we have faced adversity together, and it will not be the last.” She added that “as Americans and all of humanity, we face a common enemy” and urged people to “stand together once again, and work hand in hand to defeat this new enemy — the coronavirus.”

Gabbard announced her candidacy in January 2019 but failed to generate widespread support among Democratic primary voters despite staying in after other candidates had dropped out. At the time of her announcement, she had won no Democratic primary elections in 2020 and only earned convention delegates in American Samoa on Super Tuesday earlier this month. Her RealClear national polling average on Thursday stood at 3.3% in comparison to Biden’s 55.8% and Sanders’ 35%.

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Texas man facing charges for allegedly lying about contracting coronavirus infection online in ‘social experiment’

A man in Texas allegedly said that he wanted to conduct a “social experiment” by lying about having the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — on social media. Now he’s facing criminal charges.

According to a Wednesday report from KJAS-FM:

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department has announced that a man has now been arrested after he intentionally posted a false claim on his Facebook page that he tested positive for Coronavirus. District Attorney Lucas Babin says it caused a panic and actually tied up phone lines at Tyler County Hospital in Woodville with concerned residents phoning in.

The man has been identified as 23-year-old Michael Lane Brandin, of Woodville. Sheriff Bryan Weatherford says Brandin turned himself in on Tuesday and was charged with False Alarm or Report, which is a class A misdemeanor, and his bond was set at $1,000.00.

Meanwhile, Babin says Brandin told Tyler County investigators that he did it as a “social experiment” to make a point that you can’t believe everything you read online. However, Babin said he believes that Brandin did it to shock people and to draw attention upon himself.

The Tyler County District Attorney’s announced the charge Monday afternoon in a Facebook post. In a separate post sent out earlier that same day, the office reminded people that “Knowingly communicating, initiating, or circulating a false report/false alarm of COVID-19 that one *knows is false or baseless*, and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or interrupt the occupation of any place of assembly, can be a criminal offense in the State of Texas.”

According to a Wednesday news release from the Sheriff’s Office, the suspect turned himself into authorities on Tuesday.

Numbers provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services show that the state has so far seen 83 confirmed cases of the virus and two associated deaths.

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Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak COVID-19 Illegal Immigration immigration Immigration and Customs Enforcement Intelwars

ICE opts to halt some immigration enforcement actions, focus on ‘public safety risks’ during coronavirus outbreak

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is adjusting its enforcement operations in response to the ongoing outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — and will focus on those foreign nationals who pose threats to public safety or have criminal records.

“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds,” the agency announced Wednesday, adding that the changes would be effective immediately. “For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”

None of the agency’s detainees had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, a government spokesperson told The Hill.

The announcement also says that DHS’ investigative arm, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), would “continue to carry out mission critical criminal investigations and enforcement operations as determined necessary to maintain public safety and national security.” Examples of these essential operations include “investigations into child exploitation, gangs, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling,” and counterterrorism efforts.

When it comes to where remaining enforcement operations will be conducted during the ongoing public health crisis, ICE says that “individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.”

Citing its “sensitive locations policy” the agency says that officers “will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.”

The change comes after news reports this week detailed how ICE officers have continued with immigration arrests during the outbreak.

KMGH-TV reported Wednesday morning that immigration officials in Denver had made at least two arrests in the past week.

An L.A. Times story published Tuesday described immigration officials going to work “on a most unusual of days: the day after the California governor and L.A. mayor ordered people to ramp up their efforts of social distancing over the coronavirus.”

“We’re out here trying to protect the public by getting these criminal aliens off the street and out of our communities,” ICE’s ERO director in Los Angeles, David Marin, told the newspaper. “Asking us to stop doing that basically gives those criminals another opportunity to maybe commit more crimes, to create more victims.”

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A left-wing org says it plans to spend millions attacking Trump’s coronavirus response on the campaign trail

A liberal political group says that the coronavirus outbreak is going to play a big role in the upcoming November presidential election, and they’re planning to spend millions of dollars attacking President Donald Trump for his response to the crisis.

According to a Tuesday story from the Washington Post, Pacronym — which is a political action committee associated with the left-wing nonprofit, Acronym — plans to spend $5 million hitting the incumbent president for his public health response.

It is a bet that the pandemic, which is also causing a deep economic downturn, will be the defining issue of the campaign.

“This is a public health issue and a national security issue, but it’s also a public policy issue and thus a political one,” said Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, whose board includes veteran Democratic operatives like David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 bid.

McGowan
said it was critical for outside groups like hers to exact a political
price on Trump as his possible Democratic opponents, former vice
president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), aim to project leadership by staying above the fray.

In response to the news of the high-priced effort, the report continues, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh pointed to Biden’s response to the 2009 outbreak of the swine flu and told the newspaper that “it is laughable that his allies would launch this attack when Americans can see for themselves through daily public briefings that President Trump and his team are on the case and have been so since before Joe Biden even woke up to the situation.”

According to the newspaper, the multimillion-dollar campaign will be targeted at people in the five key battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The report also adds that other “Democrat-aligned” groups have also planned coronavirus focused campaigns against the president.

However, even though $5 million is a lot of money, it’s important to keep in mind that it will be up against the fundraising powerhouse that the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee have created ahead of the 2020 election. Case in point: The organizations announced that they had raised almost a half-billion dollars in 2019, according to Fox News.

The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been attacked by Democratic primary opponents in recent days. Last week, Biden and Sanders held Thursday news conferences where they criticized the president’s handling of the situation. At Sunday night’s Democratic debate, Biden even made a comment about the United States refusing to take World Health Organization testing kits that was rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact.

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New Border Patrol chief says he won’t turn illegal aliens over for criminal prosecution if sanctuary jurisdictions won’t return them

The Border Patrol’s new chief said this week that the law enforcement agency won’t be turning over illegal aliens accused of crimes if the prosecuting jurisdiction can’t guarantee that they’ll be given back to federal authorities for deportation afterward.

“My job is to protect the United States and to secure the borders, not to get prosecutions, so we are deporting people that have active warrants because the state will not give back that person to us, and we have to pick: federal law or state law,” Rodney Scott said recently at a briefing, as reported Tuesday by the Washington Examiner.

The new chief also said it doesn’t matter what kind of crime the illegal alien has been charged with if a jurisdiction won’t cooperate with immigration authorities.

“It doesn’t really matter the charge,” Scott explained, according to the report. “If they will not give confirmation that they are going to return the individual, then we are not going to turn them over. We’ll prosecute them federally, then deport them.”

Scott, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was named chief of the agency in late January. Before that, he headed up the agency’s San Diego Sector, which includes 60 miles of land border with Mexico and over 930 miles of coastal border stretching from California to Oregon. The sector also employs over 2,200 uniformed agents, according to its Fiscal Year 2019 report.

In a January statement announcing his selection for the post, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan called Scott “the absolute embodiment of the U.S. Border Patrol’s motto, ‘Honor First.'”

Fighting against sanctuary jurisdiction policies throughout the United States has been a key component of the Trump administration’s immigration policy since the president took office. For example, earlier this year, Immigration and Customs enforcement called out Cook County, Illinois, in January for releasing 1,070 criminal aliens and immigration violators during Fiscal Year 2019 despite detainer requests.

Last month, acting ICE Director Matthew Albence also slammed sanctuary policies following an inspector general’s report that state and local jurisdictions’ non-cooperation actions since 2013 had resulted in over 17,000 removable aliens still being at large.

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Iran and China have increased persecution of religious minorities during their coronavirus response: report

A recent report from an independent government commission says that some of the world’s governments — including the repressive regimes of China and Iran — have made matters worse for people’s religious freedom as a result of their efforts to address the spread of the new coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19.

The fact sheet — which the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom rolled out earlier this week — cites “activists concerns” that the Chinese government’s response to the viral outbreak “risk exacerbating ongoing religious freedom violations” in the country.

Particularly, the report points to the country’s previously reported detention of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps as a cause for concern, saying that a “combination of limited access to medical resources and large concentrations of elderly detainees could lead to a humanitarian disaster if the virus reaches any of those camps.”

Furthermore, the document continues, “there are reports that authorities have forced Uighurs to work in factories throughout the country to compensate for decreased output during the quarantine,” and that the regime “quarantined millions of people” in the Uighur province of Xinjiang “without advance warning” in January. Officials also point to reports that “some Uighur residents in the city of Ghulja have limited access to food and local officials have demanded payments in order to bring supplies.”

The coronavirus outbreak started in China late last year and has since spread around the world. The regime has since been accused of lying about and trying to cover up the initial stages of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the repressive regime in Iran has also made things worse for some members the country’s own population of imprisoned religious minorities, according to USCIRF officials.

“On March 3, Iran announced it would release 54,000 prisoners on furlough, and it later released a total of 70,000,” the fact sheet says. “However, 16 Sufi prisoners at Great Tehran Penitentiary (GTP) reportedly were moved to a ward with known cases of COVID-19, and 8 Sufis from Evin prison were moved to the same ward within GTP. Additionally, eight Sufis in Ghazalhasar Prison were moved to an overcrowded ward at that prison where they are at an increased risk of contracting the virus.”

The Iranian and Chinese regimes’ numerous violations of conscience rights have been well-documented for years. In a report put out late last year, USCIRF once again recommended labeling both nations as “countries of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

But virus-related religious freedom problems haven’t been limited to countries already known for the repression of conscience rights, according USCIRF, which says that the hard-hit country South Korea “provides a vivid example of how public health emergencies can increase the risk to marginalized religious groups.”

Specifically, the commission describes the recent case of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, whose members had already “reported facing pressure from mainstream Protestant groups, and in some cases being subjected to deprogramming” before the outbreak of the virus, when a majority of the country’s coronavirus cases were traced back to a single church member.

“Although some government measures appeared to be driven by legitimate public health concerns, others appeared to exaggerate the church’s role in the outbreak,” the fact sheet explains. “The government of Seoul locked down Shincheonji churches in the capital, and some mainline Protestant groups have accused the church of deliberately spreading the disease.” The commission also points out that a petition to ban the church has gotten over one million signatures and that local prosecutors are looking at homicide charges against its founder for “homicide by ‘willful negligence.'”

As of Wednesday, there were more than 210,000 confirmed cases of the virus around the world and over 8,700 resulting deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“It is important for governments to account for religious freedom concerns in their responses to COVID-19, for reasons of both legality and policy effectiveness,” the fact sheet’s overview section explains. It adds that “considering religious freedom concerns can help build trust between governments and religious groups, who in past public health crises have played a critical role in delivering health interventions.”

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Some people are worried about how the coronavirus fallout could hurt abortion clinics

While the United States and the world take prudential steps to confront and combat the global spread of the new coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — some people have actually raised concerns that the response efforts might negatively impact women’s ability to abort their unborn children.

For example, a story published Tuesday at HuffPost describes the situation of Texas abortionist Joe Nelson, who decided to self-quarantine for two weeks after he exhibited respiratory symptoms and was unable to get the coronavirus test. Nelson — who conducts abortions at three different clinics in the state — said he was worried that his self-isolation might have a “huge impact” on people seeking abortions in the Lone Star State.

“There are not that many doctors who provide abortion care in Texas,” Nelson told the outlet. “A lot of the doctors that do come in from out of state. In a situation where doctors are less likely to want to travel, if there’s no one to cover me, patients will have to wait.”

That kind of concern isn’t limited to Texas, however.

An article published last week by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute also points to concerns about the availability of people and supplies to perform abortions amid the ongoing public health crisis, saying that “what may be lost in the chaos” is “the specific impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both for people in the United States and around the world.”

One outcome, the authors say, is that diverting medical personnel to deal with the crisis “may create a shortage of clinicians who can provide sexual and reproductive health services and increase wait times for patients in need.” They add that for places without many providers in the first place “this will put an extreme strain on capacity to serve patients, especially for non-emergency care.”

National Abortion Federation President Katherine Hancock Ragsdale echoed similar abortion access anxieties, telling HuffPost, “One or two people unable to show up can make the difference between a clinic being able to function or not.”

In addition of a shortage of personnel to perform the procedure, Ragsdale also voiced concerns about the possibility of finite medical supplies being taken away from abortion procedures in a shortage so they can instead be used for other procedures considered more important.

“We worry that all health care resources are being channeled to non-elective procedures, and abortion tends to be classified as an elective procedure,” Ragsdale said. “We understand that abortion isn’t a stroke or a heart attack, and it can be scheduled out. But it can’t be scheduled out indefinitely.”

According to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the United States had over 6,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and had seen 115 deaths as a result of the outbreak as of Wednesday morning. Globally, the same numbers show over 200,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 8,200 deaths.

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The Red Cross is facing a ‘severe blood shortage’ because of the coronavirus response

It may seem like most areas of American life are temporarily pausing right now because of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — but that hasn’t stopped people from needing blood donations. It has, however, stopped a lot of blood drives from taking place and led to a “severe blood shortage,” according to the American Red Cross.

“As the coronavirus pandemic has grown here in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate,” the Red Cross said in a Tuesday news release. So far, the organization says that around 2,700 of its blood donation drives have been canceled around the United States because of “concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak.”

The organization says that those kinds of drives usually account for over 80 percent of the blood they collect and that the recent cancellations have caused them to fall short of an estimated 86,000 donations. And with the number of cancelations expected to continue, the shortage could end up hurting people like cancer patients, emergency victims, and those in need of surgery.

“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of Transfusion Medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, said in the release. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”

The shortage has prompted top U.S. health officials point out that, while some people may be concerned about the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, it is still safe to donate blood and those who can should to take the time to do so.

“To ensure an adequate blood supply we need people to come out and donate blood,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks told NPR. “Blood donation centers are a very safe place to be. People take precautions to make sure those centers are spotless clean and that people who are sick don’t enter them.”

“It is safe to donate blood,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement last week. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it.”

In addition to its normal sanitation protocols, the Red Cross says that it has taken extra precautions to protect the safety of people at donation centers and blood drives in response to the viral outbreak. These measures include checking the temperature of staff and donors before they enter the location, providing hand sanitizer throughout the process, practicing social distancing with the placement of beds and increasing the disinfection of equipment and surfaces.

The Red Cross says that people can schedule donation appointments on its website or donor app, by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by using the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

“As a nation, this is a time where we must take care of one another including those most vulnerable among us in hospitals,” American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern said in Tuesday’s announcement. “One of the most important things people can do right now during this public health emergency is to give blood. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible.”

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Coronavirus Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus response COVID-19 Donald Trump Food Health Intelwars President Donald Trump trump WHITE HOUSE

President Trump says drive-thrus will remain open amid coronavirus response after meeting with fast-food CEOs

The administration is urging people to avoid restaurants for the time being due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — but President Donald Trump says that fast-food companies have agreed to keep their drive-thru and pickup options up and running in the meantime.

The president made the announcement at a White House press briefing Tuesday following a morning telephone meeting with several fast-food industry leaders about the ongoing viral outbreak.

“They were great,” President Trump said of the meeting. “We discussed the important role that drive-thru, pickup, and delivery service can play in the weeks ahead. So that’s happening, and they have been fantastic. They have been absolutely fantastic, and they’ve been doing it already, but they’re keeping it open.”

The news came one day after the release of White House coronavirus guidelines that recommend people avoid eating at restaurants, food courts, and bars for the next two weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The guidelines also recommended avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people and forego noncritical visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

During the Tuesday morning phone meeting, Trump “reminded the restaurants that they can help flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus in communities across the country by encouraging their customers to use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options,” according to a statement from White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. “All of the executives committed their restaurants to this critical guideline and assured the President they fully intend to continue feeding their communities through these other innovative avenues.”

According to the White House, attendees at the meeting included executives from Domino’s Pizza, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Papa Johns, Wendy’s, and YUM! Brands — which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — among others.

The announcement comes as some restaurants have started to restrict customers’ dining options, and others have found themselves shut down by local authorities.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A had already announced temporary closures of their restaurants’ dining areas while other restaurants had already announced that they would offer free delivery in the face of the virus’ spread, according to a list compiled by WRIC-TV.

At the same time, a growing number of state and local authorities across the country have started ordering that restaurants and bars to temporarily close, or at least stop serving dine-in customers for now. On Tuesday, the governors of Iowa and North Carolina added their states to the list as well.

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2020 Election Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus test fact check Intelwars Joe Biden Joe biden 2020 politifact

PolitiFact slaps Joe ?Biden with ‘mostly false’ rating for claiming that the US ‘refused’ WHO coronavirus tests

Left-leaning fact-checking website PolitiFact called out Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden with a “mostly false” rating over a recent claim that the United States “refused” to accept coronavirus testing kits offered by the World Health Organization.

Biden made the claim during Sunday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to a question about President Donald Trump’s handling of the current coronavirus outbreak.

“President Trump says he does not take any responsibility for the problems with coronavirus testing, in part because he says he inherited so many rules, regulations, and red tape,” debate moderator Jake Tapper said to the former vice president, according to a Rev transcript. “Did bureaucratic red tape hamper this response in any way?”

“No; look, the World Health Organization offered, offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now,” Biden responded.

“We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own,” Biden continued. “I think [Trump] said something like, ‘We have the best scientists in America,’ or something to that effect.”

When PolitiFact reached out to the Biden campaign on the claim, the fact-checker says the campaign pointed to a story published earlier this month at Politico, which said that the U.S wasn’t among the 60 countries to which the WHO had sent tests by the end of February:

Why the United States declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily as a bridge until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce its own test, remains a perplexing question and the key to the Trump administration’s failure to provide enough tests to identify the coronavirus infections before they could be passed on, according to POLITICO interviews with dozens of viral-disease experts, former officials and some officials within the administration’s health agencies.

However, PolitiFact wrote in a post Monday that the countries helped by the WHO were ones that lacked the same kind of virology lab capabilities that the United States has, and cited work done by the Pan American Health Organization as an example:

The group is WHO’s arm in the Americas. It conducted trainings and sent materials to conduct tests to 29 nations. The list included Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and many others.

The group said it focused most of its efforts on “countries with the weakest health systems.”

“No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris. “This is consistent with experience since the United States does not ordinarily rely on WHO for reagents or diagnostic tests because of sufficient domestic capacity.”

The post goes on to explain that Biden’s comments leave out context about how different countries chose which kind of test to use, based on multiple different models. Even if the United States had adopted the same testing model of the World Health Organization preferred — which it didn’t — the country wouldn’t have needed the WHO to send supplies.

While the U.S. didn’t try to employ the WHO test model, “Biden’s emphasis on WHO offering kits is simply wrong,” PolitiFact concludes. “We rate this claim mostly false.”

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Coronavirus Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus research Coronavirus response Coronavirus spread Health Intelwars Research Science

Study finds most coronavirus transmission comes from people who don’t know they have it

People who have the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — but don’t have symptoms and don’t get tested for it may be responsible for a large majority of the disease’s transmission, according to newly published research findings.

A study conducted by epidemiologists and published in the peer-reviewed academic journal “Science” on Monday used data from the coronavirus outbreak in China to develop a model of the disease’s spread. That model found that almost 80% of the confirmed coronavirus cases originated from “undocumented” cases of the virus.

“These undocumented infections often experience mild, limited or no symptoms and hence go unrecognized, and, depending on their contagiousness and numbers, can expose a far greater portion of the population to virus than would otherwise occur,” the study explains.

According to the study, the disease model “simulates the spatiotemporal dynamics of infections among 375 Chinese cities” before the country’s regime implemented travel restrictions on Jan. 23. Based on the model’s findings, the researchers estimated that a whopping 86% of the coronavirus cases went undocumented.

“Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections,” the study’s abstract explains, “yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases.”

The researchers said that the study’s findings help explain the rapid spread of the potentially deadly virus around the world in recent months.

“When someone experiences mild symptoms, and most of us can relate to this, we still go about our day and send the kids to school and go to work and might have a headache or slight fever and maybe take Ibuprofen and go out and go shopping and whatnot,” study co-author and Columbia University environmental health professor Jeffrey Shaman said at a press briefing Monday, according to UPI. “It is that continued contact with people that allows the transmission of many respiratory viruses.”

Shaman added that “undocumented infections, which tend to be milder, are distributing the virus broadly and are contributing essentially to what they call stealth transmission of the virus because it’s undetected and flying below the radar.”

The study’s findings also drive home why it would be important for people to heed cautionary public health recommendations meant to slow the virus’ spread, even if they aren’t showing symptoms and haven’t been diagnosed.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a list of several general steps for people to take in order to combat the ongoing viral outbreak, such as washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick.

On Monday, the White House released a set of more stringent guidelines meant to slow the virus’ spread over the course of the next 15 days. These include avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people, halting nonessential travel, and not visiting nursing homes or long-term care facilities except “to provide critical care.”

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EU leader calls for travel ban to Europe to fight coronavirus spread

In response to the global spread of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — a top official of the European Union has called for European leaders to impose travel restrictions to E.U. countries.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a Monday news conference that a proposed travel ban would halt unnecessary travel to the E.U. in order to avoid further spread of the virus, according to Business Insider:

“We think nonessential travel should be reduced right now in order not to spread the virus further, be it within the European Union or by leaving the European Union,” von der Leyen told reporters, “but also to avoid nonessential travels not to have more potential strain on our healthcare system.”

According to Business Insider, once European leaders approve the proposal, travelers, who are not from the E.U., won’t be allowed in the region unless they have family there, are long-term residents, cross-border commuters, or essential personnel such as researchers or doctors.

Von der Leyen also called on other countries to assist in limiting travel to Europe as well.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus,” von der Leyen also said in a related video message about the proposal. “Therefore … I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the European Union.”

The travel ban would apply to all members of the 26 countries in the Schengen travel area, which also includes the non-E.U. countries of Iceland, Norway Switzerland, and Lichtenstein, according to the Business Insider report.

The news comes less than a week after President Donald Trump announced that, in order to combat coronavirus’ spread, the U.S. would temporarily suspend travel from Europe.

“To keep new [coronavirus] cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” Trump said Wednesday during a televised address to the American people. While the United Kingdom and Ireland were initially exempted from the restrictions, Trump announced their inclusion on Saturday.

In a Thursday joint statement, European Council President Charles Michel and von der Leyen criticized Trump for announcing the ban without talking to them first.

“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” Michel and von der Leyen said in the statement. “The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”

As of Tuesday morning, numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed that there were over 185,000 confirmed cases of the disease worldwide. The same data show the European countries of Italy, Spain, France and Germany comprising four of the top seven countries with the most cases.

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Attorney General Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus panic Coronavirus us Crime Department of Justice Intelwars William Barr

Barr tells federal prosectors to prioritize cases of coronavirus scammers amid outbreak

United Sates Attorney General William Barr has told federal prosecutors to prioritize cases of “wrongdoers” looking to seize on the global spread of coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — for illicit gain.

“In addition to ensuring that the justice system can continue functioning during the current national crisis, it is essential that the Department of Justice remain vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis,” Barr said in a Monday memo to U.S. attorneys obtained by Blaze Media. In the document, the attorney general pointed to “reports of individuals and businesses selling fake cures” for the disease on the internet as well as “engaging in other forms of fraud,” phishing and malware schemes.

“The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic, and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated,” Barr continued in the directive. “Every U.S. attorney’s office is thus hereby directed to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.”

The memo encouraged prosecutors to work with the Justice Department’s various offices devoted the enforcement to consumer protection, fraud, and antitrust laws “for additional guidance on how to detect, investigate, and and prosecute these schemes.” It also encouraged collaboration with state and local authorities “to both ensure that we hear about misconduct as quickly as possible and that all appropriate enforcement tools are available to punish it.”

Barr’s instructions to prosecutors are the latest step the department has taken to head off coronavirus-related criminal activity amid the ongoing spread of the disease. Last week, the attorney general put out a warning to U.S. businesses about violating antitrust laws through actions like price fixing or bid-rigging in the manufacture and sale of medical products like face masks and respirators.

“The Department of Justice stands ready to make sure that bad actors do not take advantage of emergency response efforts, healthcare providers, or the American people during this crucial time,” Barr said in a statement. “I am committed to ensuring that the department’s resources are available to combat any wrongdoing and protect the public.”

Other federal agencies have also made efforts to protect Americans from being defrauded during the current public health crisis.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to seven different companies “for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products,” which they said were “unapproved drugs that pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law.”

The Secret Service has also sent out a warning for people to be on the lookout for online scam and fraud schemes as part of its mission to combat cyber crime.

“Criminals are opportunists, and as seen in the past, any major news event can become an opportunity for groups or individuals with malicious intentions. The Coronavirus is no different,” the federal law enforcement agency said last week. “In fact, the Coronavirus is a prime opportunity for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the basic human conditions…fear.”

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Mitch McConnell is asking GOP-appointed judges to step aside so younger replacements can be confirmed: Report

As the 2020 elections draw closer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reportedly been reaching out to Republican-appointed federal judges and encouraging them to step aside so other, younger nominees can take their places in a timely fashion.

According to a Monday report in the New York Times:

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has used his position as majority leader to build a judicial confirmation juggernaut for President Trump over the past three years, has been personally reaching out to judges to sound them out on their plans and assure them that they would have a worthy successor if they gave up their seats soon, according to multiple people with knowledge of his actions.

It was not known how many judges were contacted or which of them Mr. McConnell had spoken to directly. One of his Republican colleagues said others had also initiated outreach in an effort to heighten awareness among judges nominated by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush that making the change now would be advantageous.

The overt effort by Republicans to create vacancies reflects a realization that Mr. Trump could lose the presidency, or that Republicans could lose the Senate majority and deprive Mr. Trump of his partner on judicial confirmations even if he did gain a second term.

Mike Davis, who founded the conservative Article III Project, told the Times that while he believes President Trump would win re-election in November, “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.” Davis’ organization estimates that more than 90 federal judges are either currently eligible to take “senior status” — a form of judicial semi-retirement that allows new judges to take their seats — or will become eligible to do so this year.

A McConnell spokesman told the newspaper that it shouldn’t surprise people that the majority leader would be interested in incumbent judges’ career plans: “I’d point you back to his long-running mantra of ‘leave no vacancy behind.'”

The nomination and confirmation of conservative federal judges has been one of the most successfully delivered campaign promises of the Trump presidency and one of the biggest focuses of the McConnell-led Senate.

As of early March, the Senate had confirmed a total of 193 Trump judicial appointments, according to Ballotpedia; that number includes the two Supreme Court justices the president has successfully appointed. Furthermore, the Washington Post pointed out in late December that, as a result the White House and Senate’s joint efforts over the past few years, one quarter of America’s federal district judges at that point were Trump appointees.

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Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus quarantine Coronavirus travel Intelwars

Justin Trudeau announces that Canada will close borders to non-Canadians due to coronavirus spread

Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government will close the country’s borders to non-Canadians, with a few exceptions, in response to the global outbreak of coronavirus.

“We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents,” Trudeau explained at a Monday afternoon news conference while announcing the country’s latest steps to address the global disease outbreak. The prime minister followed up by saying that the decision would include “some designated exceptions, including air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and — at this time — U.S. citizens.”

The Canadian leader went on to announce that that only four of the country’s airports would accept international flights starting Wednesday. For now, he added, Canadian domestic flights as well as those from the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico would not be affected.

Furthermore, Trudeau said that airlines would be required to screen incoming passengers for symptoms of the virus, including the country’s citizens and permanent residents.

“Anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada,” the prime minister explained. “I know this news will spark concern among Canadians traveling abroad; I want to assure you that our government will not leave you unsupported.”

Trudeau went on to say that the government would set up a “support program” for asymptomatic Canadians who needed to get back home.

“Canadian travelers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada,” the prime minister announced.

Monday’s announcement came not too long after the government urged Canadians traveling abroad to look at ways to return home over the weekend.

“New restrictions could be imposed, and could severely disrupt Canadians’ travel plans,” a Saturday statement from Global Affairs Canada said, according to the Canadian Press. “Canadians currently outside the country should find out what commercial options are still available and consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited.”

“Let me be clear,” Trudeau said during Monday’s announcement: “If you are abroad, it’s time for you to home. If you have just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days.”

The prime minister also admitted that announced measures were “far-reaching” and said they were made necessary by “exception circumstances.” He added that the announcement was “based on the latest available science and advice from our world-class health professionals” and that “these measures will help save lives.”

As of Monday morning, Canada had reported 324 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Last week, Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, tested positive for the virus after returning from a speaking engagement in the United Kingdom.


LIVE: Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau delivers coronavirus update and further containment me

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Oregon distillery makes free hand sanitizer amid coronavirus outbreak

An Oregon distillery is helping out during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak by making and giving out free bottles of hand sanitizer to people.

According to KPTV-TV, Shine Distillery and Grill in Portland makes the in-house hand sanitizer using a byproduct of the distillation process that’s not meant for human consumption, rather than the stuff they serve at the bar:

Basically, when they distill the alcohol, the first part that comes out isn’t meant to drink, so they make a cleaner out of it.

“I had a lady sitting at the bar the other night and she asked if she could have some and I wasn’t sure, so over the weekend, we did our research and checked with the controlling authorities and come to find, as long as we’re not making a medical claim or selling it, we’re allowed to give it away,” owner Jon Poteet said.

Now with 80 percent alcohol (above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of at least 60 percent), xanthan gum to thicken the mix, and a little bit of water, they’re making hand sanitizer for customers.

Legally, Poteet can’t even call what he makes a “sanitizer,” according to Willamette Week, and instead labels the alcohol-laden product a “hand cleaner.”


Local distillery is using its spare spirits to make hand sanitizer

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According to its website, the Portland-based distillery was founded in 2018 and makes multiple kinds of liquor, including vodka, gin and whiskey.

In a social media post last week, the local distiller touted the new product, saying that those in need of come could come by and pick some up.

“House distilled hand cleaner made at Shine- stop by if you’re in need,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. “We’re handing out free bottles while the supplies last!”

Consumers’ rush to stock up on hand sanitizer in response to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — has led to shortages of the product as of late. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Saturday that it wouldn’t take action against doctors and pharmacists who decide to make it for people themselves, so long as they follow certain guidelines on how to make it.

Earlier this month, Texas-based Tito’s Vodka made headlines when its Twitter account repeatedly warned customers not to use the product as a replacement for hand sanitizer.

“Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol,” the company told several Twitter users. “Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”

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READY: U.S. researchers have begun the first set of coronavirus vaccine clinical tests

U.S. researchers have started the the initial phases of clinical safety testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine on Monday, marking the beginning of a long, multi-step process.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the clinical trial of healthy adults began Monday in hard-hit Washington state:

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

The Associated Press observed as the study’s first participant, an operations manager at a small tech company, received the injection inside an exam room. Three others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

One of the study participants, a 43-year-old woman from Seattle, told the outlet that taking part in the trial was “an amazing opportunity for me to do something,” in response to the global outbreak.

A Monday statement from the National Institutes for Health explained that the vaccine being tested is called is called mRNA-1273 and that it was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc.,” which is based in Massachusetts.

“The investigational vaccine was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA),” NIH says. “The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that it is hoped will elicit a robust immune response. The mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans.”

While NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. has previously said that the whole process of getting a vaccine out for public consumption “is going to take a year, a year and a half, at least,” according to Business Insider, he praised Monday’s development as a key step in the right direction.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with [coronavirus] is an urgent public health priority,” Fauci said in a written statement on Tuesday. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

The Associated Press also points out that “dozens” of other research groups are around the world are also working to develop a vaccine and that trials for another candidate developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is expected to begin a separate safety study in multiple countries next month.

In its own statement about Monday’s news, Moderna said that it’s already looking ahead and preparing for the next steps of the clinical trial process.

“In order to continue to progress this potential vaccine during the the ongoing global public health emergency, Moderna intends to work with the FDA and other government and non-government organizations to be ready for a Phase 2 and any subsequent trials, which are anticipated to include a larger number of subjects and which will seek to generate additional safety and immunogenicity data,” the company said in a news release about the trials. “Manufacture of the mRNA-1273 material for the potential Phase 2 trial, which could begin in a few months, is underway.”

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anthony fauci Coronavirus Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus us Coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 Intelwars

US researchers have begun the first set of coronavirus vaccine clinical tests

U.S. researchers have started the initial phases of clinical safety testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine, marking the beginning of a long, multistep process.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the clinical trial of healthy adults began Monday in hard-hit Washington state:

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

The Associated Press observed as the study’s first participant, an operations manager at a small tech company, received the injection inside an exam room. Three others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

One of the study participants, a 43-year-old woman from Seattle, told the outlet that taking part in the trial was “an amazing opportunity for me to do something,” in response to the global outbreak.

A Monday statement from the National Institutes for Health explained that the vaccine being tested is called mRNA-1273 and that it was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases “and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc.,” which is based in Massachusetts.

“The investigational vaccine was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA),” NIH says. “The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that it is hoped will elicit a robust immune response. The mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans.”

While Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has previously said that the whole process of getting a vaccine out for public consumption “is going to take a year, a year and a half, at least,” according to Business Insider, he praised Monday’s development as a key step in the right direction.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with [coronavirus] is an urgent public health priority,” Fauci said in a written statement Monday. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

The Associated Press also pointed out that “dozens” of other research groups around the world are also working to develop a vaccine and that trials for another candidate developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is expected to begin a separate safety study in multiple countries next month.

In its own statement about Monday’s news, Moderna said that it’s already looking ahead and preparing for the next steps of the clinical trial process.

“In order to continue to progress this potential vaccine during the the ongoing global public health emergency, Moderna intends to work with the FDA and other government and non-government organizations to be ready for a Phase 2 and any subsequent trials, which are anticipated to include a larger number of subjects and which will seek to generate additional safety and immunogenicity data,” the company said in a news release about the trials. “Manufacture of the mRNA-1273 material for the potential Phase 2 trial, which could begin in a few months, is underway.”

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Coronavirus america Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus us Court COVID-19 Intelwars SCOTUS Supreme Court

SCOTUS postpones hearing arguments due to coronavirus spread

Businesses, schools, and public events around the United States have begun to temporarily shut down some operations for the near future due to the global spread of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19. Now the highest court in the land is following suit.

According to a Monday announcement from the Supreme Court of the United States, all oral arguments for the rest of the month have been postponed for the foreseeable future. The news release says that the court made the decision “in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response” to the virus’ global outbreak and that it “will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances.”

Despite the postponement, members of the court will still hold their scheduled conference — where they discuss and make decisions about cases — on Friday, but will have the option of participating in the meeting via telephone instead of showing up in-person. Additionally, the court will also issue orders as scheduled on the following Monday morning, the announcement said.

The cases with now-postponed arguments include a high-profile intellectual property case against Google, a case about Congress’ efforts to get ahold of President Donald Trump’s tax information, and two consolidated religious freedom cases dealing with the rights of Catholic schools to hire and fire employees in line with their institutional missions.

Last week — following similar decisions at the White House and the Capitol complex — the Supreme Court closed the doors of its building to the general public in an effort to protect “the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees,” according to a statement on its website.

Monday’s announcement explained that the building will remain open for official business and closed to the general public while the court works to expand “remote working capabilities to reduce the number of employees in the Building, consistent with public health guidance.”

This isn’t the first time that the Supreme Court has taken a break from hearing cases in response to a global disease outbreak. During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, the court recessed for nearly one full month during October and November of that year, according to more-than-century-old reporting from the Washington Post. That was back when the court still met in the Old Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building.

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