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15661
"The money the Clinton Foundation took from from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state ""is clearly illegal. … The Constitution says you can’t take this stuff."
April 26, 2015
"Gingrich said the Clinton Foundation ""took money from from foreign governments while (Hillary Clinton) was secretary of state. It is clearly illegal. … The Constitution says you can’t take this stuff."" A clause in the Constitution does prohibit U.S. officials such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from receiving gifts, or emoluments, from foreign governments. But the gifts in this case were donations from foreign governments that went to the Clinton Foundation, not Hillary Clinton. She was not part of the foundation her husband founded while she was secretary of state. Does that violate the Constitution? Some libertarian-minded constitutional law experts say it very well could. Others are skeptical. What’s clear is there is room for ambiguity, and the donations are anything but ""clearly illegal."" The reality is this a hazy part of U.S. constitutional law.
Katie Sanders
"Hillary Clinton is in the political crosshairs as the author of a new book alleges improper financial ties between her public and personal life. At issue in conservative author Peter Schweizer’s forthcoming book Clinton Cash are donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation during the four years she served as secretary of state. George Stephanopoulos used an interview with Schweizer on ABC This Week to point out what other nonpartisan journalists have found: There is no ""smoking gun"" showing that donations to the foundation influenced her foreign policy decisions. Still, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the donations are ""clearly illegal"" under federal law. In his view, a donation by a foreign government to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was secretary of state is the same as money sent directly to her, he said, even though she did not join the foundation’s board until she left her post. ""The Constitution of the United States says you cannot take money from foreign governments without explicit permission of the Congress. They wrote that in there because they knew the danger of corrupting our system by foreign money is enormous,"" Gingrich said. ""You had a sitting secretary of state whose husband radically increased his speech fees, you have a whole series of dots on the wall now where people gave millions of dollars — oh, by the way, they happen to get taken care of by the State Department."" He continued, ""My point is they took money from foreign governments while she was secretary of State. That is clearly illegal."" PunditFact wanted to know if a criminal case against Clinton is that open and shut. Is what happened ""clearly illegal""? A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation certainly disagreed, calling Gingrich’s accusation ""a baseless leap"" because Clinton was not part of her husband’s foundation while serving as a senator or secretary of state. We did not hear from Gingrich by our deadline. Foundation basics Former President Clinton started the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2001, the year after Hillary Clinton won her first term as a New York senator. The foundation works with non-governmental organizations, the private sector and governments around the world on health, anti-poverty, HIV/AIDS and climate change initiatives. Spokesman Craig Minassian said it’s reasonable for the foundation to accept money from foreign governments because of the global scope of its programs, and the donations are usually in the form of tailored grants for specific missions. Hillary Clinton was not part of her husband’s foundation while she was a senator or secretary of state. Her appointment to the latter post required Senate confirmation and came with an agreement between the White House and Clinton Foundation that the foundation would be more transparent about its donors. According to the 2008 memorandum of understanding, the foundation would release information behind new donations and could continue to collect donations from countries with which it had existing relationships or running grant programs. If countries with existing contributions significantly stepped up their contributions, or if a new foreign government wanted to donate, the State Department would have to approve. Clinton took an active role in fundraising when she left the State Department and the foundation became the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2013. But she left the board when she announced her run for the presidency in April 2015. The Emoluments Clause So how does Gingrich come up with the claim that Clinton Foundation donations are ""clearly illegal"" and unconstitutional? The answer is something known as the Emoluments Clause. A few conservative websites have made similar arguments in recent days, including the Federalist blog. The Emoluments Clause, found in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, reads in part: ""No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."" The framers came up with this clause to prevent the government and leaders from granting or receiving titles of nobility and to keep leaders free of external influence. (An emolument, per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is ""the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites."") Lest you think the law is no longer relevant, the Pentagon ethics office in 2013 warned employees the ""little known provision"" applies to all federal employees and military retirees. There’s no mention of spouses in the memo. J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said interpretation of the clause has evolved since its adoption at the Constitutional Convention, when the primary concern was about overseas diplomats not seeking gifts from foreign powers they were dealing with. The Defense Department memo, in his view, goes beyond what the framers envisioned for the part of the memo dealing with gifts. ""I think that, aside from the unambiguous parts, the burden would be on those invoking the clause to show actual causality that would be in violation of the clause,"" Pham said. Expert discussion We asked seven different constitutional law experts on whether the Clinton Foundation foreign donations were ""clearly illegal"" and a violation of the Emoluments Clause. We did not reach a consensus with their responses, though a majority thought the layers of separation between the foundation and Hillary Clinton work against Gingrich. The American system often distinguishes between public officers and private foundations, ""even if real life tends to blur some of those distinctions,"" said American University law professor Steve Vladeck. Vladeck added that the Emoluments Clause has never been enforced. ""I very much doubt that the first case in its history would be because a foreign government made charitable donations to a private foundation controlled by a government employee’s relative,"" he said. ""Gingrich may think that giving money to the Clinton Foundation and giving money to then-Secretary Clinton are the same thing. Unfortunately for him, for purposes of federal regulations, statutes, and the Constitution, they’re formally — and, thus, legally — distinct."" Robert Delahunty, a University of St. Thomas constitutional law professor who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 1989 to 2003, also called Gingrich’s link between Clinton and the foreign governments’ gifts to the Clinton Foundation as ""implausible, and in any case I don’t think we have the facts to support it."" ""The truth is that we establish corporate bodies like the Clinton Foundation because the law endows these entities with a separate and distinct legal personhood,"" Delahunty said. John Harrison, University of Virginia law professor and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from 1990 to 1993, pointed to the Foreign Gifts Act, 5 U.S.C. 7432, which sets rules for how the Emoluments Clause should work in practice. The statute spells out the minimal value for acceptable gifts, and says it applies to spouses of the individuals covered, but ""it doesn’t say anything about receipt of foreign gifts by other entities such as the Clinton Foundation."" ""I don’t know whether there’s any other provision of federal law that would treat a foreign gift to the foundation as having made to either of the Clintons personally,"" Harrison said, who added that agencies have their own supplemental rules for this section, and he did not know if the State Department addressed this. Other experts on the libertarian side of the scale thought Gingrich was more right in his assertion. Clinton violates the clause because of its intentionally broad phrasing about gifts of ""any kind whatever,"" which would cover indirect gifts via the foundation, said Dave Kopel, a constitutional law professor at Denver University and research director at the libertarian Independence Institute. Kopel also brought up bribery statutes, which would require that a gift had some influence in Clinton’s decision while secretary of state. Delahunty thought Kopel’s reasoning would have ""strange consequences,"" such as whether a state-owned airline flying Bill Clinton to a conference of former heads of state counted as a gift to Hillary Clinton. Our ruling Gingrich said the Clinton Foundation ""took money from from foreign governments while (Hillary Clinton) was secretary of state. It is clearly illegal. … The Constitution says you can’t take this stuff."" A clause in the Constitution does prohibit U.S. officials such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from receiving gifts, or emoluments, from foreign governments. But the gifts in this case were donations from foreign governments that went to the Clinton Foundation, not Hillary Clinton. She was not part of the foundation her husband founded while she was secretary of state. Does that violate the Constitution? Some libertarian-minded constitutional law experts say it very well could. Others are skeptical. What’s clear is there is room for ambiguity, and the donations are anything but ""clearly illegal."" The reality is this a hazy part of U.S. constitutional law.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-foundation-defends-acceptance-of-foreign-donations-1424302856, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-clintons-speech-income-shows-how-their-wealth-is-intertwined-with-charity/2015/04/22/12709ec0-dc8d-11e4-a500-1c5bb1d8ff6a_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop_b, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/oct/29/ginny-brown-waite/does-president-need-permission-congress-accept-nob/, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/feb/26/american-crossroads/conservative-group-claims-hillary-clintons-foundat/, http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/02/the-u-s-constitution-actually-bans-hillarys-foreign-government-payola/, https://www.wsj.com/articles/foreign-government-gifts-to-clinton-foundation-on-the-rise-1424223031, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/foreign-governments-gave-millions-to-foundation-while-clinton-was-at-state-dept/2015/02/25/31937c1e-bc3f-11e4-8668-4e7ba8439ca6_story.html, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/apr/01/facebook-posts/meme-says-barack-obamas-acceptance-islamic-order-a/, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/us/politics/new-book-clinton-cash-questions-foreign-donations-to-foundation.html?&assetType=nyt_now
0 (false)
Foreign Policy, PunditFact, Newt Gingrich,
9893
Annual Mammograms May Have More False-Positives
October 18, 2011
This article reports on the results of a study of nearly 170,000 women who had screening mammograms beginning between age 40-59. The study found that over ten years of screening mammograms, over half of the women will experience a false-positive recall for additional mammography. In addition, 7%-9% of the women will have a biopsy for a suspicious lump which is not cancerous. Both of those percentages decrease if the woman is screened every other year rather than every year. Even with biennial mammography, 41% of women will experience a recall over 10 years of mammography. The study’s Principal Investigator emphasized that “in most cases, a recall doesn’t mean you have cancer.”  She hoped this knowledge would reduce the anxiety of women who are recalled. The story never explained the size of the decrease in the number of false positives between annual (61.3%) and biennial screening (41.6%). Our first two reviewers were a researcher who specializes in health decisions and a breast cancer survivor trained in evidence by the Natiional Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD. This study is valuable because it helps to quantify and compare the harms of annual and biennial screening, specifically the number of false positives and the number of unnecessary biopsies. Prior to this study, estimates of false positive screening mammography rates varied widely. The critical question is whether you can do less frequent screening, subject women to fewer harms and get similar results in terms of detection of “early stage” cancer. This study’s data seems to suggest that answer is yes.
While the financial costs of screening mammography & false-positive recalls & biopsies were not included in the study, readers would benefit from being reminded that recall mammography & biopsies increase patient financial costs. This article leads with valuable information for all women over age 40 by stating “Getting screening mammograms every two years instead of annually reduces the chance of a false alarm, a new study shows.”  Unfortunately the writer doesn’t quantify or elaborate adequately on that reduction. Instead, the writer later focuses on how women undergoing screening mammography shouldn’t be anxious if they experience a recall because over half of women who have screening mammograms for 10 years will be recalled. Readers would have been better served if the writer had emphasized the significant reduction in both recall mammograms & false-positive biopsies in women who are screened every two years rather than annually. Part of the continuing controversy over screening mammography focuses on annual versus biennial screening. Because this study showed a significant reduction in the percentage of those recalled & needing biopsies among women who are screened every other year, with no statistically significant increase in late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer, the article should have emphasized those important findings. The piece states that the researchers noted that “…false positive recalls may cause inconvenience & anxiety and biopsies can cause pain and scarring.” This article fails to include several important facts about the study. 1) This is a prospective cohort study of women screened between 1994-2006. 2) Most of the mammograms were film rather than digital. 3) Few women underwent screening for the entire 10 year period. 4) Screening mammography recall rates are influenced by the skill of the radiologists who read the mammograms. There was no disease mongering. No independent experts were quoted. The story did an adequate job comparing – at a very high level – annual screening versus biennial screening. Screening mammography is widely available throughout the United States. The study did not examine a new procedure. There’s no evidence that the story relied solely on a news release.
1 (mixture)
Screening,WebMD,women's health
11358
SBRT Offers Prostate Cancer Patients High Cancer Control and Low Toxicity in Fewer Treatments
September 28, 2016
This news release describes five-year outcomes for 309 men with early-stage prostate cancer who received stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which delivers targeted doses of radiation cheaper and faster than the prevailing radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer. The study measured the rates of severe injury to surrounding tissues and disease-free survival. The news release said it’s the first large, multi-institutional study of this technology in prostate cancer with long-term follow-up, involving patients at 21 community, regional, and academic hospitals across the U.S. The release does a good job of quantifying the evidence but could have helped readers better understand the implications of the data by giving cost and safety comparisons with other radiation treatment, and by discussing limitations related to using a historical control group (rather than a contemporaneous control group) which introduces potential for bias. The release is based on a study presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual conference. The study abstract can be found on page 4 of this document. Prostate cancer is a commonly diagnosed condition in men that is associated with aging. Many patients don’t realize that prostate cancer is not a uniformly fatal disease. For men with low risk disease, active surveillance without treatment is a viable option. Even for men with higher risk disease where treatment is warranted, one needs to follow patients for 10-15 years to identify a survival benefit from treatment. This is useful context to keep in mind when examining this new study of patients with low and intermediate risk prostate cancer. The results present a rosy picture of SBRT, in terms of both benefits and harms. However, without a contemporaneous control group, such as those receiving intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or even active surveillance, one cannot be sure that these favorable results are due to the treatment itself or the patients who were selected for treatment. Comparing results of individuals who are likely to live a long time with their disease to those treated at some point in the past is rife with problems and such studies, called case series, are deemed to be low on the ladder of scientific rigor. Even the low rate of complications, while very reassuring, still would benefit from a comparison to patients treated with other forms of radiation at the same time period.
Mary Chris Jaklevic,Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH,Kathlyn Stone
The news release quotes lead researcher Robert Meier, MD, saying previous studies have shown SBRT to be “a cost-effective and faster alternative to IMRT” but does not provide any detail as to the specific costs of either procedure. In fact, the difference is substantial. A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology examined Medicare claims data showed a mean treatment cost of $13,645 for SBRT versus $21,023 for IMRT. And a 2012 study in the Journal of Oncology Practice concluded that SRBT has “great potential cost savings” for the health care system, with an average cost of $22,152 versus $35,431 for IMRT. One could also consider the cost of side effects as well as need for future treatments. The news release gives a lot of data. It states that 97 percent of patients were free from prostate cancer progression after five years, exceeding a historical control of 93 percent. It also says that fewer than 2 percent of patients experienced severe toxicities in their gastrointestinal, reproductive, and urinary systems, and no patients reported life-threatening or fatal toxicity. However, the news release does not attempt to say how these rates compare with other treatment options, which would help readers put the data in perspective. There are important caveats left out in the description of findings that are discussed under the evidence criterion. The news release states that between half and two-thirds of patients experienced low, “usually temporary” rates of toxicities. It also notes that “fewer than 2 percent of patients experienced severe toxicities in their gastrointestinal, reproductive, and urinary systems, and no patients reported life-threatening or fatal toxicity.” A few more details here would be helpful. For example, how many patients experienced a decline in urinary or sexual function, and for what period of time? And what are other potential risks of radiation therapy? The real question is how do these harms compare to other treatments? That was not assessed in this study. The news release gives some details to help readers understand how the study was conducted. However, it neglects to include several key points. First, the patients enrolled are from a very low risk population in terms of measuring benefit. The statement that these results compare favorably to historical controls at 5 years misses the point that the risk of death for this patient population isn’t seen until 10-15 years at the earliest. Second, without a contemporaneous comparison group, it should be stated that these results are subject to misinterpretation — both in terms of benefits, which are likely to be equally good with almost any other treatment (and some would argue active surveillance without treatment), and harms. Finally, it isn’t clear who this population represents. If these are younger men in their 50s and 60s, side effects are important but the long-term efficacy (beyond 5 years) is critical. If the men are over 70, one can argue whether they needed to treat the low risk group at all. In summary, this is a case series with no contemporaneous comparison group among a population with low risk prostate cancer where 5 year follow-up is inadequate to say that the treatment was successful in preventing progressive disease. The release could have included some cautions that the lead researcher discussed in a published paper in 2015. For example, he states that more radiation effects on adjacent organs might be observed after longer follow-up, and “firm conclusions about the efficacy and toxicity of SBRT relative to more conventional approaches await scrutiny by prospective randomized trials.” The news release does not commit mongering. However, as noted above, the patients enrolled in the trial were a very low risk population and one could argue that some of these patients may not have needed treatment at all. The news release does not say how the study was funded or whether any of the investigators have conflicts of interest. In papers on the topic published in 2015, the researchers declared no conflicts of interest. Some of the men in the study had a low-risk form of prostate cancer, which might have made them eligible for active surveillance rather than surgery. That option is not discussed in the news release. As mentioned in the quantifying benefits section, the news release does mention that this type of radiotherapy was compared with standard radiotherapy, although it was not directly studied. The news release states that patients in the trial were treated at 21 academic, regional, and community medical centers, which suggests that SRBT is widely available. The release claims novelty with this statement: “Our study is the first to contribute multi-center data that support the use of SBRT as front-line therapy for men with prostate cancer.” But it also states that SRBT for prostate cancer has been studied at other institutions, and that the procedure has become a standard of care for some lung cancer cases. It does not claim that this is a novel procedure. The news release does not contain any unjustifiable or sensational language. But as noted above, the favorable results in terms of benefit are not surprising and attributing them to the treatment could be viewed as unjustified.
https://www.healthnewsreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/iStock_371304_SMALL.jpg,https://www.healthnewsreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ASTRO_2016_Meier.pdf
1 (mixture)
Association/Society news release,Cancer
10166
Study: Vaccine for Breast, Ovarian Cancer Has Potential
November 8, 2011
While the story does many things well, the overall framing of the story is that the vaccine “shows promise,” when the evidence actually points in the other direction. Because only one patient in the study remains cancer free and because that patient may very well have benefited from an earlier cancer vaccine and other complicating factors, we question the decision to write this story in the first place. Right now, there more than 10,000 cancer-related clinical trials recruiting patients. Cancer has foiled scientists repeatedly with treatments that initially seemed promising in the laboratory or in a very small group of people and later proved unworkable on a larger scale. It’s a difficult task — but a crucial one — for reporters to ask tough questions of the evidence and a wide range of sources before deciding whether one of these thousands of experimental treatment options merits coverage.
The story does discuss costs, but the framing is problematic. The story, based on a conversation with one source, the study’s lead investigator, says, “It’s difficult at this point to predict costs. However, he expects costs will not approach those for Provenge, the pricey treatment vaccine for prostate cancer approved by the FDA in 2010. Provenge costs $93,000 for the one-month, three-dose treatment. Medicare covers it.” This tells readers that, no matter what the drug costs, Medicare likely will cover it. We appreciate the effort to bring cost information into the story, but this type of information is misleading. The story does explain that only one patient remains cancer free following the study. It then details how for most of the patients cancer continued to progress after 2 months. It says that the median overall survival in both the breast cancer and ovarian cancer patients was less than 16 months. But the story is framed in such a way to highlight the one potentially positive outcome of the study and to downplay the negative. We read more sooner about the one patient who may have responded well to the vaccine than we do about the 25 other patients who did not. The story mentions side effects in a satisfactory way. Technically, the story provides readers with much of the information they would need to assess the validity of the study, but it comes out in bits and pieces. For example, we only find out near the end of the story that “The woman, who remains disease-free, had a previous treatment with a different treatment vaccine. ‘That might have primed her immune system,’ Gulley speculates. She also had only one regimen of chemotherapy, perhaps keeping her immune system stronger.” This casts much doubt on the study’s design, and it would have been nice to have seen some outside expertise brought in to either discuss those design problems or to torpedo the story altogether. Again, the story deserves high marks for being very specific in the lead and throughout the story. It says, that the vaccine is “for breast and ovarian cancer that has spread to other parts of the body” in the lead and later details the particular circumstances of the study cohort. It says, “The patients had already undergone a variety of treatments but the cancer was progressing. Twenty one of the 26 had undergone three or more chemotherapy regimens.” This is the root of the story’s main shortcoming. Almost all of the information in the story comes from one source: Dr. James Gulley, who oversaw the study. Gulley is quite enthusiastic about this vaccine, despite the evidence, and the story needed more perspectives to put this vaccine into a broader context. At the very end, there are a few comments from Dr. Vincent K. Tuohy, who also is working on a breast cancer vaccine. Because of his competing research, he seems to have a conflict, but even putting that aside, his comments were not used to their best effect. There was no comparison in the story to existing alternatives. The median survival, for example, is presented without the context of how long these patients might have lived had they been undergoing standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments. We give high marks to the story for saying right in the lead that the findings are from “a preliminary study in 26 patients.” That tells readers both that the findings need to be interpreted with caution and that the treatment is not available to most people. The concept of vaccines for breast/ovarian cancer is indeed novel, and the story acknowledges that other vaccines are being studied. The story does not rely on a news release.
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=cancer&recr=Open&no_unk=Y
2 (true)
Cancer,WebMD,women's health
11276
Some appendicitis cases may not require ’emergency’ surgery
September 20, 2010
We really don’t understand why only a handful of mainstream news organizations reported this story. (At least in what we found.) The most common emergency surgery in the world. Rushing to emergency surgery may not carry any benefit. Waiting a few hours may be safer and less expensive. Why is that not a story? We applaud USA Today for finding time and space – and clearly it didn’t need to free up much space to do a good job telling the story. The story explains that as many as 300,000 appendectomies are done each year in the US. That figure alone explains why this is an important study to report.
"Although the story didn’t cite the cost of appendectomy – emergency or urgent surgery – and we wish it had, we nonetheless will give it a satisfactory score because it at least cited what the editorial writer wrote, ""A secondary benefit is the savings to the hospital generated by minimizing staff and anesthesiologist presence late in the evening and during the wee hours of the morning."" As with our harms score above, although the story didn’t give absolute numbers, in this case we think it was sufficient for it to report that ""The scientists found no significant difference among the groups in the patients’ condition 30 days after surgery or in the length of their operation or hospital stay."" Although the story didn’t give absolute numbers, in this case we think it was sufficient for it to report that ""The scientists found no significant difference among the groups in the patients’ condition 30 days after surgery or in the length of their operation or hospital stay."" Despite running less than 300 words, this story did an adequate job in explaining the quality of the evidence, including pointing out limitations. No disease-mongering here. The story meets the bare minimum requirement for this criterion in that it at least cited what an editorial stated. The focus of the story was on a study comparing emergency appendectomy with surgery done up to 12 hours later or beyond. This is the whole focus of the story – and one we applaud – when it begins:  ""Appendectomy is the most common emergency surgery in the world, but it doesn’t have to be."" There were no claims made about the novelty of this research, and we may have wished for a bit more context on this. Nonetheless, the potential for guiding future care decisions was made clear. Not applicable. Given that the story only pulled excerpts from the journal article and the accompanying editorial, and didn’t include any fresh quotes from interviews, we can’t be sure of the extent to which it may have been influenced by a news release."
2 (true)
8713
Britain to reveal trial criteria for coronavirus antibody tests.
April 7, 2020
British regulators will this week reveal approval criteria for firms offering new coronavirus antibody tests, touted by governments in Britain and elsewhere as critical to easing nationwide lockdowns without helping the virus to spread.
Alistair Smout
Antibody tests show whether whether people have been infected with the novel coronavirus and developed immunity - potentially allowing them to return to their places of work. The British government has provisionally ordered 17.5 million of them, but health minister Matt Hancock has said some of those already being trialled work poorly, and that one test even missed three out of four cases. Brigette Bard, chief executive of the diagnostics firm BioSure, said that her firm’s at-home test could not get as far as a formal trial as she had received no details of the approval criteria. “How they fail tests when there is no specification, I literally have no idea. We have been begging to be told what to do. We have a test ready to submit,” she said. “We need to get our test approved, and they’re not giving us an option of how to get it approved.” BioSure has been producing an at-home HIV test since 2015, and Bard met Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March to discuss her COVID-19 test. At-home tests, in this case of blood obtained by pricking a finger, are designed to be read by the person taking the test, whereas others need results to be read in a lab. Bard said laboratory trials were producing good data, but that the firm needed to know what size and scope of trial and what accuracy level would be accepted by regulators. Doris-Ann Williams, chief executive of the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association, said that clarity would be coming soon. “There will be specifications released for tests this week by MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) which will help companies understand the technical performance expected for their kits,” she said in an email. The MHRA itself said it was developing the specifications but declined to give a timeline. Once criteria were established, Bard said the trials would take one or two weeks, and then BioSure could begin production, subject to approval, with the aim of making 1 million tests a month. “If our test fails the validation, then it’s not fit to go to market,” she said. “I’m happy to go through whatever validation they want us to go through.”
2 (true)
Health News
9851
Angioplasty through the wrist backed by new study
August 18, 2008
This is a good piece of reporting about a recent study comparing two different insertion sites to obtain access for angioplasty. While not providing any insight about the specific circumstances when there may be medical reasons to chose one access site over another, the story did a nice job of informing readers that there might actually be a choice when having an angioplasty. It provided information that a reader could use to have a conversation with a doctor about the decision. However – the story should have included some insight about the strength of the observation obtained from the current study. As it was not a controlled study – so it did not evaluate the two procedures in a controlled environment – any predictions are tentative and require further examination. Overall, though, this was a balanced, clear and concise story about an approach that might be a safer alternative to the dominant way of doing an angioplasty. The story included an independent expert to comment on the study. And it reported absolute rates as well as relative rates so the reader can really get a sense of the safety of the new procedure.
The story did not provide cost estimates for either approach; the story did mention that the through-the-wrist approach was associated with shorter hospital stays (and therefore reduced costs.) There was no discussion in the story about whether there are different costs associated with the procedure itself. The story explained that the through-the-wrist approach was associated with lower risk of bleeding and shorter hospitalizations but should have included a caveat explanation about the strength of research and that the results of the study reported on require follow-up investigation. The story mentioned risk of bleeding at the site of catheter insertion as a possible harm of treatment which was greater for those who had a the catheter inserted in the leg. To its credit, the story provided absolute risk information, i.e. pointing out the 60% reduction in bleeding was the difference between 2 and 1% of patients having this complication. The story did not mention whether there were any particular side effects or harms associated with catheter insertion at the wrist. The story explained that the study was an analysis of information contained within a national registry. But it should have explained that this is the weakest type of study from which to draw a clinical conclusion (such as this procedure is safer or as safe as the alternative). Thus the statement in the story ‘both methods were equally effective’ should have been more tentative. The underlying weakness of the study, that it is not a controlled trial, may mean that the patients who had the wrist approach had something else about them that helped to reduce risk and that the researchers may not have been able to take into consideration. The story did not engage in overt disease mongering. The story included interview material from one clinician who was not associated with the study reported on. The quality of the piece would have been improved if it had included input from physicians who might have explained some of the reasons why not all interventional cardiologists use the wrist approach. The story did an adequate job of reporting about a recent study comparing two approaches to angioplasty. The story indicated that the angioplasty using access through the wrist as opposed to a leg, was used much less frequently.vThe story explained that extra training is required in order to use this procedure and many doctors are not trained in this technique. This would contribute to the procedure’s limited availability. The story did a good job of explaining that neither of the two approaches compared were new and that the point of the study was to determine how the two sites compare in terms of their use. The story does not appear to rely exclusively on a press release.
2 (true)
2768
U.S. says results encouraging for healthcare delivery reforms.
January 30, 2014
The Obama administration on Thursday reported what it called encouraging results from efforts to reduce healthcare costs and improve the quality of care for more than 5 million Medicare beneficiaries under Obamacare
David Morgan
As part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, the efforts center around more than 360 accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers specially organized to help move Medicare away from traditional fee-for-service medicine. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said preliminary data show that the ACOs produced $380 million in savings vis-a-vis traditional Medicare in 2012 by giving doctors and other healthcare providers the incentive to focus on improved outcomes for patients instead of fees from tests and services. Medicare, the $575 billion government healthcare system for 51 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries, faces growing financial pressures as a result of America’s aging population. A mainstay, the trust fund that pays for hospitalization, is expected to be exhausted in 2026. Deficit hawks view Medicare as a future driver of the federal debt and have called for major systemic reforms. But the Obama administration has pursued gradual changes including the reform of care delivery systems. So-called fee-for-service medicine is widely viewed as a cause of rising healthcare costs, because it calls for paying healthcare providers for tests and services that are sometimes unnecessary. Obamacare seeks to tackle costs by exploring ACOs and other new healthcare business models intended to find savings that do not jeopardize care. A main goal is to generate savings large enough to be shared between Medicare and providers. But some experts are skeptical, saying significant cost reductions could be hard to maintain over time. But CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, runs two different ACO programs. In its largest, 54 of 114 ACO networks achieved lower than expected expenditures. But only 29 saw savings big enough to share with providers. All told, the program produced $128 million in net savings for Medicare’s trust funds. “Overall, the ACO program’s a net saver to the Medicare program,” CMS principal deputy administrator Jon Blum told reporters in a conference call. “It’s giving us great confidence that this is the right course for the Medicare program and we are confident that it will continue to show quality improvement and cost savings.” Officials said the ACOs also achieved a wide range of quality goals. But CMS released no quality statistics. Thursday’s government release drew some cautious optimism from the healthcare industry. “Today’s report reflects important steps. More work is needed to modernize our antiquated Medicare payment system and base payment on evidence-based quality measures and proven patient outcomes,” said Dr. John Noseworthy, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which is not part of the government’s program. “As results of the team-based care models are analyzed, those most effective in driving down health care costs without compromising safety and quality should become part of the healthcare system,” he said.
2 (true)
Health News
2717
Latest trial in J&J talc litigations gets under way in California.
January 8, 2019
A California jury on Monday heard opening statements in the latest trial over allegations that Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) talc-based products, including the company’s baby powder, were contaminated with asbestos and cause cancer.
Tina Bellon
The lawsuit brought by Terry Leavitt in Alameda Superior Court in Oakland is the first of over a dozen J&J talc cases scheduled for trial in 2019. The company is facing some 11,700 lawsuits over the safety of talc in its products. Leavitt’s lawyer, Joseph Satterley, accused J&J in his opening statement of knowingly selling a dangerous product, according to an online broadcast by Courtroom View Network. “The evidence will show that J&J knew about the asbestos risk and they continued to sell the product, giving consumers no opportunity to protect themselves,” he said. A lawyer for co-defendant Imerys Talc America, a unit of French Imerys SA (IMTP.PA), told the jury the evidence would show there is no asbestos in its talc and that Leavitt’s disease was not caused by its product. A lawyer for J&J will make his opening remarks on Tuesday. “Our talc is safe and does not contain asbestos. For decades, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder has repeatedly been tested and been found not to contain asbestos,” the company said in response to a request for comment on Monday. J&J and Imerys have argued in court that decades of studies have shown their products to be safe and asbestos-free. Leavitt’s is the first talc case to go to trial since Reuters on Dec. 14 published a special report detailing internal J&J documents showing talc in the company’s raw and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from the 1970s into the early 2000s. The report prompted a stock selloff on fears of J&J’s liability. Shares on Monday closed at $127.01, 14 percent below their Dec. 13 value. While earlier talc lawsuits alleged talc itself causes ovarian cancer, plaintiffs’ lawyers have more recently focused on arguing that asbestos contamination in talc caused mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Leavitt’s case is being tried by the same team of lawyers, including Satterley, who in April 2018 won a $117 million award by a New Jersey jury for a man who blamed his mesothelioma on J&J’s cosmetic talc. That verdict is under appeal. In 11 cases so far alleging asbestos contamination in talc, three resulted in wins for plaintiffs, awarding damages as high as $4.69 billion in a July 2018 multi-plaintiff ovarian cancer verdict. J&J won three other cases and another five ended in hung juries. J&J has appealed all of the plaintiff verdicts, and the company said it is confident the verdicts would be overturned on appeal. Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. She was born in the Philippines and claims she was exposed to J&J cosmetic talc that originated from South Korea mines during the first two years of her life before her parents moved back to the United States in 1968, Satterley said on Monday. He said testing of Asian talc samples from the 1960s and 1970s by his own expert would show Korean-mined talc tested positive for asbestos fibers, as has talc from U.S. sources. J&J in court filings in the Leavitt case said that fibers found in the Korean talc or any of its other cosmetic talc could not be classified as asbestos and referred to them as non-asbestos forms that its experts say are harmless. Geologically, some asbestos can occur as “non-asbestiform” rocks. Both forms often occur together and in talc deposits. The company in its Monday statement did not specifically address the allegations surrounding the South Korean mine.
uk.reuters.com/companies/IMTP.PA,uk.reuters.com/companies/JNJ.N
2 (true)
Health News
10527
Poor test results for heart drugs
March 31, 2008
"The story reports no additional cardiovascular protection with the cholesterol lowering drug ezetimibe (Zetia) alone, or in combination with the statin simvastatin (trade name Zocor). The report is unfortunately yet another example of an attempt to explain a very complicated story in a short TV chat. The study design, patient population, methodology and support for the surrogate endpoint are absent from the discussion. So, the context of ""failure"" is totally lost on the audience. This failure to provide any context is especially unfortunate because the report was accompanied by two excellent editorials. The editorial by Brown and Taylor in the NEJM highlights the study design, patient cohort studied and puts the results into an objective context. This report does little to inform its listeners and a wonderful opportunity was lost in the process. The story does not note the cost of a typical statin regimen, Zetia or the combination treatment, Vytorin. This is an important oversight as many people who are prescribed these medications take them for life. The story does mention that these new drugs ""raked in 5 billion dollars last year"". The failure of the combination product to be better than simvastatin alone has significant financial implications. Simvastatin (the generic name for Merck’s Zocor) is available for about $1.25 a day. Vytorin costs about $3.35 a day. Most clinicians assumed that the combined product was an advantage if you could not get a patient to a LDL goal with just the statin alone or side effects with the simvastatin prevented an adequate dose. The price for the combination is less than the cost of the components. Also, stating that taking more statins is the answer is incomplete at best. Lifestyle changes along with other drugs may be options as well. Interestingly however, this study raises questions about the simple notion that lowering total cholesterol, and LDL are important to lowering cardiovascular risk. People who are not able to lower their cholesterol enough with statins alone (or cannot tolerate the dose of statins needed to lower it) may wish to discuss with their doctor whether other medications (i.e., rather than ezetimibe) may be appropriate. These include niacin, fibrates, and bile acid resins. When added to statins, they can effectively lower cardiovascular risk. There are no interviews with the study authors or with practicing clinicians. The story reported on data presented at a recent American College of Cardiology Meeting, so there were several thousand cardiologists and other specialists available who could have been interviewed for clinical perspective on the results of this study."
"The story does not note the cost of a typical statin regimen, Zetia or the combination treatment, Vytorin. This is an important oversight as many people who are prescribed these medications take them for life. The story does mention that these new drugs ""raked in 5 billion dollars last year"". The failure of the combination product to be better than simvastatin alone has significant financial implications. Simvastatin (the generic name for Merck’s Zocor) is available for about $1.25 a day. Vytorin costs about $3.35 a day. Most clinicians assumed that the combined product was an advantage if you could not get a patient to an LDL goal with just the statin alone or side effects with the simvastatin prevented an adequate dose. The price for the combination is less than the cost of the components. The story provides no quantitative data and no information on the number needed to treat to show benefit (i.e. prevention of a heart attack or stroke through lowered LDLs) in one patient with the newer medications, with traditional statins or with combination treatment. The story says that there are no real dangers to continuing the drugs Zetia and Vytorin based on the lower drop-out rate and reported side effects in the study. The comments from both parties cast an extraordinarily negative shadow on the study drug and on the company sponsors. Without an appropriate description of the study design, the results cannot be fairly discussed to the public. While the primary endpoint was not obtained with the combination, it did lower LDL and inflammatory markers in excess of that achieved with simvastatin alone. Suggesting the drug did not ""work"" is a bit of a mis-statement. The story encourages patients to keep taking these drugs. The story also does not mention the potential harm of taking statins long-term, especially in high does. Some of these harms are very rare, however, they include: muscle pain and kidney or liver problems. The story provides no real discussion of the data presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting and published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine. And the story didn’t assess the quality of the evidence. The study followed people (average age mid-40s) who had an inherited condition (called familial hypercholesterolemia) that is associated with very high cholesterol levels and greatly increased risk of early coronary artery disease. Many of them had been taking statins and other cholesterol-lowering medicines for years. All were randomly assigned to take either a statin (simvastatin, trade name Zocor) alone or a statin combined with another cholesterol-lowering medication, ezetimibe. The study was designed to find out if the combination of the two drugs could slow the growth of plaque in carotid arteries supplying the brain more than the statin alone. Plaque in these arteries is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. The two drugs together were more effective at lowering cholesterol than simvastatin alone, but adding ezetimibe did not change plaque measurements in the carotid arteries. The story does mention that lowering cholesterol may have other benefits, but we are not sure how those translate to fewer cardiovascular events or increased survival from these events. No overt disease-mongering. There are no interviews with the study authors or with practicing clinicians. The story reported on data presented at a recent American College of Cardiology Meeting, so there were several thousand cardiologists and other specialists available who could have been interviewed for clinical perspective on the results of this study. There was also no mention of the two accompanying editorials in the NEJM. The editorial by Brown and Tayor nicely identifies the issues related to the study and helps put the results into perspective. Unfortunately, this editorial was ignored by both parties involved in the story. Stating that taking more statins is the answer is incomplete at best. Lifestyle changes along with other drugs may be options as well. Interestingly however, this study raises questions about the simple notion that lowering total cholesterol, and LDL are important to lowering cardiovascular risk. People who are not able to lower their cholesterol enough with statins alone (or cannot tolerate the dose of statins needed to lower it) may wish to discuss with their doctor whether other medications (i.e., rather than ezetimibe) may be appropriate. These include niacin, fibrates, and bile acid resins. When added to statins, they can effectively lower cardiovascular risk. It’s clear from the story that the drugs in question are still available to patients, though they should not be considered first-line therapy. The story focuses on new information that there is little to no benefit of newer cholestrol-lowering medications on the prevention of arterial plaque, which translate to little benefit for prevention of heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular-related death. We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release. No researcher or cardiologist is interviewed. Quantified data from the American College of Cardiology presentation or from the New England Journal of Medicine article are not directly cited."
0 (false)
28215
Opossums kill thousands of ticks each week, inhibiting the spread of Lyme Disease to humans.
March 22, 2016
What's true: Some data indicate opossums eat thousands of deer ticks per season, reducing the number that can go on to spread Lyme Disease to humans. What's false: How much of an impact opossums' eating ticks has on Lyme Disease infection rates is indeterminate.
Kim LaCapria
On 18 March 2016, an image of an opossum was uploaded to Imgur with overlaid text reading as follows: Given the frequently absurd nature of “amazing facts” memes, many viewers were rightly skeptical of the claim attached to that photograph. The image provided no citations to substantiate the information it presented, and the notion that opossums were a possible tool in the epidemiological battle against Lyme disease seemed implausible to some. As it turned out, there is at least some truth to the opossum-as-tick-slayer rumors. On 18 April 2014, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and NewsTimes published an article that focused on the role of opossums in the spread of Lyme disease with respect to their role in the ecosystem: [N]ow ecologists have learned something else about opossums. They’re a sort of magnet when it comes to riding the world of black-legged ticks, which spread Lyme disease. “Don’t hit opossums if they’ve playing dead in the road,” said Richard Ostfeld, of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. Ostfeld is forest ecologist and an expert on the environmental elements of infectious diseases like Lyme disease. Several years ago, scientists … tested six species — white-footed mice, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums and veerys and catbirds — by capturing and caging them, and then exposing each test subject to 100 ticks … [O]f the six, the opossums were remarkably good at getting rid of the ticks — much more so that any of the others. [A]mong other opossum traits, there is this: They groom themselves fastidiously, like cats. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it … Extrapolating from their findings, Ostfeld said, the team estimated that in one season, an opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks … Some ticks end up getting their blood meal from the possum. But more than 90 percent of them ended up being groomed away and swallowed. “They’re net destroyers of ticks,” Ostfeld said. Ostfeld had previously discouraged disruption of opossum populations for this reason. In July 2012, he said in a podcast: Because many ticks try to feed on opossums and few of them survive the experience. Opossums are extraordinarily good groomers it turns out — we never would have thought that ahead of time — but they kill the vast majority — more than 95% percent of the ticks that try to feed on them. So these opossums are walking around the forest floor, hoovering up ticks right and left, killing over 90% of these things, and so they are really protecting our health. Ostfeld was also named as one author of a September 2009 study in Proceedings of the Royal Society which examined animal kingdom hosts “as ecological traps for the vector of Lyme disease” and asserted that: By subjecting field-caught hosts to parasitism by larval blacklegged ticks, we found that some host species (e.g. opossums, squirrels) that are abundantly parasitized in nature kill 83–96% of the ticks that attempt to attach and feed, while other species are more permissive of tick feeding. [T]he vast majority (96.5%) of larval ticks that encounter an opossum and attempt to feed are apparently consumed. Working backwards, [we calculate that] during any given week in the larval activity peak, each opossum must host more than 5500 larval ticks to produce 199 that successfully feed. By this logic, during the larval peak, each mouse encounters approximately 50 larval ticks per week, almost half of which feed to repletion and become nymphs. As far as “amazing facts” images go, the opossum/Lyme disease one was very well researched, with numbers that matched up with what ecologists have learned about opossums, deer ticks, and the spread of Lyme disease in recent years (although those studies surmised opossums kill approximately 5,000 ticks per season, not per week).
http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks, http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Robert-Miller-Opossums-killers-of-ticks-5413872.php, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1675/3911, http://www.caryinstitute.org/discover-ecology/podcasts/why-you-should-brake-opossums, http://imgur.com/SY9F7lG, https://www.snopes.com/tachyon/2016/03/opossum-lyme-disease.png
2 (true)
Critter Country, lyme disease, opossum
5793
Democrats hoping to flip House not just trash-talking Trump.
Democrats hoping to flip enough seats to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives say they aren’t putting all their eggs in the anti-Trump basket.
Steve Leblanc
Those candidates include Lauren Underwood, a 31-year-old registered nurse from Illinois and part of the Democrats’ master plan to regain control of the House. While Underwood is no fan of President Donald Trump, she said her No. 1 concern — and the top concern of the voters she hopes to will send her to Washington — is access to health care. Attacking the Republican president hard just isn’t necessarily a winning play in Illinois’ 14th congressional district, said Underwood, who served as an adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services under Democratic President Barack Obama. “I don’t talk about him that much. He has a higher approval rating than my congressman does, so we talk about our congressman,” said Underwood, who’s hoping to oust incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren in a district that narrowly backed Trump two years ago. Other Democrats aiming to flip House seats say they’re also trying to zero in on policy more than the president. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has its hopes pinned on 50-plus candidates looking to upend enough seats — 23 — to wrest control of the chamber from the GOP for the first time in eight years. Republicans have their own plan to retain control, but Democrats are banking they have more than just both momentum and history on their side. U.S. Rep. Denny Heck is helping lead the effort to flip the House. The Washington Democrat said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee can assist candidates with a range of tasks — from tapping into a national donor base to aiding with the basic mechanics of building a campaign. But he warned that trash-talking Trump will get a candidate only so far. “What candidates ought to be doing is talking about that crowded freeway that they need to get additional funds to widen or additional funds to provide mass transit for, or that lake that is becoming polluted and they need the EPA to step up,” Heck said. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is also on the “Red to Blue” list. Mucarsel-Powell, who came from Ecuador as an immigrant with her mother, said Florida’s 26th Congressional District — the state’s southernmost district — is one of the most vulnerable for Republicans in the country. She pointed to a 16-point win by Hillary Clinton there in 2016. The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo. While Mucarsel-Powell doesn’t shy away from talking about Trump, she says she’s more focused on the struggles of local residents. “They don’t have access to health care. They don’t have good quality education,” she said, adding that tens of thousands depend on the Obama 2010 health care law that Republicans have worked to undo. Talk of a Democratic blue wave is overblown, according to Matt Gorman, communication director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. He said the committee — which has its own “Young Guns” program — is raising impressive sums and has battle-tested incumbents who know they’re going to be targets. Gorman said the NRCC is also urging candidates to run on local issues and not focus on the latest headlines on cable new or Twitter. He said polling shows the party is in better shape than many assume. “This is going to be a fight and certainly we’re going to work like we’re 10 points down as we do every day, but for the bedwetters out there who are claiming that all hope is loss I would encourage them to actually look at the data,” he said. “It’s simple math.” Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark, who is also heading up the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” initiative, said many candidates she’s been working with are more eager to dig into what’s on the minds of voters than taking swipes at Trump. “They’re not concerned with talking about Donald Trump as much as they are about talking about how people in their communities want their children to have job opportunities in the communities that they grew up in,” Clark said. While defeating Trump may galvanize the Democratic faithful, the party is still fumbling for a wider unifying message, according to Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor and former political media consultant. And Democrats may have trouble finding issues, local or not, for voters to latch onto in November. “The problem is that unemployment is low, economic confidence is relatively high, so to tell people you’ve never had it so bad when compared to eight years ago they’ve got it pretty good, that’s sort of also a tough road to hoe,” he said. “The Democrats may have history on the side. The question is A, will they blow it? And B, is Trump such an anomaly that history is being rewritten?” Roxane Pirayesh, a 32-year-old from Sacramento, California, who works for an education nonprofit, said in the end, the pitch from Democrats has to be more than just an anti-Trump drumbeat — and she’s not sure everyone’s gotten the message. “I think that’s probably the biggest flaw coming out of the Democratic Party,” she said.
2 (true)
Access to health care, Health, Politics, North America, Donald Trump, Barack Obama
36179
Hoodies riddled with faux bullet holes bearing the names of schools involved in massacres (including Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas) are available for purchase.
September 17, 2019
Are ‘School Shooting Hoodies’ With Faux Bullet Holes Real?
Kim LaCapria
In September 2019 a Facebook user shared the following screenshots (archived here) of a since-deleted tweet, depicting three hoodies (Virginia Tech, Columbine, and Sandy Hook) and a comment — “Ok, this is a NEED”:A link to the original tweet returned an error message, indicating that the September 13 2019 tweet had been deleted. In remaining tweets, the user explained their originally expressed interest in the items:I don’t see how this would be supporting mass shootings or anything. I definitely feel for those effected 🤕of course I know that [the students were victims of mass shootings in schools]. It’s posed to be “shedding light on gun violence in America”. I think it’s pretty creativeScreenshots circulating in September 2019 did not illustrate the first controversy over a fashion statement involving school shootings. In September 2015, Urban Outfitters created a viral outcry after briefly retailing a Kent State hoodie designed to appear stained with blood:Urban Outfitters is in hot water after selling a faux-vintage Kent State sweatshirt that featured what looked like fake blood stains. To many, the piece appears to be a reference to the May 4, 1970 shootings at the college, in which four unarmed students were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest.The tweet appeared to show three of four hoodies modeled by streetwear brand Bstroy in September 16 2019 Instagram posts, among several less controversial items in a recently-introduced Spring 2020 collection. Four schools referenced in four separate items were Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Columbine, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas:Bstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja Casting: @aamo_castingA post shared by Bstroy (@bstroy.us) on Sep 15, 2019 at 10:58am PDTBstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja Casting: @aamo_castingA post shared by Bstroy (@bstroy.us) on Sep 15, 2019 at 10:58am PDTBstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja Casting: @aamo_castingA post shared by Bstroy (@bstroy.us) on Sep 15, 2019 at 10:59am PDTBstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja Casting: @aamo_castingA post shared by Bstroy (@bstroy.us) on Sep 15, 2019 at 11:00am PDTHoodies with artificial bullet holes are not an entirely new concept. In season two of Netflix’s Luke Cage, fictional fans of the bulletproof protagonist began wearing Carhartt sweatshirts riddled with fabricated bullet holes as a tribute to Cage. Cage, in turn, laments their “cosplay.”On September 11 2019, the New York Times Style column profiled Bstroy, but the hoodies did not appear to have been discussed. A New York-based fashion consultant tweeted about the school shooting hoodies, objecting to them:Putting bullet holes in school sweaters isn’t shining light on an issue. It’s being provocative for the sake of being provocative. And that’s not very provocative. It’s not artistic. It lacks refinement. It lacks intelligence. It lacks design skill. It is lazy at best. pic.twitter.com/ADCXaCFcdQ— B/G (@bibbygregory) September 14, 2019Each post identified the pieces as belonging to Season 5, Spring/Summer 2020, and were simply labeled “SAMSARA.” Bstroy founder Brick Owens shared an image of a statement on Instagram, reading:Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential. it is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life. Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits. Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.As the posts indicated and @brickowens reiterated, samsara is a Buddhist/Hindu concept holding that humanity is bound to a grueling and painful cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Enlightenment, or nirvana, represents an escape from the tiresome cycle of samsara.The hoodies shown on Instagram appeared to be authentic, appearing at a Bstroy SS 2020 fashion show in September 2019. The origin of the images shared in the since-deleted tweet was unclear, since they did not match the Instagram runway images. The sweatshirts were real in concept, but they were created by a small brand and unlikely to be available widely even if produced in larger number. One of Bstroy’s two designers published a statement obliquely referencing the four sweatshirts (Virginia Tech, Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas), and their purported inspiration in the mystical concepts of samsara and nirvana.
https://www.facebook.com/elijah.opokuamanfo.3/posts/158216328575166, https://www.truthorfiction.com/do-these-photographs-accurately-contrast-birmingham-in-1940-with-birmingham-in-2017/, https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cOw_6BBvp/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading, https://twitter.com/bibbygregory/status/1172952858637086725, https://www.truthorfiction.com/the-wall-its-real-and-its-magnificent-facebook-meme/, https://www.complex.com/style/2014/09/urban-outfitters-causes-outrage-with-bloody-kent-state-sweatshirt, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/style/after-kanye-after-virgil-after-heron.html, https://twitter.com/Have_ANikeDay/status/1172656963567738881, https://t.co/ADCXaCFcdQ, https://www.instagram.com/bstroy.us/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading, https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cS67DhspL/, https://www.instagram.com/bstroy.us/, https://archive.fo/o9jQs, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/, https://www.inverse.com/article/46316-how-luke-cage-season-2-netflix-changes-his-hoodie-cosplay, https://twitter.com/bibbygregory/status/1172952858637086725?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, https://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fare-school-shooting-hoodies-with-faux-bullet-holes-real%2F, https://www.truthorfiction.com/author/kim/, https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zfts4wx/revision/3, https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fare-school-shooting-hoodies-with-faux-bullet-holes-real%2F, https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cOoPkBZl4/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading, https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cOtH3h9S7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading, https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fare-school-shooting-hoodies-with-faux-bullet-holes-real%2F, https://www.ananda.org/yogapedia/samsara/, https://twitter.com/Have_ANikeDay/status/1172657955856166912, https://twitter.com/Have_ANikeDay/status/1172659161731162112, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Are+%27School+Shooting+Hoodies%27+With+Faux+Bullet+Holes+Real%3F&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fare-school-shooting-hoodies-with-faux-bullet-holes-real%2F&via=KimLaCapria, https://www.facebook.com/may.pixie/posts/10202888825246030:0, https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cO2Nwhr_e/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading, https://www.reddit.com/submit?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fare-school-shooting-hoodies-with-faux-bullet-holes-real%2F, https://twitter.com/Have_ANikeDay/status/1172678977577791488, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/viral-content/
1 (mixture)
Fact Checks, Viral Content
11433
Cancer Activist Sounds Alarm For Early Testing For Genetic Marker
June 17, 2009
Fails to present the nuances associated with testing for BRCA gene mutations. Focusing on a patient advocate who encourages genetic testing in those with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer may have helped narrative flow, but it may not have been representative of women’s experiences. While the risks associated with developing cancer with and without a BRCA1 gene mutation were accurately presented, the story would have been vastly improved had it included:  information on cost and insurance coverage associated with BRCA testing; clarification on what constitutes a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer; information on the potential psychological and social harms associated with genetic testing; all the options (not just prophylactic surgery) for preventing cancer in high-risk patients; commentary from experts in the field, as well as from other women who underwent BRCA testing.
There is no discussion of cost in this story. According to the National Cancer Institute, genetic testing for mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars and insurance does not always provide coverage. The story provides information regarding the relative and absolute risks associated with developing breast and ovarian cancer in patients with and without a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. For additional perspective, it would have been useful for the reader to know how many breast cancers are associated with BRCA gene mutations in the general population. While the story underscores how BRCA testing can lead to preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing cancer, it only mentions prophylactic surgery and not the less invasive options. There is no discussion of the emotional or social ramifications associated with receiving genetic testing results. Even receiving a negative result could lead to feelings of guilt, especially if other family members have tested positive. The story also fails to mention that undergoing prophylactic surgery to remove the ovaries, uterus and breast tissue can have serious effects on a woman’s health and quality of life. This story does not include a discussion regarding sensitivity or specificity of BRCA testing. The reliability of these tests, including information on false negative and false positive results, would be beneficial. Without providing a clear discussion on what constitutes a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, readers who are not necessarily candidates for genetic testing may incur undue worry. It would have also been useful for the reader to know that only a very small number of breast cancers are associated with BRCA gene mutations. This story only provides commentary from one patient. Perspective from a genetic counselor and/or oncologist would have added value to this story, as would interviews with women who received a negative result and those who received a positive result, but dealt with the information differently. This story only discusses prophylactic surgery as an option for patients who test positive for mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Increased cancer surveillance, risk reduction behaviors, and chemoprevention should have also been presented as options. Genetic counseling services are not widely available in some geographic areas; however, this is not mentioned in the story. The story does not suggest that genetic testing for mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is a novel test; however, information on how long it has been available would have been useful. There does not appear to be a press release associated with this story.
0 (false)
12216
At the end of 2016, there were 23 percent fewer federal prosecutions than in 2011, so (prosecutors) looked at this scourge (opioid deaths) and they let it go by.
August 9, 2017
"Trump said ""at the end of 2016, there were 23 percent fewer federal prosecutions than in 2011, so (prosecutors) looked at this surge and they let it go by."" Trump made the statement in the context of rising opioid overdose deaths. An analysis of data shows that federal drug charges overall declined 23 percent between 2011 and 2016. But that data doesn’t tell us anything about opioid cases specifically. Where Trump misses the mark is his suggestion that the drop in prosecutions is to blame for the opioid epidemic, which started before Obama’s tenure and then grew worse during his presidency. Obama could have done more earlier to address the epidemic, experts said, but there is no evidence that his strategy on federal drug prosecutions led to a spike in opioid overdose deaths."
Amy Sherman
"President Donald Trump took a swipe at former President Barack Obama as he renewed his pledge to tackle the opioid epidemic, which claims the lives of tens of thousands of people a year. Trump said that opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999, speaking after a briefing on the issue. But while deaths soared, Trump said overall drug prosecutions declined in recent years -- a trend Trump vowed to reverse. ""We're going to be bringing them up and bringing them up rapidly,"" he said Aug. 8. ""At the end of 2016, there were 23 percent fewer than in 2011. So they looked at this scourge, and they let it go by, and we're not letting it go by."" We found that Trump is correct that federal drug prosecutions declined from 2011 to 2016 under Obama, but he lacks evidence to prove that’s the culprit for the opioid overdose crisis. A White House spokesman declined to comment on the record. The Justice Department filed drug charges against 24,638 defendants in 2016, down 23 percent from 2011, according to the Pew Research Center, which analyzed federal data. The data reflects felonies and some serious misdemeanors. But that’s overall drug prosecutions, not just prosecutions related to opioids. And it only includes federal prosecutions -- the vast majority of criminal prosecutions are in state courts. We found that the drop was due to some of the specific actions the Obama administration took to stop the prosecution of low-level offenders. Pew noted that in 2013, then-Attorney General Eric Holder directed federal prosecutors to ensure that each case they brought served ""a substantial federal interest."" Holder mandated that certain low-level nonviolent drug offenders, with no ties to gangs or cartels, would no longer face mandatory minimum sentences. He called for more treatment and alternatives to prison. Also in 2013, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memorandum to federal attorneys related to prioritizing marijuana prosecutions. He directed attorneys to focus on cartels or other criminal organizations and the use of violence to distribute the drug. Federal marijuana prosecutions fell to 5,158 in 2016, down 39 percent from five years earlier, Pew found. Trump implied that lack of prosecutions likely led to a worsening of the opioid crisis. But experts we contacted had a different view. ""No serious analyst would argue that federal prosecutions have consequences for opioid overdoses,"" said University of Maryland criminology professor Peter Reuter. ""The drivers of that increase are the arrival of fentanyl, since about 2012, and the overprescription of opioids before it. There has been some decline in heroin retail prices. But no prior effort against high-level distributors and traffickers has ever had sustained success at the retail level."" Some drug experts including Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, have criticized Obama for taking too long to address the crisis, but not because of a lack of prosecutions. ""Obama deserves blame for neglecting the epidemic and failing to ensure a coordinated federal response,"" Kolodny said. ""I can think of several areas where it's fair to criticize him. The decline in federal drug prosecutions is not one of them."" Trump has a point that the Obama administration was slow to respond to the opioid crisis, said Jon Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon professor and expert on drug policy. ""Anyone looking at the basic death stats knew we had a problem by 2000,"" Caulkins said. ""So this is a national disgrace, and Obama was in power for eight of the more recent years, and if ‘the buck stops on the president’s desk’ then it’s fair to put some blame there."" A September 2016 report from the Obama administration’s Justice Department found that prosecutors could help combat the epidemic by prioritizing prosecution of heroin distributors and of medical professionals who improperly prescribe opioids. The report also stated that federal prosecution had ""lagged,"" and more prosecutors were needed. The report noted, however, that investigations ""can be difficult when the victim is deceased and the source of the drugs is not immediately obvious."" Trump said ""at the end of 2016, there were 23 percent fewer federal prosecutions than in 2011, so (prosecutors) looked at this surge and they let it go by."" Trump made the statement in the context of rising opioid overdose deaths. An analysis of data shows that federal drug charges overall declined 23 percent between 2011 and 2016. But that data doesn’t tell us anything about opioid cases specifically. Where Trump misses the mark is his suggestion that the drop in prosecutions is to blame for the opioid epidemic, which started before Obama’s tenure and then grew worse during his presidency. Obama could have done more earlier to address the epidemic, experts said, but there is no evidence that his strategy on federal drug prosecutions led to a spike in opioid overdose deaths."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxSAhEPBnyA, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-sessions-announces-opioid-fraud-and-abuse-detection-unit, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/ondcp/commission-interim-report.pdf, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm, https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ag/legacy/2014/04/11/ag-memo-substantial-federal-interest.pdf, https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-eric-holder-delivers-remarks-annual-meeting-american-bar-associations, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/1/15746780/opioid-epidemic-end, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/may/18/charles-schumer/did-federal-inmate-population-drop-under-obama-fir/, https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/28/federal-criminal-prosecutions-fall-to-lowest-level-in-nearly-two-decades/, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/may/26/donald-trump/donald-trump-wrong-hillary-clinton-wants-release-a/, https://www.justice.gov/usao/file/895091/download, http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-declares-war-on-opioids/article/2009203, https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf, https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse#_ftn2, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/08/remarks-president-trump-briefing-opioid-crisis, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170501131756.htm, http://www.ncsl.org/blog/2017/01/31/preventing-opioid-misuse-legislative-trends-and-predictions.aspx, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/08/press-briefing-opioid-crisis-882017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/us/politics/trump-opioid-crisis.html
1 (mixture)
Drugs, Crime, Florida, Donald Trump,
30635
The train carrying GOP members of Congress to a West Virginia retreat crashed due to a Deep State plot.
Sites like YourNewsWire, Gateway Pundit and InfoWars have made it a habitual practice to cynically exploit tragedies and spread false information about them for their own purposes.
Bethania Palma
On 31 January 2018, an Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat struck a garbage truck that was on the tracks at 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia, killing one person. The tragic loss of life did not give even brief pause, however, to conspiracy trolls who made it their latest fodder. Although there is no evidence the collision was anything more than a horrific accident, disreputable web sites like TheGatewayPundit.com, YourNewsWire and InfoWars.com latched on, reporting with no evidence that the incident was the result of a nefarious “Deep State” plot to either scare Republicans into falling in line or assassinate them, depending on which crank web site or social media feed one happened to be looking at. For example, InfoWars asked: Was [sic] the safety signals for the train carrying GOP leaders outside Charlottesville, Va., hacked to ensure the train would crash – or was the incident completely accidental? Was the Deep State trying to send a message to globalist Republicans to get back in line – to jump off the Trump train – after the president’s unifying message during the State of the Union? Of course, the train crash might have been a complete accident, but nevertheless here’s some of the weird circumstances surrounding it so far. This is demonstrably false, as WVIR reporter Matt Talhelm, who was at the scene reported, the arms of the crossing guard appeared functional and were down when the accident occurred: Now that the #train has pulled away headed to #Charlottesville @Amtrak station, I can confirm the track crossing IS signalized with the arms DOWN. pic.twitter.com/9Ghrp6LZSM — Matt Talhelm (@MattTalhelm) January 31, 2018 YourNewsWire tried to link the accident to a raging controversy over a memo containing classified information compiled by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) about surveillance. Republicans, including U.S. President Donald Trump, are clashing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over making the memo public. (Trump, and since his election increasingly Republicans, have placed themselves at odds with the U.S. intelligence community.) YourNewsWire reported: The timing could not be more auspicious. Trump aide’s [sic] have been warning that the Deep State could attempt a False Flag this week, as they desperately try to distract from the release of the FISA Abuse memo. Less than twelve hours after President Trump was caught on a hot mic telling a colleague that the memo would “100%” be released, the Deep State killing machine whirred into life and attempted to cause mass carnage on the Amtrak rails. Remarkably, these sites claimed to have this highly sensitive trove of (conflicting, unsourced, unattributed) information hours before the lead investigative agency on the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board, had made any public comments about the collision. Disreputable sites and conspiratorial social media users alike pushed the idea that the Deep State, a pejorative term for an alleged amorphous amalgam of U.S. intelligence agencies and illuminati operatives, plotted against Republican members of Congress in the wake of a relatively uneventful State of the Union address delivered by President Trump one day earlier. They claimed that U.S. spies and secret power brokers feared the address would rally the country behind Trump. Worth noting: None of the GOP members of Congress on the train were seriously hurt. According to witnesses, including lawmakers who were on board the train headed to a retreat in West Virginia, the train hit a garbage truck that was on the tracks. Images posted to social media show the damaged locomotive on the tracks and the obliterated remains of the truck. BREAKING: White House: 1 death and 1 serious injury after crash involving a train with GOP lawmakers and a truck, but “there are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff.”https://t.co/l1iAPNzniZ pic.twitter.com/Jj7VNVFrIa — NBC News (@NBCNews) January 31, 2018 Although the identity of the deceased person has not been released, Rep. Marshall Rogers (R-Kansas), who is a medical doctor, got out of the train and performed CPR on the garbage truck driver, according to posts written by his wife Laina on his official Twitter feed. The University of Virginia Health System reported that six people had been transported to UVA Medical Center, one in critical condition. Per a statement sent out by Amtrak, accidents at grade-level rail crossings are common: This is an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of exercising caution around railroad rights-of-way. Amtrak continues to work closely with Operation Lifesaver to communicate the dangers of grade crossings. Each year, about 2,000 people are killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents nationwide. Although the exact cause of the accident isn’t known, there’s no evidence to support claims being made by notoriously unreliable web sites that there was any foul play, let alone a massive Deep State conspiracy to harm Republican legislators. These sites have misled readers numerous times before. Their modus operandi appears to involve seizing on the early moments of American tragedies to publish unvetted claims and outright lies during the time when real journalists are still working to report and verify facts. In the past YourNewsWire, for instance, posted a viral story that falsely reported that a second gunman had opened fire on a music festival crowd during the 1 October 2017 mass shooting. Gateway Pundit named the wrong person as the Las Vegas shooter. InfoWars helped spread false information about the identity of a man accused of starting recent California wildfires.
0 (false)
Politics, deep state, gateway pundit, infowars
2981
Sex tech from women-led startups pops up at CES gadget show.
Sex tech is gracing the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week, a year after organizers took fire for revoking an innovation award to a sex device company led by a female founder.
Rachel Lerman
CES is allowing space for sex tech companies as a one-year trial. At the show, such companies were scattered throughout the health and wellness section, near startups pitching fitness trackers and infrared saunas. Lora DiCarlo, a startup that pushed for changes after organizers revoked its award, showed off its Osé robotic “personal massager.” It’s one of a dozen companies at the show focused on vibrators, lube dispensers and other sex tech products. Founders of these startups say their products are about empowerment and wellness for women, something they say has often been overlooked in tech. The historically male-dominated tech trade show has received criticism in past years for having an all-male lineup of speakers and for previously allowing scantily clad “booth babes,” fostering a “boys’ club” reputation. Besides allowing sex tech, CES organizers brought in an official “equality partner,” The Female Quotient, to help ensure gender diversity. The Female Quotient, which trains companies in equality practices, will hold a conference for women during the four-day show, which opened Tuesday. “It’s been a process,” said Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on CES. It’s been a longer process for many sex tech companies to convince investors that they are part of a growing trend that has enough customers. Much of the push has come from the startups’ female founders and from younger consumers who talk more openly about sexuality. As with other technologies, some exhibitors including Lora DiCarlo had prominent booths at CES, while others such as the wearable vibrator company Crave were tucked away. Crave’s exhibit included a camper with a “Build-a-Vibe-Workshop,” where attendees could get an engraved vibrator to wear around their neck. Sex tech has existed in some form for decades. But the gates really began to open in 2016, said Andrea Barrica, founder of sex education site O.school. That year, several other “fem tech” companies made progress in areas such as menstruation and menopause. Those paved the way for sex tech to grow and get investors interested. “Larger institutions are starting to take note, all the way from VC firms to large Fortune 100 companies,” said Barrica, who recently published the book “Sextech Revolution: The Future of Sexual Wellness.” Large institutions like CES had no choice but to look at sex tech, she said. The journey hasn’t been easy. Sex tech founders, many of them women, recount being turned down by dozens of investors. They faced decency arguments and entrenched corporate standards that equated them with porn. But investors are becoming more receptive, said Cindy Gallop, a former advertising executive turned sex tech entrepreneur and founder of the website MakeLoveNotPorn. “It’s entirely because of our refusal to allow the business world to put us down,” she said. Founders insist that their devices — ranging from vibrators to lube dispensers to accessories — have effects outside the bedroom. “Sexual health and wellness is health and wellness,” said Lora DiCarlo, CEO and founder of the company of the same name. “It does way more than just pleasure. It’s immediately connected to stress relief, to better sleep, to empowerment and confidence.” DiCarlo’s $290 Osé device has gotten $3 million worth of advance sales, bolstered in part by the attention it received after CES organizers overturned a decision by an independent panel of judges to give the vibrator a prestigious Innovation Honoree Award in the robotics and drone category. The organizers, CTA, told the company it reserved the right to rescind awards for devices deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.” DiCarlo and other female founders pushed back for banning them but allowing humanoid sex robots meant to serve men the previous year. Following criticism, CES organizers ultimately reinstated the award and apologized. A few months later, the show announced policy changes such as a dress code to prevent skimpy outfits and new “Innovation for All” sessions with senior diversity officials. Osé began shipping to customers this month. DiCarlo said the company is planning to introduce new devices, including less expensive options. Sex tech companies still face major barriers to growth. Polly Rodriguez, CEO of sexual wellness company Unbound, said the company is profitable and customers are more open about buying products than they once were. But she said she still faces roadblocks advertising on social media, and many traditional investors snub the company. “Things are better, but there’s just still this genuine fear of female sexuality more broadly within the institutional side of technology,” she said. And while Gallop offered to speak at CES, conference organizers declined, saying sex tech was not a part of its conference programming. ___ AP Business Writer Joseph Pisani contributed to this report. ___ AP’s CES coverage: https://apnews.com/Consumerelectronics
/13ff3df5aa6b428db431a7f50c4b7c5d,/cf15491db21a4c854d753685e22e58c0,/eb29de015e3d454ca24025777a8784ed,/4fa46c61ae64c894e6529e453fc64f5f,/710c8e856a5b4ce2b56df7f35af46af8,/Consumerelectronics,/tag/ConsumerElectronicsShow,/2d946c2d19c041baa03a89bc74018cb4
2 (true)
Technology, Consumer Electronics Show, General News, Business, Consumer electronics, Lifestyle, Health, Fires, Las Vegas, U.S. News
29528
Waxed apples cause cancer.
May 3, 2016
"What's true: Apples are commonly coated with food-grade wax to extend their shelf lives. What's false: Waxed apples aren't ""known carcinogens""; the use of wax on apples isn't a secret."
Kim LaCapria
In April 2016, the web site MetaSpoon published a blog post (titled: “He Pours Boiling Water On An Apple From The Grocery Store. Watch What Appears On The Skin… GROSS!”) which held that the wax used to preserve fruits are riddled with pesticides: Apples are so healthy and delicious, it really is no wonder that they’re such a popular snack. All you have to do is give them a quick wash and pack them, right? After watching this video, maybe not. Apparently, many producers will coat their apples with wax to help preserve the fruit. This is particularly true for apples found at grocery stores. Some experts say that wax is harmless, as it’s not digested by our system. But others argue that the real danger lies in the pesticide residue that the wax may have trapped in. Next time you buy apples, it might be worth finding out just how much wax coating there is. Want to get rid of the wax? Try scrubbing your apples in a bath of warm water, lemon juice, and baking soda! The post linked to a January 2016 YouTube video, during which a person uses boiling water to remove the wax from apples. That person claimed waxed apples cause cancer: Be Careful when eating apples. Please don’t eat the skin of the apples because it’s coated with wax. Check before you eat many of the fruits. Wax is being used for preservation purposes and cold storage. You might be surprised especially apples from USA and other parts are more than one year old, though it would look fresh. Becox wax is coated, preventing bacteria to enter. So it does not get dry. Please Eat Apples after removing the wax. In the clip, the individual gave no information to substantiate the claim. He also noted that the apples “changed color” when exposed to boiling water, a procedure familiar to many viewers, and which is most commonly described as “cooking.” (Apples are not the only fruits that darken in color when exposed to direct and sustained heat.) The clip’s initial fallacy hinged on the implication that wax on apples was a little-known secret. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration, waxed produce is widely, openly available and safe [PDF]: Many vegetables and fruits make their own natural waxy coating. After harvest, fresh produce may be washed to clean off dirt and soil — but such washing also removes the natural wax. Therefore, waxes are applied to some produce to replace the natural waxes that are lost. Wax coatings help retain moisture to maintain quality from farm to table … Waxes also help inhibit mold growth, protect produce from bruising, prevent other physical damage and disease, and enhance appearance[.] The Produce Marketing Association (an international trade group) reiterated the FDA’s explanation of waxed apples and other produce items. The PMA also explained that the substances used are always subject to strict FDA scrutiny, and are safe to eat even when whitened due to exposure to extreme temperatures. That document outlined guidelines for use of wax on produce in general: Many fresh fruits and vegetables make their own natural waxy coating to help retain moisture. Extensive washing at the packinghouse removes this natural wax, so waxes are applied to some produce items to replace the natural ones that are lost. Each piece of waxed produce only has a drop or two of wax. Waxes may be mixed with water or other wetting agents to ensure they are applied thinly and evenly. Waxes help retain the fruit’s or vegetable’s moisture during shipping and marketing. Waxes also help to inhibit mold growth, to protect fruits and vegetables from bruising, to prevent other physical damage and disease, and to enhance appearance. By protecting against moisture loss, wax coatings help fresh fruits and vegetables maintain wholesomeness and freshness. Waxing does not improve the quality of any inferior fruit or vegetables; rather, waxing — along with proper handling — contributes to maintaining a healthful product … Commodities that may have coatings applied include apples, avocados, bell peppers, cantaloupes, cucumbers, eggplants, grapefruits, lemons, limes, melons, oranges, parsnips, passion fruit, peaches, pineapples, pumpkins, rutabagas, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, and yucca. However, they are not always waxed. Waxes by themselves do not control decay; rather, they may be combined with some chemicals to prevent the growth of mold. The safety and use of these substances are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Coatings used on fruits and vegetables must meet the food additive regulations of the FDA. Extensive research by governmental and scientific authorities has shown that approved waxes are safe to eat. Waxes are indigestible, which means they go through the body without breaking down or being absorbed. FDA requires wax labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables that have been treated with postharvest wax or resin coatings. Consumers will see signs in produce departments that read: “Coated with food-grade vegetable-, petroleum-, beeswax-, and/or shellac-based wax or resin, to maintain freshness” followed by a list of the commodity (-ies) coated with these waxes or resins). In today’s marketplace, none of these coatings is animal-based, and they all come from natural sources. Packaged fresh fruits and vegetables that have information on the label (such as the product name, weight or brand) must also be labeled for wax or resin coatings by the packer, repacker, or shipper. The topic also was addressed by food safety experts at Best Food Facts. According to their analysis, not only do apples often produce their own wax (dependent on crop variables), but that an apple’s natural wax contained a component that inhibits (not encourages) cancer cell growth: Remember, apples are alive even after they are picked and will continue to live, provided they have the sufficient resources and an acceptable environment. The waxy coating produced by the apple and found on its skin protects it. The waxy coating can appear milky sometimes, but if you rub it gently, you can actually get it to it shine. The natural wax on the fruit of the apple contains about fifty individual components belonging to at least half a dozen chemical groups. The major cyclic component of apple fruit wax is called ursolic acid and is highly water-repellent. Research has shown that ursolic acid is capable of inhibiting various types of cancer cells and can serve as a starting material for synthesis of more potent bioactive compounds such as antitumor agents. Apples weren’t always coated with additional wax, as they often are harvested with a natural coating of wax. However, all wax used on apples is subject to FDA guidelines for food safe additives, and none of the “waxed apples cause cancer” claims we found included a single known carcinogen commonly used in the process. Waxing apples is widely deemed both a safe and often natural occurrence, and the use of wax to coat apples is neither a secret nor credible health risk. While there are some credible concerns about harmful pesticides caught in the wax used to coat apples and other fruits and vegetables, there are easy ways to avoid or minimize the risk of ingesting them. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, a collaborative effort between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency, most pesticide residues can be removed by rinsing fruits with water or scrubbing them with a soft brush. More information about what pesticides are in the food supply and how to avoid them can be found in this March 2015 report. However, the overall risks of pesticide residue are quite low, even with conventionally grown produce, and since the Food Quality Protection Act was passed in 1996, very tightly regulated in the United States. However, wax on an apple is not a visual representation of trapped pesticides, nor is it an indication that any chemicals or toxic substances are present.
0 (false)
Medical, apples, food warnings, metaspoon
26007
Viral image Says BBC prematurely reported “Ghislaine Maxwell moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.”
July 6, 2020
The BBC did not publish an article dated July 11, 2020, about Ghislaine Maxwell moving to intensive care because of COVID-19 symptoms.
Ciara O'Rourke
"Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on July 2 on charges she lured girls to be sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein. According to official autopsy results, Epstein killed himself last year in a New York jail cell where he was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, though conspiracy theories allege he was murdered because he had damaging information about powerful people. An image of what looks like a BBC article that’s being shared on Facebook suggests that Maxwell will meet a similar end. ""Ghislaine Maxwell moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen,"" the headline says above an image of Maxwell. The article appears under the BBC’s ""England"" tab. But the dateline is in the future: July 11, 2020. ""Death by executing oh I mean COVID-19 (MY BAD),"" one account commented on the Facebook post. ""The sheep will believe the virus cover up."" The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) This headline does not appear on the BBC’s website. Searching for it more broadly online, we found only a fact-check ruling that the image is a forgery. The wording of the headline is similar to the one on an April 7 BBC story about Britain’s prime minister: ""Coronavirus: Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as symptoms worsen."" Johnson, who was sickened by COVID-19, has since recovered. A story about Maxwell wouldn’t appear in the BBC’s England section because, though she is a British socialite, she was arrested in Bradford, N.H., and indicted in the United States. The acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the charges against Maxwell. When the BBC reported on the charges, the story appeared in its ""US & Canada"" section. On July 3, a self-described satire site posted a story claiming Maxwell had tested positive for COVID-19 in a New Hampshire jail. We found no credible reports that Maxwell has tested positive for the disease."
https://web.archive.org/web/20200706194027/https://brownvalleyobserver.com/2020/07/03/ghislaine-maxwell-has-tested-positive-for-covid-19-in-new-hampshire-jail-doj-reports/?fbclid=IwAR2xKWYmZXyAR2hdM2oZlYZnp_MJVITXOVRYTa1cwXp1NuHCJU1GWwFO9lk, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53268218, https://leadstories.com/hoax-alert/2020/07/fact-check-bbc-ghislaine-maxwell-coronavirus-intensive-care.html?fbclid=IwAR0R9SdgwdWhdftZAEh72k62QcQDMWbqqORpvn69uhgFn6JnChVIAt1Ju8U, https://apnews.com/89212f72a6ca436f038e88ffd0250a40, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10214361581987294&set=a.1037177183574&type=3, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52192604
0 (false)
Criminal Justice, Crime, Facebook Fact-checks, Coronavirus, Viral image,
13871
John Faso took money from fossil fuel companies as they tried to take your land by eminent domain for a fracked gas pipeline.
July 18, 2016
Climate activists targeted BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, in London on Monday, demanding that major financial institutions starve fossil fuel companies of the money they need to build new mines, wells and pipelines.
Dan Clark
Extinction Rebellion, which uses civil disobedience to highlight the risks posed by climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species, is midway through a new two-week wave of actions in cities around the world. Activists thronged the financial heart of London on Monday, unfurling banners, addressing passersby by megaphone or blocking streets around locations including BlackRock, the Bank of England, Bank of China and Barclays. At BlackRock, volunteers glued themselves to the doors while others staged a mock dinner party with rolled-up banknotes on their plates. Police said they arrested more than 90 people. The arrestees included Rabbi Jeffrey Newman of the Finchley Reform Synagogue, who was arrested near the Bank of England praying, singing and wearing a prayer shawl for the first day of the Jewish festival Sukkot, Extinction Rebellion said. “The City of London is a preeminent nexus of power in the global system that is killing our world,” said Carolina Rosa, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion. BlackRock declined to comment. Police later ordered a halt to all assembly linked to Extinction Rebellion in London. At Trafalgar Square in the heart of the city, where demonstrators have pitched camp for the past week amid fountains at the base of Nelson’s Column, protesters began removing tents. Police made no immediate move to shut down another main protest camp in the district of Vauxhall. “Officers have begun the process of clearing Trafalgar Square and getting things back to normal,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor. Extinction Rebellion said it had left Trafalgar Square but would continue actions in London and cities around the world. “The Climate and Ecological Emergency isn’t going away and we remain resolute in facing it. We urge the Government and the authorities to join us in doing the same,” the group said in a statement. “This is bigger than all of us.” Extinction Rebellion wants to cause enough disruption to force governments to rapidly cut carbon emissions and reverse the collapse of ecosystems to avert the worst of the devastation scientists project if business as usual continues. Critics say the group is proposing what amounts to the overthrow of capitalism without any clear idea of what would follow, and that the world needs fossil fuels. Extinction Rebellion said that more than 1,400 people had been arrested in London since it launched its latest actions a week ago. A similar number has in total been arrested in 20 cities in countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. While activists have long targeted fossil fuel companies, a growing global climate protest movement is increasingly scrutinizing the role fund managers, banks and insurance companies play in enabling oil and gas extraction. Emily Grossman, a British science broadcaster who has a PhD in molecular biology, who joined the protest outside BlackRock, said that financing fossil fuel projects was undermining the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming. “This is criminal damage that they are doing to our lives and to the lives of our children and it has to stop,” said Grossman, who was later led away by police. Major oil companies have approved $50 billion of projects since last year that run contrary to the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to an analysis published last month by financial think-tank Carbon Tracker. Fossil fuel companies say they need to invest in new projects to meet future demand for energy, particularly in fast-growing regions such as Asia. Climate protesters want to pressure index fund firms such as BlackRock because the sector, which now controls half the U.S. stock mutual fund market, has enormous power to influence companies in which they invest trillions of dollars. The leading U.S. index fund firms, BlackRock, Vanguard Group and State Street Corp, rarely use that clout, a Reuters analysis of their shareholder-voting records found this month.
http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2016/04/sierra-club-applauds-historic-rejection-constitution-pipeline, http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2013/jan/14/pipeline-update-0115/, https://constitutionpipeline.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/news-release-durabond.pdf, http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/539/201606219019071539/201606219019071539.pdf, http://constitutionpipeline.com/maps/, https://money.cnn.com/2016/04/25/investing/ny-blocks-constitution-pipeline-fracking-sanders/, https://constitutionpipeline.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/04723_constitution-pipeline-newsletter-spring-2016_final.pdf, http://www.stopthepipeline.org/why-do-we-care-if-the-constitution-pipeline-is-built-wee28099ll-be-next-in-line-to-be-fracked/, http://www.thedailystar.com/news/local_news/faso-gears-up-to-run-for-gibson-s-seat/article_b3f8a804-42eb-518b-812d-fd8ce7d7766e.html, http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/105941.html, http://constitutionpipeline.com/faq/, http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/gas/gas.pdf, http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2016/06/28/19th-congressional-district-primary.html
1 (mixture)
Environment, Congress, New York, Zephyr Teachout,
3077
Officials alert health care providers of HIV surge.
Massachusetts officials alerted health care providers to test frequently for HIV and to quickly report new infections to the Public Health Department.
Officials discovered that there were 182 intravenous drug users who were affected in Lowell and Lawrence between 2015 and 2019, The Boston Globe reported. The number of cases dropped after the summer of 2018 after a campaign to increase access to treatment. There were six new cases diagnosed in Boston in December 2018 before a similar campaign was launched, and cases dropped down until fall of 2019. “We do seem to see a growing number of very, very vulnerable people with substance use disorder, with injection drug use, in great need for care,” said Dr. Jennifer K. Brody, director of HIV services at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. The state has increased the number of needle exchanges from five in 2015 to 33, in an attempt to provide clean injection supplies and training, the paper reported. Infections among people who inject drugs declined 91% between 2000 and 2014. “What we’re seeing is the need for much more aggressive street outreach,” said Carl Sciortino, vice president of government relations for Fenway Health.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2020/01/08/state-moves-prevent-surge-hiv-infections-among-homeless-drug-users/s38RVLebgffscxiHvGdqSK/story.html
2 (true)
Boston, General News, Public health, Lowell, Massachusetts
30992
The United States Secret Service arrested Alec Baldwin for threatening President Donald Trump at the 2017 Emmy Awards.
September 18, 2017
Other stories that have taken in readers of the site include claims that a Muslim mayor outlawed Christmas in 2017, and that a Muslim federal judge had ruled that two items of sharia law were now considered legal in the United States. Neither story had any truth to them whatsoever.
Dan MacGuill
On 18 September 2017, the satirical web site As American As Apple Pie reported that actor Alec Baldwin had been arrested at the 2017 Emmy Awards for threatening President Donald Trump:  The Secret Service was forced to remove Alec Baldwin from the Emmys in Los Angeles Sunday night after he threatened to “use his influence to get close to Trump and then slit his throat.” Baldwin, whose mic was still hot in the sound booth at the time, put up quite a fight: “Mr Baldwin doesn’t reaslize [sic] the severity of this situation. He voiced a credible threat to the President of the United States. There are consequences for that.” Baldwin is being held for questioning at the federal holding facility at Los Alamada del Ray. We will update this developing story as more information is available. Alec Baldwin did attend the Emmy Awards on 17 September 2017, and won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live. However, he did not make any threat against the President and was not arrested. As American As Apple Pie is a satirical, fake news web site which publishes exclusively fake content, and alludes to its own unreliability in this tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: When no one can trust the lying fake news liberal media anymore because they hate us and guns and Harley Davidson and meat and OUR president, As American as Apple Pie is here to be your beacon of something you can kinda rely on sometimes, but not really. God Bless America and Amen.
http://archive.is/n26sM, http://www.snopes.com/did-a-muslim-mayor-outlaw-christmas-2017/, http://archive.is/GkOXy, http://www.snopes.com/muslim-federal-judge-sharia/, http://www.emmys.com/sites/default/files/press/69th-emmy-winners-v1.pdf
0 (false)
Junk News, alec baldwin, as american as apple pie, asamericanasapplepie.org
32993
Hillary Clinton is (or was) a member of Monsanto's board of directors.
February 8, 2016
But despite the rumor’s proliferation across social media, there’s no truth to the claim that Hillary Clinton sat on Monsanto’s board of directors at any point during her career. Moreover, we found no direct ties between Hillary Clinton and the agribusiness firm in regards to political fundraising. Apart from working with Crawford (whose firm has also provided services for Monsanto), Clinton has no obvious ties to the Monsanto corporation.
Kim LaCapria
"The Walmart chain of retail stores and the Monsanto agrochemical/agricultural biotechnology corporation are two of America’s largest companies, and they’re also two of the businesses mostly frequently invoked in public criticism as supposed exemplars of corporate greed, putting profits and growth far ahead of concern for their employees, suppliers, and customers. Due to this public perception, politicians (especially those in the Democratic or populist camps) risk sowing disaffection among their supporters should they evince any significant business ties (whether it be employment, investment, or campaign donations) to such companies. Hence a recent point of criticism about Democratic presidential candidate has been that she does (or did) sit on the board of directors of both Walmart and Monsanto. It is true that thirty years ago Hillary Clinton began a six-year tenure as a member of Walmart’s board of director, an aspect of her past that Ms. Clinton has largely avoided mentioning on the campaign trail: In 1986, Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, had a problem. He was under growing pressure from shareholders — and his wife, Helen — to appoint a woman to the company’s 15-member board of directors. So Mr. Walton turned to a young lawyer who just happened to be married to the governor of Arkansas, where Wal-Mart is based: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton’s six-year tenure as a director of Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest company, remains a little known chapter in her closely scrutinized career. And it is little known for a reason. Mrs. Clinton rarely, if ever, discusses it, leaving her board membership out of her speeches and off her campaign Web site. Fellow board members and company executives, who have not spoken publicly about her role at Wal-Mart, say Mrs. Clinton used her position to champion personal causes, like the need for more women in management and a comprehensive environmental program, despite being Wal-Mart’s only female director, the youngest and arguably the least experienced in business. On other topics, like Wal-Mart’s vehement anti-unionism, for example, she was largely silent, they said. Her years on the Wal-Mart board, from 1986 to 1992, gave her an unusual tutorial in the ways of American business — a credential that could serve as an antidote to Republican efforts to portray her as an enemy of free markets and an advocate for big government. But that education came via a company that the Democratic Party &mdashl and its major ally, organized labor — has held up as a model of what is wrong with American business, with both groups accusing it of offering unaffordable health insurance and mistreating its workers. However, since at least October 2014 rumors have claimed that Hillary Clinton once sat (or currently sits) on the board of directors of agribusiness giant Monsanto as well, despite the lack of any evidence documenting such a connection. The repetition of those rumors increased as the primary elections of the 2016 presidential campaign drew nearer: // <! [CDATA[ (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ""//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&#038;version=v2.3""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); // ]]> Hillary Clinton (not sure if she still is) was a board member for Monsanto, no wonder she is pushing GMO foods. Dig… Posted by Wendy Allan on Sunday, February 7, 2016 // <! [CDATA[ (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ""//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&#038;version=v2.3""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); // ]]> If you sat on the board of Wal-Mart and Monsanto as well as your husband being responsible for the repealing the Glass Steagall act, then you just might be a friend of Wall Street. Posted by Eric Williams on Friday, February 5, 2016 As evidenced in the examples embedded above, many of those repeating the claim about Hillary Clinton on social media didn’t appear to be familiar with its detail, and dates of Clinton’s purported tenure on Monsanto’s board were never (or rarely) included in iterations of the rumor. Oftentimes social media users who debunked the rumor attributed it to supporters of Bernie Sanders, though we were unable to specifically pin the claim to any source linked with Sanders’ campaign (especially given that versions of it appeared on Twitter in 2012 and 2013, well before either candidate entered the 2016 presidential fray). Nonetheless, many shares of the rumor on social media indeed originated with individuals asserting that Sanders was the preferable candidate for lacking the big business ties that Clinton (supposedly) had courted: // <! [CDATA[ (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ""//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&#038;version=v2.3""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); // ]]> She is on the board of Monsanto. Why don’t they bring that up each time her face is shown? Posted by Craig Appel on Friday, February 5, 2016 That said, there are some indirect connections between Hillary Clinton and Monsanto that might have inspired such rumors. The Rose Law Firm for whom Hillary Clinton worked in Arkansas from 1977 through the 1980s reportedly handled some business for Monsanto, but we found no evidence that HIllary Clinton herself was involved in such work. She has also spoken supportively of the biotech industry in general (not Monsanto specifically), as she did at the 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in San Diego: Speaking at the BIO 2014 convention in San Diego, Clinton told a luncheon audience that she understood biotech companies face extreme risks in developing new health care products. State support, along with a “national framework” including provisions to help patients who can’t afford biotech therapies, are part of a rational policy, said Clinton. [Clinton] was interviewed by Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. BIO is holding the convention in San Diego for the first time since 2008. Clinton also endorsed the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs in agriculture to improve crops, such as by engineering them for drought resistance. She suggested the biotech industry stress these characteristics instead of focusing on the term GMOs. On GMOs, Clinton said the biotech industry “should continue to try to make the case to those who are skeptical that they may not know what they are eating already, because the question of genetically modified foods or hybrids has gone on for many many years, and there is a big gap between what the facts are and what the perceptions are.” “If you talk about drought-resistant seeds, and I have promoted those all over Africa, by definition they have been engineered to be drought-resistant,” Clinton said. “That’s the beauty of them. Maybe somebody can get their harvest done and not starve, and maybe have something left over to sell.” The Monsanto Company is also listed among the entities who have donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established by former President Bill Clinton to “strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.” Additionally, some sources have posited that the rumor arose from a connection between the Clinton campaign and Jerry Crawford, an Iowa lawyer and Democratic party leader. Crawford worked on Hillary Clinton´s 2016 campaign in Iowa and is often described as a “Monsanto lobbyist”: The only tie Clinton’s campaign has to the biotech company is campaign adviser Jerry Crawford, who was brought on to help her win Iowa. If you are a presidential candidate, and you want to win in Iowa, you hire lobbyist Jerry Crawford who has a lot of political clout in the state. According to Opensecrets.org, his lobbying firm has represented Monsanto, as well as the Humane Society. This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the fact that Iowa is a major state for agriculture, and a number of seed companies do business with farmers there. Crawford was profiled as a Clinton asset in Iowa in early 2015, but he began working on her Iowa campaign back in 2014. Crawford was also named as Midwest co-chair of the 2008 Clinton campaign [PDF]. It’s possible that Crawford’s lobbying connections were conflated with Hillary Clinton’s, and/or that Clinton’s tenure on Walmart’s board of directors led to a franken-rumor that she also served on the board of Monsanto."
0 (false)
Politics, 2016 presidential campaign, hillary clinton, monsanto
15232
Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.
August 23, 2015
"The center says ""Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people."" The center, in its statement, got two things right and two things wrong. It was right about Rhode Island being the second state and it was right that the requirement was not adopted by ""the elected representatives of the people."" It was wrong when it said the vaccination requirement was imposed ""by fiat"" and ""without public debate."" In 2014, the ACLU sharply criticized the vaccine requirement at the public hearing and debated the proposal in social media and on its website. As for acting by fiat, the regulation was put in place through a process established by law. And comments at a public hearing influenced that process, leading to a decision by the director of health to delay execution of the policy for one year. More recently, the new health director told the public that philosophical objections were enough to qualify for the religious exemption. In other words, parents can pretty much say whatever they want to get exemptions for their children. (If you have a claim you’d like PolitiFact Rhode Island to check, email us at [email protected] And follow us on Twitter: @politifactri.)"
Mark Reynolds
"Rhode Island has issued a controversial vaccination requirement designed to fight HPV, or human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cancer. The requirement, ordered by the Rhode Island Department of Health, took effect Aug. 1. It has drawn fire from a group of critics that included the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which calls itself a ""free enterprise think tank."" The new policy calls for the vaccination of  all  seventh grade boys and girls before the start of school. The requirement does not apply to students whose doctors cite a medical problem; or to students whose parents object for religious reasons. And the health department defines religious reasons very liberally. Before a series of public information meetings on the vaccination requirement, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity posted this statement on its website: ""Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people."" We telephoned Mike Stenhouse, the center’s founder and chief executive officer, and asked him for his sources. We didn’t get anything from him right away. So we did our own research and found that Virginia is the only other state to require students to receive immunization for HPV. Virginia’s vaccination requirement, which is only for sixth-grade girls, took effect in 2008 following an act of the legislature. Rhode Island’s policy is the product of a regulatory process that began in 2013 under the leadership of Michael Fine, then the state’s director of the Department of Health. In both states, HPV vaccination policies use the word ""required"" and both have opt-out provisions. In Virginia,  parents have ""sole discretion"" on whether their children receive the vaccination. Stenhouse labels the policies in Virginia and Rhode Island as mandates. But Jason L. Schwartz, an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Public Health, says you can’t call policies with such liberal exemptions mandates. The breadth of Rhode Island’s opt-out provisions may not have been clear to the  public — or to Stenhouse — before a public meeting Aug. 5. That’s when Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the new director of the Department of Health, told parents that their philosophical objections would qualify for the religious exemption spelled out in the regulations. But what about the center’s claim that Rhode Island imposed the requirement by ""regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people""? And, as the center says later in its policy statement, was the health department’s decision an example of ""regulatory despotism"" that ""bypasses the traditional democratic process""? While it’s true that the General Assembly did not pass a law for the HPV vaccination, existing Rhode Island law gives the health director the power to adopt regulations to protect public health. And, of course, the health director is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the governor. Further, control of health-care policy by the executive branch is common in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for example, makes decisions affecting the health welfare of the country without first getting an act of Congress. ""To say it’s anti-democratic would be a misunderstanding of how we structure our government in the United States,"" says Schwartz, the Yale professor, who co-authored a recent article about state vaccination requirements for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Also it’s not as if the state adopted the regulation in a back room somewhere — even though Stenhouse’s organization on July 30 described the news of the requirement as a ""stunning revelation."" On Dec. 2, 2013, Fine, the former health director, filed a notice of public hearing for Jan. 16, 2014, and also solicited written statements on the issue. In response to criticism, the department delayed the beginning of the program from Aug. 1, 2014, to Aug. 1, 2015, according to a form for the regulation that was filed with the Office of Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union registered its ardent opposition to the proposed regulation at the hearing and in written comments. On Jan. 27, 2014, the ACLU called on the health department to reconsider the proposal. The ACLU also criticized the requirement on Facebook. That’s seems like debate to us. We tried to get Stenhouse to explain what the center meant by the phrase ""regulatory fiat."" He declined. Instead, he sent us a written statement in which he said the center ""stands by its statement"" and he challenged PolitiFact’s fairness and objectivity. Our ruling The center says ""Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people."" The center, in its statement, got two things right and two things wrong. It was right about Rhode Island being the second state and it was right that the requirement was not adopted by ""the elected representatives of the people."" It was wrong when it said the vaccination requirement was imposed ""by fiat"" and ""without public debate."" In 2014, the ACLU sharply criticized the vaccine requirement at the public hearing and debated the proposal in social media and on its website. As for acting by fiat, the regulation was put in place through a process established by law. And comments at a public hearing influenced that process, leading to a decision by the director of health to delay execution of the policy for one year. More recently, the new health director told the public that philosophical objections were enough to qualify for the religious exemption. In other words, parents can pretty much say whatever they want to get exemptions for their children. For those reasons, (If you have a claim you’d like PolitiFact Rhode Island to check, email us at [email protected] And follow us on Twitter: @politifactri.)"
http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150802/NEWS/150809816, http://sos.ri.gov/documents/archives/regdocs/holding/DOH/Immunzation_HearingNotice_16January%202014.pdf, http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/virginia.aspx, http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150804/NEWS/150809725, http://www.health.ri.gov/forms/exemption/ReligiousImmunizationExemptionCertificateForSchools.pdf?utm_source=HPV+Vaccine+statement&utm_campaign=HPV+Vaccine+Statement&utm_medium=email, http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE23/23-1/23-1-1.HTM, http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epidemiology/Immunization/requirements.htm, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/29/ri-aclu-opposing-flu-requirement-for-preschoolers/, http://rifreedom.org/2015/07/media-relase-center-calls-on-governor-raimondo-to-halt-controversial-hpv-vaccine-mandate/, http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/hpv-vaccine-state-legislation-and-statutes.aspx, http://sos.ri.gov/dar_filing/getpdf.php/ERLID7602, http://ripr.org/post/should-unvaccinated-kids-stay-home
1 (mixture)
Rhode Island, Health Care, Government Regulation, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity,
9605
I’ll never go through shoulder surgery again, so here’s what I did
July 7, 2016
This story tells the tale of the writer’s experience using a new therapy for a rotator cuff injury, a procedure called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The writer previously had undergone traditional rotator cuff injury surgery and cited a long and difficult recovery, making the allegedly easier procedure and recovery from PRP more appealing. The story is problematic on several fronts, and was concerning enough that we used it to examine the hazards of first-person reporting on health interventions in a separate blog post, “Washington Post’s story on platelet-rich plasma injections highlights drawbacks of first-person health reporting.” In sum, it is a first-person account of one individual’s experience, not an actual report on the efficacy of a new approach to such injuries. Research-wise, it only cites, anecdotally, one tiny pilot study of the procedure and fails to provide any real data on those and other results, including a Cochrane systematic review, which is one of the most authoritative sources of evidence on hand today. It also leans heavily on quotes from the physician treating the writer, and provides no information that would convince readers that his statements are free from conflict. It’s also important to point out a factual error in the story: Injecting lidocaine into the shoulder or another area known as the subacromia bursa numbs up more than just the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff, itself, is not injected. Imagine sitting down over coffee with friends listening to one of them explain their latest medical experience. That’s what this story essentially is — one anecdote. It offers no data on success or failure of the procedure in question. A larger problem lies with the fact that the story ran in the Washington Post, one of the country’s leading newspapers and information source for hundreds of thousands of people, who might understandably assume the information in the story is more valuable than it is. Stories that report on advances in medicine, which interest us all, must have actual facts and data so that readers may evaluate their worth. This story lacks all that.
Earle Holland,James Rickert, MD,Joy Victory
The story attempted to discuss cost by citing the difference in price between shoulder surgery ($13,000) and the PRP treatment ($1,000, in this case for two injections). This is sufficient enough for a Satisfactory rating, but barely. While this does give readers some idea of the possible cost difference in treatments, there is no assurance that the charges in the author’s case are typical for those for the general public. It is simply one single data point which is fairly useless to the public. And, since there is no evidence of benefit or how many shots one might require, cost could be all over the place. The story gives no information on quantified benefits measured in PRP research, and instead focuses only on the author’s experience. The only mention of potential harms in the story comes in this statement:  “The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons — which says PRP ‘holds great promise’ — describes the risk as minimal.”  That’s not acceptable given that there is no explanation of what those risks might be. Readers are left clueless when it comes to questions of potential harms. Simply put, the discussion on the quality of evidence here is at best minimal, just the experience of one patient who happens to be a writer for the Washington Post. The story does cite a “recent pilot study” from a Canadian clinic of just seven rotator cuff injury patients who underwent PRP therapy. It said the study “showed tissue healing in five of seven patients . . . as well as improvements in their pain and function.”  But the story offers no information on how much healing or what degree of pain reduction or function, information readers need to consider a new therapeutic approach. There is no discussion of the growing body of evidence that has yet to show PRP actually improves clinical results. High-quality research, including a Cochrane systematic review, shows no benefit from injecting PRP. As Cochrane’s review noted: “The quality of the evidence is very low, partly because most trials used flawed methods that mean their results may not be reliable….In terms of individual conditions, we were able to pool results from six studies and found no differences in long-term function between those who received PRT during rotator cuff surgery and those who did not.” When it comes to shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears, the story does not disease monger. However, the author’s claim that a vaccination injection resulted in the shoulder tear was an unusual claim, and one that we’re dubious of. Along with quotes from the author’s physician (who has already posted the story on his website) there are quotes from a researcher who was involved in one small clinical trial on PRP. The inclusion of the researcher just barely squeaks by as sufficient to earn a Satisfactory rating here. However, the story would have been much stronger had the author interviewed an expert who disagrees with these two sources, which wouldn’t be hard to find given the Cochrane review and other systematic reviews that cast a less rosy glow on PRP. The story is basically touting a possible new therapy as an alternative to traditional rotator cuff surgery, but it does a poor job of comparing them in an evidence-based manner. The story explains that platelets are removed from a patient’s blood using a centrifuge, equipment readily available in most practices. It makes the point of advising readers to seek out practitioners who do the procedure frequently. The story suggests that the PRP procedure is becoming more available. The story does not make it clear that PRP is not a new treatment, and that has been studied for many years now, including in rotator cuff tears. This story does not rely on a news release.
https://www.healthnewsreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/shoulder-pain.jpg,https://www.healthnewsreview.org/2016/07/washington-posts-story-platelet-rich-plasma-injections-highlights-drawbacks-first-person-health-reporting/,http://www.cochrane.org/CD010071/MUSKINJ_platelet-rich-therapies-for-musculoskeletal-soft-tissue-injuries
1 (mixture)
platelet-rich plasma
37873
CostCo stores will require shoppers to wear masks beginning on May 4, 2020.
May 1, 2020
Is CostCo Requiring Shoppers to Cover Their Faces?
Arturo Garcia
As the CostCo retail chain prepared to implement new requirements for shoppers, a message of support for the policy gained traction among Facebook users.The post is based around a photograph of a sign informing shoppers that members will be required to wear face coverings when shopping at CostCo warehouses starting on Monday, May 4 2020.“Members without face coverings will not be permitted inside the warehouse,” the sign reads:At least one iteration of the lengthy post, attributed to Cherrie Vierra Lonkar, has been shared nearly 1,000 times on the platform. She wrote:Ask yourself why you, a retail shopper deserve a handout from Costco. I mean you’ve eaten $5000 worth of free samples there in your lifetime anyway. We are asking many of our healthcare workers to wear bandanas and t-shirts as masks. You aren’t above it. There are school children all over this country who are sewing masks to give away. If a 7 year old can be a decent person and choose to make the world a little more comfortable or safe, then so can you.This isn’t a Burger King drive-through, and no we can’t have it our way. This disease, infection, pandemic, whatever you wanna call it, doesn’t give a shit about you or me. Doesn’t give a shit about black, white, short, tall, age, gender. It’s not our battle to dictate.The bottom line is, don’t be a dick. Just put a mask on your self centered, mouth breathing face and let the greeter see the smile in our eyes as we head off to buy our cases of bottled water, pool floats, 10 pound bags of Cheetos, bulk items and cheap premixed margaritas. You’ll be fine.However another version, presented as an extended quote without attribution, has been shared more than 4,500 times since being posted on April 29, 2020.CostCo president Craig Jelinek confirmed the new rule in a letter to members posted on the company’s website, saying:Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too. We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too.In short, we believe this is the right thing to do under the current circumstances. Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments. Costco has continued to operate during this crisis as an essential business in all of our communities, and our employees are on the front lines. As part of a community, we believe this simple act of safety and courtesy is one that Costco members and employees can undertake together.However, the requirement does not extend to children under the age of 2 or to anyone who cannot wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons.Several states and retail chains have shifted safety policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some opting to walk back laws banning the use of non-reusable shopping bags.Comments
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2 (true)
Fact Checks, Viral Content
7453
Brazil cities lurch to lockdowns amid virus crisis red flags.
Faced with overwhelmed hospitals and surging coronavirus deaths, Brazilian state and city governments are lurching forward with mandatory lockdowns against the will of President Jair Bolsonaro, who says job losses are more damaging than COVID-19.
David Biller And Mauricio Savarese
The movements of Brazilians have been completely restricted in fewer than two dozen cities scattered across the vast nation of 211 million — even though Brazil’s death toll stands at more than 12,000, Latin America’s highest. While public health experts are demanding bolder action, most governors and mayors have not imposed mandatory stay-at-home orders. Their apparent reluctance comes amid Bolsonaro’s relentless message for Brazilians to defy regional and local public health efforts to stop the virus’ spread. Stricter lockdowns are needed because Brazilian doctors are now being forced to choose who lives and dies and triage situations could generate social unrest if they increase, said Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil’s non-profit Institute for Health Policy Studies, which advises public health officials. “We need to avoid a total disaster,” he said. Lago said mandatory lockdowns across much of the country would help: “It is late in terms of avoiding hospital collapse, but certainly it isn’t too late to avoid a bigger catastrophe.” Brazil had more than 177,000 confirmed cases on Tuesday, with the actual figure believed to be much higher because of limited testing. Many intensive care hospital units are full and cemeteries are increasingly overwhelmed with bodies. Bolsonaro, who called the virus a “little flu,” has insisted for more than a month that governors are stoking economic carnage with voluntary quarantine recommendations and urges Brazilians to go about their everyday. He reiterated criticism of governors Tuesday for ignoring his decree that gyms, barbershops and beauty salons should be treated as essential services. Amid Bolsonaro’s rejection of coronavirus danger, most of the country’s 27 governors have criticized his stances but none have imposed mandatory statewide lockdown measures recommended by experts. Instead, the governors have either applied selective lockdowns in cities or deferred to mayors to make those decisions. Governors had been hoping the virus would not spread in Brazil’s warm climate, but their response is also a reflection of Brazil’s political landscape because the governors depend on mayors to endorse re-election campaigns. Many worry that imposing mandatory lockdowns could hurt local leaders in this year’s municipal election, decreasing support for incumbent governors in their 2022 campaigns, said Thiago de Aragão, director of strategy of the Arko Advice political consultancy. But as the death toll rose from less than 7,000 to more than 10,000 last week, local authorities began adopting stricter anti-virus measures. The riverside community of Tefe in the Amazon region was among the first, with a lockdown decree specifying criminal charges for residents leaving home except for visits to hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets. The mayor imposed it because only about half of Tefe’s 60,000 residents complied with an earlier recommendation by the governor of Amazonas state to take virus precautions. Those who did not comply “think they’re immortal, that they won’t get it,” Tefe Mayor Normando Bessa de Sá said on Facebook. Over the next three days, the governors of the northern and northeastern states of Maranhao, Para and Ceara decreed lockdowns for their capital cities as intensive-care units filled with COVID-19 patients. Despite the new lockdowns, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo still don’t have mandatory stay-at-home-orders at the state or city level — even though they are the hardest hit places in Brazil. Lockdowns “should have been imposed at least three weeks ago, when the epidemic was already increasing, but not at this speed that it is now,” said Margareth Dalcolmo, a respiratory physician and researcher with the widely respected Oswaldo Cruz Foundation biological research group. “I gave that recommendation more than once,” said Dalcolmo, among the experts on a COVID-19 panel that advises Rio’s governor. Rio Gov. Wilson Witzel has decreed non-binding quarantine recommendations and commerce restrictions through the end of May. He pledged to make police available so the state’s 92 mayors can enact lockdowns, instead of imposing them himself. In another example of Brazil’s scattershot local lockdowns, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella on Monday prohibited non-residents from entering 11 neighborhoods and ordered the closure of all businesses except supermarkets and pharmacies in the teeming slums called favelas. “People still haven’t perceived the need to avoid gatherings, stay home,” Crivella complained. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms including fever and cough. The risk of death is greater for the elderly and people with other health problems. The cities of Niteroi and Sao Goncalo near Rio on Monday authorized fines and criminal charges for violating stay-at-home orders. Niteroi police took the temperatures of those entering the city, and put a man and his two dogs inside a police van after he allegedly refused to show documents to justify being out of his home. In Sao Paulo state, Gov. João Doria last month urged but did not require residents to self-quarantine while shutting down schools and most businesses. Nearly 70% of the state’s 44 million people initially complied, but that dropped below 50% in recent weeks, according to cellphone carrier data provided by the state. Doria, a presidential hopeful, saw his popularity increase as he challenged Bolsonaro. But police stopped enforcing his recommendations after Bolsonaro criticized the handcuffing and detention of a middle-aged woman exercising in a park who resisted removal. With noncompliance rising, Doria said last week that “if we need to step up to a lockdown, we will not hesitate.” Sao Paulo’s mayor this week limited vehicles circulating in the city to 50% of the normal flow. Television images showed long lines of people entering crammed buses with standing room only in clear violation of social distancing guidelines. Public health analysts from the Imperial College London, whose COVID-19 research has guided global policymakers, last week called Brazil’s anti-virus efforts “partially successful.” “In the absence of the introduction of further control measures that will more strongly curb transmission, Brazil faces the prospect of an epidemic that will continue to grow exponentially,” they wrote. ___ Savarese reported from Sao Paulo
2 (true)
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, AP Top News, Health, General News, Latin America, Caribbean, International News, Jair Bolsonaro, Virus Outbreak, Public health
10931
Laser Used to Blast Away Cells Causing Irregular Heartbeat
May 27, 2010
Another HealthDay, another story straight from a news release. Which might not be so bad if it only put things in a balanced perspective. Which this one doesn’t, as they often don’t. We also didn’t hear anything about why we don’t jump to conclusions after studies in just 27 people. And why was the pig research thrown in? To make the human findings seem more robust?! ?
"No discussion of costs – a recurring and significant oversight. The claims of ""100% accuracy"" and that ""The investigators found that after just one laser treatment, misfiring ceased in 84 percent of the treated veins, and 90 percent remained inactive three months after treatment"" aren’t put into any meaningful context about what difference this made in patient outcomes. Of course, what can you possibly say about outcomes after just three months? Which is exactly the point of raising this issue at all. No discussion of harms. No discussion of the limitations of drawing conclusions from a study of just 27 people. No explanation of whether destroying misfiring cells with ""100% accuracy"" actually makes a difference in people’s lives and outcomes. No overt disease mongering. However, to say that ""about 2.2 million Americans currently live with an irregular heartbeat condition, known as atrial fibrillation"" in the same breath as describing a study of just 27 people may imply that this very small study has immediate ramifications for all 2.2 million. And it does not. Barely satisfactory. There’s actually no interview – only a rehash of what was published in a journal, restated from a news release. No independent source cited. Again, the comparison of the ""new approach"" with existing approaches is superficial and unhelpful. And there was no comparison of performance or outcomes data. Terribly incomplete on this point. It is never made clear whether the device and approach are still experimental or already in clinical use. The word ""new"" was used five times in the short story. Yet the real novelty of this approach is only scantily and insufficiently described – especially if the implication is that this has relevance for 2.2 million Americans. The story admits it’s based on an American Heart Association news release. There’s no sign of any independent reporting or vetting."
0 (false)
8069
Slovakia's new government to sharply ramp up coronavirus testing.
March 26, 2020
Slovakia aims to sharply increase daily coronavirus testing in the next few weeks by bringing bringing in laboratories as the new government seeks to put a clamp on the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic, whose team took office this past weekend, said the government would seek in coming days to double testing capacity to as many as 4,000 daily tests. Since the first coronavirus infections surfaced in the central European state of 5.5 million people earlier this month, only around 300 people have been tested daily, he said, and “that is well below our needs” to help detect and isolate cases. Slovakia has reported 226 positive cases out of a total of 4,751 tests so far. The first two patients recovered this week. Neighbouring Czech Republic, with 10.7 million people, has tested 26,698 and reported 1,775 cases as of Thursday. There have been far fewer diagnoses of coronavirus in central Europe so far than in bigger western neighbours like Germany. But the region’s economies have been hard hit due to shutdowns of borders, most shops and restaurants, and an increasing number of business idling or limiting factory output. Slovakia’s parliament approved legislation on Wednesday allowing public health authorities to use data from telecommunications operators to ensure people quarantined due to coronavirus exposure remain isolated.
2 (true)
Health News
26723
The coronavirus is “simply the common cold.”
March 9, 2020
The 2019 coronavirus is part of a family of viruses that produce illnesses ranging from the common cold to more critical diseases such as SARS or MERS. The 2019 coronavirus is a new virus that had not been previously identified. Most cases of the 2019 coronavirus disease have been mild, but it’s been lethal for some people.
Tom Kertscher
"If the current coronavirus were really the same as the common cold, why would it be causing some people to die, stock markets to reel and stadiums to go empty? And yet, claims likening coronavirus to the common cold persist, including in a Facebook post that says: ""The coronavirus: The Democrats are using it to promote fear. The Chinese are using it to control protestors. And all along it’s simply the common cold."" Gesundheit, but we've been here before. The 2019 coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses that includes the common cold, but the two are not the same. This Facebook post is wrong. The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease, officially known as COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, in December, we’ve fact-checked several claims that aim to downplay the severity of the virus and to blame the media, politicians or pharmaceutical companies for drawing attention to it. One such claim came from conservative radio talk show host and recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh, who said the coronavirus is the common cold. Our rating was . As we reported: There are seven types of coronaviruses that can infect humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of those viruses, which are named for their crown-like structure, can cause colds. Most strains of the coronavirus are relatively mild and take the form of respiratory diseases such as the common cold. But more serious strains have emerged over the last two decades, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which spread across the globe in 2003. According to the CDC, the 2019 coronavirus is a ""beta coronavirus"" similar to SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which was first identified in 2012. All three viruses have their origins in bats, and all three can induce symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath — similar to some common colds. More severe cases can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death, according to the World Health Organization. A CDC fact-sheet describing common human coronaviruses said most people contract some type of coronavirus during their lives and that the more common strains ""usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory-tract illnesses, like the common cold."" But the same fact sheet also knocked down the idea that the 2019 coronavirus was the exact same as the more common strains. ""This information applies to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with Coronavirus Disease-2019,"" it said. The majority of viruses that cause the common cold are rhinoviruses, according to the CDC. Cases range from mild to moderate in severity, and many adults get two or three colds per year. Children are more likely to get them. In contrast, cases of the coronavirus have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Older people and those with preexisting medical conditions are more likely to suffer complications from COVID-19, while children are not. The virus has an estimated 3.4% mortality rate. In short, the 2019 coronavirus is a novel strain that was unknown before December 2019. It is different and can be much more dangerous than the common cold. Despite the differences, prevention for both the 2019 coronavirus and the common cold are relatively similar: wash your hands, avoid touching your face and stay away from people who are sick."
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/feb/27/rush-limbaugh/fact-checking-rush-limbaughs-misleading-claim-new-/, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/general-information.html, https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-symptoms-vs-cold, https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/colds.html, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3244297452251299&set=a.202549046426170&type=3&theater, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1096836320677538&set=a.108023666225480&type=3, https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/05/stop-sharing-myths-about-preventing-coronavirus-he/, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html, https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200308-sitrep-48-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=16f7ccef_4
0 (false)
Public Health, Facebook Fact-checks, Coronavirus, Facebook posts,
10307
Encouraging news about reversing heart disease
March 13, 2006
This is an enthusiastic story about the results of the ASTEROID Trial, which showed that very high doses of Crestor (a statin) caused regression of atherosclerosis as shown on intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) in high risk patients. The story did not make clear that, while these results are intriguing, it is not clear that they will have any clinically meaningful impact on real cardiovascular outcomes, such as heart attack or death, compared to current practice. In fact, the story almost seems to makes leaps beyond what the evidence showed when it said, The study was not big enough to detect changes in the numbers of heart attacks or strokes but evidence suggests that eliminating plaque should lower the risk. There is no explanation of the availability of Crestor. Is it FDA approved? Is it on the market? The story can’t assume that everyone knows. The story also does not place the treatment within the context of other existing therapies. This is important given that the study did not compare the treatment to current practice – regular doses of statins. Although the story is based on trial results, so little information about the design of the trial is presented that the viewer has no basis on which to interpret the strength of the evidence. No harms or side effects are mentioned, which are likely to be significant given the high dose of the drug. No costs are mentioned and only a single source, the study’s lead author, is quoted. The lack of balanced information in this short story makes it very difficult for the viewer to be able to interpret the study results.
The story never mentions costs. Quantitative estimate is provided in relative frame only. The lead author of the study says that 1 to 9% of the plaque was gone, but we have no context for these numbers, nor do we know if this is clinically meaningful. No harms or side effects are mentioned. Although there is mention of a trial, so little information is provided that the viewer cannot evaluate the strength of the evidence. There is no obvious disease mongering. Only a single source, the lead author of the study, is quoted. Although there is mention of diet and exercise, there is no mention of the advantages/disadvantages of high-dose Crestor by comparison. There was also no mention of current practice – use of regular doses of statins. There is no explanation of the availability of Crestor. Is it FDA approved? Is it on the market? The story can’t assume that everyone knows. The story does not explain if the drug is new, old, investigational, or already approved. We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release. But only the lead author is interviewed.
0 (false)
31799
Microwave ovens were banned in the USSR in 1976 to protect its citizens from harmful health effects.
January 17, 2017
The text from his website (which has a significant readership) has been repeated all over the web as fact, despite the truth that no such ban ever took place, and despite the fact that the claim stems from a possibly non-existent man with no apparent scientific credentials who may or may not have worked at the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in the late 1970s.
Alex Kasprak
Microwave ovens are a favorite bugaboo of the natural health set, and claims that they were once banned in various countries, including the Soviet Union, are repeated uncritically on numerous natural health websites espousing their purported dangers. For example, a 24 August 2016 article published on the conspiracy-obsessed website Natural News stated: The electromagnetic field (EMF) produced by common household microwaves is something Russia has taken seriously in the past. After conducting thorough research into the health effects of microwave EMFs, Russia determined in 1976 that microwaves were dangerous to their people. In that year, Russia banned the devices to protect their citizenry. Most (but not all) websites ambiguously state that the ban was lifted sometime during or before perestroika, in an effort to warm relations between the two countries. From a purely historical standpoint, this is a dubious narrative at best. However, there is some historical precedent for the purported relationship between microwaves and the Soviet Union. For at least fifteen years prior to 1976, the Soviets had literally been beaming microwave radiation at the American embassy in Moscow in an effort (by their own account) to prevent the United States from electronically eavesdropping — a fact made public that year, in a 28 February 1976 New York Times report: At least the main outlines of what might be called the Case of the Moscow Microwaves have finally emerged. For at least fifteen years the United States Embassy in Moscow has been systematically irradiated by microwaves generated in equipment installed nearby by Soviet intelligence agencies. The objectives of this bombardment presumably were to eavesdrop on conversations in the embassy and to attempt jamming of electronic monitoring equipment installed in and on the embassy. The United States State Department knew about this irradiation and protested from time to time, but the facts were kept secret from both the American public and most of the people in the embassy complex. This public acknowledgement spurred American research into the biological effects of low dose microwave radiation, and later led to an agreement between the Soviets and Americans to reduce the amount of microwave radiation to which the the embassy was exposed. Coverage of this event brought American concerns about microwave radiation to the forefront for the first time, spawning myriad articles and discussions at the time about a lack of research regarding its safety. The notion that a Russian ban on microwaves would go unreported in major United States newspapers during a time that the Soviets were downplaying the risk of their own intentionally beamed microwave radiation is unlikely, given the perceived hypocrisy it would have engendered. Further, there were in fact a number of different microwaves available in the USSR during this supposed ban. Though they were unaffordable to the average Russian at the time — the first Soviet manufactured microwaves hit the scene in the 1970s. According to an article in the 16 August 2016 issue of Russia’s version of Popular Mechanics about this very myth, at least twenty-three different models were manufactured during this time period. This one, from 1981 (smack dab in the time period of the purported ban), is described by that article’s author as “famous”: The origin of this myth, however, lies over 5000 miles away from Moscow in America’s Pacific Northwest — Portland, Oregon. Every claim made regarding a Russian ban on microwaves stems from an article published in the first (and as far as we can tell, the only) issue of a mysterious publication called the “Journal of Natural Science.” While the article from the “April-June 1998 issue” lists myriad claims about the dangers of microwave radiation, it is published without a single citation. That article also incorrectly asserts that the Nazis invented the microwave oven, and both the Soviets and Americans got their hands on the details after the war for further research: These documents and the experimental microwave equipment was transferred to the U.S. War Department, and classified for reference and scientific investigation. The Soviet Union also retrieved some of the devices, and proceeded to undertake experimentation on a separate basis. The Russians have been the most diligent in their research on the biological effects of microwave ovens, and have outlawed their use, and have also issued an international warning concerning the possible biological and environmental damage that can be caused by the use of this similar-frequency electronic apparatus. The author of this article is listed as “William P. Kopp,” whose biography is included at the end of the article: The original of this forensic research document is to be found in the Archives of the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon. The author William Kopp worked there from 1977 to 1979. Already twenty years ago Kopp gathered all documents known so far concerning the scientific proofs about microwaves’ harmful effects on humans. By doing this he got in the way of a powerful lobby and was forced later on to even change his name and to disappear. While it is hard to verify the authenticity of an unsourced document written by someone who claims to have changed his name to disappear from the dangerous microwave lobby, it is possible to ascertain what (at least in the late 1970s) the “Atlantis Rising Educational Center” was all about. Based on a classified ad placed in a January 1979 issue of the magazine Yoga Journal, it appears that this center was an alternative health bookstore selling herbal supplements: The allegation of a Soviet ban on microwave ovens may well have stayed within the walls of the Atlantis Rising Educational Center if not for the misleading promotion of this remarkably questionable document. Perhaps most notably, the claim was repeated by the natural health evangelist Joseph Mercola who parroted the claim almost word for word on his web site, citing this Atlantis Rising “study”: The Nazis are credited with inventing the first microwave-cooking device to provide mobile food support to their troops during their invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. These first microwave ovens were experimental. After the war, the US War Department was assigned the task of researching the safety of microwave ovens. But it was the Russians who really took the bull by the horns. After the war, the Russians had retrieved some of these microwave ovens and conducted thorough research on their biological effects. Alarmed by what they learned, the Russians banned microwave ovens in 1976, later lifting the ban during Perestroika.
0 (false)
History, food, food science, Microwaves
31852
Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain all died with white Bic lighters in their pockets.
January 2, 2017
Britain should not follow the European Union’s “Museum of Agriculture” and let false concerns over U.S. farming practices get in the way of a post-Brexit trade deal, the U.S. ambassador to London said on Saturday.
Dan Evon
On Thursday, the United States laid out its objectives for a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, seeking to entirely eliminate or reduce barriers for U.S. agricultural products and streamline regulatory differences. Opponents of Brexit have argued that such a U.S. accord would open up Britain’s markets to the likes of chlorine-treated chicken and genetically modified crops, while ministers have said the government would not lower food standards to win trade deals. “You have been presented with a false choice: either stick to EU directives, or find yourselves flooded with American food of the lowest quality,” Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. “Inflammatory and misleading terms like ‘chlorinated chicken’ and ‘hormone beef’ are deployed to cast American farming in the worst possible light. It is time the myths are called out for what they really are: a smear campaign from people with their own protectionist agenda.” Johnson said American farmers were using all scientific and technological tools to help meet the challenges of a growing global population and the resulting health and environmental pressures that brought. “It is not sustainable for the whole world to follow the EU’s ‘Museum of Agriculture’ approach. We have to look to the future of farming, not just the past,” he said. Johnson said washing chicken was a “public safety no-brainer” and using growth hormones for cattle allowed more meat to be produced at a lower cost to the consumer and environment while being completely safe to eat. “The fact is that farmers in America have the same priorities as farmers in Britain”, he said. “It would be a genuine missed opportunity to buy into the idea that the EU’s traditionalist approach to agriculture is Britain’s only option for a quality and efficient agriculture sector moving forward.” In a separate story on Saturday, the Telegraph reported that Britain would follow all EU food and farming regulations for nine months should it exit the bloc without having secured a withdrawal deal to protect British farming. The newspaper said the move sent a signal that the United Kingdom wanted to stay aligned with European and not U.S. agricultural standards.
0 (false)
Entertainment, 27 club, janis joplin, jim morrison
12123
Schools in Austin Independent School District are teaching children as young as 4 years old that their gender is fluid – that they’re not a boy or a girl and they can choose whichever gender they want.
September 8, 2017
"Hodge said: ""Schools in Austin Independent School District are teaching children as young as 4 years old that their gender is fluid – that they’re not a boy or a girl and they can choose whichever gender they want."" Hodge didn’t deliver proof of Austin students including toddlers getting told that gender is fluid nor did we confirm such instruction. It’s clear otherwise that the district has put energy into teachers understanding that each child comes to terms with gender identity among developmental issues. Teacher training materials include a lesson plan describing gender identity varying along a spectrum."
W. Gardner Selby
"A supporter of basing student access to bathrooms and locker rooms on gender identity at birth declared that as things stand, Austin's schools teach children to choose their genders. Spicewood attorney Glenna Hodge, testifying before the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee, said parents should recognize that without a protective law, their children can’t count on privacy. Hodge went on: ""We also know that schools in Austin Independent School District are teaching children as young as 4 years old that their gender is fluid–that they’re not a boy or a girl and they can choose whichever gender they want."" Asked for examples of schools doing so, Hodge told the panel in July 2017 that Austin’s Kiker and Odom elementary schools trained teachers with ""Welcoming Schools"" materials devised by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. That campaign says it focuses on achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. In each training, Hodge testified, teachers were told to tell children that gender identity is fluid. We asked Hodge how she reached her conclusion about what students are taught. By phone, she said 24 of the Austin district’s 85 elementary schools undertook the training, which she described as clearing the way for students to be taught gender-fluid lessons. ""What are the teachers supposed to do with the training? What’s the point if not to affirm transgenderism?"" Hodge said. A 2017 web post Hodge pointed us to a January 2017 web post by the Southern Baptist Texan, a religious publication. The post, ""Trojan Horse: Austin ‘anti-bullying’ program pushes progressive views on gender, sexual identity,"" says the Welcoming Students material ""is taught to students as young as 4 years old"" and ""affirms same-sex marriage and parenting, gay and lesbian relationships, and transgenderism."" In one module of the teacher training, the post says, ""teachers are asked to answer questions about their preconceived ideas about gender (i.e. gender bias). The lesson states, ‘By embracing the richness of the gender spectrum, teachers and other adults can help broaden children’s understandings of gender in order to help every child feel seen and recognized.’"" The post goes on: ""By Module 5, children are told they can choose their gender identity even if that identity conflicts with biological reality. Questioning the child’s choice of gender is not an option for teachers or students,"" the post says. A teacher’s recollection Hodge also put us in touch with Caryl Ayala, who described herself by phone as a former Odom pre-kindergarten teacher where, she said, the Welcoming Schools training took place in 2015-16. She said she had no recording or notes taken during the training but pointed us to a Concerned Parents of Austin website presenting what appeared to be part of the training presentation. According to one training module, ""What is Gender?,"" presenters were to get teachers to ""recognize that gender expression is a social construct, without meaning other than the meaning we have given it."" School district responses Seeking a full grasp on what teachers were taught and what students are told, we queried the Austin district. By email, a spokeswoman, Tiffany Young, initially conveyed a statement from Peter Price, district director of social and emotional learning, stating that in the 2014-15 through 2016-17 school years, 24 elementary campuses requested and received Welcoming Schools ""professional development,"" which Price described as a ""training for teachers to provide safe, supportive, inclusive environments for students and their families and to create a conversation among adults on campus to examine our language and practices."" In each instance, Price, said, a letter was sent home at the start of the school year and parents were invited to attend a module. Young emailed us an undated letter to parents stating the training focuses on embracing family diversity, ending bullying and avoiding ""gender stereotyping and accepting diverse gender identities."" From the parent letter: ""Pressure to conform to specific gender roles can limit a child’s development by limiting experiences and expectations. We believe it is important to allow all students to reach their full potential and to feel safe expressing their individuality."" So, are students taught that gender is fluid? In a follow-up statement, Price said ""one of the biggest misconceptions about our Welcoming Schools training for teachers is that they turn around after the training and present a curriculum/lessons to students about LGTBQ topics. That does not happen. The training is for adults, so they can be better prepared to welcome all students to our schools and to ensure all students feel safe and valued. There is no curriculum or lessons for the students."" We later connected with Lisa Goodnow, the district’s executive director for academic and social emotional learning, who said by phone that children in pre-kindergarten are taught about health and safety issues, not gender identity. Human sexuality gets taken up in middle and high school, Goodnow said. Goodnow emailed us a document showing topics addressed in the district’s human sexuality curriculum from kindergarten through fifth grade. Human sexuality gets mentioned in third grade, the document says, with puberty discussed in fifth grade; there’s no direct mention of gender identity in the document. When we asked Young about Austin schools doing the Welcoming Schools training in 2017-18, she replied that no schools were doing so but the district was ""looking into creating its own training program in the future for teachers and is taking the next year to develop it."" Documentation At our inquiry, the district also gave access to hundreds of pages of emails and other documents from recent years about the Welcoming Schools trainings and gender-related topics. We didn’t spot material suggesting teachers were telling students that gender is fluid. But documents did show interest among teachers and other staff in helping students come to terms with gender identity issues. Among the documents: --A 2015 paper, ""Beyond the Gender Binary: A Group for Teens,"" suggesting middle and high schools could provide opportunities for students to explore ""the many facets of gender identity and increase feelings of well-being in trans youth."" --A 2015 email from Superintendent Paul Cruz to principals and staff sharing changes in policy adopted by the school board to protect gender identity and expression. The email said: ""Gender identity refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as male, female or another gender. Gender expression refers to the external manifestation of a person’s gender identity, which or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine."" Cruz’s email further said he hoped to see the Welcoming Schools curriculum extended to all campuses. --A 2016 email from a district official to another sharing a CNN story on what it means to be ""gender-fluid."" --A Welcoming Schools packet about using books in grades one through three to look at gender stereotyping. --A list of ""gender identity"" books for students including picture books for students starting in pre-k. ""Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy,"" the list says, follows Tulip ""as he deals with the birthday wishes of all the nine-year-olds in North America. Tulip receives a wish from a child known as David to live as Daniela. He doesn’t know how to help, so he seeks the wise counsel of the Wish Fairy Captain."" Another listed book: ""All I Want to Be is Me,"" is described as giving voice ""to the feelings of children who don’t fit gender stereotypes, and who just want to be free to be themselves. Includes children who are fluid in their gender identity, as well as those that feel their body doesn’t match who they really are,"" the summary says. Human Rights Campaign We also heard back from the Human Rights Campaign about its training materials. By email, spokeswoman Sarah McBride provided responses from Johanna Eager, director of Welcoming Schools, who said: ""We do not say that gender is a choice, but in workshops with educators, Welcoming Schools does reference the research and data which demonstrate that children begin to understand their gender identity as early as the age of four."" We looked over the foundation’s suggested Welcoming Schools lesson plans, noticing that none focus on children in pre-kindergarten and the lesson plan on ""understanding transgender children"" contains no language saying children should be told gender identity is fluid though there’s reference to gender as a spectrum. That particular lesson plan, intended for teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade, lists among goals the expansion of ""students’ perception and understanding of gender"" and also understanding ""what it means to be transgender using developmentally appropriate language for younger students."" The plan also calls for students to read and discuss a nonfiction story, ""I Am Jazz,"" and it says students ""will learn new vocabulary words related to gender."" From the publisher’s summary of the story: ""From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers."" The lesson plan says teachers should understand before reading the book to students ""that gender is a spectrum, not a binary, and that we all express ourselves in many different ways along that spectrum. Each child is an individual with their own unique expression of who they are in the world,"" the plan says. Definitions offered with the lesson plan include: ""GENDER IDENTITY: How you feel — male, female, neither or both. This can be different from the anatomy that you were born with (sex assigned at birth)."" ""TRANSGENDER/TRANS: When your gender identity (how you feel) is different than how your body is (your anatomy). When a person with a boy body feels like a girl inside their heart and brain. Or, when a person with a girl body feels like a boy inside their heart and brain. "" ""GENDER BINARY: The idea that there are two distinct and opposite genders — male and female / boy and girl. This idea is limiting and doesn’t allow for the many ways that children and adults express themselves."" We followed up with Young, who noted by email that the Austin district didn’t adopt the Welcoming Schools curriculum for classroom instruction. Further, she said: ""We are not aware of any elementary school teachers who are teaching gender fluidity."" Our ruling Hodge said: ""Schools in Austin Independent School District are teaching children as young as 4 years old that their gender is fluid – that they’re not a boy or a girl and they can choose whichever gender they want."" Hodge didn’t deliver proof of Austin students including toddlers getting told that gender is fluid nor did we confirm such instruction. It’s clear otherwise that the district has put energy into teachers understanding that each child comes to terms with gender identity among developmental issues. Teacher training materials include a lesson plan describing gender identity varying along a spectrum. – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression."
https://docs.google.com/document/d/132IfkXjMp5Z6LzIYk7VnXuxWx-jVtsIcPUm5pLPg8BQ/edit?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTmxvWfAkLcjJOnswboE4VvtQYukE-sCuckEYtMn9LnWH_Gp6EVcbr2SUlFaK2S-btkMgaqXNd-LvrK/pub, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSoiyslR70ESI5VnkE7mvgH0-0c547rNNvUGjdDkw_r7sh7kO5ZF9zxYCnlShZGXnLy8GPoXPoFm6TS/pub, http://www.concernedparentsofaustin.com/involvement-in-austin-isd.html, https://www.scribd.com/document/349592456/05162017130509-0001, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRxl2y7RyYo7VEqPY2yp17NKSwIaudKFXZ7MC95LpACGnOCAfw6K5XPsHe2jXEWzpHZ1KfZybEviAav/pub, http://www.welcomingschools.org/resources/lesson-plans/transgender-youth/transgender-with-books/, http://tlcsenate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=42&clip_id=12789, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jcg2mWkLxZXpBk5PYqQZABRSeFQ3_5ID_Gm9k0d1kTw/edit?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQDTYlIN1VS7DbOp_bdY2b24ZbytUVPoNcm9AP37L7mlKqdIHJ8xP1vMHM6RVzXQcX2NdtwzntgD9Oo/pub, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0kkOiAWUCUGem1OSUwxS0tLNjA/view?usp=sharing, http://texanonline.net/archives/5534/, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTkTNr7u_bqwTgVQpXMN950kTrYLC7L88mYBgqQAuPL5Zh0KEvUMrP6jfBq5d0rIGKdRTMgLut4pFcZ/pub
0 (false)
Education, Texas, Glenna Hodge,
10149
Spiriva as good as Serevent in asthma study
September 19, 2010
Helicopter pilot Mark Law did not hesitate to fly out to New Zealand’s White Island volcano immediately after it erupted to carry survivors to hospital, but after a harrowing week he knows his town’s adventure tourism industry faces an uncertain future.
As the search continues for the final two missing bodies from Monday’s deadly eruption, Law knows it will be challenging for his business, Kahu Helicopters. Some of his seven staff, including three pilots, could lose their jobs. “We’re going to be greatly affected, we’re anticipating probably damn near shutting the doors. It’s going to be devastating, we’ve been operating that part of our business for years,” he said. Law is not alone worrying about his future in Whakatane, a picturesque town of 35,000 of the shore of the Bay of Plenty that is the main access point to the volcanic island. Anne Tolley, the local member of parliament, said the town was shattered by the disaster and its thoughts were with the victims, but hoped that tours would one day restart. “It is iconic and it is certainly is the centerpiece of the town’s tourism. We also have fantastic beaches and walks and the kiwi, but Whakaari, you will have seen all the signs, we are the gateway to Whakaari,” Tolley told Reuters, using the Māori name for the volcano. Daily tours had taken more than 10,000 visitors every year to privately owned island 50km (30 miles) off the coast. Tours to the island were part of Whakatane’s history, and operators had been gearing up for the peak Christmas holiday season before Monday’s disaster, Tolley said. “It’s very difficult coming at probably the busiest time of year for them. It will be devastating.” On Monday, the 48-year-old Law had quickly organized three other pilots to fly out to the island, where they picked up 10 badly burned people and flew them back to Whakatane’s hospital. Law and his team tried to fly back to the island to recover the bodies of those they knew had died, but were “tremendously disappointed” to be stopped by police. After initially being sidelined from police operations, by mid-week Law was sharing his knowledge of the volcano’s terrain and environment with the military squad that on Friday retrieved six of the eight bodies left behind. On the weekend, the search continued for the remaining bodies. “At the end of the day people on the ground generally know and it is important… to weave into the plan the effort of the local people,” Law told Reuters. Shock had ripped through Whakatane at the eruption, with the local hospital overwhelmed as dozens of seriously injured people were delivered from the island. Whakatane’s tourism sector had been growing strongly with the unique marine volcano at its heart, but with the prospect that people may be reluctant to visit the island even if it is reopened, immediate prospects will be challenging. As the recovery mission on Friday played out, Boz Te Moana, 24, and Michael Mika, 28, waited to support their community gathered in the indigenous Māori marae, or meeting ground. The two, who had traveled from their homes further up the Whakatane River, hoped in time tours to the waters around the island would be allowed again but tourists should not step foot on it again, out of respect for the dead, they said. “I don’t know if the mamae or the hurt will ever change, but the environment, it’s up to the town itself to move forward from here in the most positive way,” said Te Moana, using the Māori word for pain.
1 (mixture)
5243
Massachusetts to help test addiction treatment rating system.
Massachusetts has agreed to participate in a new rating system that is being developed to measure the quality of addiction treatment programs.
State health officials say the rating system will primarily use data from three sources: insurance claims, provider surveys, and consumer experience surveys. The information will be made publicly available to those searching for high-quality addiction treatment, as well as to public and private payers, states, and referral sources. The system is being developed by the national nonprofit organization Shatterproof . The rating system will examine evidence-based specialty addiction treatment providers including residential, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs that are licensed, certified or approved by states to provide treatment for substance use disorder. If the pilot program is successful, the rating system will be launched nationwide.
https://www.shatterproof.org/rating
2 (true)
Health, Massachusetts, Addiction treatment
36991
Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter married an Iranian man with connections to an Iranian foreign minister who participated in nuclear negotiations.
August 4, 2015
John Kerry’s Daughter Married an Iranian with Connections to Nuclear Negotiators- Fiction!
Rich Buhler & Staff
Parts of this rumor are true, but they have been twisted into a false narrative. Tidbits from various reports have been used to make a number of claims about John Kerry’s ties to Iranian nuclear negotiators. These reports argue that Kerry should have recused himself from nuclear talks with Iran because of conflicts of interest. Let’s take a look at claims that have frequently appeared: John Kerry’s Daughter Married an Iranian John Kerry’s daughter married a man of Iranian descent, but he was born and raised in America. Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry married Dr. Brian Vala Nahed in 2009. The couple met as resident doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Vanessa was practicing internal medicine there, and Nahed was practicing neurological surgery, according to a New York Times wedding announcement: The bridegroom graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received his medical degree cum laude from Yale. His father, a pulmonologist and sleep medicine and critical-care physician, is the chief of staff at Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, Calif. He also runs a private practice there, which is managed by the bridegroom’s mother. Nahed was born in New York, according to his Mass General bio. John Kerry Concealed His Son-in-Law’s Iranian Bloodlines This one is mostly fiction. John Kerry acknowledged his family’s connection to Iran in a statement that was released on the Iranian New Year in March 2013: It’s a privilege to join President Obama in sending warm wishes for health and prosperity to the people of Iran and all those who celebrate Nowruz around the world. As you gather with your loved ones around the Sofreh Haft-Seen, we are proud to note that many Americans will join you in celebrating Nowruz. This year, we are once again reminded of the outstanding contributions of Iranian-Americans and Iranian students here in the United States, which reflect the rich history of your culture. I am proud of the Iranian-Americans in my own family, and grateful for how they have enriched my life. Kerry made the admission after a website operated by the Iranian government reported that his son-in-law was an Iranian-American and had still relatives in Iran. The report was published as Kerry faced a Senate confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, so it wasn’t a “secret.” Kenneth Timmerman, president of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, described the timing of Kerry’s statement in a column that appeared in the Daily Caller: Was the Iranian publication itself a subtle form of blackmail, aimed at letting Kerry know that the regime is fully aware of his son-in-law’s extended family in Iran? The Islamic Republic systematically puts pressure on family members of prominent Iranian-Americans (for example, individuals who work at the Persian service of Voice of America), to make sure that they do not engage in hostile statements or activities against the Tehran regime. Certainly, Secretary Kerry has long favored a U.S. rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. He has repeatedly appeared with groups such as the American Iranian Council (AIC), and has taken money from Iranian-Americans for his political campaigns, including at least one illegal donation from an Iranian woman who did not have a green card. So he didn’t need to have an Iranian-American family member to believe that the United States should forge direct relations with the Islamic Republic or ease U.S. pressure on the regime. Kerry may have figured that by revealing the family tie himself he could diffuse the situation, and make it more difficult for the regime to put pressure on his son-in-law’s family. Of course, that’s assuming Kerry in fact plans to do anything that angers the regime. Besides, the New York Times ran a wedding announcement in 2009 that quoted Kerry, so it wouldn’t have been a very well guarded secret. The Son of an Iranian Foreign Minister Was the Best Man in John Kerry’s Daughter’s Wedding-Reported as Fiction! There’s no proof that this one is true. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was one of the principal negotiators in nuclear talks with the U.S. The rumor that Zarif’s son was the best man in Kerry’s daughter’s wedding started with a post on Allen B. West’s website in July 2015: Secretary Kerry and Zarif first met over a decade ago at a dinner party hosted by George Soros at his Manhattan penthouse. What a surprise. I have to say, connecting the dots gets more and more frightening. But it gets even worse. Guess who was the best man at the 2009 wedding between Kerry’s daughter Vanessa and Behrouz Vala Nahed? Javad Zarif’s son. The story doesn’t cite a source, but Vanessa Kerry Nahed quickly shot the rumor down. She tweeted that her husband didn’t have a best man because they didn’t have a bridal party at their wedding. An Iranian news agency called the report a “news fabrication” and said Zarif’s son wasn’t at the wedding. According to the report: Officials at the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday strongly rejected some US media reports alleging that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s son had attended the wedding ceremony of Vanessa Kerry, the daughter of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The foreign ministry’s denial came after several American websites claimed in the last few days that Zarif’s son, Mehdi Zarif, had not only attended the wedding party of Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry and her Iranian American husband doctor Brian Vala Nahed, but also been Vala Nahed’s best man. The report seems to have appeared on the US media not to hurt the Iranian foreign minister, but to damage Kerry’s credit and reputation as the Republicans and the Israeli lobbies have started massive propaganda to torpedo a recent nuclear deal struck between the six world powers and Iran. Only the powerful Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, has declared a 20 million dollar fund for the purpose. And the Vanessa-Brian story only seems to be the beginning. It is true, however, that Kerry has a personal relationship with Zarif that predates the nuclear talks. The diplomats’ relationship was reported in a 2012 book by author Hooman Majd.
https://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fjohn-kerrys-daughter-married-an-iranian-with-connections-to-nuclear-negotiators%2F, https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fjohn-kerrys-daughter-married-an-iranian-with-connections-to-nuclear-negotiators%2F, https://www.truthorfiction.com/wayne-allyn-root-on-why-obama-and-hillary-must-stop-donald-trump/, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2013/03/20130320144531.html#axzz2OZAesg3H, http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/193039/%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9, https://www.truthorfiction.com/president-obama-greeted-a-gay-rights-activist-with-a-kiss/, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940511001437, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/fashion/weddings/11KERRY.html, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/government/, https://dailycaller.com/2013/03/25/kerry-exposes-iranian-family-tie-and-subjects-family-to-blackmail/, https://www.reddit.com/submit?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fjohn-kerrys-daughter-married-an-iranian-with-connections-to-nuclear-negotiators%2F, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/politics/, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/77241/hooman-majd, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=John+Kerry%E2%80%99s+Daughter+Married+an+Iranian+with+Connections+to+Nuclear+Negotiators-+Fiction%21&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fjohn-kerrys-daughter-married-an-iranian-with-connections-to-nuclear-negotiators%2F&via=erumors, http://www.massgeneral.org/neurosurgery/doctors/doctor.aspx?id=19026, https://twitter.com/VBKerry, https://www.truthorfiction.com/author/truthorfiction/
0 (false)
Government, Politics
702
U.N. urged by own staff to look at its climate footprint.
January 11, 2019
Close to 2,000 United Nations employees have called for the global body to reduce its carbon footprint, including through curbs on their own diplomatic perks like business-class flights and travel handouts, a letter obtained by Reuters showed.
Emma Farge
The United Nations calls climate change the “defining issue of our time” and is hosting a New York summit on it next week. But reformers within say in the letter addressed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that it needs more radical change to get its own house in order. “Our commitments need to be more ambitious and at least as concrete as those of the UN Member States and non-party stakeholders attending the UN Climate Action Summit,” said the letter, signed by at least 1,950 employees. It was organized by a group called Young UN, an internal network committed to ensuring the organization embodies the principles it stands for. “As Greta Thunberg just sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and young people across the world continue to strike every Friday, let us look at our own impact and take bold steps to address the climate emergency,” the letter said, referring to the Swedish teenager who has inspired global climate strikes. The United Nations emitted 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018, according to its own data which includes both the 44,000 secretariat staff present in more than 60 countries as well as tens of thousands of interns, contractors and peacekeeping troops deployed worldwide. That equates to a carbon footprint larger than several of its member states, including Malta and Liberia, according to statistics from the Global Carbon Atlas for 2017. Among 10 issues identified by Young UN are travel allowances, which the letter said needed to be cut or scrapped “in order to disincentivize travel by UN employees and UN meeting participants motivated by financial gain”. Allowances, or per diems as they are known internally, are intended to cover travel costs including food and accommodation, and can exceed $400 a day for some locations such as New York, according to the International Civil Service Commission website. The letter also suggested that staff should be rewarded for downgrading from business class, where a spacious seat generates several times the emissions of an economy class ticket. Travel accounts for nearly half the United Nations’ emissions, its data show. Last year, under pressure from member states, the head of the U.N. Environment Programme, Erik Solheim, stepped down amid criticism of his travels. Other reforms recommended in the letter include a complete divestment of the more than $60 billion U.N. pension fund from fossil fuels and creating offices run entirely on renewable energy. Young UN did not respond to requests for comment. Guterres is seeking to combat climate change from within in order to boost sustainability. “The Secretary-General welcomes the initiative of Young UN on climate action in the UN system,” Guterres’ office said in a statement to Reuters on Friday. “The Secretary-General is committed to lead by example and calls for transformative action to address the climate crisis, including on the part of the UN system and Secretariat itself,” it continued. The employees’ letter welcomed Guterres’ internal strategy but said it “misses the urgency of the crisis we are facing”. The United Nations has also launched a “Greening the Blue” initiative which measures the U.N. system’s greenhouse gas emissions, waste disposal, fresh-water use, and environmental management. According to its latest report issued on Friday, 55 of its entities, or 95 percent, including the Secretariat, were climate neutral in 2018, against just over a third the previous year. But the letter raises doubts about U.N. offset mechanisms, a method that works through purchases of U.N.-certified carbon credits from approved green projects and is widely used by organizations and businesses to tout their green credentials. This echoes criticism from NGOs about the contribution of offsets to sustainable development. Isabella Marras, Sustainable UN Coordinator, whose team produces the Greening the Blue report and was a signatory to the letter, said she saw scope for the United Nations to give even greater attention to environmental considerations. “What we are missing is the aggressive integration of environmental issues into our programs like the UN has done for women,” she told Reuters. But she stressed some of the pragmatic challenges in regions where environmental standards are less strong than in Western countries. Marie-Claire Graf, a 23-year-old Swiss climate activist visiting the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, said the number of U.N. vehicles in vast carparks overlooking the lake and mountains was surprising. “The UN is doing some amazing things on environment but I am shocked by so many SUVs and the amount of travel,” said Graf, who was selected along with 100 young climate leaders to attend the U.N. Youth Climate Summit on 21 September. “The UN needs to lead on this transformation.”
2 (true)
Environment
4639
ALS patient behind ice bucket challenge: I will bounce back.
Pete Frates was mistakenly written off as dead this summer. Turns out, the man who helped spark the ice bucket challenge that raised millions of dollars for research on Lou Gehrig’s disease hasn’t gone anywhere yet.
Philip Marcelo
Frates is fighting back from a summer health scare that landed him in the hospital while still trying to be a public face of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a degenerative disease that destroys nerve cells, impairs physical functions and so far has no cure. The former Boston College baseball star, who can no longer speak or move, spent most of July in the hospital battling pneumonia and other infections. In July, a tweet erroneously reporting his demise led to worldwide headlines. Frates wryly countered by posting a short video of himself lying in a hospital bed with Pearl Jam’s “Alive” playing in the background. Using a computer system that lets him type out words through eye movements, Frates has been tweeting about his progress to his nearly 30,000 followers, along with regular musings about his family and friends, living with ALS and Boston sports. “lots of down days as you can imagine with als, sometimes you don’t feel human,” he tweeted Sept. 23. “Today I am definitely feeling sorry for myself, sukxx. but I will bounce back. Eff! you als.. Friggin a hole! !” In the weeks since his July health scare, the 32-year-old has re-emerged to accept honors and accolades across his home state of Massachusetts. Last month, he joined Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Red Sox officials and the Boston College baseball team on the steps of City Hall to declare Sept. 5 “Pete Frates Day” in Boston. And former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and other Boston sports legends feted Frates at Fenway Park to mark the release of a new book on his life, “The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight Against ALS.” Half the proceeds benefit Frates and his family. Frates’ wife, Julie, said it’s been a difficult and busy few months, but she couldn’t persuade her husband to slow things down even if she wanted to. “He’s the one pushing to be out there,” she said. “We take all the lead from him.” The ice bucket challenge had been around for almost a year to benefit various causes. But Frates is credited with helping focus it on ALS specifically and taking it global using his wide network of supporters as an established ALS advocate. The challenge raised roughly $220 million in 2014, of which $115 million went to the ALS Association. A sequel campaign the next summer raised just over $1 million, according to the association. The ALS Association says it has committed more than $89 million of the 2014 windfall to research. “New, exciting research is just starting to pan out, and that’s drawing new talent to ALS research, and a lot of companies are now interested in ALS,” said Dr. Nazem Atassi, a Massachusetts General Hospital neurologist whose ALS research benefited from ice bucket challenge money. “It’s the perfect environment for drug discovery.” Among the most promising developments to come out of research funded by the challenge has been the identification of at least four genes that contribute to the disease, a critical step toward developing new treatments, said Kevin Eggan, a professor at Harvard University who specializes in ALS. Another development that gives the Frates family hope is Radicava, a drug approved in May by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration following testimony from the Frates and other advocates. It’s the first new treatment approved specifically for ALS in 22 years. Frates’ mother, Nancy, said they’re applying to get her son on the drug, even though it’s not clear how it might help, given his advanced condition. The medication, which was developed in Japan without funding from the ice bucket challenge, has been shown to slow the disease in recently diagnosed patients. “You just want it to stop,” Nancy said. “You want someone to say this disease is not tearing through your loved one’s body anymore.” ALS is still finding new ways to attack Frates, said his father, John, a city councilor in Beverly who quit his financial services job to help care for his son after he was diagnosed in 2012. Frates’ bladder stopped working last year, requiring his urine now to be drained with a catheter every three hours, John Frates said. “It’s amazing he’s tolerating all of it. It just shows the courage, will and determination he has to be with us,” Frates’ father said. “He’s as incapacitated as a human being can be. That’s his quality of life.” ___ Follow Philip Marcelo at twitter.com/philmarcelo. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/philip%20marcelo
http://www.wral.com/fda-approves-first-new-drug-to-treat-als-in-20-years/16685147/,http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge-spending.html,https://twitter.com/PeteFrates3/status/881874734190919680,http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/index.ssf/2017/07/multiple_outlets_mistakenly_re.html
2 (true)
Pete Frates, Health, Boston, Lou Gehrigs disease, North America, Boston College, Beverly
3801
State Senate leader outlines agenda as lawmakers sworn in.
The Democratic leader of the Massachusetts Senate promised Wednesday to work for lower prescription drug costs, expanded mental health services and a reform to the state’s education funding formula as she laid out an ambitious agenda at the start of the Legislature’s new two-year session.
Bob Salsberg
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker administered oaths to the 40-member Senate and 160-member House in ceremonies signaling the start of the 191st term for one of America’s oldest legislative bodies. Formally known as the General Court, the Legislature traces its roots to the Colonial era. The first order of business in each chamber — both firmly controlled by Democrats — was the re-election of presiding officers. Rep. Robert DeLeo, of Winthrop, already the longest-serving House speaker in the state’s history having first taken the gavel in 2009, returned for another two-year term. Ashland Democrat Karen Spilka will serve her first full term as Senate president after first assuming the post in July. Speaking in the ornate Senate chamber, which reopened Wednesday for the first time in more than 18 months following a $20 million renovation, Spilka called for several “bold” initiatives in response to what she said were demands from Massachusetts residents to move beyond “small ideas and incremental change.” Spilka said her priorities would include legislation to better control health care spending by reining in the high cost of prescription drugs and redistribute state education funding to better serve children who live in poorer school districts. Recalling the untreated psychological trauma her father suffered as a result of his military service, the Senate leader also appealed for a broad expansion of mental health services throughout the state. “We simply cannot end the epidemic of addiction or solve the problems of chronic homelessness and unemployment, child abuse and neglect, veteran and first responder PTSD, childhood bullying, or repeated incarceration, without first addressing the underlying issue of mental health,” said Spilka. While not specifically calling for tax increases, Spilka said the state would need to “capture new revenues” to support new and existing programs. Spilka, a liberal Democrat, was widely expected to stake out a progressive agenda that could meet resistance in the House, which is also controlled by Democrats but is seen as more conservative than the Senate. Baker, a moderate Republican who remains opposed to any broad-based tax hikes, could also prove a stumbling block. In brief comments following his re-election on Wednesday, DeLeo declared that “no one’s rights will be infringed upon in Massachusetts,” an apparent swipe at the policies of President Donald Trump and other Republicans in Washington. DeLeo generally waits until a few weeks into a new session before outlining his legislative priorities. Sen. Bruce Tarr, of Gloucester, and Rep. Brad Jones, of North Reading, will again serve as the minority leaders in their respective chambers. There are 32 Republicans in the House and only six in the Senate, with the GOP having lost a handful of legislative seats in the November election.
2 (true)
Legislature, Mental health, Prescription drug costs, Health, Boston, Charlie Baker, Prescription drugs, Massachusetts, Education
10018
Menopause: A flash of concern
April 16, 2007
For decades women have been encouraged to use hormone replacement therapy to stave off a variety of ills—from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats to heart disease and osteoporosis. But as the result of new research over the past few years, more experts are urging caution. Recent findings suggest that women taking hormone therapy have slightly more heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer than those who do not. Now researchers are trying to understand how a woman’s individual characteristics might increase or lower her risks for these problems. This Newsweek story focuses on a minor component of a larger analysis about the potential influence of age and years since menopause on the risk of cardiovascular disease. The story says that certain older women are at increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks if they had lots of hot flashes and take hormone therapy. It quotes the study’s author saying this means that older women with these symptoms “should try to get off hormone therapy” and receive treatment for heart disease risks. Alerting readers to the potential significance of hot flashes and night sweats is alright—but only if it is accompanied by the clear message that the line connecting hot flashes and hormone therapy to heart attacks and death is convoluted and unclear. The “danger” is not statistically significant, remains hypothetical, and requires further research. The phrases “possibly” and “could be” don’t capture the provisional quality of the new findings. Readers will also appreciate hormone therapy’s risks better if they know their frequency. Exactly how many more women taking hormone therapy have problems than women taking no therapy? (Or, in researchers’ terms, what’s the absolute excess risk?) The published study included data on the risk of nonfatal heart attacks and death as well as stroke for women who took hormone therapy closer to menopause and others who took it more distant from menopause. For example, in a group of 10,000 women within 10 years of menopause, 6 fewer women had a heart attack or died while taking hormone therapy than while taking placebo, but 8 more had strokes. In a group of 10,000 who passed through menopause 20 years ago or more, 17 more women had a heart attack or died while taking hormone therapy than while taking placebo and 13 more had strokes. Some readers with bad hot flashes and night sweats might think these numbers are worth worrying about, and some might not. If readers had heard from an expert who was not a member of the research team, they might have been alerted to the shaky foundation of the “hot flash” findings and heard a less worrisome message. Accurately conveying the nuances of risks, benefits, and cost is the key to helping individual women make informed decisions. It should be noted that this story is accompanied by an extensive web-only feature with much more discussion. But readers of the print magazine version would not necessarily see this.
The article does not mention the cost of hormone therapy or compare its cost against that of other therapies. Since the story suggests that treatment might be helpful in younger women with severe hot flashes, cost is relevant. The article suggests that hormone therapy might help younger women control hot flashes. But the primary subject of both the Newsweek story and the new research is harms of therapy, not benefits, so we consider this criterion not applicable in this case. The Newsweek story summarizes the previously published analyses of the Women’s Health Initiative trials, which found that women who received hormone therapy had a slightly higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer than women who received placebo. It reports new data on the harms of hormone therapy in women who have hot flashes and night sweats. However, the story does not report the frequency of these potential harms, making it difficult for readers to judge their risks. Some readers with bad hot flashes and night sweats might think the risks of heart attack and death are too small to worry about, others might not. (See “Comments” below.) The article fails to alert the reader to the provisional quality of the new findings. As the researchers note in their published manuscript, the current subgroup and secondary analyses are “exploratory” and “not statistically significant.” In other words, they represent very interesting hypotheses for further exploration. The also demonstrate how little we know about menopausal symptoms and their management. The news story says only that the analyses “had some technical issues.” According to the story, hot flashes might be “dangerous” because they might predict heart disease. Thus, the article adds another normal feature of aging (postmenopausal hot flashes) to the list of experiences that are not only distressing and uncomfortable but also apparently perilous to a woman’s health. Unfortunately, the article fails to note that none of the research findings are statistically significant. Hot flashes might be important, or they might not. The article cites the lead author of the new study, who is also the head of the Women’s Health Initiative. But a second source not associated with the research might have added a valuable and different perspective, perhaps pointing out that the evidence is weak and does not warrant action by women or their health care providers. The story mentions one option to hormone therapy for managing difficult symptoms of menopause—doing nothing. The current evidence suggests there are few other good options. But there are several strategies for preventing and treating heart disease and stroke, including exercise and diet, as well as monitoring risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. The story does not mention availability, but most readers affected by hot flashes will be familiar with hormone therapy. The article accurately suggests that hormone therapy is not a new treatment. The story did not appear to rely solely or largely on a news release.
0 (false)
29931
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren once said: ""Having an abortion is no different than someone having their tonsils removed."
January 25, 2019
Contrary to the impression created by the LifeNews and NewsTarget articles, Warren was not likening a human fetus to a set of tonsils. Furthermore, the quotation included in the meme that re-emerged in January 2019 was a fabrication: Warren simply did not say, “Having an abortion is no different than someone having their tonsils removed.”
Dan MacGuill
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the subject of increased scrutiny and rhetorical attacks from the right in January 2019, after she declared she was in the running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Against that background, a viral meme re-emerged on social media that attributed an eye-catching viewpoint on abortion to the Massachusetts senator: “‘Having an abortion is no different than someone having their tonsils removed.’ — Liberal Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren. Yes, she really said this and is really this damn crazy and stupid.” In reality, Warren did not make these remarks. On 24 July 2018, an opinion column she wrote was published in Marie Claire magazine, one speculating that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice would create a conservative-leaning majority on the court that could bring a reversal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: “The threat of overturning Roe v. Wade is also serious. When abortions are illegal, women don’t stop getting them — they just risk their lives to do it. Today, thanks to Roe, getting an abortion is safer than getting your tonsils out. Before Roe v. Wade, many women turned to back-alley butchers to end their pregnancies.” In September 2018, the pro-life website LifeNews published an article that created a misleading impression of what Warren had actually said under the headline “Elizabeth Warren Compares Abortion to ‘Getting Your Tonsils Out. '” That article went on to state that “A pro-abortion Democrat from Massachusetts, Warren even likened the killing of an unborn baby in an abortion to getting tonsils removed.” In January 2019, the right-leaning NewsTarget website went even further in misrepresenting Warren’s actual remarks, with an article that carried the headline “Senator Elizabeth Warren likens an abortion to getting your TONSILS YANKED, because population control freaks think human babies in the womb are just worthless tissue.” Actually, Warren was making a very different point. Her column linked to a Time magazine article about a 2015 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. The lead author of that study, Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, told Time that the rate of complications observed after abortion procedures was lower than that seen after wisdom tooth removals and tonsillectomies. That’s a point Upadhyay has made elsewhere in support of the comparative safety of abortion procedures, and in opposition to laws restricting access to abortion or imposing stricter requirements before a woman can undergo the procedure. In an op-ed published by USA Today on 21 January 2019, Dr. Upadhyay wrote: “Advocates of these [restrictive] laws usually use the misconception that abortion is unsafe to make arguments in favor of admitting privileges requirements and other abortion restrictions. In reality, less than one-third of 1 percent of abortions result in a major complication. Abortion is safer than wisdom tooth extraction and tonsillectomy, so it’s clear that these laws aren’t actually about protecting patients. Indeed, my research shows these policies have no observable effects on patient safety.” So when Warren wrote that “getting an abortion is safer than getting your tonsils out,” she was making a point about the relative safety of the procedure as part of a broader argument in defense of Roe v. Wade.
0 (false)
Politics, elizabeth warren, lifenews, newstarget
26761
Instagram posts Says no one has died from the coronavirus in the United States.
March 3, 2020
Nine people have died from the coronavirus in the United States. The first death was reported on March 1.
Ciara O'Rourke
"An Instagram post making a political point about abortion in the United States muffs the landing by claiming that no one has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. ""Death toll in America,"" the March 1 post says. ""Coronavirus 0, abortion 63,000,000."" This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) Though any count of abortions in the United States can’t be precise, the abortion number seems to be a reasonable estimate. (Read our 2012 fact-check for details.) But for COVID-19, the post is simply wrong. As of March 3, there have been nine deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported six deaths on their website while the Seattle Times reported three more deaths that afternoon. The victims were all in Washington state. Of course, the Instagram post was published on March 1. But the first death was reported on Feb. 29. Officials announced four more deaths on March 2."
https://www.instagram.com/p/B9N9_4WFC_y/?utm_source=ig_embed, https://www.oregonlive.com/health/2020/02/person-in-washington-state-first-in-us-to-die-from-new-virus.html?ath=743a46875005bd5a46a24f676da6d707&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter%20-%20Breaking%20News&utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20Breaking%20News#cmpid=nsltr_strybutton, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/seventh-washington-state-residents-death-linked-to-coronavirus-disease/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BNA_030320202444+BREAKING%3a+9+deaths+in+Washington+linked+to+coronavirus_3_3_2020&utm_term=Former%20Subscriber, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-02/coronavirus-death-seattle, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/02/coronavirus-live-updates/, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/seventh-washington-state-residents-death-linked-to-coronavirus-disease/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BNA_030320190950+BREAKING%3a+7th+death+linked+to+coronavirus+in+Washington_3_3_2020&utm_term=Former%20Subscriber
0 (false)
Facebook Fact-checks, Coronavirus, Instagram posts,
14336
"Rick Scott's Starbucks heckler Says Rick Scott ""cut Medicaid"" so people can't ""get Obamacare."
April 6, 2016
"The activist at Starbucks said Rick Scott ""cut Medicaid"" so people can't ""get Obamacare."" Her point-blank accusation that Scott cut the program doesn’t fit. But through Scott’s inaction and the Florida House's resistance to expansion, many Floridians are not benefitting from either subsidies to buy private insurance or an expanded Medicaid. The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details."
Joshua Gillin
"It starts like a joke — Gov. Rick Scott walks into a Gainesville Starbucks — but one patron wasn’t laughing. In town on April 5, 2016, to tour the recently opened factory and headquarters for biopharmaceutical company Nanotherapeutics, Scott stopped in to the coffee chain for a cup. Cara Jennings, a former Lake Worth city commissioner, saw Scott and ripped into him from her seat. Among other grievances, she accused him of denying her health care coverage with his policies. ""In fact, you cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,"" Jennings shouted on April 5, 2016. ""You are an a------! You don’t care about working people. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here."" When Scott countered that the state had created a million jobs since the recession, she said no one cared (read our fact-check on those jobs numbers). She then criticized his March signing of a bill denying funding for women’s health care clinics that performed abortions (read our check about that issue). We tried to reach Jennings by phone, text, email and even Facebook, but we didn’t hear back from her, so we don’t really know the specifics of her situation. That makes it difficult to gauge whether she was able to benefit from the health care law. But we can look at whether Scott cut Medicaid, the joint state and federal program to provide health insurance for the very poor, in a way that could have denied people health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It’s not so much that he cut anything, but more that he hasn’t consistently supported expanding the program. That has indeed left hundreds of thousands of Floridians without coverage. The expansion debate Jennings told ABC Action News in Tampa after the incident that she is a single mother who worked part-time. That provides clues that she may fall into what is known as the Medicaid coverage gap. To understand why, let’s review how the Affordable Care Act is linked to Medicaid. The law originally wanted to cover uninsured people two different ways. One was to subsidize people who needed help buying insurance through state marketplaces or HealthCare.gov. The second was to expand Medicaid to cover a higher number of poorer people. Normally, to be eligible for Medicaid, your annual income has to be 44 percent of the federal poverty level (100 percent is currently $11,880 for an individual and $24,300 for a family of four). The plan was to extend that eligibility to all adults up to 138 percent of the poverty level. Technically the calculation under the law is 133 percent, but a 5 percent deduction is added on top of that. But Medicaid expansion ended up being optional after a 2012 Supreme Court ruling saying it could not be forced upon states. Currently 19 states, including Florida, have chosen not to grow the program. Recent estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 948,000 uninsured adults in Florida would be covered by an expansion. This has led to plenty of debate among lawmakers, including a meltdown during the 2015 Florida legislative session over how to cover more lower-income residents. The Senate was open to a limited expansion, while the House opposed it altogether. But now the math really starts to get tricky. If a state doesn’t expand Medicaid, people who make 100 to 400 percent of the poverty level can get marketplace subsidies to buy private insurance. Because of the way the law was written, that leaves people making between 44 and 100 percent of the poverty level out in the cold, without assistance. Those people don’t qualify for Medicaid, and can’t get subsidies to buy insurance. That’s the so-called coverage gap. According to Kaiser, there are 567,000 people under that umbrella in the Sunshine State. Chances are good that a single mother working part time could fit into that definition. Scott, a former hospital chain executive best known for resigning amid controversy over his company defrauding Medicare, has had a spotty history with Medicaid. He initially opposed expanding the program under Obamacare, then supported it during his re-election campaign, then went back to opposing it. While the Legislature is the body that would have to approve an expansion, Scott’s opinion affects the debate. (Scott’s office did not respond to our questions about Medicaid.) He has argued with Washington over the federal government ending payments for low-income hospital patients, leaving the Legislature to use state money to plug holes in the program the last two years. Scott has also asked lawmakers to eliminate automatic increases to Medicaid hospital rates. He’s also overseen the state’s controversial transition to managed care, in which private companies took over Medicaid policies as a cost-cutting measure. Florida CHAIN, a consumer health advocacy group, told us managed care organizations had actually seen a boost in funding. And there’s the aforementioned abortion bill Scott signed on March 25. That bill prevents state and Medicaid money from going to clinics that perform elective abortions, including Planned Parenthood affiliates. But these are specific issues not necessarily related to getting access to broad health care coverage under Obamacare. While many Floridians remain uninsured without Medicaid expansion, we found no evidence of an outright cut, as Jennings said. Our ruling The activist at Starbucks said Rick Scott ""cut Medicaid"" so people can't ""get Obamacare."" Her point-blank accusation that Scott cut the program doesn’t fit. But through Scott’s inaction and the Florida House's resistance to expansion, many Floridians are not benefitting from either subsidies to buy private insurance or an expanded Medicaid. The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details."
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20160405/ARTICLES/160409848?tc=cr&tc=ar, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/apr/30/steve-crisafulli/crisafulli-says-257000-would-be-forced-medicaid-un/, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/apr/14/rick-scott/rick-scott-says-feds-walked-away-state-health-prog/, http://www.floridafirstbudget.com/web%20forms/OtherInfo/Reports/BudgetHighlights.pdf, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article46024695.html, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/01/25/2016-01450/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines#t-1, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/29/402875028/floridas-legislature-quits-early-at-impasse-over-medicaid-expansion, https://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Session/2016/Appropriations/Documents/2016_Medcaid_Hospital_Funding_Conference_Report.pdf, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/cara-jennings-lake-worth-activist-confronts-gov-sc/nqzWj/, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-09-13/health/os-medicaid-expansion-obamacare-20130913_1_medicaid-expansion-medicaid-coverage-health-insurance-exchange, https://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2015/may/28/revisiting-legislatures-budget-showdown/, http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/video-woman-confronts-rick-scott-in-starbucks, http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/the-coverage-gap-uninsured-poor-adults-in-states-that-do-not-expand-medicaid-an-update/, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article27532903.html, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article68337507.html, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/apr/07/rick-scott/scott-shifts-again-medicaid-expansion/, https://youtu.be/mXYzgTLoQjY, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2014/mar/03/florida-democratic-party/rick-scott-rick-scott-oversaw-largest-medicare-fra/, http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/despite-600-million-offer-florida-senate-refuses-to-back-off-medicaid/2226970, http://m.jacksonville.com/news/health-and-fitness/2015-08-26/story/state-give-insurers-rate-increase-medicaid-managed-care#article=6835C305D3BF88C87E9C420D6B5BA1F2F8C9
1 (mixture)
Health Care, Medicaid, Florida, Rick Scott's Starbucks heckler,
41009
Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.
March 30, 2020
Whilst it is true that an older population has contributed to a high number of deaths in Italy, it may not be the sole reason.
Leo Benedictus, Pippa Allen-Kinross, Kate Lewis
Doctors in India have been successful in treating coronavirus with a combination of drugs (Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine) and are going to suggest the same medicine globally. India’s ministry of health has advised that the anti-HIV drugs, Lopinavir and Retonovir, are used in some groups of Covid-19 patients. But it is unclear how successful this treatment has been. The other two drugs from the claim are not mentioned in their guidance. Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus. Researchers in the Netherlands have released research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, on an antibody against the new coronavirus. A 103 year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from Covid-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China This has been widely reported in the media. Apple has reopened all 42 China stores. Correct. On 13 March 2020, Apple announced that it had reopened all 42 stores in mainland China after a closure of almost six weeks. Cleveland Clinic developed a Covid-19 test that gives results in hours, not days. The number of new cases in South Korea is declining. Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe. Whilst it is true that an older population has contributed to a high number of deaths in Italy, it may not be the sole reason. Scientists in Israel are likely to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Scientists in Israel and elsewhere are working on developing a vaccination to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but it won’t be ready for the public for over a year. Three Maryland coronavirus patients fully recovered and are able to return to everyday life. Correct. On 13 March 2020, Montgomery County, Maryland confirmed that three residents who previously had the virus no longer tested positive. A network of Canadian scientists are making excellent progress in Covid-19 research. At least one group of Canadian scientists has recently announced some progress in understanding Covid-19. A San Diego biotech company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore. Tulsa County's first positive Covid-19 case has recovered. This individual has had two negative tests, which is the indicator of recovery. Correct, this patient has recovered according to official Tulsa County sources. Two negative tests is one of three official indicators of recovery among people with Covid-19 (who showed symptoms). All seven patients who were getting treated for Covid-19 at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi have recovered. There is a news story reporting that seven patients in this hospital in New Delhi had recovered. However, these were not the only Covid-19 patients in the city. Plasma from newly recovered patients from Covid -19 can treat others infected by Covid-19. This is being used as a treatment in some countries, but clinical trials have not yet proved that this is effective. Claim 1 of 15
https://www.facebook.com/FamilyBreakFinder/posts/3313309172016539?__tn__=-R, https://twitter.com/janinedigi/status/1239941983633838080, https://www.facebook.com/drfedich/posts/10157405767104545, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/10/c_138863160.htm, http://english.cctv.com/2020/03/11/ARTILdrK2YAv0QtGavxRcJRP200311.shtml, https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2020/mar/10/wuhan-closes-last-makeshift-coronavirus-hospital-video, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coronavirus-wuhan-masks-video-doctors-nurses-hospital-a9402631.html, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00154-w, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/chinas-premier-warns-local-officials-not-to-cover-up-new-covid-19-cases-as-hubei-reopens, https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/GuidelinesonClinicalManagementofCOVID1912020.pdf, https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/lopinavir-with-ritonavir.html, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/combination-of-two-anti-hiv-drugs-proved-crucial-in-coronavirus-treatment-rajasthan-official/articleshow/74653762.cms, https://www.insideover.com/society/indian-doctors-successfully-cure-italian-coronavirus-patients.html, https://www.who.int/thailand/news/detail/20-03-2020-thailand-joins-the-who-solidarity-trial-global-testing-of-effective-treatments-of-covid-19-across-8-countries-an-aggressive-effort-to-save-lives-from-the-pandemic, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.11.987958v1, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ab/2014/157895/, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/gran-103-recovers-coronavirus-less-21712716, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8099379/Chinese-grandmother-103-recovers-coronavirus-six-day-treatment.html, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coronavirus-latest-103-year-old-woman-recovers-wuhan-hubei-china-a9393991.html, https://www.france24.com/en/20200318-103-year-old-iran-woman-survives-coronavirus-report, http://www.ctdsb.net/html/2020/0310/videos296877.html, https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/03/apples-covid-19-response/, https://www.ft.com/content/b8027b84-4514-11ea-aeb3-955839e06441, https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/store/temporary_closures, https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2020/03/13/coronavirus-video-resources-for-media-outlets/, https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html, https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.15.20036293v1, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-coronavirus-vaccine-israel-biological-research-institute-develope-1.8665074, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/scientists-in-israel-likely-to-announce-it-developed-coronavirus-vaccine/articleshow/74592807.cms, https://www.who.int/blueprint/priority-diseases/key-action/novel-coronavirus-landscape-ncov.pdf?ua=1, https://twitter.com/MontgomeryCoMD/status/1238555045811163147, https://sunnybrook.ca/research/media/item.asp?c=2&i=2069&f=covid-19-isolated-2020, https://www.duke-nus.edu.sg/about/media/media-releases/media-releases/arcturus-dukenus-covid-19-vaccine-using-starr-technology, https://www.who.int/blueprint/priority-diseases/key-action/novel-coronavirus-landscape-ncov.pdf?ua=1%5C#page=4, https://www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19, https://www.facebook.com/TulsaHealth/photos/a.161633677225582/2751661308222793/?type=3&theater, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html, https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/seven-recover-at-safdarjung-hospital-yet-to-be-discharged/article31064785.ece, https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf#page=12, https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-recovered-patient-plasma-trial.html, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-hospital/chinese-doctors-using-plasma-therapy-on-coronavirus-who-says-very-valid-approach-idUSKBN20B1M6, https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/24/fda-now-allows-treatment-of-life-threatening-covid-19-cases-using-blood-from-patients-who-have-recovered/, https://www.facebook.com/help/publisher/182222309230722
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online
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'Enemy of mankind': Coronavirus deaths top SARS as China returns to work.
February 8, 2020
China raised the death toll from its coronavirus outbreak to 811 on Sunday, passing the number killed globally by the SARS epidemic, as authorities made plans for millions of people returning to work after an extended Lunar New Year break.
Winni Zhou, Dominique Patton
Many of China’s usually teeming cities have almost become ghost towns during the past two weeks as Communist Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, canceled flights, closed factories and shut schools. Even on Monday, a large number of workplaces and schools will remain closed and many white-collar employees will work from home. The scale of the potential hit to an economy that has been the engine of global growth in recent years has taken a toll on financial markets, as shares slumped and investors switched into safe-havens such as gold, bonds and the Japanese yen. China’s ambassador to Britain described the newly identified virus as “the enemy of mankind” in a BBC interview on Sunday, but added it “is controllable, is preventable, is curable”. “At this moment is very difficult to predict when we are going to have an inflection point,” Liu Xiaoming said. “We certainly hope it will come soon, but the isolation and quarantine measures have been very effective.” China’s cabinet said it would coordinate with transport authorities to ensure the smooth return to work of employees in key industries such as food and medicines. The State Council’s special coronavirus group also said workers should return in “batches”, rather than all at once, in order to reduce infection risks. China’s National Health Commission recorded another 89 deaths on Saturday, pushing the total well above the 774 who died from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2002/2003. GRAPHIC: Comparing new coronavirus to SARS and MERS - here Total confirmed coronavirus cases in China stood at 37,198, commission data showed. New infections recorded the first drop below 3,000 cases Feb. 2, at 2,656 cases. Of those, 2,147 cases were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. The virus has also spread to at least 27 countries and territories, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China - both of Chinese nationals. The latest patients outside China include a group of British nationals staying in a mountain village in Haute-Savoie in the Alps, French health officials said, raising fears of further infections at a busy period in the ski season. A British man who contracted the virus while attending a conference in Singapore may have infected seven other people when he stopped off at a chalet in the French village on his way home, health experts said. Those infected include a British man diagnosed in Spain and a Briton found to have the disease in the UK, both of whom appeared to have been part of the chalet group. GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus - here As millions of Chinese prepared to go back to work, the public dismay and mistrust of official numbers was evident on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. “What’s even more frustrating is that these are only the ‘official’ data,” said one user. “We all know we can’t purchase masks anywhere, why are we still going back to work?” said a second. “More than 20,000 doctors and nurses around the country have been sent to Hubei, but why are the numbers still rising?” asked a third. Authorities had told businesses to tack up to 10 extra days on to holidays that had been due to finish at the end of January and some restrictions continued. Gaming giant Tencent Holdings said it had asked staff to continue working from home until Feb. 21. Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, will keep schools shut until March 1, the People’s Daily newspaper said. Several provinces have shut schools until the end of February. The local government in the southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, meanwhile, denied a report in the Nikkei business daily that it had blocked a plan by Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Co to resume production in China from Monday. The company would restart once inspections were completed, it said. Among the latest deaths, 81 were in Hubei. An American hospitalized in the provincial capital Wuhan, where the outbreak began, became the first confirmed non-Chinese victim. Joseph Eisenberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, said it was too early to say whether the epidemic was peaking. “Even if reported cases might be peaking, we don’t know what is happening with unreported cases,” he said. Major cities and capitals announced new travel restrictions as concern over the spread of the virus increased. Chinese-ruled Hong Kong introduced a two-week quarantine on Saturday for all people arriving from the mainland, or who have been there during the previous 14 days. Malaysia expanded its ban on visitors from China. France issued a new travel advisory for its citizens, saying it did not recommend traveling to China unless there was an “imperative” reason. Italy asked children traveling from China to stay away from school for two weeks voluntarily. Princess Cruises, operator of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan, said a further six people had tested positive, bringing the total cases aboard to 70. (This story corrects to remove in paragraph 23 reference to 53-year-old geneticist who died, citing Washington Post, after newspaper said it incorrectly identified the name and age of a U.S. citizen who died.)
/article/us-china-health-france/in-french-alpine-village-families-line-up-for-coronavirus-tests-idUKKBN2030K4,https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS-COMPARISON/0100B5BY3CY/index.html,/article/us-china-health-brazil/brazilians-evacuated-from-china-amid-coronavirus-land-in-brazil-idUKKBN2030OK,https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-MAP/0100B59S39E/index.html
2 (true)
Health News
12494
Some of the safest communities in the United States are along the border.
May 17, 2017
"Ramos said, ""Some of the safest communities in the United States are along the border."" Violent crime rates in some border communities are lower than in other parts of the United States, according to FBI data. The FBI has warned against using its crime rates to rank communities’ safety because doing so overlooks other factors. Yet, local law enforcement officials have said crime is low in their border communities, and heavy federal and local law enforcement presence may be deterring crime in border communities. "
Miriam Valverde
"Univision journalist Jorge Ramos said President Donald Trump’s promised border wall is built on a false premise. Ramos appeared on Fox News on May 12 and told Tucker Carlson that there is ""no invasion"" of immigrants coming illegally. Ramos said the number of immigrants in the country illegally has been stable, at about 11 million, over the past half decade, and more Mexicans are leaving than coming to the United States (which we have rated True). ""You know, whatever we’re doing at the border somehow is working. Some of the safest communities in the United States are along the border,"" Ramos said. ""So, I don't think a wall is really going to help."" Studies show immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the native-born population, though the Trump administration often backs its tough stance against illegal immigration with claims that immigrants bring a wave of crime and threaten public safety. We wanted to know if the border region has some of the country’s safest communities, as Ramos claimed. FBI data shows they have lower violent crime rates than other places (though the FBI has cautioned against making safety comparisons), and some local crime statistics show drops in crime in recent years. One possible explanation: Border towns have a heavier presence of federal and local law enforcement. The U.S.-Mexico region includes the four U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and six Mexican states. Some estimates pin the population in the border region (from both Mexico and the United States) at more than 15 million people, as of 2015. Many of the residents live on one side of the border and work on the other, with likely 1 million legal border crossings daily. Ramos has a point that these communities tend to be safe. The most common kinds of crime are those that ail other poor communities, such as drinking and driving, and domestic violence, said Tony Payan, a fellow and director of the Mexico Center at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. ""The murder rates, however, are indeed very low,"" Payan said. He said it’s very difficult to tell exactly why those communities don’t have high levels of crime, but would not disregard as a deterrent the heavy presence of law enforcement. ""But it may also have to do with other issues like the crime levels among migrants,"" Payan said. ""It is well known, contrary to what Mr. Trump may say, that crime among migrant communities is lower than that among natives. And those communities tend to have very high migrant communities and foreign-born populations."" When we asked Ramos about his comment, he pointed to reports in the Huffington Post and the Texas Tribune. The April 2015 Huffington Post report quotes former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner David Aguilar at a 2015 Border Security Expo event. Aguilar reportedly said that border communities are safer than the interior of each of the border states — as well as Washington, D.C. — and ""violent crime is lesser along the border than it is in the interior."" Robert Harris, then a commander heading a joint task force for the Department of Homeland Security, told the Huffington Post that violence on the Mexican side of the border did not reach the United States sector because criminal groups were less organized in the United States. The February 2016 Texas Tribune analysis offered some support for Ramos’ statement. The Tribune article said that based on state and federal data, violent crime rates in many border cities either remained the same or dropped between 2009 and 2014 -- setting them apart from larger cities in the state. In Houston, for instance, the violent crime rate was at 991 crimes for every 100,000 residents, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. The border cities of Laredo, El Paso, Edinburg and Brownsville recorded fewer than 400 crimes for every 100,000 residents, the Tribune said. It’s important to keep in mind that the FBI has warned against using its data to rank and compare the safety of communities, because such comparisons may neglect unique factors in each locale. CQ Press years ago ceased using the words ""safest"" and ""dangerous"" in its annual rankings of cities with the lowest and highest crime rate. Our colleagues at PolitiFact Texas considered the FBI’s cautionary note in a past fact-check of a claim that El Paso is the safest city in Texas and in the United States. PolitiFact Texas rated that claim Half True, because it was based on CQ Press’ past lists and related news stories that labeled El Paso the safest. Also, the rankings did not factor in every Texas burg and did not account for differences in population density, PolitiFact Texas found. (PolitiFact Texas analyzed crime in Texas in another fact-check in 2014, rating Half True a claim about less crime in the Rio Grande Valley than in other major Texas cities.) In its report, the Tribune also noted that border communities have a large presence of local and federal law enforcement officers. Ponce Treviño, Webb County Jail commander, told the news organization: ""You've got to understand, we're a border city so we have a lot of local law enforcement. You have Laredo (Police Department). You have Webb County Sheriff's Office. You've got the constables. Then you have the federal government here. You've got customs. You've got border patrol. You've got ICE. You have a big influx of law enforcement and there's officer presence, so that makes the crime rate a lot lower."" In 2011, the Austin American-Statesman analyzed all 14 counties sharing a border with Mexico and two dozen border cities. It found that between 2006 and 2010, violent crime on the U.S. side fell 3.3 percent. The combined number of murders in the 14 counties also dropped, from 97 in 2006 to 73 in 2010, according to the newspaper. The newspaper said its data analysis did not paint a picture of ""out-of-control chaos"" at the border, although some areas did see a rise in crime. ""Violent crime increased in seven border counties, although those tended to be among the region's least populated, so a small number of incidents can have an outsize effect on rates,"" the Statesman reported. ""Aggravated assaults, in particular, spiked in Starr County and the city of El Paso, the latter long held up as a paragon of border safety."" While violent crime overall decreased in the border, it ""badly trailed"" the more than 12 percent statewide decrease in that same timeframe, the newspaper found. Ramos said, ""Some of the safest communities in the United States are along the border."" Violent crime rates in some border communities are lower than in other parts of the United States, according to FBI data. The FBI has warned against using its crime rates to rank communities’ safety because doing so overlooks other factors. Yet, local law enforcement officials have said crime is low in their border communities, and heavy federal and local law enforcement presence may be deterring crime in border communities."
http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/05/12/tucker-carlson-jorge-ramos-debate-mexican-border-wall-illegal-immigration-locked-doors, http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/042915_border_expo/border-security-still-big-biz-despite-financial-problems-legislative-flameouts/, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-01/documents/state_of_the_border_region_2016_122216.pdf, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/22/border-safety_n_7117134.html, https://www.texastribune.org/2016/02/23/border-communities-have-lower-crime-rates/, https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1397/build-wall-and-make-mexico-pay-it/, http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/2012/CityCrime2013_CityCrimeRankingsFactSheet.pdf, https://ucr.fbi.gov/ucr-statistics-their-proper-use
2 (true)
Immigration, Homeland Security, Crime, PunditFact, Jorge Ramos,
2572
Holiday fitness gifts trend from high-tech to basic.
December 3, 2012
Looking for the perfect holiday present for a fitness fan? Gift offerings this year range from apps that can store a run in the country to be viewed later to gadgets so sophisticated they measure quality of sleep as well as calories burned.
Dorene Internicola
There is also the revival of the humble foam roller, which experts say, like old-time push-ups, squats and planks, has never been more popular. Anita Golden, fitness manager at a Crunch gym in New York City, said she’ll be giving clients a foam roller called the GRID. “We’ve always had foam rollers in the club but now more people are using them as a way to ease post-workout muscles, prevent injuries and exercise the core,” Golden said. When it comes to big-ticket items, Colleen Logan of Icon Health and Fitness, which manufactures a number of fitness brands, said the treadmill remains the most popular gift. “Treadmills continue to lead the industry in terms of home fitness purchases,” said Logan. They account for about 57 percent of fitness purchases, while elliptical trainers and stationary bicycles are a distant second and third place at about 8 percent each. The average home treadmill costs about $700, said Logan, but the technology revolution has transformed even this stalwart at the high end. The ultimate splurge, at $4,000, she said, is the Boston Marathon Treadmill, which allows users to adjust speed in 1/10 of a mile per hour increments without touching the console. It also lets users run a virtual Boston Marathon. For people on a smaller budget, there is the iFit app that lets the iPhone capture a favorite vacation run or bike ride in Hawaii, store it in data centers all over the world which collectively are referred to as the “cloud,” and download it to an iFit-enabled treadmill at home. “You’ll view the exact route and experience the same terrain again,” Logan explained. Devices, gadgets and apps proliferate as tech-savvy fitness becomes more accessible, according to Jessica Matthews of the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “There’s a lot of interest in on-body monitoring devices as ways to motivate and track progress,” she said. “They run the gamut from basic devices to track hours, steps, and caloric expenditure to full-body tracking.” Nike+ Sportsband has a series of small lights on the wrist band that change from red to green as the runner nears his goal, while the BodyMedia FIT Armband tracks everything from the number of calories burned to the quality and quantity of sleep. ACE also studied fitness DVDs released for the holidays. “We evaluated them for quality of instruction, safety, effectiveness and design of workout,” Matthews said. Among the best were “Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body Vol.2: The Edge.” Matthews called it a challenging cardio workout best suited to those on your list with “an established base of fitness.” “Jessica Smith’s 10 Pounds Down Better Body Blast” also got a thumbs up for its well-rounded routine and clarity of instruction. For people seeking a mind-body approach, Matthews praised “STOTT Pilates Intense Body Blast: Pilates Interval Training: Level I,” which she said is accessible for someone new to fitness. “They do a great job queuing movements and creating flow,” she said. Richard Cotton of the American College of Sports Medicine suggests giving the fitness novice the gift of a personal trainer. “The best is human assistance,” he said. “Another way is a beginner group exercise class.” He also suggests a gift certificate for shoes at a running store equipped with a treadmill. “You need shoes that fit your gait,” he said. “People should always get their gait analyzed.” Golden likes to cite the law of reciprocity to the personal trainers she manages. “I always tell them to get their clients something,” she said. And what does the personal trainer want for Christmas? “I like the roller, or a new jump rope,” she said. “Fitness people aren’t hard to please. Get me a new yoga mat and I’m happy.”
2 (true)
Health News
40739
The message claims that the singer Shakira was a guest on MTV and during a segment of live telephone calls refused to speak to an Israeli caller.  She is quoted as having said that she’d rather have pigs listening to her music than Israelis.  The eRumor encourages a boycott of Shakira’s music.
March 17, 2012
A New York court on Thursday temporarily halted a state ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, giving the embattled vaping industry a breather just a day before the state’s prohibition was due to take effect.
Rich Buhler & Staff
The appellate court ruling puts a hold on the ban that was announced by New York state’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo last month in response to widespread growing concern about the rising use of e-cigarettes among teens and a nationwide spate of lung illnesses. The ban, which was due to start on Friday, will remain on ice until at least Oct. 18 when the Supreme Court in Albany is scheduled to hear the case brought by industry trade group Vapor Technology Association arguing for a preliminary injunction on the ban. “We are very pleased with the New York State Appellate Division’s decision, which acknowledges the strength of our claims about the State’s executive overreach, and which preserves the ability of hundreds of small businesses to remain open and continue to serve their adult customers,” Tony Abboud, executive director of the association said in an emailed statement. New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said he remained confident the ban would eventually be enforced. “Make no mistake: this is a public health emergency that demands immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children, and we’re confident that once the court hears our argument they will agree,” Zucker said in a statement. A handful of states have imposed or are eyeing similar bans as the crisis grows and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people stop using vaping products. Governors in Michigan and Rhode Island have announced sales restrictions, while Massachusetts imposed an outright ban for four months while it examined potential new regulations. Ohio’s state governor this week urged lawmakers to pass a ban. U.S. health officials earlier on Thursday reported 18 deaths due to a mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarettes and other vaping products and said the number of confirmed and probable cases of the condition now exceeds 1,000. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also on Thursday ordered several e-cigarette companies, including Juul Labs Inc and Nu Mark, to turn over sales and advertising data, in the first sign of a likely probe of their marketing practices. Tobacco giant Altria Group Inc owns Nu Mark and has a 35% stake in Juul. Abboud noted that New York state lawmakers had already raised the minimum age for the purchase of vapor products from 18 to 21 from November and imposed a tax increase. He said the lobby group was ready to work with officials “to achieve the twin goals of restricting youth vaping, which already is illegal, and preserving flavored alternatives for adults desperately trying to quit smoking.” The New York state Department of Health had pledged to provide retailers with a two-week grace period before conducting site visits to enforce the ban on all flavored e-cigarettes besides tobacco and menthol.
https://www.truthorfiction.com/works-bombs/, https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fshakira%2F, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=The+Singer+Shakira+Insulted+an+Israeli+and+Israel+on+MTV-Fiction%21&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fshakira%2F&via=erumors, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/celebrities/, https://www.truthorfiction.com/july4/, https://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fshakira%2F, https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fshakira%2F, https://www.reddit.com/submit?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fshakira%2F, https://www.truthorfiction.com/author/truthorfiction/
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Celebrities
34499
"Secretary of State John Kerry ""funneled"" taxpayer money into his daughter's global charity."
December 8, 2016
Given that Seed Global Health was expressly conceived to provide specialized services within the framework of the Global Health Service Partnership, it would appear to meet all necessary criteria for an exception to the requirement of open competition.
David Emery
On 12 September 2016, a Daily Caller report appeared detailing claims that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “funneled” millions of taxpayer dollars from the Department of State through the Peace Corps into a nonprofit foundation headed by his daughter, Dr. Vanessa Kerry: More than $9 million of Department of State money has been funneled through the Peace Corps to a nonprofit foundation started and run by Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show. The Department of State funded a Peace Corps program created by Dr. Vanessa Kerry and officials from both agencies, records show. The Peace Corps then awarded the money without competition to a nonprofit Kerry created for the program. Vanessa Kerry, 39, is Secretary Kerry’s younger daughter. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, she completed her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she now works as a critical care physician. Kerry also serves as the director of the Program in Global Public Policy and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, and as CEO of the nonprofit organization she helped conceive and launch in 2011, Seed Global Health (initially known as the Global Health Service Corps). The organization recruits and provides financial assistance to volunteer health professionals who train medical workers in less developed countries, under the aegis of the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP), a joint project of the Peace Corps Response program, the Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and Seed Global. The partnership sent 72 volunteers to three African countries in 2012 and 2013, according to Dr. Kerry, where they trained roughly 7,200 doctors, nurses, and midwives. The article before us lays out a case for questioning the ethical propriety of Seed Global Health’s funding, without competitive bidding, by federal agencies overseen by Dr. Kerry’s father: Initially, the Peace Corps awarded Kerry’s group — now called Seed Global Health — with a three-year contract worth $2 million of State Department money on Sept. 10, 2012, documents show. Her father was then the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which oversees both the Department of State and the Peace Corps. Seed secured a four-year extension in September 2015, again without competition. This time, the Peace Corps gave the nonprofit $6.4 million provided by the Department of State while John Kerry was secretary of state. This creates the impression that these amounts were “funneled” from the State Department through the Peace Corps to Seed Global Health, but it’s hardly an accurate representation of how such funds would be allocated. The State Department oversees and directly funds PEPFAR; PEPFAR contributes funding to the Peace Corps for specific HIV/AIDS initiatives; and, since 2012, the Peace Corps has used PEPFAR funds to contract with Seed Global Health to recruit and support medical professionals needed to train doctors and nurses overseas. The article notes, correctly, that when funding for Seed Global Health (then Global Health Service Corps) was first approved in 2012, Sen. John Kerry was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees both the State Department and Peace Corps. However, the inference that Chairman Kerry was personally involved in the appropriation of said funds is fallacious. It’s a subcommittee — the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations and Bilateral International Development (at that time chaired by Barbara Boxer) — that directly oversees the operations and budget of the State Department and Peace Corps. It’s another subcommittee — the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (at that time chaired by Patrick Leahy) — that approves legislation providing annual funding to those agencies. The article further notes, correctly, that by the time Seed Global Health’s contract was up for renewal in 2015, John Kerry had become Secretary of State. As noted above, the State Department oversees PEPFAR (though it does not oversee the Peace Corps, an independent agency). Again, however, it’s not Secretary of State Kerry who wields direct control of PEPFAR and its operations, it’s the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC), run by Ambassador-at-Large Deborah L. Birx, M.D., who reports to the Secretary of State, but was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. A Seed Global Health spokesperson provided a statement confirming that Secretary Kerry played no role in the decision making pertinent to either the Global Health Service Partnership or Seed Global Health: For the record and to clarify false statements, Seed Global Health CEO Dr. Vanessa Kerry’s father, Secretary of State John Kerry, has had no role or influence in the decision making for the Global Health Service Partnership either in the Senate or at the State Department. The process of developing the public-private partnership adhered to full governmental procedures and policies, was transparent, and involved interagency and Congressional approval. The Peace Corps, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Seed Global Health are on record as describing the origination of the partnership as responding to a federal mandate to train 140,000 healthcare workers globally. The funding for the program was subject to Congressional oversight by a subcommittee (not including Secretary Kerry at any point) and, as per all programs under the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Congress was given 10 days to review or comment on the requested appropriations where no objections were made. Similarly, the State Department denied any direct involvement on Secretary Kerry’s part: Department of State spokesman John Kirby told TheDCNF that “there is absolutely no conflict of interest here. Secretary Kerry played no role in this decision making while in the Senate or subsequently while at the State Department.” Kirby said “Kerry’s work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee allotted funding to PEPFAR generally — not directly to this program. Using funds appropriated by Congress for PEPFAR, the State Department directs funds through an interagency process to seven implementing agencies.” “The Peace Corps recommended the GHSP for funding support, and approval of that support went through the standard interagency budgeting and review process. The GHSP was one element supporting PEPFAR’s Human Resources for Health Strategy, which was developed in part to meet the goal set by the U.S. Congress of 140,000 new health care workers trained by PEPFAR under its fiscal year 2009-2013 reauthorization.” And, in a 2012 interview with Public Radio International, Dr. Kerry herself explained that the program was initiated during a chance meeting with Peace Corps representatives who were speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She said her father was not involved: But for the specifics of this program, my dad has had nothing directly to do with it. I barely told him about it. We were able to approach the Peace Corps because a colleague discovered that leaders from the Peace Corps were talking at the Kennedy School in 2012. I went and asked a question during the open forum about whether they thought the idea of doctors and nurses as educators through the Peace Corps would work. Another piece of evidence cited by Daily Caller to support its suggestion that there is a conflict of interest is a Seed Global Health tax document showing that in 2014 Dr. Kerry drew a salary amounting to just over $140,000. However, a closer look reveals that in fact she received zero reportable compensation from Seed Global itself. What is actually listed is $103,000 in reportable compensation from related organizations, and $37,080 in “other compensation.” A Seed Global spokesperson said as much in a statement given to Breitbart, which made similar allegations: If you review our IRS 990 financial reports, it will show Dr. Kerry’s compensation from Seed is zero dollars. The compensation reported erroneously online in 2014 is from column E and column F, labeled “other compensation” and was related to Dr. Kerry’s role at Massachusetts General Hospital. What is that role? In addition to being a critical care specialist at Massachusetts General, Dr. Kerry is the associate director of partnerships and global initiatives for the hospital’s Global Health program, which is listed on Seed Global Health’s web site as a “founding academic partner.” There is no evidence that Dr. Kerry personally benefited from any government funds allocated for use by Seed Global Health. Finally, as to the propriety of the Peace Corps awarding contracts to Seed Global Health on a non-competitive (no-bid) basis, doing so is neither unethical nor illegal under federal law, provided certain criteria are met: When the supplies or services required by the agency are available from only one responsible source, or, for DoD, NASA, and the Coast Guard, from only one or a limited number of responsible sources, and no other type of supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, full and open competition need not be provided for. (i) Supplies or services may be considered to be available from only one source if the source has submitted an unsolicited research proposal that: (A) Demonstrates a unique and innovative concept (see definition at 2.101), or, demonstrates a unique capability of the source to provide the particular research services proposed; (B) Offers a concept or services not otherwise available to the Government; and (C) Does not resemble the substance of a pending competitive acquisition. (See 10 U.S.C. 2304(d)(1)(A) and 41 U.S.C. 3304(b)(1).)
3 (unproven)
Politics, breitbart, cronyism, daily caller
26595
An audio message lists five ways people can prevent the novel coronavirus.
March 25, 2020
An audio message lists 10 ways people can avoid contracting COVID-19. We fact-checked five of the most questionable claims. There is no evidence that sipping water every 20 minutes or exposing your clothing to the sun can help prevent the coronavirus. Officials advise people to wash their hands, but not every 20 minutes, as the message claims. There’s also no evidence that consuming cold things makes you more susceptible to the virus. There’s no proof that the coronavirus can live for up to nine days on metallic surfaces. A preliminary study suggests it can remain viable on stainless steel for up to three days.
Daniel Funke
"A post about COVID-19 is being shared in a new format on Facebook. In an audio message that a reader sent us on March 23, a woman with a British accent lists 10 ways that people can avoid being infected with the coronavirus. The message claims to be based on research from Chinese scientists. ""It was sent to me by a colleague who has a friend that works at Dr. Negrin, which is the main hospital on our island,"" says the woman on the audio message. ""It’s obviously in Spanish, so I’m just going to read it and translate it for you."" University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr. Negrin is located in the city of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands. The island chain’s tourism industry has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s some of the questionable medical advice in the audio message that caught our eye: If some of those claims sound familiar, it’s because many of them have been circulating on social media in some form since January, when the World Health Organization addressed a slew of COVID-19 rumors on Twitter. We’ve also debunked several bogus coronavirus prevention and treatment methods. But this audio message was new to us, so we decided to check out each of the five claims. All of them either lack evidence or have been debunked by public health officials. While health experts recommend drinking water regularly to stay healthy, there is no evidence that sipping some every 20 minutes can help prevent coronavirus infection. The primary way the virus spreads is through close contact with infected people and respiratory droplets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When someone with the coronavirus coughs or sneezes, their germs land on surfaces around them. The virus then infects people who touch those surfaces and then their eyes, nose or mouth. So to prevent contracting the coronavirus, the CDC advises people to avoid touching their face as much as possible. Other ways to prevent infection include washing your hands with soap and water, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and regularly sanitizing the surfaces in your home or at your workstation. As of now, there is no specific treatment for the virus. In a tweet published Feb. 7, the WHO said it does not advise people to drink water as a way to avoid coronavirus infection. While air-drying your clothes may save you some money on your electricity bill, there is no evidence it will kill the coronavirus. We’ve rated similar claims . There is ample evidence that viruses, including human coronaviruses, don’t like heat. Influenza, for example, thrives in dry, cold weather, which is one reason the flu season typically spans from fall to spring. And high-intensity UV light can kill viruses. Here are 4 real ways to protect yourself But that doesn’t mean sun exposure kills the coronavirus. Experts told us natural sunlight doesn’t provide the UV intensity needed to kill the virus, and the WHO says on its website that COVID-19 can be transmitted in all climates, ""including areas with hot and humid weather."" Neither the WHO nor the CDC lists sunlight exposure as a method to kill the coronavirus. In fact, the WHO has debunked the claim, saying ""there is no evidence that sunlight kills the new coronavirus."" Public health officials say washing your hands is one of the primary ways to prevent COVID-19 infection. But if you’re healthy and in self-isolation, there is probably little reason to lather up so frequently. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time — ""especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing."" On its website, UNICEF lists a few more examples of when people should wash their hands: ""after touching surfaces outside the home, including money; before, during and after caring for a sick person; and before and after eating."" So if you’re doing any of those things every 20 minutes, you may want to wash your hands. This claim is baseless. As we’ve covered before, there is evidence that human coronaviruses don’t like heat. But just as there’s no scientific proof that hot things prevent COVID-19, there’s no proof that cold things make you more susceptible. This claim is similar to one made in a fake UNICEF handout that circulated on Facebook in early March. It said people should ""stay away from ice cream and eating cold"" to avoid contracting COVID-19. In a statement, UNICEF debunked that claim. On its website, the WHO did, too. ""There is no scientific evidence that eating hygienically made frozen food and ice-cream spreads the new coronavirus,"" the organization says. There’s no evidence to support this. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17 tested how long the coronavirus, formally called SARS-CoV-2, lived on five different surfaces: aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard. ""SARS-CoV-2 remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of our experiment (3 hours),"" the authors wrote. ""SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard."" On cardboard, they could not detect any after 24 hours. The coronavirus lives the longest on plastic and stainless steel — up to three days. That’s far from nine days, as the audio message claimed. And while the journal article hasn’t been peer-reviewed, its findings are similar to those of other researchers. An article published in the Journal of Hospital Infection in March reviewed what other scientists have found about the surface viability of various coronaviruses that infect humans, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which are both similar to COVID-19. The authors wrote that scientists found some of these viruses could live for up to five days on steel, and eight hours on aluminum. Another study they cited found a SARS virus strain remaining viable for up to five days on an unspecified metal. The article did find that one strain of SARS could live for up to nine days on plastic surfaces. But two other strains of the virus remained viable for only five days or less, and MERS could live for only up to 48 hours at a certain temperature. More recently, a March 23 report from the CDC said novel coronavirus RNA was found on surfaces on the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked. That finding raised questions about whether the coronavirus can last longer on some surfaces than previously thought, but researchers have noted that viral RNA doesn’t necessarily mean live virus was present. A chain audio message on Facebook Messenger lists 10 ways to prevent infection from COVID-19. We fact-checked five and found them inaccurate. First, there is no evidence that sipping water every 20 minutes can help prevent coronavirus infection. There is also no evidence that exposing your clothing to the sun will kill the coronavirus. Health officials recommend that people avoid touching their face and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds at a time —  not every 20 minutes, as the message claims. There’s also no evidence that consuming cold things makes you more susceptible to the virus. Finally, while the science is far from settled, there’s no proof that the coronavirus can live for up to nine days on metallic surfaces. The best available evidence suggests that it can remain viable on stainless steel for up to three days. If you receive a chain message that you want us to fact-check, send a screenshot to [email protected] or forward it to us on Facebook."
https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/statement-charlotte-petri-gornitzka-unicef-deputy-executive-director-partnerships, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/11/facebook-posts/drinking-water-does-not-prevent-coronavirus-infect/, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615402/coronavirus-might-last-on-surfaces-for-a-lot-longer-than-we-thought/, https://twitter.com/WHOPhilippines/status/1225961563594510337, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jmv.1890230313, https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30046-3/fulltext, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html, https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html, http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2014/the-reason-for-the-season-why-flu-strikes-in-winter/, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/11/facebook-posts/sun-exposure-does-not-kill-coronavirus/, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/20/greg-murphy/no-sunlight-has-not-been-proven-kill-coronavirus/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870397/, https://twitter.com/aetiology/status/1242254105155973122, https://www.who.int/southeastasia/outbreaks-and-emergencies/novel-coronavirus-2019/fact-or-fiction, https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/05/stop-sharing-myths-about-preventing-coronavirus-he/, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html, https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/everything-you-need-know-about-washing-your-hands-protect-against-coronavirus-covid-19, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public, https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMc2004973, https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/can-uv-light-fight-spread-influenza, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-spain-tourism/coronavirus-impact-is-overwhelming-spains-hotels-association-says-idUSKBN20T2J1
0 (false)
Public Health, Facebook Fact-checks, Coronavirus, Chain message,
7606
Mass virus test in nursing home seeks to combat loneliness.
Some were born in this warren of small rooms in what used to be a hospital, dating to the 17th century. Many are likely to die here. And all are currently confined to their rooms, denied the simple comfort of human companionship.
Lori Hinnant And Jean-François Badias
The residents at the Weiss nursing home in eastern France want to chat face to face, to play board games, to share meals. And so each gave a vial of blood to be tested for the coronavirus, as did each staff member — about 580 tests in all. The goal: to identify who must be isolated and who will be allowed the freedom to leave their rooms. “We spend all our days between those four walls — that’s it, we are not allowed to go out. We don’t even have the right to go out in the hallway,” said Henry Bohn, a 69-year-old who suffered a stroke that has left him in a wheelchair. “They bring us breakfast, lunch and dinner here in the room. Luckily, we have the sun these days and it helps, but we do miss the essential things.” An Associated Press photographer spent two days chronicling the virus testing at three of the 10 nursing homes in France’s Haut-Rhin region, where comprehensive testing was ordered by local authorities. The site in Ammerschwir poses particular problems with its small rooms and long corridors, and residents with often-severe cognitive difficulties. “It is hard for them to remember the rules that we give them. When we put masks on them, they hardly keep them on, and they need to socialize and leave their rooms,” said Sylvie Ghiringhelli, the head nurse. Some patients wander out anyway, clustering in hallways or taking seats in the common room before they can be led gently back. The elderly make up a disproportional share of coronavirus victims globally, and that is especially true in nursing homes, which have seen a horrific number of deaths around the world. In France, nursing home deaths account for more than a third of the country’s total 17,000 coronavirus victims — figures the government now documents meticulously after weeks of pressure. Infections have swept through the country’s 7,000 residences for the elderly, with more than 15,000 confirmed cases among patients and 8,900 among staff between March 1 and April 14. And nowhere has it been deadlier than in France’s east, near the border with Germany, where the outbreak began at an evangelical gathering in the city of Mulhouse. Overall mortality in the Haut-Rhin was up 143% from March 1 to April 6, according to government figures. Restricting residents to their rooms can take a different kind of toll. “The confinement stopped all the communal meals in the dining room, stopped every form of social life,” Ghiringhelli said. “There are no more activities, no more visits. Our residents bear the consequences.” Marie Louise Kopp’s room is filled with souvenirs — photos, china cats, octagonal paintings — to help jog a 79-year-old memory that waxes and wanes. “My son was coming to visit me and some family, but now nobody can,” she said, an untouched newspaper on her lap. “Everyone stays at home with this crisis.” France’s health minister, Olivier Véran, said family visits would again be permitted beginning Monday, at a resident’s request and as long as the nursing home staff can organize a system of ensure protection against the virus. “There will not be physical contact but there can be visual contact, and that can provide solace,” Véran said Sunday. It’s not clear how quickly visitors will be allowed again in Ammerschwir, but the nursing home staff hope testing everybody will enable most residents to at least leave their rooms without fear of infection. Results are expected next week and the local administration and nursing home directors will then meet to discuss the next steps. Elsewhere, France has locked down nursing homes after two positive tests and simply assumed that anyone with symptoms was infected. “The testing will perhaps allow us to partially resume life, communal meals and activities in small groups,” Ghiringhelli said. “And to mend the social ties.” ___ Lori Hinnant reported from Paris. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
/cc22e7c9d6af5080983b454644cdc113,/VirusOutbreak,/e935a19abd0962a460573ca396dcf18e,/bd46ff3b2eb0f1fbb66d8dbe3ac3b449,/4f37a0182dfdaeee5d14484b2a25674b,/UnderstandingtheOutbreak,/tag/apf-lifestyle,/cb415b59e92e08ba98ff2a0e01d73dee
2 (true)
AP Top News, Understanding the Outbreak, International News, General News, France, Lifestyle, Health, Science, Nursing homes, Virus Outbreak, Europe
23166
Dwayne Bohac Says the Annie's List political group supports third-trimester abortions on demand.
October 20, 2010
"Texas Rep. Dwayne Bohac says Annie's List supports ""third-trimester abortion on demand"""
Meghan Ashford-Grooms
"Lies, truth, honesty: Anytime campaign literature shows up peppered with these words, we perk up. So it was when a reader, Randall Horton, passed along a recent mailer from state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, which opens: ""Honesty matters, especially in politics."" The Truth-O-Meter kicked in at Bohac's reference to Annie's List, a Texas group dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women. His leaflet calls the group ""a liberal special-interest group who supports third-trimester abortion on demand."" Is that so? Some background: Annie's List was founded in 2003, its website says. According to Robert Jones, its political director, the group was modeled on the nationally established EMILY's List, which describes itself as ""dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office."" EMILY is an acronym: Early Money Is Like Yeast. And, as Bohac's mailer says, Annie's List backs Bohac's Democratic challenger, Kendra Yarbrough Camarena. Through Sept. 23, state records show, Camarena had received about $77,000 from Annie's List, accounting for about 26 percent percent of her contributions since March 2009. UPDATE, 10:45 a.m. Oct. 21, 2010: After we published this article, a Bohac campaign consultant, Bryan Eppstein, pointed to information backing up another Bohac claim that Annie's List has contributed more than $100,000 to Camarena's cause. His figure takes into account both the group's direct contributions to Camarena's campaign, which we tallied for our original article, and indirect contributions that to date have been reported only by Annie's List; these include expenditures for pro-Camarena direct mail, campaign staff and software. Also, the reader who forwarded Bohac's mailer gave us permission to include his name in this article. How to regulate late-term abortions has proved to be a simmering national issue. In 2003, Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act outlawing a procedure known medically as ""intact dilation and extraction."" The U.S. Supreme Court later upheld the law, which had been challenged by physicians and abortion-rights activists who said the procedure is often the safest to use late in a pregnancy because it ""minimizes the chances of injury to the uterus,"" according to an April 2007 recap by The New York Times. When does a pregnancy become ""late-term""? Elizabeth Nash — a public policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which studies and advocates on issues related to reproductive health — told us that the term ""is more of a political or layperson term"" and that ""people have all sorts of ideas about its definition."" Generally speaking, she said, any point past the 18th week of pregnancy, counting from the last menstrual period, could be considered ""late term."" The third trimester is typically thought to begin at the 28-week mark. Late-term abortions are rare. Nationally, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 1.5 percent of U.S. abortions in 2006 occurred at the 21st week or later. According to the most recent data available from the Texas Department of State Health Services, 13 out of 81,591 Texas abortions (about 0.02 percent) in 2008 occurred in the 25th week or later. When we asked Bohac's campaign officials for evidence that Annie's List supports third-trimester abortion ""on demand,"" it referred us to his political consultant, Keats Norfleet. Norfleet told us that Annie's List only supports ""pro-choice, progressive Democratic women candidates who favor late-term abortions."" Norfleet sent us several news articles describing Annie's List as backing Democratic women candidates who are ""pro-choice,"" though none explicitly mentions third-trimester or late-term abortions. We wondered if Annie's List had clearly stated its position on third-trimester abortions anywhere. The group's website says it wants to elect more women who are ""pro-choice"" and who favor ""reproductive rights,"" without mention of third-trimester abortions. In an e-mail, Jones said Annie's List doesn't advocate specific stands on issues. ""We don't advocate for late-term procedures 'on demand,' "" Jones said. ""We simply provide resources to progressive Democratic women candidates to help them get elected. And one of the many tenets of what we consider to be progressive is to be pro-choice."" Generally, Jones said, the group backs Democratic women who ""support things like funding for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, fully funded public schools, clear air and water, access to quality health care, and a woman’s right to choose."" As for a candidate's position on third-trimester abortions, Jones said: ""If there was a bill in Texas to ban so-called partial-birth or late-term abortions, we wouldn't kick a woman off our list just because she supported it"" as long as she also supported an exclusion for the health and safety of the woman. Jones told us that the group assumes that a candidate's ""pro-choice"" position means that she's aligned with the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and subsequent case law. That ruling established a constitutional right to an abortion before viability, the time at which a fetus can survive outside a woman's body. According to a report issued this month by the Guttmacher Institute, the court held in Roe that ""a woman’s right to an abortion is not absolute and that states could restrict or ban abortions after fetal viability, provided their policies meet certain requirements,"" including an exception to protect the life of the woman. Since then, other Supreme Court rulings have affirmed states' rights to approve further restrictions. Texas has two laws restricting third-trimester abortions — one enacted in 1987 and the other in 2005. According to an Austin American-Statesman report, the 2005 law — attached as an amendment to a proposal maintaining the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, now the Texas Medical Board — made it so that serious risk ""to a woman's mental and physical health would no longer be a reason for an abortion in the last few months of pregnancy. An abortion could still be performed to prevent her death, but otherwise could not be performed unless she is diagnosed with a significant likelihood of suffering imminent severe, irreversible brain damage or paralysis. In addition, a fetus' abnormalities, other than severe, irreversible brain damage, would no longer be an acceptable factor."" Mindful that Annie's List is supportive of pro-choice Democratic women but doesn't spell out a position on third-trimester abortions, we looked at what ""pro-choice"" means to others who work on abortion-related issues. Nash called that ""a toughie,"" adding that ""sometimes organizations still support a legislator if they vote for a 'partial-birth' abortion ban but are otherwise supportive of abortion rights and work to increase access to family planning and other reproductive health services."" Sara Cleveland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, told us that the group defines ""pro-choice"" as ""the original vision of Roe v. Wade,"" under which ""states are permitted to ban abortion in the third trimester as long as there are exceptions to the ban for cases of a woman’s life or health endangerment."" But Joe Pojman, executive director of an anti-abortion group, Texas Alliance for Life, said he would define ""pro-choice"" based on the positions taken by groups that use the term to describe themselves. He used NARAL Pro-Choice Texas as an example, saying correctly that it opposed the 2005 third-trimester measure as well as parental consent requirements for minors seeking abortions. Pojman said Annie's List backs candidates who support ""abortions rights without limits,"" singling out state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, who voted against the 2005 amendment increasing restrictions on third-trimester abortions as well as the final version of the bill containing the ban. We took a closer look at the vote on that amendment, which passed 118-16. We determined that Reps. Alma Allen of Houston and Yvonne Gonzales Toureilles of Alice, both backed this year by Annie's List, voted for the amendment, while Rep. Veronica Gonzales of McAllen, also supported by the group, voted against the amendment. So how about truth, lies and honesty? It's true that Annie's List backs ""pro-choice"" Democratic women. And Bohac's politically potent statement rests on the assumption that ""pro-choice"" means ""supports third-trimester abortion on demand."" That's a premise that he fails to back up. Annie's List makes no bones about being comfortable with candidates who oppose further restrictions on late-term abortions. Then again, this year it’s backing two House candidates who voted for more limits. Honestly? Bohac's sweeping, unsupported statement is ."
https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/102010_bohacmailer.pdf, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/19/washington/19scotus.html, http://emilyslist.org/who/mission/, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_aas.pdf, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.170.htm#170.002, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/htm/OC.164.htm, http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/filer.php?acct=00065547coh, http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=79R&Bill=SB419, http://www.annieslist.com/whatwedo.aspx, http://www.annieslist.com/WhyWeDoIt.aspx, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_guttdoc.pdf, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_clevelandemail.pdf, http://www.annieslist.com/whoweare.aspx, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_vote.pdf, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_jonesemail.pdf, https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html, https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/politifact/101910_norfleetemail.pdf, https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/chs/vstat/vs08/t36.shtm
0 (false)
Abortion, Texas, Dwayne Bohac,
10101
Experiments test if implant can block sleep apnea
December 27, 2010
The story presents one glowing personal anecdote about the new devices but no sense of how much research has been done to date. It doesn’t discuss costs or spend enough time with independent experts. Because it selectively chooses the scariest facts about sleep apnea, it veers into disease-mongering, helping to hype these new devices without giving enough data about benefits from current approaches. Sleep apnea is a real problem for a minority of people. Usually it is a warning sign of another, even more serious problem: obesity. One of the unseen adverse effects of obesity is the development of sleep apnea. At the moment, about 12 million Americans have diagnosed sleep apnea. That number is expected to increase along with the increasing problem of obesity. At the moment, the symptoms of sleep apnea can be successfully managed with the use of specialized breathing masks used at night. Unfortunately many people cannot tolerate the masks, since they are uncomfortable and are very confining. Other somewhat more drastic approaches including surgery have not been widely adopted. That’s why another approach to sleep apnea is of interest. The technology described has been under development since the early 1990s and described in previous studies. Treating sleep apnea with a medical device might be effective for some, but people who are obese need to address the root causes of their weight. That approach might, indeed, include a medical device, such as a lap band, but targeting each “side effect” of obesity with a different device would lead to a mind boggling escalation of costs, not to mention the potential risks involved in each surgery.
There is no mention of costs for the surgical implants or any of the other treatment methods. Whether insurers are likely to cover such treatments and whether they cover current treatment approaches would have been helpful information as well. The cost of medical devices needs to be considered for a host of reasons. A similar technology (vagal nerve stimulation) costs about $20,000 and could have been used as a useful example. No data on benefits are given for the “undisputed best treatment, called CPAP. ” Regarding the new devices, because they are in early studies, any suggestion of benefit must be made carefully. While a number of provisos were included in the story, the single patient anecdote and the “What we’re looking for is actually cure” quote from one of the investigators provide the reader with an imbalanced perspective. There is no mention of potential harms. This is troubling because the devices described would require a surgery. To be eligible for one of the devices, a person would need to undergo some fairly extensive testing, much of which is rather unpleasant, including having “a tube snaked down the airway” to see whether their sleep apnea  is being caused by a qualifying condition. The device is surgically implanted in the chest with wires run up the neck and into the base of the tongue. Once implanted the device now needs to be programmed to deliver the stimulation at the right time. There is a potential for nerve damage with long term use and the devices (as we have learned from the recent recall of heart defibrillator leads) are not infallible. There is no attempt to evaluate the quality of the evidence. We are given one anecdote of a man presumably enrolled in a clinical trial, but we don’t learn how much research has been done – only that a “key study” of 100 people is planned. There is also no evaluation of the evidence for “today’s undisputed best treatment, called CPAP” – only estimates of how many people won’t or can’t use it. This lead made us stop in our tracks. “Loud snoring may do more than irritate your spouse: It can signal sleep apnea, depriving you of enough zzzz’s to trigger a car crash, even a heart attack.” Car crashes and heart attacks? This sounds like a national emergency. The story goes on to say, “More than 12 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, according to the National Institutes of Health….Yet going untreated is more dangerous than just feeling tired. Sleep apnea stresses the body in ways that increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. More immediately, severe apnea increases the chance of a car crash sevenfold. Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that pilots, truck drivers and other commercial transportation operators start being screened for apnea, saying it has been a factor in incidents involving every mode of transit.” How many incidents? Is sleep apnea more dangerous than, say, texting while driving? Without any context, these facts serve only to scare, not to inform. There are many quotes in this story but none comes from an independent source. Meir Kryger, a sleep medicine specialist at Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut, is the most quoted and is receiving money from Inspire Medical Systems, a device maker, for clinical trials. Rik Krohn, a 67-year-old from suburban Minneapolis (where the company is based – how was he chosen?) is quoted as a sleep apnea sufferer who may have been helped by the Inspire device. We’re not told what connection Dr. Rick Odland, Krohn’s surgeon at Minneapolis’ Hennepin County Medical Center, may have with the company. He is the co-founder of his own medical device company, Twin Star. There is apparently one independent perspective – a voice of caution relegated to the very end in a two sentence paraphrase. “These experiments are only now beginning, with a handful of implants performed so far—and while it’s an interesting concept, frustrated patients should try some proven steps first, cautions, Dr. Amy Atkeson of Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Her advice: Don’t give up on CPAP without first seeing an experienced sleep technician to adjust humidity levels and take other steps that not every CPAP prescriber knows to try—and if you’re overweight or obese, apnea greatly improves with weight loss.” The imbalance in the quotes provided, and the absence of any conflict of interest disclosure leads us to give an unsatisfactory score. The story does not do an adequate job comparing these devices to other treatments or to weight loss. The story ends with this brief statement:  “Don’t give up on CPAP without first seeing an experienced sleep technician to adjust humidity levels and take other steps that not every CPAP prescriber knows to try—and if you’re overweight or obese, apnea greatly improves with weight loss.” But, as noted, no data is given on CPAP’s benefits – only discussion of what doesn’t work with CPAP. And no data were given – only this one line – about the role of overweight, obesity, and weight loss in sleep apnea. The story provides a very good overview of the ongoing trials of the various companies’ devices and notes an upcoming clinical trial. The story makes it clear that there are several devices in competition to be the dominant sleep apnea device. “By the end of January, Minneapolis-based Inspire Medical Systems plans to begin enrolling 100 apnea patients in a key study in the U.S. and Europe to see if so-called hypoglossal nerve stimulation really could work. Two competitors are developing similar implants: ImThera Medical of San Diego says it hopes to begin U.S. studies later next year, and Apnex Medical of St. Paul, Minn., has announced some small-scale testing.” The story does not rely on a news release.
http://www.mdconsult.com/das/article/body/230661448-2/jorg=journal&source=&sp=23646773&sid=0/N/765181/1.html?issn=10870792&_returnURL=http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1087079209001221?showall=true#r09001221004
0 (false)
Associated Press
8628
Tokyo reports 143 new coronavirus cases, highest jump in one day: governor.
April 5, 2020
Some 143 more cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Tokyo, the city’s governor said on Sunday, with the highest daily jump bringing the number of cases in the Japanese capital to more than 1,000.
Tokyo’s metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home as the city of nearly 14 million has seen an uptick in the number of cases in recent days. The number of cases with untraceable transmission routes had increased in recent days, Governor Yuriko Koike said in a livecast YouTube video on Sunday, adding it was worrying that there were a number of people who were infected at hospitals. The majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend in Tokyo were of people under the age of 50, a member of Japan’s health ministry taskforce for the virus said in the same livecast Sunday night, adding that many of them were in their 20s and 30s. Tokyo’s metropolitan government has repeatedly called on residents in the densely populated city to avoid all unnecessary outings. Koike said in an earlier TV appearance that “lives were at stake”. Global cases of the new coronavirus have shot past 1 million with more than 64,000 deaths. Japan, with some 3,000 cases and 73 deaths as of Friday, has so far been spared the kind of explosive surge seen in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. With the increase in cases in Tokyo, there have been growing calls from Tokyo’s governor and groups representing medical professionals for the central government to call for a “state of emergency”. Unlike in some countries, that would give the government limited enforcement power.
2 (true)
Health News
15032
"The gun industry is ""the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability."
October 16, 2015
"Clinton said the gun industry is ""the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability."" Clinton is talking about a law that says the gun industry is protected from liability in certain instances, but the law also specifies several situations in which the gun industry is susceptible to lawsuits. Further, Congress has passed a number of laws that protect a variety of business sectors from lawsuits in certain situations, so the situation is not unique to the gun industry."
Lauren Carroll
"At the first Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for supporting a 2005 law that shields the gun industry from certain lawsuits. Clinton voted against this law when she was a senator, and she has lambasted it several times on the campaign trail this month. ""Probably one of the most egregious, wrong, pieces of legislation that ever passed the Congress when it comes to this issue is to protect gun sellers and gun makers from liability,"" she said in Iowa Oct. 7. ""They are the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability. They can sell a gun to someone they know they shouldn't, and they won't be sued. There will be no consequences."" Is Clinton right? Are gun makers and dealers ""wholly protected"" against any kind of lawsuit, and do no other industries have similar immunities? Short answer: No. The gun industry is susceptible to some lawsuits, and there are federal laws restricting liability for a number of other types of businesses. As support, Clinton’s staff sent us a public health journal article that argues the gun industry’s ""broad immunity"" against litigation inhibits safe manufacturing and distribution of firearms, though it does not directly address her claim. Exceptions The law at issue is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush and seen as a victory for gun rights advocates. The purpose of the law is to protect gun dealers and manufacturers from lawsuits when their products are misused. For example, if a person buys a gun legally and then uses the gun to intentionally kill someone, the gun dealer and manufacturer cannot be held liable for the crime under the law. While opponents argue that the law stops some victims from having their day in court, supporters say the law protects gun dealers and manufacturers from frivolous and expensive legal proceedings. In any case, Clinton goes too far in saying the gun industry is ""wholly protected from any kind of liability."" The law lists several situations that are not protected from liability. It does not protect gun dealers who transfer a gun knowing it would be used for criminal purposes, nor those who knowingly break state or federal law if the violation results in harm. Gun manufacturers can also be sued if the gun, when used properly, causes injury because the product is defective. ""The statement is incorrect insofar as it suggests that gun makers are totally free from liability,"" said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles who specializes in gun law. Some opponents of the law argue that the liability protection is so broad and ambiguous, and the exceptions so narrow, that some legitimate lawsuits won’t have a chance to appear in court. But this is different from saying the gun industry is wholly immune to all lawsuits. Clinton also said the gun industry is the ""only"" business in America with this total liability protection. We know that it doesn’t have total protection, but do other sectors have something similar? Not the only one The act ""is not the first federal law to grant a particular industry immunity from tort liability,"" said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University, who edited a book on gun industry litigation. Possibly the most analogous rule -- in that it protects a specific group of potential defendants from a specific liability theory -- is one that offers some immunity to online service providers, said John Goldberg, a law professor at Harvard University and an expert in tort law, in an email to PolitiFact. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act blocks victims of online defamation from suing service providers (like Comcast) and content providers (like YouTube) for failing to monitor or remove defamatory posts uploaded by customers. In a prior interview with NPR, Goldberg called the gun industry law particularly ""aggressive"" in terms of the liability protections granted. Most of the experts we surveyed also mentioned a vaccine manufacturer liability law passed in the 1980s. Under the law, victims of injuries that they say were caused by defective vaccines are not allowed to sue vaccine manufacturers. This differs from the gun legislation, however, because it established the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, through which alleged victims can make a claim and receive compensation. ""By contrast, (the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) simply prohibits certain kinds of tort claims against the gun industry without providing plaintiffs any alternative means of pursuing their claims,"" Lytton said. There’s also some liability protection in the medical devices and airline industries, noted Walter Olson, senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute and expert in tort law. For example,the 1994 General Aviation Revitalization Act said small aircraft manufacturers cannot be sued for accidents involving aircraft more than 18 years old. ""It’s not at all unique to the gun industry. It’s a version (of liability law) Congress developed for an industry that was under very heavy attack,"" Olson said, referring to the slew of litigation against gun sellers and makers that prompted Congress to pass the law. Our ruling Clinton said the gun industry is ""the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability."" Clinton is talking about a law that says the gun industry is protected from liability in certain instances, but the law also specifies several situations in which the gun industry is susceptible to lawsuits. Further, Congress has passed a number of laws that protect a variety of business sectors from lawsuits in certain situations, so the situation is not unique to the gun industry."
https://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/21/politics/congress-passes-new-legal-shield-for-gun-industry.html?_r=0, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2040374/, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/one-quick-answer-to-sandy-hook-repeal-the-2005-arms-act/266371/, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42871.pdf, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/s397, http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/06/446348616/fact-check-are-gun-makers-totally-free-of-liability-for-their-behavior, https://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472032112-after.pdf, http://www.cato.org/blog/bernie-was-right-hillary-wrong-gun-lawsuit-bill, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOc50YcRZmM
0 (false)
National, Legal Issues, Guns, Hillary Clinton,
35637
A captive panda deliberately faked symptoms of pregnancy in order to obtain special treatment from her keepers.
June 10, 2020
Pandas that staff believe to be expecting are given a single, air-conditioned room, as well as more buns, fruit, and bamboo than non-pregnant pandas.
David Mikkelson
People are generally fascinated by examples of other animals engaging in human-like behavior — all the more so when that behavior involves animals seemingly outsmarting human beings. A case in point is a claim, reflected in the following meme, that a zoo-kept female panda deliberately mimicked the symptoms of pregnancy because she observed that other pregnant pandas in the zoo received special treatment: This claim originated with a 2014 report from the Chinese state-run press agency Xinhua, detailing how a planned live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center had been canceled when it was discovered that the expectant mother-to-be was not actually pregnant. A quote from a panda expert cited in the report suggested that some “clever pandas” who experienced phantom pregnancies would deliberately continue to exhibit pregnancy symptoms afterwards in order to fool their keepers into providing them with special treatment: A celebrated giant panda was removed from a widely-anticipated live birth after it was discovered she was not actually pregnant. The panda Ai Hin, 6, was scheduled to star in the world’s first live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs, but the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center told Xinhua that the panda had a “phantom pregnancy.” Phantom pregnancy is common among the endangered bears. Non-pregnant pandas can exhibit prenatal behaviors as a result of progestational hormone changes. But experts said sometimes the pandas, noticing the difference in treatment after exhibiting initial signs of pregnancy, may carry on with the pregnant behavior. “After showing prenatal signs, the ‘mothers-to-be’ are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care. They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life,” said Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu Base. But another panda expert quickly walked that claim back, asserting that the behavior was due to hormonal changes rather than purposeful trickery and had been observed in both captive and wild pandas: Claims that a six-year-old panda faked signs of pregnancy to receive better treatment from her conservation centre carers have been debunked by one of China’s leading panda experts. State newswire Xinhua reported that Ai Hin may have deliberately demonstrated signs of pregnancy, including “reduced appetite, less mobility and a surge in progestational hormone”. Pandas that staff believe to be expecting are given a single, air-conditioned room, as well as more buns, fruit and bamboo than non-pregnant pandas. “So some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life,” Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu research base of giant panda breeding, told Xinhua. But Zhang Heming, director of the China research and conservation centre for the giant panda told the Guardian that Ai Hin’s behaviour was probably more of a hormonal issue than a deliberate ruse. “This phenomenon occurs in 10 to 20% of pandas,” he said. “After the mother panda is inseminated, if her health isn’t so good, the pregnancy will terminate, but she’ll still behave as if she’s pregnant.” He continued: “This phenomenon also happens to wild pandas, if they don’t have enough bamboo to eat.”
0 (false)
Critter Country
6818
Judge won’t end decades-old Everglades cleanup oversight.
A federal judge on Monday refused to end a decades-old court order that oversees water quality and environmental restoration in the sensitive Florida Everglades.
Curt Anderson
Miami U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno rejected a motion by the South Florida Water Management District to end a decree signed in 1992. Among other things, the order sets thresholds for the amount of phosphorous in the Everglades, an ingredient in fertilizer from the vast sugar-growing regions to the north that promotes unhealthy plant growth in the sprawling marsh. Moreno said among his reasons for denying the water district’s motion is that its governing board is being largely replaced by new Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made the environment a top priority. The judge also said it would require a full evidentiary hearing on complicated scientific and environmental issues to end the decree. “This is the right thing to do at this time,” Moreno said at a hearing. “There’s really no harm, is there?” The order allows the water district to file the motion again in the future. The decree is not involved with other water problems that plagued Florida coasts last year, including red tide outbreaks and algae blooms. The water district and sugar growers say the decree is outdated, thwarts projects that would benefit the Everglades and has been superseded by subsequent state and federal laws that guarantee restoration would continue. The projects include vast reservoirs that cleanse water flowing south from sugar farms before it flows into the Everglades. “Twenty-seven years is enough. It’s enough because it’s unnecessary,” said water board attorney Brian Accardo. The U.S. government, environmental groups and the Miccosukee Indian tribe disagree, saying the decree is key to pursuing potential violations and ensuring the cleanup projects get built. They say it should remain in place until the Everglades has achieved an environmental balance close to its historical makeup. The Miccosukee reservation is in the Everglades. “The decree is essential to protect the Everglades,” said Anna Upton, attorney for the Florida Audubon Society. “We’re not there yet. We’ve come a long way.” The decree arose out of a 1988 lawsuit filed by the U.S. against the water district claiming high phosphorous discharges were threatening the long-term future of the Everglades. The state and water district contended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was equally responsible by moving polluted water into the area. In 1992, the consent decree was signed involving the federal and state entities, setting goals for reducing phosphorous as well as the levels of water at the right times needed to keep the ecosystem healthy. A key point in the settlement talks came with then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, showed up at a court hearing in 1991 and said: “We want to surrender. I want to find out who I can give my sword to.” Florida Department of Environmental Protection attorney Charles DeMonaco said about $2 billion has been spent to date on Everglades projects, with another $1 billion in the pipeline over the next four years. He said the state would also like to see the consent decree end, but only when there is an agreement on how success would be measured. “We don’t want to fight anyone. We want to end it,” DeMonaco said. _____ Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
2 (true)
Environment, Miami, Florida, Ron DeSantis, Water quality, Water management, Courts, U.S. News
37568
A Washington, DC clergyman tested positive for COVID-19, potentially exposing congregants.
March 9, 2020
Did a Washington, DC Priest Expose Hundreds of Churchgoers to Coronavirus?
Kim LaCapria
On March 9 2020, WJLA-TV reporter Sam Sweeney tweeted about a Washington, DC priest’s purported positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis, adding that the clergy man led Communion services and shook hands with “more than 500” churchgoers:BREAKING: A D.C. priest has Coronavirus. He offered communion and shook hands with more than 500 worshippers last week and on February 24th. All worshippers who visited the Christ Church in Georgetown must self-quarantine. Church is cancelled for the first time since the 1800's— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) March 9, 2020According to Sweeney’s tweet, the exposure to COVID-19 occurred during services on March 1 and February 24 2020. Sweeney added that churchgoers who attended services on those dates at Christ Church in Georgetown were ordered to “self-quarantine,” and that services there had been canceled for the first time in more than a century.In a reply to a response to that tweet, Sweeney stated:This weekend. The priest who self identified himself in a letter to his congregation.— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) March 9, 2020The Washington Post reported that the individual Sweeney referenced was Rev. Timothy Cole, the rector at Christ Church in Georgetown. In that article, the outlet indicated 550 congregants were potentially exposed to COVID-19 across multiple services on a single Sunday:A third case of coronavirus in Northern Virginia was announced [March 9 2020], shortly after D.C. officials urged hundreds of Christ Church, Georgetown attendees to self-quarantine because of their exposure to the Rev. Timothy Cole, the church rector, who is the city’s first known coronavirus patient … Cole, who first became sick after returning from a Feb. 22 [2020] conference of Episcopal leaders in Louisville, tested positive for coronavirus Saturday and is quarantined at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in stable condition. […]Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced the self-quarantine recommendation at a news conference [on March 9 2020 in the] morning, as authorities try to contain the spread of the virus. It is the first broad self-quarantine order in the Washington region.Cole oversaw multiple services on March 1 [2020], attended by a total of 550 people, the church has said. He provided Communion at the 11:15 a.m. services. Church officials said he appeared healthy that day and had been regularly washing his hands. But he had been ill in late February [2020].There was no immediate estimate of how many people came into close contact with him on the other targeted days.Bowser emphasized self-quarantine was crucial to stop the virus from spreading, adding that officials recognized that “there will be hardships for many people not just in D.C., but in Maryland and Virginia” due to the restriction. The newspaper also reported that Cole engaged in no recent international travel, visiting only the church conference in Kentucky on February 22 2020.CBS News obtained a copy of the email issued to parishioners about Cole’s diagnosis:In an email to parishioners obtained by CBS News, Cole confirmed he has tested positive, and said services were suspended “out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us.” All services were canceled Sunday, the first time the church has closed since a fire in the 1800s, [Reverend Crystal] Hardin said.“I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus,” Cole wrote in his email. “First, I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.”CBS further reported that public health officials assessed the exposure risk posed by Cole, concluding that visiting the church was sufficient to warrant quarantine:The D.C. Department of Health said in a statement that it has been in contact with the church and “determined an individual’s visitation to Christ Church Georgetown warrants precautionary measures.” The department recommended “a temporary pause of services” and said it was “conducting an intensive investigation to identify any exposures to COVID-19 that may have occurred at the church,” referring to the virus.Anyone who visited the church under any circumstances or for any reason within a specific date range was affected by the self-quarantine. One outlet provided the dates as between February 28 2020 and March 3 2020; Bowser provided the longer range in a tweet:Visitors to Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on Feb 24th, and between Feb 28th and Mar 3rd could've been exposed to COVID-19, and DC Health recommends that anyone who visited on those dates isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church.— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) March 9, 2020In the March 9 2020 statement, DC Health clarified self-quarantine instructions:Through DC Health’s investigation, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all visitors to Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on February 24th, and between February 28th and March 3rd could have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, and DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on those dates isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church. Isolating at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing. DC Health may also be reaching out to certain individuals who are more likely to have been exposed with further guidance.Additionally, any person who has visited Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on the dates mentioned above, should call DC Health if they develop symptoms, or if they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days since they visited the church at (202) 576-1117 or call their healthcare providers. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. If you have any questions and are not symptomatic, you can also email DC Health are [email protected]On the Church’s official website, a link on the homepage led to a statement titled “Church Closure and Coronavirus,” which began:Dear friends in Christ,Many of you have been asking for additional guidance in light of today’s events. At 10:47 p.m., we received the following from DC Health. Please read it carefully and reach out to DC Health with your questions and concerns about their guidance.We will continue to send updates periodically, upon receipt of new information and as warranted. Let us hold one another in prayer and rest assured of God’s presence and grace, which abounds—always.Faithfully,The Clergy and Wardens of Christ Church, GeorgetownImmediately thereafter was the statement from DC Health, and under that, Cole’s email to churchgoers:IMPORTANT UPDATE: CORONAVIRUS IN OUR COMMUNITY Sunday, March 8, 2020Dear friends in Christ,As you are now aware, we have suspended all services and meetings at Christ Church until further notice in response to a presumed positive case of Coronavirus in our community. As we said before, we did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us. There is no need to panic. Following sensible precautions provided by the CDC will go a long way towards insuring the good health of our community.I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus.First, I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.Many of you will want to speak by phone or email; however, at this time, rest is what I need most, and it will be difficult for me to respond. Should you have any situations requiring pastoral care, please do contact the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin or the Reverend Father John McDuffie. For matters concerning operations of the church, please contact one of the Wardens, Chad Thorley or Rusty Lindner.The obvious question at this point is what you should do. First, please read the information provided on the CDC’s website, linked here. If we are given any firm advice by public health officials, we will pass it to the Christ Church community as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have been asked to let parishioners know that should you experience any symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider.Faithfully,Father TimThe Reverend Timothy A. R. Cole, RectorA tweet reporting a large-scale quarantine mandate and coronavirus (COVID-19) case at a Washington, DC church because of an infected clergyman was accurate. Public health officials said that visitors who went to the church between February 24 and March 3 2020 may have been exposed to COVID-19. Parishioners were instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, beginning with the date of possible exposure.
https://www.reddit.com/submit?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fdid-a-washington-dc-priest-expose-hundreds-of-churchgoers-to-coronavirus%2F, https://twitter.com/SweeneyABC/status/1237018677360410624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fdid-a-washington-dc-priest-expose-hundreds-of-churchgoers-to-coronavirus%2F, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-virus-christ-church-quarantine/2020/03/09/17567796-61fa-11ea-845d-e35b0234b136_story.html, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-timothy-cole-rector-dc-christ-church-georgetown-tests-positive/, https://twitter.com/SweeneyABC/status/1237020307396812803?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-us-priest-washington-dc-quarantine-timothy-shake-hands-church-a9388561.html, https://twitter.com/MayorBowser/status/1237022709256802305, https://www.truthorfiction.com/author/kim/, https://www.christchurchgeorgetown.org/church-closure-and-coronavirus, https://www.ezoic.com/what-is-ezoic/, https://twitter.com/SweeneyABC/status/1237020307396812803, https://coronavirus.dc.gov/release/dc-health-statement-regarding-christ-church, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Did+a+Washington%2C+DC+Priest+Expose+Hundreds+of+Churchgoers+to+Coronavirus%3F&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fdid-a-washington-dc-priest-expose-hundreds-of-churchgoers-to-coronavirus%2F&via=KimLaCapria, https://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fdid-a-washington-dc-priest-expose-hundreds-of-churchgoers-to-coronavirus%2F, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/, https://twitter.com/MayorBowser/status/1237022709256802305?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, https://twitter.com/SweeneyABC/status/1237018677360410624, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/viral-content/, https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fdid-a-washington-dc-priest-expose-hundreds-of-churchgoers-to-coronavirus%2F
2 (true)
Fact Checks, Viral Content
12479
"Dan Patrick Says Texas tax legislation would ""save the average homeowner in Texas $20,000 a year over the next 20 years or so."
May 23, 2017
Patrick said legislation targeting local tax rate growth will result in the average Texas homeowner saving $20,000 a year over 20 years. That’s an absurd amount. Even if we look at what Patrick purportedly meant to say — $20,000 over 20 years — we find major flaws in the assumptions underlying that calculation. To reach that amount, one must assume that every city, county and special taxing district will raise tax rates by 8 percent every year without this legislation in place and by 5 percent a year with it. Neither assumption is in line with recent history, making the total savings figure highly suspect, at best a wild guess. The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim. CORRECTION, 9:55 a.m., May 24, 2017: Thanks to a reader's nudge, we amended this story to correct our description of the second tax-rollback savings chart provided  by Bettencourt. This revision did not affect our rating of the claim.
W. Gardner Selby
"Texas Lt. Gov . Dan Patrick made such a dramatic claim about ""must-pass"" tax-rate legislation--$20,000 in savings for the average homeowner every year!--we launched a fact check. Patrick, during 17 minutes of remarks to Capitol reporters May 17, 2017, named Senate Bill 2, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, as one of two measures--along with the Senate-backed proposal barring local governments and school districts from letting transgender residents use bathrooms of choice--that must pass, in Patrick’s view, for lawmakers to avoid one or more special sessions possibly called by Gov. Greg Abbott after the regular session that must end by midnight Memorial Day. Patrick, mindful the House then had yet to vote on SB 2, said the Senate-approved version of the measure ""would bring about the largest property tax reform in Texas history. It would bring local government spending under control, give the voters an automatic election on government spending, of anything over 5 percent, and,"" Patrick said, ""save the average homeowner in Texas $20,000 a year over the next 20 years or so."" Patrick aide: He meant $20,000 cumulatively Is that correct? To our inquiry, Patrick spokesman Alejandro Garcia said by email that Patrick had intended to tout savings adding up to $20,000 over 20 years. He pointed out a Texas Tribune news story posted two days after Patrick spoke quoting an unnamed Patrick staffer saying the same. The Tribune story said Patrick provided its reporter with a sheet of figures suggesting $20,856 in cumulative savings to the average homeowner, a conclusion predicated on local tax-rate hikes running higher than usual. The story quoted Dick Lavine, a tax analyst for the liberal Center for Public Policy Priorities, which opposes SB 2, saying: ""This calculation certainly does not portray what an ‘average’ homeowner could expect in any given year, to say nothing of experiencing these ‘savings’ every year for the next 20 years."" Bettencourt offers backup We didn’t draw any backup from Patrick. But Bettencourt replied to our inquiry by offering a chart suggesting escalating savings for what he described as the owner of the median-valued Texas home based, he said, on research by the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, which drew on data on home sales culled monthly by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University: SOURCE: Chart projecting homeowner savings from Senate-approved version of Senate Bill 2 (received by email from Lauri Saathoff, director of communications, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, May 17, 2017) In phone messages, Bettencourt noted that the association’s analysis suggests that over five recent years, through 2015, the owner of a median-valued home saw a nearly 34 percent escalation in property taxes paid to the local government entities targeted by SB 2, which averages out to increases of more than 6 percent a year. Those entities are cities, counties and special districts though not school districts. How the chart gets to a $22,761 cumulative savings in year 20 figure: It shows first-year savings under SB 2 for the median-value homeowner of $46, second-year property tax savings of $99 with annual savings exceeding $1,100 starting in year 12--and topping $2,100 a year starting in year 17. Each year’s savings, the chart shows, reflects the difference between what the homeowner would face in local property taxes if all government units raised taxes 8 percent minus what the homeowner would face if the local government entities all raised taxes 5 percent. Under existing law, local governments may raise effective tax rates up to 8 percent without residents being able to petition for a rollback election. The ""effective rate"" refers to the rate needed for the governing unit to raise the same total amount of taxes from the same local properties as the unit garnered the year before. Under the Senate’s version of SB 2, any of the affected entities could raise such taxes up to 5 percent with any additional bump automatically touching off a rollback election. Realistic tax-rate assumptions? We asked Bettencourt about the basis of the chart’s assumption that local governments will every year across-the-board raise effective tax rates 5 percent and if it’s realistic to compare that to an assumption that such governments would otherwise uniformly be driving up rates 8 percent every year. In phone messages, Bettencourt stressed the TTARA chart showing the recent average 6-percent-plus increases in property taxes charged the owner of a median-valued home. Separately, Dale Craymer of TTARA declined to comment. Bettencourt also gave  us an alternate savings projection premised on all government entities affected by SB 2 annually raising effective rates 6 percent (rather than 3 percent) without a change in law. Upshot: Cumulative ""savings"" to the median-value homeowner would exceed $17,000 in year 20, the second chart suggests. We asked Bettencourt about available data showing local governments had widely maximized tax rates every year of late. In writing, he replied that he’d heard testimony along those lines from an Arlington and a Dallas official during pre-session hearings of the Bettencourt-chaired Texas Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. Actual county, city tax rate changes Advocates for cities and counties say the senator’s assumption--that local governments will always uniformly raise effective tax rates to the maximum level allowable without risking a rollback vote at the polls--doesn’t reflect what Texas governments have been doing. By phone, Don Lee of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, representing 38 member-counties home to most of the state’s residents, said that from 2014 through 2016, the counties averaged 2.2 percent effective tax rate increases, falling far short of the 8 percent rate that would open the way to a rollback vote. Lee emailed us a spreadsheet indicating the member counties averaged effective tax rate increases of 3.1 percent in 2014; 3.2 percent in 2015; and 0.7 percent in 2016. We also queried the Texas Municipal League, which says it represents most of the state’s cities, and whose legislative counsel, Bill Longley, emailed spreadsheets he described as based on effective city tax rates posted by the Texas state comptroller’s office for a couple of recent years. The sheets show, Longley noted, that the ""vast majority of cities haven’t been increasing their tax rates above the current 8 percent rollback rate."" According to the sheets, in 2014 and 2015, respectively, about 21 percent of the state’s cities adopted effective rates equal to or exceeding 8 percent. And, in keeping with SB 2’s proposed 5 percent rollback rate, how many cities lately have escalated rates that much or more? According to the sheets, 38 percent (382 of 1,002 cities) in 2014 and 39 percent (376 of 963 cities) in 2015. ""In both cases,"" Longley wrote, ""more than 60 percent of cities were under a 5 percent rollback rate, if it had been in place."" Texas A&M expert For an outside perspective, we asked Jim Gaines, chief economist of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, to appraise Bettencourt’s analysis and chart. By phone, Gaines said TTARA presented an accurate figure on its spreadsheet for a median-valued Texas home. But Gaines called ""highly questionable"" the assumptions behind the dollar figures in Bettencourt’s chart--both of local governments uniformly and annually driving up effective tax rates 8 percent without a change in law and of such governments under SB 2 all increasing rates 5 percent year after year. Counties, for instance, don’t act identically, Gaines said. ""Each county is going to be unique,"" he said. Comptroller makes no homeowner savings estimate Next, we checked the fiscal note on the Senate-approved version of SB 2 that was public by the time Patrick spoke (a more recent version appeared May 19, 2017). The March 16, 2017, note, prepared by the advisory Legislative Budget Board staff, states up front that the financial effects of reducing the rollback rate can’t be estimated. However, it also says, ""the table below is a hypothetical example of potential costs of the bill to counties, cities, and special districts"" based in part on assuming that no voters approve rates exceeding the 5 percent rollback rate and that future ""rate-setting practices would be similar to the rate-setting practices demonstrated in the available historical tax rate data."" And in fiscal 2019, the first year of tax effects, cities, counties and special districts would lose nearly $199 million in revenue, the comptroller’s office estimated, an indication of some taxpayer savings, it seemed to us. The  hypothetical shows additional costs to affected government entities in subsequent years. Does the hypothetical lost revenue, we wondered, mean the comptroller got a fix on how much homeowners and other property taxpayers might save? By phone, a spokeswoman for the comptroller’s office, Lauren Willis, said the agency has not estimated particular savings for homeowners. Tim Wooten, a comptroller consultant who worked on the table, told us by phone that’s because ""we can’t predict what local taxing entities will do"" in setting rates or if voters indeed will reject all increases at the polls. We asked Wooten to unpack how he reached the hypothesized revenue losses. Wooten said he applied the SB 2 limits to 2015 tax rates set by the targeted entities, finding that in that year, 60 percent of cities and special districts and 70 percent of counties did not set rates high enough to touch off the rollback elections envisioned in SB 2. Wooten said too that a lot of the remaining government entities would have sustained small 2015 losses in revenue if SB 2 had been law then. Bettencourt stands by $20,000-plus figure Following up, we asked Bettencourt if most local entities covered by SB 2 don’t reach existing or proposed rollback tax rates, aren’t homeowner savings impossible to precisely forecast? ""Of course,"" Bettencourt said in writing, ""because we are dealing with future projections to a 20-year degree. However, downward pressure on property tax rates means tax rate reductions across the board in probability."" When we said it looked to us like his projected homeowner savings were based on unrealistic assumptions about all the affected government entities maximizing tax rates every year, Bettencourt replied: ""Disagree strongly,"" urging us to revisit the spreadsheet he attributed to TTARA. Our ruling Patrick said legislation targeting local tax rate growth will result in the average Texas homeowner saving $20,000 a year over 20 years. That’s an absurd amount. Even if we look at what Patrick purportedly meant to say — $20,000 over 20 years — we find major flaws in the assumptions underlying that calculation. To reach that amount, one must assume that every city, county and special taxing district will raise tax rates by 8 percent every year without this legislation in place and by 5 percent a year with it. Neither assumption is in line with recent history, making the total savings figure highly suspect, at best a wild guess. ! PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim. CORRECTION, 9:55 a.m., May 24, 2017: Thanks to a reader's nudge, we amended this story to correct our description of the second tax-rollback savings chart provided  by Bettencourt. This revision did not affect our rating of the claim."
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB2, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17dIK_6WXnClSorAHJ0vFHGWsbjo1M3pY4UpEt1FDgtM/edit?usp=sharing, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0kkOiAWUCUGd1pqQ3E4Y2VKTUk/view?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l8balb7ujPh3YXRakj7brPo5o2KGoxQRC0e0C1Q0rOY/pub, https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/19/house-delays-vote-bill-patrick-said-crucial-preventing-special-session/, http://tlcsenate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=42&clip_id=12544, https://www.texastribune.org/about/staff/brandon-formby/, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19Le05kJBDPkfRLSIiY-rxOdRaq3fgZoU9ig_XH86I5Q/edit?usp=sharing, http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/fiscalnotes/html/SB00002S.htm, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Wg8iF7kTBNcysIrGv49GwZhRlcwZ2PAz72h3ksTMJE8/edit?usp=sharing, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0kkOiAWUCUGQ25BOS04UE5lTlE/view?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r_BImjbhnDwNO_8lIJzt4PcXcQfT2chp7ceOREgQcrg/edit, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G5XcQzP62r0E872A1BOGAeTQ-JZlP60VHGO6_yiMGA0/edit?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1z8oiFTfTFgBXPGH8zRceBcZU4et68VO5XMbVGEAkCUo/edit?usp=sharing, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pi5eXJv9lfltFJhwtpUmgCi8_a-kJaGg6CuJ-g5s_6Y/pub
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Corrections and Updates, Taxes, Texas, Dan Patrick,
3775
No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors.
Massachusetts became the first state to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law on Wednesday a bill that’s meant to reduce the appeal of the products to young people amid a rash of illnesses and deaths linked to vaping.
Philip Marcelo
Anti-smoking groups hailed the ban, which restricts sale and consumption of flavored vaping products immediately and does the same for menthol cigarettes starting June 1, 2020. “The Massachusetts law is a major milestone in the fight to reverse the worsening e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. But the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association, which opposed the legislation, said it’s exploring challenging the new law in court, or seeking other ways to change it. “Public health and safety has been dealt a blow by anti-tobacco crusaders exploiting a youth vaping crisis, and by lawmakers bypassing prudent policy-making,” the group said in a statement. In recent months, Massachusetts and other states, including Michigan, Montana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington, have temporarily banned or restricted the sale of vaping products. But Massachusetts is now the first with a broad, permanent ban in place on all flavored tobacco or nicotine vaping products, anti-smoking groups say. The new law specifically restricts sale of the products to licensed smoking bars such as cigar bars and hookah lounges, where they’ll only be allowed to be consumed on-site. The restriction extends to menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco. It also places a 75% excise tax on nicotine vaping products, gives public health officials new authority to regulate the products and requires health insurers cover tobacco cessation counseling. Baker said he hopes other states adopt similar restrictions but argued that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are the only ones that can address the issue comprehensively for the nation. “Sometimes someone has to go first,” he said. “It’s pretty clear there isn’t going to be a federal policy on this anytime soon. So, in the absence of that, we had to act.” President Donald Trump has promised for months to approve a national ban on most flavored e-cigarettes. But in recent weeks his administration has walked back that promise, cancelling a planned announcement of a ban in favor of private meetings with the vaping industry and medical professionals. Massachusetts’ decision to extend the ban to menthols is unique. The mint flavor has typically been exempt from such restrictions because it’s long been one of the most popular flavors. Menthols were omitted from legislation passed by the New York City Council on Tuesday after advocates, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, argued their inclusion could lead to harsh police enforcement in the black community. Studies have shown menthol cigarettes are consumed disproportionately by young people and minorities, and anti-tobacco groups and health experts have argued menthol has been marketed to African Americans. But there have been recent signs that reluctance to address menthols is waning. Boston health officials earlier this week prohibited the sale of menthols in convenience stores, and dozens of other communities in Massachusetts and California have taken steps to restrict menthols and other flavored cigarettes. State Attorney General Maura Healey and other supporters said that restricting menthols and other flavored tobacco products is critical because they’ve contributed to growth in the traditional smoking market, which in turn prompted the creation of flavored vaping products targeted at youths. The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network said it hoped the new law sends a message to the industry. “More than 80% of teens who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product, and the tobacco industry knows this,” the organization said in an emailed statement. The legislation responds to growing concern about the health effects of vaping products, including deaths whose exact cause is still being investigated. Massachusetts health officials say there have been more than 200 suspected cases of vaping-related lung injury and three confirmed deaths in the state. In September, Baker declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products — flavored and unflavored. Baker said Wednesday he’ll lift that ban a few weeks early on Dec. 11, when state health officials are expected to roll out additional regulations. The Tobacco Merchants Association, an industry group, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. But the Vapor Technology Association, which has challenged Massachusetts’ temporary vaping ban in state court, said a better strategy than the ban would be raising the age to purchase tobacco and nicotine vapor products to 21 and to impose stricter marketing standards on companies. “A ban will drive people back to combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., or lead to illegal sales with a new and larger black market,” the organization said in a statement. __ Associated Press editor William J. Kole contributed to this report.
/8f8f14011ec24c3288bcfef07b3695ff,/4e13a836510d4bcfb70ef0b5d1eb7afd,https://www.mass.gov/guides/vaping-public-health-emergency,https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/11/26/us/ap-us-vaping-new-york-city.html,https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/11/25/boston-bans-mint-menthol-tobacco-products-from-corner-stores/
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Health, Boston, General News, Charlie Baker, Business, AP Top News, Massachusetts, Smoking, Vaping, U.S. News, Tobacco industry regulation, Laws
31187
Indonesian villagers performed a rite that brought a dead woman back to life after three years in the grave.
July 13, 2017
The photograph does not show an actual zombie.
David Emery
In mid-2017, an article published on the web site Women’s News (WNews.world) gained notoriety among social media users, thanks to its outlandish claim that an Indonesian woman deceased for three years not only returned to life and walked among the living, but was actually photographed doing so:  The text of the article makes reference to a “special rite” used by the locals to bring the corpse back to life: In Indonesia, in the town of Toraja, a woman leaves her grave after being dead for 3 years. Fortunately, this event was caught on camera and it’s the evidence of how this woman was resurrected after that much time. There is no doubt that this is a frightening and surprising fact. They say that in order to bring her back to life, a special rite is performed in the place of the woman’s tomb. The premise struck us as both preposterous and familiar, so we dug deeper and found many other versions, including one that was posted to the snopes.com message board in September 2010: We found an even older version posted on an Indonesian blog in November 2009. It included the writer’s personal reminiscences around witnessing a “walking corpse” in his or her youth (although the narrative suffers a bit due to machine translation): The story of a dead corpse has been around since time immemorial. Hundreds of years ago it was said that there was a civil war in Tana Toraja namely the Toraja West fought against the East Toraja people. In the battle the West Toraja was defeated because most of them were killed, but at the time of going home their entire corpse of the Toraja West was walking, while the East Toraja people though only a few were killed but they took the corpses of their dead brother, Then the war is considered a series. On the next offspring the Toraja people often bury their corpses by way of the corpse walking alone to the grave. The phenomenon of “Walking bodies” that I myself have witnessed directly. The incident occurred around the year 1992 (I’m new grade 3 elementary). At that time in my village there was a man named Pongbarrak whose mother died. Such as Toraja custom the corpse is not directly buried but still has to go through a customary procession of burial (signs solo ‘). At that time after bathing the dead body of the mother is placed in bed in a special room before it is inserted into the coffin. On the third night the whole family gathered to talk about how the funeral procession would take place. At that time I sat on the porch of the house understand the children so like to pace. But after the meeting is over (around 10 pm), suddenly there is a noise in the house where some mothers shout. Out of curiosity I tried to look into the house and the dead man was walking out of the room, just cash me and my friends screamed hysterically and ran down the stairs. I ran and got my dad hysterically scared. After that I was taken home by father and I do not know what happened next. Common to every variant we’ve encountered are references to the Tana Toraja region of South Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. (If you’ve ever tasted any of the earthy, subtly spicy coffees imported from Sulawesi, odds are the beans were grown and hand-harvested in Tana Toraja.) Nor is it a coincidence that virtually every travel guide offering information about the remote location spotlights certain “peculiar,” “complex,” and purportedly “gruesome” funerary practices found there (practices that are indeed so unusual and elaborate that entire books have been written about them and tourists flock to record them on their mobile devices). The more we learned about these traditions, the more we became convinced they were the inspiration for tales about Indonesia’s so-called “walking dead.” It’s unclear precisely how long the Toraja people, who descended from Austronesian speakers living in central Sulawesi well before Europeans arrived in the 1500s, have inhabited the island. During the 1700s, the Toraja population was driven into the southern mountains (where the majority of them are still concentrated) by another ethnic subgroup, the Buginese. Although most Toraja now identify as Christian or Muslim, many still honor beliefs and customs handed down from their ancestors — beliefs and customs in which death takes center stage. Anthropologist Kelli Swazey described the Torajans’ intimate, intricate relationship with the dead in a 2013 TED Talk entitled “Life that Doesn’t End with Death“: In Tana Toraja, the most important social moments in people’s lives, the focal points of social and cultural interaction are not weddings or births or even family dinners, but funerals. So these funerals are characterized by elaborate rituals that tie people in a system of reciprocal debt based on the amount of animals — pigs, chickens and, most importantly, water buffalo — that are sacrificed and distributed in the name of the deceased. So this cultural complex surrounding death, the ritual enactment of the end of life, has made death the most visible and remarkable aspect of Toraja’s landscape. Lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, funeral ceremonies are a raucous affair, where commemorating someone who’s died is not so much a private sadness but more of a publicly shared transition. And it’s a transition that’s just as much about the identity of the living as it is about remembrance of the dead. In Toraja society, Swazey explains, death is seen as a process — and a lengthy process, at that — rather than as a singular event: So where we see an unquestionable reality, death as an irrefutable biological condition, Torajans see the expired corporeal form as part of a larger social genesis. So again, the physical cessation of life is not the same as death. In fact, a member of society is only truly dead when the extended family can agree upon and marshal the resources necessary to hold a funeral ceremony that is considered appropriate in terms of resources for the status of the deceased. And this ceremony has to take place in front of the eyes of the whole community with everyone’s participation…. Until the funeral ceremony, which can be held years after a person’s physical death, the deceased is referred to as “to makala,” a sick person, or “to mama,” a person who is asleep, and they continue to be a member of the household. They are symbolically fed and cared for, and the family at this time will begin a number of ritual injunctions, which communicates to the wider community around them that one of their members is undergoing the transition from this life into the afterlife known as Puya. So I know what some of you must be thinking right now. Is she really saying that these people live with the bodies of their dead relatives? And that’s exactly what I’m saying. A National Geographic video shot in 2016 provides brief glimpses into Tana Toraja death and burial rites (warning: includes graphic scenes of animal sacrifice): Of particular interest with regard to the “walking dead” tales we’re investigating is the ma’nene ceremony, in which the mummified corpses of dead family members are exhumed, washed, reclothed, and walked through the center of town, examples can be seen both in the latter half of the National Geographic video above and this tourist video uploaded to YouTube in 2016: Bringing our investigation full circle, Loyola University anthropology professor Kathleen Adams, who spent two years in Tana Toraja observing the lives and culture of its people, confirmed in an interview with Loyola Magazine that the “walking dead” stories represent a corrupted version of the truth: “What started happening, as best as I can piece together, was migrants who had moved to Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia, who were often second-generation migrants, were coming back,” Adams says. “The city folk would want a picture next to their deceased relatives, and the images started circulating on Facebook. Toraja became suddenly internationally associated with this idea of the ‘walking dead’ and zombies.” That’s not to say that concept is entirely foreign to the culture. “Torajans also tell stories about corpses that walk on their own to their final resting place,” Kelli Swazey told us via e-mail: Many Torajans relate that in the past, powerful ritual practitioners could make a corpse walk on its own. This practice is not done anymore, according to many Torajans, because it is a kind of magic that is not appropriate for modern Christians, and the majority of Torajans identify as Protestant Christians today. In addition, there are many stories of other kinds of revenants that the living encounter in Indonesia, so the circulation of these kinds of stories is quite common in the Indonesian media. So, folklore and media sensationalism notwithstanding, do the deceased really rise from their graves and walk in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi? Yes, but no — not literally. They do so only with the help of surviving family members, who continue to demonstrate their love and devotion long after the physical bodies of their loved ones have gone quiet.
0 (false)
Junk News
14753
"Medicaid expansion ""could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion a year..."
January 11, 2016
"Landes, in a constituent survey, said Medicaid expansion ""could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year."" That contradicts the latest estimates on expansion. Virginia’s gross cost in 2022 - the furthest out the projections go - would be $324 million. The net cost, after taking into account a variety of savings the expansion offers, would be $3.1 million. That’s light years away from Landes’ figure. Landes’ estimate rests on the eye-popping supposition that the federal government could decide in the future to cut nearly half of its commitment to pay 90 percent of the costs for expansion, leaving states holding the bag. But this is pure speculation of his part. There’s no effort in Congress now to cut the federal share at all, let alone by the proportion Landes suggests. There’s a burden on Landes to prove his statement with facts, and he comes up short."
Sean Gorman
"Del. Steve Landes says Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s long-sought initiative to expand Medicaid in Virginia is financial quicksand. ""Do you support or oppose Medicaid expansion in Virginia?"" Landes, R-Augusta, asked constituents in a recent survey about issues. ""While expansion would enroll up to 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians in Medicaid, it could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year, forcing cuts to other key services like education, mental health and public safety."" Landes is hardly the first Republican to sound the $1 billion-a-year alarm about the potential cost of expanding Medicaid. Others, including House Speaker Bill Howell, also have tossed around the number during the GOP’s successful three-year effort to block expansion. Democrats say the state has a moral obligation to make Medicaid available to all low-income Virginians who are qualified - particularly because the federal government has agreed to pay for the vast majority of the expansion. Republicans counter that Medicaid already is unwieldy and that Uncle Sam, deeply in debt, can’t be relied upon to pay his promised share. The issue is certain to re-emerge this winter when the General Assembly convenes for a 60-day session starting Jan. 13. So it’s a good time to look into the accuracy of the $1 billion-a-year claim. Let’s start with some background. The costs Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, states have the choice of extending their Medicaid programs to people who earn 138 percent of the U.S. poverty level. The federal government pays all of the expansion costs through this federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and gradually will drop its future share to a standing 90 percent after 2019. To date, 31 states have decided to expand Medicaid. Virginia’s Medicaid program is run by the state Department of Medical Assistance Services which, in September, issued annual cost estimates for Medicaid expansion through 2022. They show the expansion would cost a total of $800 million in fiscal 2017, with the state shouldering $32 million of that amount. In 2022, the cost would be $3.1 billion, with the state responsible for $325 million. But these gross figures don’t take into account savings that DMAS says the state would realize by expanding Medicaid. For example, Virginia now covers all the costs of hospitalizing a state prisoner; under Medicaid expansion, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the bills. Virginia pays most of the costs for uninsured low-income residents who receive behavioral health treatment from community service boards; under Medicaid expansion, the federal government again would pay 90 percent of those bills. DMAS concluded that the savings would outweigh the costs of Medicaid expansion through 2020, when Virginia would see a $34 million net gain from joining the program. After that, there would be some - but not much - red ink. DMAS estimated that the bottom-line cost to expand would be $3 million in 2022. Landes’ figure So how does Landes reach his estimate of a potential $1 billion-a-year cost to Virginia taxpayers? His calculation rests on the premise that the federal government, already over-committed, will renege on its legal promise to never pay less than 90 percent of expansion costs. ""If the federal government cut the expansion match rate back to 50/50, it would cost Virginia over $1 billion per year in the out years,"" Landes wrote to us in an email. He pointed out that the bottom-line price of expansion - combining Washington’s share with the state’s net cost - is estimated to exceed $2 billion a year starting in 2018. If the federal government tosses half of the expense back to Virginia that year or later, the state would be shackled with annual bills of at least $1 billion. Craig Markva, a spokesman for DMAS, told us the state has every reason to believe that won’t happen. For one thing, legislation would be required to cut the federal contribution. Edwin Park, the vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, told us there’s no movement afoot in Congress to take such an action. In 2012, the Obama administration proposed a budget-cutting measure that would have changed the formula for how much it pays for Medicaid patients, boosting the federal match for current enrollees and lowering the match for people who became newly insured under the law. But after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that expansion was an option, not a mandate, the White House dropped that proposal, because it wanted to assure states the match would stay at 90 percent, Park said. It also should be noted that the Obama administration notified states in December 2012 that if they enrolled in expansion, they could drop out of the program at any time. That assurance was repeated in a March 20, 2014 letter that Cindy Mann, then the White House’s top Medicaid official, wrote to Bill Hazel, Virginia’s secretary of health. McAuliffe, a Democrat who has been pushing to broaden Medicaid, has proposed a state law that would require Virginia’s withdrawal if Washington reduced support for expansion. Republicans have been skeptical the state could extricate itself from the expansion once it began. Our ruling Landes, in a constituent survey, said Medicaid expansion ""could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year."" That contradicts the latest estimates on expansion. Virginia’s gross cost in 2022 - the furthest out the projections go - would be $324 million. The net cost, after taking into account a variety of savings the expansion offers, would be $3.1 million. That’s light years away from Landes’ figure. Landes’ estimate rests on the eye-popping supposition that the federal government could decide in the future to cut nearly half of its commitment to pay 90 percent of the costs for expansion, leaving states holding the bag. But this is pure speculation of his part. There’s no effort in Congress now to cut the federal share at all, let alone by the proportion Landes suggests. There’s a burden on Landes to prove his statement with facts, and he comes up short."
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/no-miracle-medicaid-expansion, http://sfc.virginia.gov/pdf/committee_meeting_presentations/2014/012814_No1_Hazel.pdf, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/272041-white-house-drops-support-for-major-medicaid-cut, http://kff.org/health-reform/slide/current-status-of-the-medicaid-expansion-decision/, https://delegatedavealbo.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/medicaid-expansion-in-virginia/, http://survey.house.virginia.gov/Survey.aspx?s=5cf8ce4a6fbc44f8b626d0f957c98865, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/17/va-slated-spend-1-billion-more-medicaid/, https://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2014/may/19/campaign-liberty/ron-paul-group-says-medicaid-expansion-will-cost-v/, http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/general-assembly/article_7fc0c9d9-edc3-5155-81d1-c2b5a2019810.html, https://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2014/mar/30/terry-mcauliffe/mcauliffe-says-medicaid-expansion-will-save-virgin/, http://www.stevelandes.com/, http://www.cbpp.org/blog/presidents-budget-affirms-that-washington-will-pay-nearly-all-the-costs-of-expanding-medicaid, https://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2014/apr/13/thomas-garrett-jr/state-sen-tom-garrett-says-medicaid-expansion-mone/
0 (false)
Medicaid, State Budget, Virginia, Steven Landes,
7171
As wildfires grow deadlier, officials search for solutions.
Creating fire buffers between housing and dry brush, burying spark-prone power lines and lighting more controlled burns to keep vegetation in check could give people a better chance of surviving wildfires, according to experts searching for ways to reduce growing death tolls from increasingly severe blazes in California and across the U.S. West.
Matthew Brown And Ellen Knickmeyer
Western wildfires have grown ever more lethal, a grim reality that’s been driven by more housing developments sprawling into the most fire-prone grasslands and brushy canyons, experts say. Many of the ranchers and farmers who once managed those landscapes are gone, leaving neglected terrain that has grown thick with vegetation that can explode into flames when sparked. That’s left communities ripe for tragedy as whipping winds and recurring drought that’s characteristic of climate change stoke wildfires like the ones still raging in Northern and Southern California that have killed at least 51 people in recent days. Hundreds of thousands of people were told to leave their homes ahead of the blazes to get out of harm’s way. Yet some experts say there’s been an over-reliance on evacuation and too little attention paid to making communities safe, as well as not enough money for controlled burns and other preventive measures. Search crews found many victims inside their vehicles, or just next to them, overcome by flames, heat and smoke as they tried to flee. Survivors of the blaze that nearly obliterated the Northern California town of Paradise and nearby communities spoke of having just minutes to escape and narrow roads made impassable by flames and traffic jams. “There are ... so many ways that can go wrong, in the warning, the modes of getting the message out, the confusion ... the traffic jams,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension program. As deadly urban wildfires become more common, officials should also consider establishing “local retreat zones, local safety zones” in communities where residents can ride out the deadly firestorms if escape seems impossible, Moritz said. That could be a community center, built or retrofitted to better withstand wildfires, which can exceed 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving little trace of ordinary homes. Such fire protection measures in buildings can include sprinklers, fire- and heat-resistant walls and roofs, and barriers that keep sparks out of chimneys and other openings, according to the International Code Council, a nonprofit that helps develop building codes used widely in the United States. Creating more buffers — whether parks, golf courses or irrigated agriculture, like the vineyards that helped keep 2017 wildfires in California’s wine country from spreading into even more towns — around new and old housing developments would help stave off wildfires threatening to overrun cities and towns. So would burying electric power lines, which can spark and fail in the high winds that drive many of California’s fiercest fires, said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in California. Sparks from electrical utility equipment are suspects in the Northern California wildfire that consumed Paradise, destroying some 7,700 homes, and other deadly blazes in the state. A proven method to prevent wildfires from getting out of control is the use of controlled burns. By intentionally lighting fires, property owners or land managers can remove dead and low-lying trees and brush — material that otherwise accumulates and can accelerate the growth of fires. In the mid-20th century, California ranchers burned hundreds of thousands of acres annually to manage their lands, said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council. That was phased out in the 1980s after California’s fire management agency stepped in to take over the burns, and by the last decade, the amount of acreage being treated had dropped to less than 10,000 acres annually, Quinn-Davidson said. Former agricultural land that rings many towns in the state became overgrown, even as housing developments pushed deeper into those rural areas. That was the situation in the Northern California town of Redding leading up to a fire that began in July and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. It was blamed for eight deaths. “You get these growing cities pushing out — housing developments going right up into brush and wooded areas. One ignition on a bad day, and all that is threatened,” Quinn-Davidson said. “These fires are tragic, and they’re telling us this is urgent. We can’t sit on our hands.” The latest California fires have fueled debate over the reasons for ever-more deadly wildfires, with President Donald Trump claiming in a tweet Saturday that “gross mismanagement of the forests” was the sole reason the state’s fires had become so “massive, deadly and costly.” He also threatened to withhold federal payments to the state. However, most of California’s deadly fires of recent years have been in grasslands and brushy chaparral, Keeley said. “Most of the fires we’ve been seeing in the last couple years that are the most destructive are not in the forest. Thinning isn’t going to change anything,” he said. Trump’s assertion also ignored the huge federal land holdings in the state and brought a quick backlash, with the president of the California firefighters union describing it as a shameful attack on thousands of firefighters on the front lines. To ease tensions, the White House sent Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to tour fire-damaged areas and offer assistance to California Gov. Jerry Brown. In an interview prior to the two-day visit, which began Wednesday, Zinke struck a conciliatory tone and said federal officials share blame for not managing public forest and rangelands aggressively enough. “We need to work in unison to make sure we thin the forest, especially fire breaks, and make sure we have prescribed burns,” Zinke told The Associated Press. “There’s been a lack of management on Interior lands, on U.S. Forest Service lands and certainly with state lands.” But it’s California, not the Trump administration that is putting more money behind such efforts. In response to the deadly blazes of recent years, California lawmakers in September approved a measure that would provide $1 billion over five years for fire protection, including more controlled burns and projects to thin forests and brush land. By contrast, federal spending on hazardous fuels reduction has been flat in recent years, hovering just under $600 million, even as direct firefighting costs jumped to a record $2.9 billion last year. For 2019, the Forest Service has proposed a $3 million bump for its wildfire fuels program. At Interior, Zinke proposed a $29 million cut in fuel management spending. ___ Knickmeyer reported from Washington. ___ Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MatthewBrownAP
https://twitter.com/MatthewBrownAP,/2144d7d18c2144d09ce31eec69515441
2 (true)
Wildfires, AP Top News, Controlled burns, Fires, Montana, California, Science, Billings, North America, U.S. News
16297
"Some doctors say Ebola can be transmitted through the air by ""a sneeze or some cough."
October 19, 2014
Will said that some scientists say that Ebola can be transmitted in public by a sneeze or a cough. The source of that was a commentary about the risks to hospital workers treating people in advanced stages of the disease. One of the authors of that commentary said her work applied only to health care workers in those settings. The medical literature says sneezing and coughing are not part of the disease’s typical symptoms, and experts we reached drew a bright line between what might happen in a hospital isolation ward and a person with early symptoms of Ebola before he or she is admitted. There is no evidence that Ebola has been transmitted in the general public through coughing or sneezing. Will took a medical commentary out of context.
Jon Greenberg
"As the national effort ramps up to beat back Ebola, the Obama administration has been taking heat. Critics say the president and top public health officials painted too rosy a picture of the country’s state of readiness. As proof, they point to the infection of two Dallas health care workers who treated the first person to die of Ebola on U.S. soil. Conservative pundit George Will attacked what to him was the hubris in those early statements. ""The problem is the original assumption, said with great certitude if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone because it’s (Ebola) not airborne,"" Will said Oct. 19 on Fox News Sunday. ""There are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious."" Will also said Ebola could survive on a dry surface ""for a number of days."" Show host Chris Wallace cut Will off, asserting that Ebola does not spread like the flu, which does move from person to person when someone with the illness is out in public. When another guest challenged Will to cite his source, he ultimately referred to scientists at the University of Minnesota. Here, we’re fact-checking Will’s claim that scientists say a cough or sneeze can spread Ebola. From the context of the discussion, we understand that Will was talking about the risk to the general public. We reached out to Will and did not hear back but thanks to the rumor website Snopes, we have a pretty good idea where he got his information. In mid September, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy posted a commentary from two University of Illinois professors. The commentary, co-written by Lisa Brosseau and Rachel Jones, argued that health care workers treating patients with Ebola should wear respirators. Face masks, they said, are not enough. We asked Brosseau if Will had correctly relayed her work. Brosseau said her views had nothing to do with Ebola spreading among the public at large. The focus was on health care workers treating people in the isolation wards. ""We were concerned about aerosols generated by infected patients in the most severe stage of the disease,"" Brosseau said. Will had mistakenly connected the pathway of infection in a hospital room with someone coughing or sneezing in public. As has been well documented, the first symptom of infection is a fever. As the virus multiplies in the body, vomiting and diarrhea set in. Brosseau had written that it is possible that for patients in that condition, tiny water particles from violent vomiting and diarrhea could get into the air and be inhaled. In a laboratory experiment, monkeys with hoods over their heads could acquire the Ebola virus, but Brosseau said that lab experiments should be put in context. ""We are not aware of any published data about the viability or infectiousness of the Ebola organism in aerosols in the real world,"" Brosseau told PunditFact. ""It appears unlikely that the public will be exposed to infectious aerosols because they are not likely to encounter infected people experiencing the severe symptoms."" We found similar views in the Oxford Journal of Infectious Diseases, and summaries issued by the Centers for Disease Control , the World Health Organization and the New England Journal of Medicine. Adam Lauring, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Michigan, emphasized that Ebola is not a respiratory disease. Coughing and sneezing are not symptoms in the way that they are with the flu. Stephen Gire, a research scientist in the Sabeti Lab at Harvard University, said if someone with Ebola sneezed or coughed into your face when you were close to them, that could transmit the virus through droplets. But, ""It’s important to note that this form of transmission does not constitute 'airborne,' "" Gire said. ""This is still a form of direct contact."" ""If you were on a plane, and someone sneezed, you wouldn’t be at risk of getting infected unless you were sneezed on directly within close quarters, and that cough or sneeze transferred droplets into mucosal membranes. This is very unlikely scenario, but not out of the realm of possibility. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been sneezed on directly, and only one of those times was by someone I didn’t know."" One of the problems with the public debate over Ebola, Lauring said, is that science can’t prove that something will never happen. On the other hand, he also said we ought to look at what has happened. ""If airborne transmission was an imminent concern, one would have to ask why no one in the United States has been infected except for two people who had close contact with the patient,"" Lauring said. ""Importantly, none of the people who were living with the patient prior to his second trip to thee Texas hospital have been infected."" While we are not fact-checking Will’s statement about infectious particles remaining alive for several days on a dry surface, Lauring said he knows of no evidence of that. Gire said it's theoretically possible under the right conditions, though it's highly unlikely. Our ruling Will said that some scientists say that Ebola can be transmitted in public by a sneeze or a cough. The source of that was a commentary about the risks to hospital workers treating people in advanced stages of the disease. One of the authors of that commentary said her work applied only to health care workers in those settings. The medical literature says sneezing and coughing are not part of the disease’s typical symptoms, and experts we reached drew a bright line between what might happen in a hospital isolation ward and a person with early symptoms of Ebola before he or she is admitted. There is no evidence that Ebola has been transmitted in the general public through coughing or sneezing. Will took a medical commentary out of context. Update (Noon, Oct. 20): After we published this item, we heard from some folks who disagreed with our ruling. Read our response here."
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/response-statements-falsely-attributed-cidrap-regarding-ebola-transmission, https://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/cidrap.asp, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411100#t=article, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html, http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-wallace/2014/10/19/exclusive-party-chairs-square-joint-interview, http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/135751/1/WHO_EVD_GUIDANCE_MG_14.1_eng.pdf?ua=1, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/human-transmission.html, http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/09/commentary-health-workers-need-optimal-respiratory-protection-ebola, https://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/196/Supplement_2/S142.full
0 (false)
Ebola, Health Care, Public Health, PunditFact, George Will,
14848
The number of people in Atlanta dying from HIV and AIDS declined 59 percent between 2004 and 2012.
December 2, 2015
At a time when new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are down globally, Fulton County touted a report that showed its mortality rate dropped 59 percent from a peak in 2004. The report, and state data, back up the dramatic decline. While Atlanta remains in the top five cities in the nation for such deaths and still struggles with executing prevention programs, it also has seen the mortality rate drop since the report.
April Hunt
"Just before commemorating World AIDS Day on Tuesday, Fulton County’s health department released some rare good news on its efforts against the disease. Citing a report from an independent program of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the press release said the number of people dying here from HIV-related diseases plunged 59 percent between 2004 and 2012. ""Fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS in metro Atlanta, in part, due to our Integrated Care Service Delivery of services,"" Dr. David Holland, chief clinical officer of Fulton’s Communicable Disease Prevention Branch, said in the release. Could this be the same department that had to give back between $7 and 8.7 million of $20 million in federal grant money because it didn’t have enough programs to help stop the spread of HIV? And are deaths declining even though at least a quarter of all new HIV diagnoses in Atlanta are for people who have already developed AIDS? PolitiFact Georgia was skeptical. The numbers The 27th anniversary of World AIDS Day comes at a time when both the rate of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths are on a global decline. Effective antiretroviral drugs can control HIV and help those with the disease live longer lives. As of June, 15.8 million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Worldwide, that has pushed down new HIV infections, which have fallen by 35 percent since 2000, and deaths, which have fallen 42 percent since a peak in 2004. The 2015 report from NACCHO’s Big Cities Health Coalition examines health data from the nation’s 27 largest cities and counties, including a look at more local HIV and AIDS figures. According to the Big Cities Health Inventory report, released in late November, cities experienced new cases of HIV and HIV-related deaths in higher numbers compared with the rest of the country. But Atlanta (as reported by Fulton County’s health department) and every other city except Detroit saw drops, some significant, in mortality rates since the last report. Atlanta had the fourth highest mortality rate of the cities, with 24.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 2004, according to the report. In 2012, the last year data was available for a majority of the cities, the rate was 9.8 – a 59 percent drop just as Fulton touted in the press release. Data from Georgia’s Department of Public Health back up those figures on the mortality rate and also provide the specific numbers of deaths. The number of people dying annually from HIV/AIDS in Fulton County dropped from 195 to 96 in those eight years, a 51 percent decline. Further bolstering Fulton’s claim are figures showing continued drops in deaths for the past two years. By 2014, 80 people in Fulton had died from HIV or AIDS, a rate of 8 percent. That’s a 59 percent decline by number or a 66.8 percent decrease in rate from the peak a decade ago. Statewide, HIV/AIDS deaths also declined during this period by 47 percent said Nancy Nydam, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health. The state death rate from HIV/AIDS was 7.9 per 100,000 in 2004 and 4.2 in 2012, a 47 percent drop, she said. The context All of this is to say, Fulton is on target with its figures. Missing from the press release, though, was the context that Atlanta remains in the top 5 cities for HIV-related deaths (and top 3 for new infections). And, its 10 per 100,000 mortality rate is five times greater than the national average of 2. ""It’s a big improvement but obviously some big improvements still need to be made,"" said Chrissie Juliano, director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. ""We know from other sources that challenges remain in Atlanta-Fulton County regarding HIV and AIDS."" Fulton is making headway. It completed an internal audit in October that found mismanagement and bureaucratic delays cost it the nearly $9 million in federal money to fight HIV. It has since replaced the health department director and strengthened oversight of its grants. Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, cautioned against reading too much into Atlanta’s ranking in comparison to national mortality rates. He added that it would not be ""informative"" to directly compare Atlanta, or any city, to the overall U.S. rates on HIV mortality. ""HIV-related deaths are much higher in cities, because people living with HIV are more concentrated in cities,"" Sullivan said. ""The high HIV-related mortality rate reflects the high impact of HIV in Atlanta."" Our ruling At a time when new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are down globally, Fulton County touted a report that showed its mortality rate dropped 59 percent from a peak in 2004. The report, and state data, back up the dramatic decline. While Atlanta remains in the top five cities in the nation for such deaths and still struggles with executing prevention programs, it also has seen the mortality rate drop since the report."
https://bchi.bigcitieshealth.org/place/Atlanta%20%28Fulton%20County%29,%20GA, https://oasis.state.ga.us/oasis/oasis/qryMorbMort.aspx, https://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/audit-mismanagement-led-to-loss-of-millions-in-ful/nnwhT/?icmp=AJC_internallink_100715_AJCtoMyAJC_FultonGrant, http://www.bigcitieshealth.org, http://news.wabe.org/post/fulton-county-doesnt-spend-loses-hiv-prevention-money, https://bchi.bigcitieshealth.org/, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/, http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/HowAIDSchangedeverything/factsheet, http://www.naccho.org/
2 (true)
Georgia, Public Health, Fulton County Health and Wellness,
28785
Stem cells can be harvested from baby teeth, so it's a good idea to preserve them in private stem cell banks for future use in medical treatments.
August 17, 2016
What's true: Research shows that stem cells can be harvested from baby teeth and have potential dental and medical uses in repairing and regenerating tissues, and commercial facilities exist for the preservation and storage of dental stem cells for future use, at a price. What's undetermined: Whether, to what degree, or when such potential uses for dental stem cells will actually come to pass.
David Emery
Stem cells, which differ from other types of cells in the human body in that they’re capable of renewing themselves almost indefinitely and changing into more specialized cells with the potential to repair or replace specific tissues and organs, were discovered more than 100 years ago and, according to the National Institutes of Health, remain one of the most promising frontiers of medical research: Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine. There are two basic kinds of stem cells, embryonic and adult. The former can only harvested from human embryos, while the latter are found in a variety of human tissues such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, fat, and, since 2003, baby teeth. The scientists who discovered that the pulp of baby teeth is rich in stem cells also noted that SHED (“stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth”) have unique properties: They are long lived, grow rapidly in culture, and, with careful prompting in the laboratory, have the potential to induce the formation of specialized dentin, bone, and neuronal cells. If followup studies extend these initial findings, the scientists speculate they may have identified an important and easily accessible source of stem cells that possibly could be manipulated to repair damaged teeth, induce the regeneration of bone, and treat neural injury or disease. Another innovation in stem cell technology is the implementation of stem cell banks — specifically, cord blood stem cell banks and dental stem cell banks for the purpose of enabling parents to cryopreserve and store their children’s stem cells for use in reparative or regenerative medical treatments later in life. Any number of articles touting the use of such facilities are circulating online, including “Doctors Are Urging Parents Everywhere to Keep Their Kids’ Baby Teeth,” which, despite its title, doesn’t name or quote a single physician who actually recommends it. Nor is there any mention of the cost of these services. One such facility, called Store-A-Tooth, charges $1,749 up front plus $120 per year for storage. Another, The Tooth Bank, charges $475 plus $115 per year for storage. And there’s StemSave, whose services cost $630 up front and $120 per year. There are others within approximately the same range. The main question facing most parents, then, is whether the potential benefits of preserving their kids’ baby teeth justify the expense. The answer is possibly not. Research is ongoing and the future looks promising, but no one can predict when or to what degree those promises will be fulfilled. To date, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve the use of dental stem cells in any medical procedure. This is what the California Dental Association had to say about dental stem cell banking in 2013: Scientific study into cell-based therapies has identified tremendous potential for the use of stem cells to treat a number of diseases and disorders. As research has advanced, stem cell banking services, primarily umbilical cord blood banking, have sprung up around the country. More recently, researchers have discovered that stem cells harvested from deciduous teeth may be a source of tissue regeneration and repair. Like the marketing of umbilical cord banking to pregnant women, dental pulp stem cell tissue banks have begun to market to dentists and the public. Despite its exciting potential, experts agree it is premature to consider dental pulp stem cells as a source of cells for replacing or regenerating tissue. “What we do know,”  the CDA quotes Dr. Pamela Robey of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research as saying, “is the cells from dental pulp in baby or wisdom teeth have the ability to make dentin and pulp and they might have the ability to make bone, but right now that’s all we really know for sure … we can’t say how useful for the future they’ll be.” Considering the uncertainties and the cost, then, parents would be well advised to seek the opinion of a knowledgeable medical professional and carefully weigh their decision before investing in a baby tooth bank account.
1 (mixture)
Medical, stem cells, teeth
14624
Bioweapon! Zika virus is being spread by GMO mosquitos (sic)
February 9, 2016
"An Internet rumor propagated in a YouTube video claims that the ""Zika virus is being spread by GMO mosquitos (sic)."" There’s no evidence that this is true. The argument offered — where the Zika outbreak occurred matches up with where the transformed mosquitoes were released — doesn’t hold up. What’s more, the mosquitoes in question were specifically engineered to self-destruct before they can spread viruses. This claim is both inaccurate and ridiculous."
Linda Qiu
"Global health emergencies understandably stoke fear, panic and wild claims. Exaggerations about Ebola were PolitiFact’s 2014 Lie of the Year. And now rumors about Zika, a virus linked to birth defects, are taking the Internet by storm. One of the claims goes something like this: Zika is caused by genetically modified mosquitoes, a testament to what happens when man tampers with nature or a purposefully manufactured weapon for population control. As Snopes and Discover have noted, this idea appears to have originated from a post published Jan. 25 to the subreddit r/conspiracy — our first red flag. But since then, the claim has been circulated by media outlets ranging from Infowars and Natural News to the Daily Mail, the Mirror, Russia Today and Fox News. One version can be found in a popular YouTube video entitled: ""Bioweapon! Zika virus is being spread by GMO mosquitos (sic) funded by Gates."" The video explains that British biotechnology company Oxitec engineered genetically modified mosquitoes to fight the spread of dengue fever and other diseases with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Oxitec recently released these mosquitoes in Brazil, ""where we have this explosion of Zika,"" the video says. ""Writing’s on the wall, folks."" We wondered if there is any truth to the notion that Zika is being spread by transgenic mosquitoes. In a word, no. Epidemiologists told us the rumor is baseless. The mosquitoes in question wouldn’t have been capable of starting the outbreak in 2015, and the geographic correlation offered doesn’t hold up. A spokesperson for the World Health Organization said the organization has seen no evidence suggesting that Zika is linked to genetically modified mosquitoes. ""I don’t know of any scientific evidence for this rumor, or any obvious way to do this that would be more efficient than natural transmission,"" said Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. ""I cannot state more emphatically that I believe this theory to be absolutely untrue,"" said Anna Durbin, a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins University. Let’s dissect this claim bit by bit. Not a new disease The claim’s first problem is history. Zika didn’t suddenly appear after genetically modified mosquitoes were released. The virus was first documented nearly seven decades ago in Uganda and has cropped up many times over the years. On April 18, 1947, researchers studying jungle yellow fever isolated the virus from mosquitoes and named it after the Zika Forest where it was found. Though Zika had never been seen before, ""it had probably lurked chronically in African monkeys, or some other native reservoir, for millennia,"" reports National Geographic. In the next half century, evidence of Zika was found in human fluids in a number of African and Asian countries, but only 14 cases of the human disease were documented. Zika was detected outside of the two continents for the first time in 2007. The small island nation of Yap saw 108 confirmed or probable cases of the disease. The second outbreak of Zika hit French Polynesia, another small island in the Pacific, in 2013. About 11 percent of the population (28,000 cases) were infected. In May 2015, Brazil reported the first cases of Zika infection along with a surge in infants born with microcephaly, a birth defect in which baby’s head is abnormally small. There are now an estimated 440,000 to 1.3 million cases in the country and the disease has spread across Latin America. Incapable mosquitoes The claim’s second problem is that genetically modified bugs couldn’t have been responsible for the 2015 Zika outbreak. Many mosquito species in the Aedes genus (africanus, apicoargenteus, luteocephalus, vitattus, furcifer, albopictus, hensilli and polynesiensis) can transmit the Zika virus, but the main vector is Aedes aegypti. This particular mosquito, common in tropical areas around the world, also spreads yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. To combat dengue fever, Oxitec engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to produce a lethal protein and self-destruct. Females, which bite, are destroyed in the lab while males, which don’t bite and thus can’t transmit diseases, are released into the wild. They mate with local, non-GM females and the self-destruct gene is passed onto offspring. Oxitec spokesman Matthew Warren told PolitiFact that the mosquitoes typically self-destruct within one to four days, and the gene disappears from the population about 12 weeks after the initial release. ""This means that offspring of the mosquito do not survive,"" said Durbin of Johns Hopkins. ""Therefore, the progeny of these mosquitoes, even if infected with Zika, would not survive to transmit Zika."" Wrong location The claim’s third problem is the geographic correlation, which besides not being the same thing as causation doesn’t actually match up. The first Brazilian cases of Zika reported in May 2015 were in Camaçari, a district in the northeastern state of Bahia that’s hundreds of kilometers away from the Oxitec trial sites. The biotech firm released the genetically modified mosquitoes in Juazeiro, which is roughly 490 kilometers from Camaçari, and in Jacobina, about 340 kilometers away. It’s also very unlikely, if not impossible, that Zika-carrying Oxitec mosquitoes made their way to Camaçari. For one, the typical Aedes aegypti mosquito can fly a maximum of 200 meters to 440 meters. For another, the trials took place months and years before the Camaçari outbreak (between May 2011 and September 2012 in Juazeiro and in Jacobina between June 2013 and December 2014). So ""even if an Oxitec mosquito ‘hitched a lift,’ "" it would have died long before, Warren said. Beginning in April 2015, Oxitec did release mosquitoes in Piracicaba, in the southeastern state of São Paulo  —  about 2,000 kilometers from Camaçari and 1,900 kilometers from the epicenter of the disease in Recife. According to the state’s department of health, São Paulo has reported only 20 cases of microcephaly as of Jan. 20, 2016 (though there is some suspicion over the official tally) while Piracicaba itself has two confirmed and 12 suspected cases of Zika. Oxitec’s true role in Zika’s rapid spread Rather than spreading Zika, Oxitec mosquitoes could actually help fight the disease, as NPR, CNN, and the New York Times have noted. The self-destructing bugs have reduced virus-carrying mosquito populations in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands by 80 to 90 percent, according to studies commissioned by the company. (Critics say these results are exaggerated.) Experts said the current explosion of Zika in Brazil is more likely due to the lack of barriers, higher population density, increased mobility and novelty of the disease rather than mutant mosquitos. Whereas the disease was confined by the ocean and small populations in Yap and French Polynesia, Durbin pointed out, Zika could spread through a huge amount of territory and infect way more humans in Brazil. Immunity and resistance to the disease has been documented in Nigeria and Indonesia. But in the Americas, Zika is basically a ""virgin soil epidemic,"" said Morse of Columbia. (So were smallpox to Native American populations in the United States and yellow fever to European colonialists in West Africa.) ""I think it’s extremely likely these introductions are inadvertent and not intentional because historically we’ve seen this kind of thing happen many times,"" Morse said. One final note. The viral image focuses part of its criticism on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation helped fund the genetically modified mosquito program. The foundation also is helping support PolitiFact’s efforts to fact-check claims about global health and development. Gates has no input over what we fact-check or the rulings we issue. An Internet rumor propagated in a YouTube video claims that the ""Zika virus is being spread by GMO mosquitos (sic)."" There’s no evidence that this is true. The argument offered — where the Zika outbreak occurred matches up with where the transformed mosquitoes were released — doesn’t hold up. What’s more, the mosquitoes in question were specifically engineered to self-destruct before they can spread viruses. This claim is both inaccurate and ridiculous."
http://portalsaude.saude.gov.br/index.php/cidadao/principal/agencia-saude/21803-laboratorios-ampliam-em-20-vezes-a-capacidade-para-testes-de-zika, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160128-zika-virus-birth-defects-brian-damage-history-science/, http://g1.globo.com/sp/piracicaba-regiao/noticia/2016/01/piracicaba-confirma-1-caso-de-zika-virus-em-gestante-segundo-saude.html, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819875/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsUXGYbPaHg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWOIDZFVsBU, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1469-0691.12707/full, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/science-sushi/2016/01/31/genetically-modified-mosquitoes-didnt-start-zika-ourbreak/#.VrJpULIrK72, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0805715#t=articleTop, https://www.snopes.com/zika-virus-gmo-mosquitoes/, http://www.businessinsider.com/zika-virus-conspiracy-theory-2016-1, http://www.oxitec.com/oxitec-video/
0 (false)
Global News Service, Animals, Public Health, Viral image,
17148
"Freedom Partners Says Bruce Braley took ""tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry"" and gave them ""special favors"" by voting for Obamacare."
April 11, 2014
"Freedom Partners’ ad claims that Braley took ""tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry"" and gave them ""special favors"" by voting for Obamacare. Braley did take tens of thousands of dollars from the insurance industry, though from all types of insurers, not just health insurers. However, Braley, like most Democrats, had campaigned on expanding health coverage to the uninsured, and then, faced with a landmark and highly partisan vote, carried through on his stated intentions. It’s ridiculous to suggest that donors who contributed less than 1 percent of his warchest weighed more heavily on his vote than his ideology, his past campaign promises and his partisan affiliation."
Louis Jacobson
"A new ad by Freedom Partners -- a group that has served as a hub for funding by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch -- recently began airing ads against Democratic Senate candidates, targeting them for their support of President Barack Obama’s health care law. The group had been little known until the Washington Post reported in January that Freedom Partners had ""raised $256 million from unknown sources, money that was then transferred to a complex network of LLCs and political nonprofits that do not disclose their donors."" By airing the new ads against Democratic Senate candidates, it appears that Freedom Partners is ""bringing in-house many of the functions it financed through other groups in the last campaign,"" the Post reported. One of the Freedom Partners ads attacks Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, who’s running to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Braley will face one of several potential Republican candidates in a general election that independent observers consider competitive. Here’s the full narration of the ad: ""No one likes it when politicians give special favors. Congressman Bruce Braley voted for Obamacare. The government spent millions of taxpayer dollars to promote it. Now, health insurance companies stand to make billions. And Bruce Braley? He takes tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry. For Iowans, it's canceled policies and higher costs. That's not right. Call Bruce Braley. Tell him: Stand with Iowa. Stop supporting Obamacare."" There’s a lot to chew on here, but we decided to narrow our focus to the claim that Braley took ""tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry"" and gave them ""special favors"" by voting for Obamacare. Did Braley take ""tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry""? This claim reminded us of the scene from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in which Dr. Evil (Mike Meyers) threatens to unleash some horrible threat upon the earth unless he is paid -- pausing for dramatic effect -- ""one million dollars."" His nonplussed advisers gently suggest that he raise the ransom amount, since in today’s dollars, $1 million isn’t really all that much. In Braley’s case, yes -- he took ""tens of thousands"" from the insurance industry. But saying that misses a whole bunch of important context. Braley has accepted a total of $83,500 from individuals and PACs connected to the insurance industry since his first campaign for the House in the 2006 campaign cycle, according to data gleaned from the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent collector of campaign finance information. That includes $24,250 so far during the 2014 campaign cycle. In isolation, this may sound like a lot. But here’s the context. First, this is money from the ""insurance"" sector, not necessarily the health insurance sector. Once you strip out car insurance companies, homeowner insurance companies, life insurance companies and the like, the amount is much less. We asked the Center for Responsive Politics to do the stripping for us. Here are the results: Over the last decade, Braley has received a total of $16,000 from health insurance political action committees: $8,500 from Humana, $3,000 from Delta Dental, $2,500 from VSP Holdings and $2,000 from AFLAC. He received an additional $4,500 from eight individual donors employed by a health insurance company, all but one donation smaller than $750. Altogether, this is $20,500 from health insurance sources -- less than a quarter of his take from insurers more generally, and about $2,000 for every year he’s served in Congress. ""This is not a lot of money to influence a huge vote like that,"" said Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. If we are going to compare Braley to other Senate candidates on an apples-to-apples basis, it’s only feasible to use the the Center for Responsive Politics’ standard data for ""insurance"" companies. So how does Braley’s insurance haul compare to that other lawmakers? Not very impressively. Among all Senate candidates running in 2014, Braley ranks 55th. Since there are just 36 Senate races this year, some of which feature minimal opposition to incumbents, that’s pretty low indeed for a sitting House member in a competitive seat to rank 55th. And how big a share of Braley’s warchest comes from this broader swath of the insurance industry? Not very big. The insurance industry ranks 19th on the list of biggest sector donors to Braley’s campaigns over his entire career. For the 2014 cycle, insurance ranks 16th among all sectors donating to Braley. In all, insurance donations account for less than 1 percent of all the cash Braley has raised during his political career. (The industry that ranks No. 1 -- giving $4,084,645 over the course of Braley’s career -- is ""lawyers and law firms."" This connection recently caused a major embarrassment for Braley when he was caught on videotape jabbing Sen. Chuck Grassley, the popular Republican he’s seeking to join in the Senate, as ""a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school."" Slate’s John Dickerson joked that Braley’s farm-state gaffe was so massive ""that the Environmental Protection Agency may seek to regulate it."") Was it a special favor to the health insurance industry to vote for Obamacare? For one thing, it’s not as simple as the ad says -- the insurance industry hardly loves every aspect of the law, so it’s not clear that voting for it was an undiluted gift for the industry. ""In particular, the medical loss ratio that limits their profits and requires 80 cents on each dollar be spent on insurance recipients keeps their profits from soaring,"" Ornstein said. In addition, it strains logic to think that Braley would have turned from an opponent of the law, or even agnostic about it, to a supporter of it simply because of the desires of donors who collectively gave him a fraction of one percent of his total campaign warchest. It’s not as if Braley had built his political career on being a foe of a health care overhaul. Like most Democrats, he supported policies to lower the number of uninsured Americans. During his first campaign for the House in 2006, ""Braley called for expanding health care for the uninsured,"" according to the 2008 edition of the Almanac of American Politics. And in September 2009, when the House health care bill was on its way to the floor, the Des Moines Register reported that Braley said that the often divisive town meetings about health care had only stiffened his resolve. ""You've been out there talking about your values for health care reform and, for some of us, it's made us more dedicated than ever to doing something meaningful about health care reform,"" Braley said, according to the newspaper. Combined, Braley’s past promises and pressure from his party are likely to have outweighed any campaign donations from the industry, Ornstein said. The partisan pressure to toe the line on the health care bill was especially strong because it was the No. 1 legislative priority of a president from his own party, and the vote would be decided essentially along party lines. ""Political science scholars have spilled much ink and used countless hours of computer time linking these kinds of ordinary contributions to voting outcomes, and have come up with very little,"" said Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political scientist. A final point: If the ad considers donations from the insurance industry to be the linchpin of a politician’s support for Obamacare, how can this explain the overall pattern of donations by the insurance industry? As it turns out, nine of the 13 Senate candidates who received the most money from the insurance industry in 2014 are Republicans, a list headed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who received $231,800. Yet despite the backing of the industry, none of these Republicans voted for Obamacare. And what about Braley’s fellow Iowan, Grassley? Grassley -- who did not vote for Obamacare -- has received $318,202 from the insurance industry in the 2014 cycle, or about 13 times as much as Braley did over the same period. And the insurance industry’s ranking among the industries donating to Grassley? It ranks first. Freedom Partners’ argument A spokesman for Freedom Partners, James Davis, said just looking at the size of the donations misses the point. ""What's important to understand is that our ad isn't just about dollar amounts, it's about hypocrisy,"" Davis said. He pointed to an ad by the pro-Braley independent group Senate Majority PAC that said Braley wants to ""hold insurance companies accountable"" and ""knows we can’t go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and kick people off their coverage when they get sick."" (Both were policies outlawed by passage of Obamacare, and which would be at risk of re-emerging after an Obamacare repeal unless specifically protected.) ""The point we're making is: How can Rep. Braley claim he's standing up to health insurance companies, while at the same time taking their campaign donations and supporting Obamacare – a huge boon to the health insurance industry?"" Davis said. ""It's not about where he falls in the line of donations – it's about saying one thing and doing another."" However, we don’t think the use of the phrase ""special favors"" and ""friends in the health insurance industry"" suggests hypocrisy. Rather, it all but suggests that Braley is corrupt, pursuing damaging policies because he gains personally from interested parties. And on that score, the evidence is thin indeed. We asked Freedom Partners if they had any evidence of favors Braley had done for specific companies, but the group did not reply. Our ruling Freedom Partners’ ad claims that Braley took ""tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry"" and gave them ""special favors"" by voting for Obamacare. Braley did take tens of thousands of dollars from the insurance industry, though from all types of insurers, not just health insurers. However, Braley, like most Democrats, had campaigned on expanding health coverage to the uninsured, and then, faced with a landmark and highly partisan vote, carried through on his stated intentions. It’s ridiculous to suggest that donors who contributed less than 1 percent of his warchest weighed more heavily on his vote than his ideology, his past campaign promises and his partisan affiliation."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/04/08/financial-arm-of-koch-backed-political-network-launches-first-direct-attack-ads/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvp4jEMwK7w, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/03/bruce_braley_s_gaffe_the_iowa_democrat_who_attacked_chuck_grassley_and_iowa.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-backed-political-network-built-to-shield-donors-raised-400-million-in-2012-elections/2014/01/05/9e7cfd9a-719b-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/111-2009/s396, https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cytbeD0DhXE&feature=youtu.be
0 (false)
National, Campaign Finance, Health Care, Freedom Partners,
33670
Shaving makes your hair grow back in thicker, faster, and fuller.
October 2, 2003
Does hair grow back darker or thicker after it has been shaved?
David Mikkelson
As much as we shampoo it, style it, cut it, and fret over it, hair continues to be a mystery to us. We speculate on its nature, especially its propensity for sprouting in our middle years in places we didn’t want it to, even as it disappears from locations where we would much rather it had stayed put. We wonder if it continues to grow after we die. (It doesn’t.) And we worry that shaving or cutting it will make hair grow back thicker or darker or coarser. Shavers and clippers take heart: in your quest for tonsorial perfection, you are not creating a larger problem for yourself through your efforts. Cutting does not stimulate new growth. (If it did, those going bald would be shaving afflicted areas to encourage regrowth of what they’re losing.) This belief probably stems from the perception that short hair seems to be tougher than longer hair. Hair expert Philip Kingsley recommends thinking of a bamboo cane: a long cane flexes easily, but the same cane cut short feels harder and tougher. Another reason for the belief resides with the naturally finer ends of uncut hair: compare the end of a long-lived hair with that of a hair recently cut or shaved, and you’ll see the one is thicker than the other. That could lead the less-than-careful to conclude that the whole of the hair’s shaft became thicker as a result of the hair’s being cut (which it didn’t) rather than to realize that shaving or cutting results in a blunt termination, whereas natural outgrowth concludes in a tapering. The part of the hair we style is already dead. The living sections lie below the surface of the scalp. Cutting or shaving the extreme end of the dead section isn’t going to have an impact on the parts that are alive. Go forth to shave and trim as much as you like — you will not be affecting the intrinsic nature of your hair. Other mistaken hair beliefs include: My hair is gray, but not with years, Nor grew it white In a single night As men’s have grown from sudden fears. For most, the greying process is a gradual progression which takes place across a span of years, but for some it can occur at an accelerated rate or at a very early age. Hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata can also cause all of the still-pigmented hairs on a head to fall out, leaving only the grey hairs (which are more resistant), resulting in a dramatic and seemingly “overnight” change. Yet, when a person whose hair would have gone grey quickly anyway is subjected to horrible news, this coincidence is seized upon as evidence that the horrible news caused the early greyness. (Former first lady Barbara Bush is often pointed to as an example of the “grey overnight from shock” group. In 1953, when she was 28, her 3-year-old daughter, Robin, died of leukemia. During the months-long battle to save the child, Mrs. Bush’s hair became white.)
0 (false)
Old Wives' Tales, ASP Article, hair
3165
Arkansas election office may move due to high mold levels.
Mold contamination at an election commission office in Arkansas is so extreme that staff health and electronic voting machines are at risk, and officials are looking for an alternative working space.
Aerus air quality technicians who inspected the Jefferson County Election Commission office last month found evidence of water damage and mold buildup, and an oppressive musty odor permeated the air. “They found mold in the carpet,” Commissioner Stuart Soffer said. “In the heating and air room, the readings were unbelievable and there was a pickle bucket in there with water and mold that has been growing because apparently one of the units back there was leaking, and the two air filters were black with mold.” Soffer noted that mold was growing inside the cabinets in the media room, where commissioners work to prepare elections and to tabulate election results. He added that the moisture contamination was coming from a building next door that was leaking into the election commission office. “The bottom line is that we cannot continue using this building,” he said. “We have a liability and if you knowingly expose people to this stuff, you’re setting yourself up.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can prompt a variety of health problems including eye, nose and throat irritation, but can also lead to lung disease and upper respiratory tract illness for those with asthma or a compromised immune system. Aerus’ measurements showed that one election room contained 73,300 particles per cubic foot small mold spores, which technicians said far exceeded acceptable levels of 2,500 particles per cubic foot. They also found large mold spores measuring 16,800 particles per cubic foot, while the acceptable level is 200 particles per cubic foot. The Arkansas Gazette-Democrat reported that the damp and mold could lead to corrosion of electronic voting machines. The technicians said mold spore levels far exceeded acceptable levels. Aerus, which sells air and water purifiers, recommended a $1,500 dehumidifier. Soffer suggested that the election commission could move into the former sheriff’s office facility in the county courthouse. But County Judge Gerald Robinson, the chief executive of county government, said that room wasn’t available to the election commission. Robinson said he would look for another county-owned building to use. ___ Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/nov/11/mold-growth-has-election-panelists-hunt-1/?news-arkansas,http://www.arkansasonline.com,https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
2 (true)
Voting, Health, Elections, Arkansas, General News, Voting machines, Electronic voting, Pine Bluff, Air quality
1391
Britain confirms bird flu case in Lancashire, to cull infected poultry.
January 24, 2017
The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants at a farm in Lancashire, northwest England, British authorities said on Tuesday.
Some of the birds have already died and the remainder will be culled, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a statement. bit.ly/2jOxDEv A 3-km (1.9-mile) protection zone and a 10-km surveillance zone have been put in place around the farm in Preston, it said, adding that the virus posed very low risk to public health. Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to the large-scale slaughter of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China. A case of the contagious H5N8 bird flu strain was found in southwest Wales earlier in January while the eastern English county of Lincolnshire and the Irish Republic each reported a case in December. The World Health Organization called on all countries on Monday to monitor closely outbreaks of deadly avian influenza in birds and poultry and to report promptly any human cases that could signal the start of a flu pandemic.
http://bit.ly/2jOxDEv
2 (true)
Health News
16316
"If Florida expanded Medicaid, ""some studies indicate it would create about 120,000 jobs."
October 15, 2014
"Crist said ""some studies indicate"" expanding Medicaid would ""create about 120,000 jobs."" Crist was referring to one study done for the Florida Hospital Association, a supporter of Medicaid expansion. That study predicted about 120,000 new jobs. There have been several studies that predict job growth related to Medicaid expansion, with one study putting the figure as low as 10,000 jobs. Crist cherry-picked the study with the highest statistic and omitted that it was done for an association that supports the expansion. Most economists and Medicaid experts say that it’s likely that the infusion of federal cash would lead to some jobs, but it is difficult to pinpoint the number."
Amy Sherman
"Democrat Charlie Crist has criticized Republican Gov. Rick Scott for the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. During the second governor’s debate, which was held on Oct. 15, 2014, at Broward College, Crist said of Medicaid expansion, ""In addition to the $51 billion it would bring to the state over the next 10 years, some studies indicate it would create about 120,000 jobs. That's the right thing to do."" That’s nearly double the number of new jobs that Crist cited this summer. If Florida expands Medicaid, would that lead to 120,000 more jobs? Studies about Medicaid and jobs Medicaid is a joint state and federal program aimed at providing health insurance to the very poor. The 2010 Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand eligibility, with the federal government paying 100 percent of the expansion for the first three years, declining to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. The expansion would have led to 800,000 to 1 million additional Floridians signing up for Medicaid. (That’s mostly due to new Floridians who would be eligible and also because some who are already eligible but haven’t signed up would enroll for the program after publicity.) Scott initially opposed Medicaid expansion but switched his position in 2013 when he came out in support of it. But Scott didn’t lobby the GOP-led Legislature, which ultimately rejected the expansion. He hasn’t talked about it much on the campaign trail. Studies predicting job growth are based on the idea that as states expand Medicaid, new patients will access medical services they haven’t used in the past. Extra revenue will allow health care facilities to hire new workers. But the number of jobs predicted in each study varies depending upon the methodology. We only found one study that went as high as the 120,000 number Crist cited in the debate. And that study was conducted by a supporter of the expansion. Crist was citing the Florida Hospital Association’s 2013 analysis that predicts about 120,000 jobs. The association commissioned the study done by University of Florida researchers. During the debate, Crist didn’t specify any time frame. Direct jobs accounted for about one-third of the jobs, while the remainder included suppliers or secondary spending, such as when a doctor buys a new house or car. Other studies cited much lower figures for job growth. For example, Moody’s, a financial analysis firm that doesn’t have a position on the health care law, last year predicted Medicaid expansion would create 10,000 to 30,000 jobs over 10 years in Florida. The White House Council of Economic Advisers projected 63,800 jobs between 2014 and 2017 in Florida. That study was part of the Obama administration’s promotion of the Affordable Care Act. The White House study relies in part on the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, in which some residents got Medicaid through a lottery. Research showed people in Medicaid got preventative tests such as mammograms, cholesterol screening and pap smears compared to the control group. The White House predicts that Medicaid expansion would allow tens of thousands of Floridians to get those preventative tests. Experts weigh in on studies So why the massive differences on the job predictions? The numbers vary based on different economic models used and other assumptions. PolitiFact Florida interviewed several experts on the studies after the first debate, held on Telemundo, when Crist made a similar claim about new jobs from expanding Medicaid. Dan White, the senior economist who authored the Moody’s study, said that the hospital association study appears to assume that everyone who signs up under the Medicaid expansion will generate new spending. But at least some of those people who would have signed up for Medicaid were already accessing some medical services -- albeit inefficiently in emergency rooms. ""They are treating all the money coming into Medicaid expansion as new medical spending in Florida, but some of those people are already spending money,"" White said. ""The crux of our analysis is shifting who is paying for it. It might be true that those people support 120,000 jobs, but maybe 10,000 to 30,000 are new jobs."" Some experts on Medicaid expansion told PolitiFact Florida that an infusion of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion would lead to some job growth, but they questioned pinpointing a specific number. ""Pumping federal dollars into the state is likely to be stimulative, but an exact job calculation (given the many concurrent policy changes) is difficult,"" Harvard professor of health economics Katherine Baicker told PolitiFact Florida. Michael Tanner, a health care expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, said it’s impossible to make a jobs prediction. ""I would guess there would be some short-term employment gains, but the long term would be more problematic as bills become due,"" he said. ""But even in the short term, I am skeptical of both the size and precision of this estimate."" Though most of the experts we interviewed agreed that there would be some job growth, University of Chicago economist Casey B. Mulligan argues that increasing Medicaid will reduce employment because people will no longer need to work full-time to get health insurance. ""Medicaid makes it less painful to have a low income, so people have less incentive to take actions to prevent their incomes from getting low,"" he previously told PolitiFact. ""Not everyone acts that way, but enough do that a Medicaid expansion would depress employment nationally."" Our ruling Crist said ""some studies indicate"" expanding Medicaid would ""create about 120,000 jobs."" Crist was referring to one study done for the Florida Hospital Association, a supporter of Medicaid expansion. That study predicted about 120,000 new jobs. There have been several studies that predict job growth related to Medicaid expansion, with one study putting the figure as low as 10,000 jobs. Crist cherry-picked the study with the highest statistic and omitted that it was done for an association that supports the expansion. Most economists and Medicaid experts say that it’s likely that the infusion of federal cash would lead to some jobs, but it is difficult to pinpoint the number."
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Committees&CommitteeId=2738&Session=2013&DocumentType=Meeting%20Packets&FileName=PPACA%202-18-13-ONLINE.pdf, http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/7075_02_ES.pdf, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1204891, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2014/jul/09/charlie-crist/not-expanding-medicaid-florida-missing-out-63800-j/, http://hpi.georgetown.edu/floridamedicaid/, http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/can-florida-afford-to-say-no-to-medicaid-expansion/1241313, https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/will-states-expand-their-medicaid/, https://www.nber.org/papers/w19220, https://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Committees/2012-2014/SPPA/MeetingRecords/MeetingPacket_2026.pdf, https://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2013/feb/27/will-medicaid-expansion-create-jobs-review-evidenc/, http://www.fha.org/reports_resources/files/RPT-Economic-Impact-of-the-ACA-in-Florida-11302012.pdf, http://www.mhm.org/images/stories/advocacy_and_public_policy/Smart%20Affordable%20and%20Fair_FNL_FULL.pdf, http://www.fcfep.org/attachments/20110113--Unhealthy%20Medicaid%20Choices%282%29.pdf, http://www.fha.org/reports-and-resources/show-details/Economic-Impacts-of-Extending-Health-Care-Coverage-in-Florida/75, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/21/3245537/fla-gov-scott-supports-medicaid.html, https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/8522-the-role-of-medicaid-in-state-economies-looking-forward-to-the-aca.pdf, http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/medicaid-expansion-can-backfire-witnesses, http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2-20-13-REMARKSFORDELIVERY.pdf, https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/apr/02/rick-scott/rick-scott-calls-health-care-law-job-killer/, https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2013/02/25/will-medicaid-expansion-create-jobs/, http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/11/156568678/will-medicaid-bring-the-uninsured-out-of-the-woodwork, http://familiesusa2.org/assets/pdfs/medicaid-expansion/Florida.pdf, http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/white-house-to-rick-scott-medicaid-expansion-would-create-63k-jobs/2186824, http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/02/in-defense-of-rick-scott.html#more, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/missed_opportunities_medicaid_0.pdf, https://twitter.com/CharlieCrist/status/484397092312711168
1 (mixture)
Medicaid, Florida, Charlie Crist,
41639
£1.8 billion of ‘new money’ has been announced for the NHS over the next five years.
August 6, 2019
£850 million has been announced for 20 hospitals over the next five years and £1 billion for the NHS in capital funding this year. The £1 billion is money that NHS trusts previously earned through a cost-cutting incentive scheme, but were then told not to spend. It is ‘new’ in the sense that the Treasury had not previously budgeted for them spending it.
Claire Milne
£1.8 billion of ‘new money’ has been announced for the NHS over the next five years. £850 million has been announced for 20 hospitals over the next five years and £1 billion for the NHS in capital funding this year. The £1 billion is money that NHS trusts previously earned through a cost-cutting incentive scheme, but were then told not to spend. It is ‘new’ in the sense that the Treasury had not previously budgeted for them spending it. Claim 1 of 2
https://twitter.com/sallygainsbury/status/1158041562993086464, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007bj8, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007bj8, https://news.sky.com/video/pm-what-the-1-8bn-of-nhs-funding-is-for-11777993, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-announces-extra-18-billion-for-nhs-frontline-services, https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/blogs/the-excluded-middle-is-the-new-money-new-or-not, https://twitter.com/sallygainsbury/status/1158041562993086464, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/05/boris-johnson-nhs-trusts, https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/having-your-fudge-and-eating-it#control-totals-and-sustainability-funds, https://www.nao.org.uk/press-release/sustainability-and-transformation-in-the-nhs/, https://www.hsj.co.uk/news/18bn-funding-boost-just-a-down-payment/7025688.article, https://www.hsj.co.uk/finance-and-efficiency/trusts-told-to-cut-a-fifth-off-capital-spending-plans/7025462.article, https://www.hsj.co.uk/finance-and-efficiency/confirmed-nhs-cash-reserves-will-fund-pms-capital-spending-promise/7025774.article, https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/blogs/the-excluded-middle-is-the-new-money-new-or-not, https://news.sky.com/video/pm-what-the-1-8bn-of-nhs-funding-is-for-11777993, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007bj8, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007btz, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007btz, https://twitter.com/MattHancock/status/1158387215208243210, https://twitter.com/MattHancock/status/1158385132966948864, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=460&v=n6d5r0ebE0A, https://twitter.com/MattHancock/status/1158382830730326016
1 (mixture)
health
40835
Increasing the international health surcharge to £625 and extending it to all foreign workers, including EU migrants after Brexit, will raise over £500 million a year.
November 18, 2019
It’s unclear how the Conservatives have calculated this figure. We’ve asked for more information.
Claire Milne
Under the current system, people on a work, study or family visa only pay a £400 surcharge to use the NHS. This is the current level the international health surcharge is set at each year, but the taxes that people who come to work in the UK pay also goes towards things like the NHS. Under the current system, people on a work, study or family visa incur average NHS costs of £625 per year. It’s unclear how the Conservatives have calculated this new figure and we’ve asked them for more information. Claim 1 of 3
https://vote.conservatives.com/news/conservatives-announce-range-of-measures-to-take-back-control-of-our-borders, https://vote.conservatives.com/news/conservatives-announce-range-of-measures-to-take-back-control-of-our-borders, https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/who-needs-pay, https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/who-needs-pay, https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay, https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-10-25/5454/, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7542213/Treating-visitors-costs-NHS-100million-expected.html, https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/the-fiscal-impact-of-immigration-in-the-uk/
3 (unproven)
health-tourism
2258
Britain loses case to delay submission of air pollution plan.
April 27, 2017
The British government has failed in a legal bid to delay the publication of its plan to tackle air pollution until after the general election on June 8.
The government had gone to the High Court to extend an April 24 deadline to submit its plan to improve air quality and comply with nitrogen dioxide limits set by the European Union (EU). But the court ruled on Thursday against any extension, ordering a draft plan to be submitted by May 9 and a full report by July 31, British media reported. The government is obliged to draw up a new plan after the High Court ruled in November that a calculation of future vehicle emissions was too optimistic. It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal Thursday’s ruling. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was considering the judgment. Concern over air quality has grown since the Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) emissions scandal broke and reports that real-world emissions exceed those recorded during laboratory tests have put pollution high on the political agenda. “Air pollution is an election issue with or without publication of this plan, and we clearly need robust commitments from all parties on tackling the UK’s toxic air,” said Areeba Hamid, a clean air campaigner at environmental group Greenpeace. Nitrogen oxides reduce air quality and EU member states have been flouting limits on a range of pollutants associated with respiratory and other illnesses and more than 400,000 premature deaths per year, according to European Commission data. Under the EU’s Air Quality Directive, member states were supposed to comply with nitrogen dioxide limits in 2010 - or by 2015 if they delivered plans to deal with high levels of the gas, which is produced mainly by diesel engines.
uk.reuters.com/companies/VOWG_p.DE
2 (true)
Environment
21809
You see a whole bunch of Korean cars here in the United States, and you don't see any American cars in Korea.
July 4, 2011
Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) plans to ramp up manufacturing capacity for its lower-cost continuous glucose monitor, the FreeStyle Libre, by three to five times in the next few years, aiming to reach millions more patients worldwide, the company told Reuters.
Angie Drobnic Holan
Abbott executives said the increase in manufacturing capacity will begin in the second half of this year and make room for the expected U.S. launch of the FreeStyle Libre 2. This next-generation device has been approved in Europe and is now under U.S. regulatory review. Abbott’s plans for Libre, its fastest-growing diabetes product, used by 1.5 million people worldwide, will be in focus when the company reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday. Jared Watkin, Abbott’s senior vice president for Diabetes Care, said in an interview that scale is a “huge part” of the company’s strategy for its glucose monitors. “When you’re making disposable diagnostic products, the more you can make, the lower the cost you can produce them at.” While the Libre 2 has more features, including alarms for when blood sugar levels swing too low or high, Abbott plans to keep the U.S. price the same as its predecessor, Watkin said. Abbott started in diabetes care as a maker of inexpensive test strips and glucose meters. More recently, the company has sought to expand access to its so-called continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices - traditionally sold to type 1 diabetics in markets with generous insurance coverage. “It’s not good enough to bring this to a small, wealthy population. Diabetes is such a global epidemic that you need to bring products that can really make a dent in that,” Watkin said. Launched in Europe in 2014 and in the United States three years later, the FreeStyle Libre allows people with diabetes to track blood sugar levels without multiple daily finger sticks. A sensor attached to the back of the upper arm uses a thin filament under the skin to measure glucose every minute. Users check their blood sugar levels throughout the day by waving a reader, or smartphone, over the sensor. Major competitors Medtronic Plc (MDT.N) and Dexcom Inc (DXCM.O) critique the current Libre’s lack of automatic alerts that can help diabetics manage their disease. Yet they also are taking steps to introduce cheaper models themselves, executives told Reuters. Libre’s sales are expected to reach $1.5 billion this year, the company said. In April, Goldman Sachs estimated the global CGM market could reach $5 billion by 2021, up from $3.7 billion in 2019. Goldman projected Abbott’s 2021 sales at $2.7 billion compared to $1.7 billion for Dexcom and $894 million for Medtronic. In the past, CGMs were used almost exclusively by type 1 diabetics, whose bodies do not make insulin and who must inject themselves with the blood-sugar regulating hormone to survive. Increasingly, people with type 2 diabetes - the kind driven by obesity, lack of exercise and genetics - must also closely monitor their blood glucose and use insulin to manage their disease when it is not controlled by other medications and lifestyle changes. For now, Libre users include 1 million type 1 diabetic patients and half a million type 2. That’s a tiny sliver of the 425 million people with diabetes worldwide. Although not all diabetics need glucose monitors, “there is an element of scratching the surface at this point,” Watkin said. “The need to invest and bring up capacity is, we believe, going to be an ongoing activity for us.” Two 14-day Libre sensors, a month’s supply, retail for $109. Abbott says most of its patients are commercially insured, and many pay as little as $10 out of pocket. In the United States, the company says, more than half of people in commercial health plans are covered, as well as any eligible diabetic person on Medicare, the federal program for the elderly and disabled. The device is also approved in 45 other countries, including Germany, Japan, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates. Medtronic told Reuters it offers a discounted price of $345 per month for uninsured patients. The company estimates that the typical insured patient pays $50 a month. Medicare does not cover the device. Dexcom’s G6 sensors retail online, with a discount, at around $350 for a month’s supply. Dexcom says 98 percent of all U.S. private insurers cover the device, and patients covered by commercial insurance pay an average of $50-$80 per month for sensors through pharmacies or durable medical equipment suppliers. It is covered by Medicare. Libre’s 14-day sensor is also longer-lasting. Dexcom’s sensors work for 10 days, and Medtronic’s for up to 7. Abbott was also the first company to introduce a product that can be used without routine finger stick tests to validate the sensor’s readings – a feature Dexcom later matched and Medtronic has not. Dr. Roy Beck, an endocrinologist at the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Florida, said that Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre is “an excellent sensor” but not as accurate at detecting very low blood sugar as the devices from Dexcom, Medtronic or an implantable CGM made by Senseonics (SENS.A). That makes it less desirable for patients for whom this is a major issue, he said. Beck’s center has received research funding from Abbott and Dexcom. Medtronic and Dexcom executives say the current Libre does not compare with their devices when it comes to features such as alerting users to dangerous blood sugar changes and providing comprehensive trend data. “It’s the cheapest, but it’s not exactly in the same category,” said Mike Hill, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s sensor business. Abbott countered that its sensor has best-in-class accuracy, and noted that the next-generation Libre 2 does have optional alarms. Still, Medtronic is considering making a cheaper sensor for patients who don’t need all the features of its current continuous monitor, Hill said. And next year, Dexcom plans to launch a cheaper, smaller, 14-day sensor developed in partnership with Verily, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) life sciences division. Dexcom Chief Executive Kevin Sayer acknowledged that Abbott’s pricing strategy will affect the global market over time, and that Dexcom expects its own prices to come down. “We’ve planned for this,” he said.
http://www.piie.com/publications/papers/schott200911.pdf, https://www.trade.gov/wcm/groups/internet/@trade/@mas/@man/@aai/documents/web_content/auto_stats_mv_qfacts_pdf.pdf, http://www.businessweek.com/blogs/eyeonasia/archives/2009/11/koreas_kia_opens_auto_plant_in_us.html, https://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/build/groups/public/@tg_ian/documents/webcontent/tg_ian_002590.pdf, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-20/gm-to-drop-daewoo-brand-for-chevrolet-in-south-korea-plans-to-rename-unit.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/senate-panel-postpones-action-on-trade-deals-after-gop-boycott/2011/06/30/AGcMngsH_story.html, http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/06/kia_production_in_georgia_help.html, https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703350104575652882154932888.html
2 (true)
National, Foreign Policy, Trade, Transportation, Barack Obama,
11447
Tai Chi Reported to Ease Fibromyalgia
August 19, 2010
This is a well considered look at a limited study of an unusual approach to a disorder that has stumped clinicians for decades. It is the only one of the five stories we reviewed that quoted a patient about her experience. This has pluses and minuses. The patient’s extraordinary improvement after tai chi could give reader’s the impression that it will work for everyone. At the same time, it shows that the reporter attempted to gather a fuller picture of the study than most of the other reporters covering it. It could have included more cost information and could have examined the evidence a little more closely. Still, it is the best of the five stories we reviewed. With a sensational topic like tai chi for a debilitating syndrome it is important to write even more clearly and dispassionately as possible. Whether clinicians really have a handle on what causes fibromyalgia remains to be seen, but the truth is that many patients feel shackled to the condition. If an alternative therapy can liberate them without surgery or dependency on long-term drug therapy, that would indeed be reason to celebrate.
"At a minimum, the reporter could have found out how much the master used in the study typically charges and how much the DVD costs. Still, unlike most of the stories, this reporter did write, ""Dr. Shmerling said that though tai chi is inexpensive compared with other treatments, some patients would reject such an alternative therapy."" The story presents the evidence in relative terms. It would have been nice to see the absolute numbers. Still, it’s easy to calculate roughly what one third of 33 would be and one sixth would be. Essentially about 11 people stopped taking drugs after tai chi, and 5 or 6 stopped using other therapies. That’s not a huge difference, but, because there was any improvement, the researchers and the journal were understandably curious and hoping the study might spark more research. A big point of the story is that tai chi would be a much less onerous therapy with no harmful side effects. It is difficult to imagine that twice-weekly tai chi, like any other form of moderate exercise, would be harmful, but, at a minimum, the story could have reported upon the study’s adverse events registry. The journal article on which the story is based clearly discussed this. The story makes it clear early that the study is small and that more research would be needed in order to recommend tai chi as a therapy. There is no disease mongering and the description of the syndrome is the best of the five stories we reviewed. Most of the quotes in the story are from people not affiliated with the study. The story talks about how the study compared different alternatives, and it mentions, at least in passing, several other therapies. The story makes it clear that there are multiple versions of tai chi. It could have been more clear about how widely available it might be, especially in sparsely populated areas. The story says, ""Recent studies have suggested that tai chi, with its slow exercises, breathing and meditation, could benefit patients with other chronic conditions, including arthritis. But not all of these reports have been conclusive, and tai chi is hard to study because there are many styles and approaches."" This is all important context, succinctly presented. This story shows that you can pull together a lot of information and still keep the story tight. The story is very well reported and goes well beyond the original study, the editorial and any supporting materials. We were unable to locate a press release about the study."
2 (true)
10042
FDA approves AbioCor heart
September 6, 2006
This is an extremely upbeat article for use of an artificial heart device in the treatment of a very select subset of individuals with end stage heart failure. While mentioning that this device is only for patients with advanced heart failure who have no other options and would otherwise die, the story just three sentences later quotes a surgeon stating that the device’s approval “gives tons of hope to people with end-stage heart failure”. This paints a somewhat unrealistic picture about the limited group of patients for whom the device is an option. In addition to only being intended for those who are not eligible for a heart transplant and who would likely live less than a month without the device, it is only for patients whose chest is large enough to hold the device. Only the results from the longest living recipient of the device were included in the article. For balance, it would have been useful to include the average amount of time that people survived with the device as well as some mention of consequences of the treatment that may affect quality of life. Further, it is hard to predict who will live “less than a month,” a theme not addressed in the story. It is possible that some recipients may have their life shortened (death in surgery or immediately thereafter). Costs are not fully explained. A price range of $200,000 to $250,000 for the device was included in the story. However, there was no mention of physician fees or hospital stay costs. The article contained quotes from physicians directly involved in the clinical trial leading to the humanitarian device exemption, family members of patients who had, on balance, positive experiences with the device and the director of the FDA division responsible for the decision. The article would have been improved had it contained the views of some individuals slightly more removed from the device itself to help provide a framework in which to consider the ramifications of this treatment.
A price range of $200,000 to $250,000 for the device was included in the story. However, there was no mention of physician fees or hospital stay costs. The longest a patient has lived with device was included in the story, but no range was given for the length of time patients survived with the device for reference. While putting a premium on the “one more Christmas, one more birthday” concept, there was no discussion about the differences in quality of life experienced by the patients receiving the device. Only the results from the longest living recipient of the device were included in the article. For balance, it would have been useful to include the average amount of time that people survived with the device as well as some mention of consequences of the treatment that may affect quality of life. Further, it is hard to predict who will live “less than a month.” It is possible that some recipients may have their life shortened (death in surgery or immediately thereafter). The article mentions that the evidence about the device comes from only 14 patients to date who have had it implanted. No overt disease-mongering, although the story contained no information on the prevelance of heart failure or the percentage of individuals with heart failure for whom this treatment might be considered. The article contained quotes from physicians directly involved in the clinical trial leading to the humanitarian device exemption, family members of patients who had, on balance, positive experiences with the device and the director of the FDA division responsible for the decision. The article would have been improved had it contained the views of some individuals slightly more removed from the device itself to help provide a framework in which to consider the ramifications of this treatment. While mentioning that this device is only for patients with advanced heart failure who have no other options and would otherwise die, the story just three sentences later quotes a surgeon stating that the device’s approval “gives tons of hope to people with end-stage heart failure”. This paints a somewhat unrealistic picture about the limited group of patients for whom the device is an option. In addition to only being intended for those who are not eligible for a heart transplant and who would likely live less than a month without the device, it is only for patients whose chest is large enough to hold the device. Although the story didn’t explain that the device was only approved by the FDA using the “Humanitarian Device Exemption,” it did say that sales of only up to 4,000/yr would be allowed and that it is much more likely that far fewer will be sold. The story also explained that the device will be available at only 5 institutions in the U.S. It is valuable for readers to understand the limited availability of this device for appropriate expectations. The story was clear that only 14 people have received this medical device. The article does not appear to rely exclusively on a press release. However, the quotes attributed to Dr. Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health came from the FDA news release on the device, found at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01443.html.
1 (mixture)
9578
New treatment offers some hope for an unshakable tremor
August 29, 2016
This story describes a recently FDA-approved device to treat essential tremor in patients who have not responded to medication. The ExAblate Neuro, made by Dallas-based InSightec, uses magnetic resonance images taken during the procedure to deliver focused ultrasound that destroys tissue in the thalamus, the part of the brain where tremors are believed to originate. Results of a randomized clinical trial on the device’s safety and efficacy were published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The story and accompanying video (seen at right) vividly illustrate rapid symptom improvements, highlighting a 72-year-old woman who says the procedure changed her life by allowing her to “eat like a normal person” and easily perform basic tasks such as signing her name and folding a scarf. This powerful patient anecdote throws the balance off: Imagine how different the story would seem if the video instead showed a patient who had improved, but also was affected by one of the serious adverse effects caused by the treatment. Also, the story needed specific numbers on the measured benefits and harms, along with a discussion of costs and alternative treatment options. Note: We also reviewed the news release that was issued to journalists about this study. While not life threatening, essential tremor can be debilitating, especially affecting people in their advanced years. The ExAblate Neuro, which the FDA calls the first focused ultrasound device to treat essential tremor in patients who have not responded to medication, offers a somewhat less invasive treatment option than traditional surgical approaches. It’s certainly newsworthy. But all of the facts, including long-term efficacy data, are not in. Stories that feature glowing patient anecdotes and positive physician commentary need to be balanced with plenty of data that can help patients and their families decide whether this treatment might be worth seeking out.
Mary Chris Jaklevic,Dan Mayer, MD,Joy Victory
The story does not say how much this new procedure costs or compare it with existing treatments for patients who don’t respond to medication. Deep brain stimulation, the current treatment standard, can run anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000, according to various online cost estimates. There also may be additional costs incurred by those patients who have adverse effects. The story is long on description but short on numbers. Saying the treatment “has had an immense impact on patients’ lives,” the story devotes quite a bit of print along with video footage to show rapid functional and quality-of-life improvements experienced by patients, focusing on one women who said her tremor “has almost disappeared” since she had the procedure in June. Video showing this patient before and after treatment–including her attempts to write her name, trace a spiral and pour water from one cup to another–do a great job of conveying the improvements. This is terrific news for this woman, but we’re not told how representative her experience is of overall outcomes. Is she a best-case scenario? Middle of the road? There are also inspiring quotes from a researcher, including a description of the “remarkable moment” patients experience when they realized the tremor has subsided. “They can write their names again, they can feed themselves, they are not embarrassed about being in public. So it really is extraordinarily helpful for people,” he says. In terms of study data, the story says researchers “found that the severity of essential tremor reduced significantly” in patients who underwent the treatment as well as reported improvements in quality of life. But there are no figures. In fact, according to the study, patients experienced a 47 percent improvement in tremor scores, dropping from 18.1 points on a 32-point scale at baseline to 9.6 points three months after the procedure. That data should have been included. Also, the story should have spelled out that 56 patients received the treatment, versus 20 who experienced a fake procedure. Also worth pointing out: We don’t know the meaning or clinical significance of a reduction of this magnitude in the total score. The story addresses adverse effects, and that’s sufficient for a Satisfactory rating. We do wish the story had quantified the harms that were measured in the study. The fourth paragraph says the procedure “brings lasting side effects in some patients” and later the story quotes a physician who is not involved in the research as saying, “It’s a pretty high incidence of side effects.” But nowhere do exact numbers appear. Rather than citing data from the study, the story quotes the physician as saying that “over a third of patients actually experienced either gait disturbance or paresthesia,” or numbness. This information isn’t very useful because the story does not explain when these rates were measured. According to the study, three months after the procedure 36% of patients had gait disturbance and 38% had numbness. After 12 months, the numbers dropped, to 9 percent and 14 percent respectively. Also worth mentioning is that one patient was reported to have permanent diminished sensation of the dominant thumb and index figure, which was categorized as a serious adverse event. That did not appear in the story. The story clearly spells out that there isn’t data on the long-term efficacy of this procedure, and that more study is needed, so we’ll give this a barely passing Satisfactory. Several important study limitations were not included in the story, such as the fact that the treatment did not provide significant improvement for some types of tremors, and the treatment is not appropriate for people who are unwilling or unable to undergo an MRI. We’re also not told that the sham group was only followed for 3 months, while the experimental group was followed for a year. This is not usually recommended in clinical trials and both groups should be followed for the same length of time. The story cites a figure from the International Essential Tremor Foundation, an advocacy group, that an estimated 10 million people in the United States suffer from the condition. However, a 2014 analysis of existing research put the number of cases at around 7 million as of 2012, or about 2.2% of the U.S. population. While this may not qualify as disease mongering, the story could have pointed out that the exact number of cases isn’t clear. Also, the story should have noted that not all people with essential tremor have symptoms severe enough to require treatment. The story only fulfills part of our criteria. It does use one independent source, a physician who was not involved in the study. It also accurately reports the trial’s funding sources: InSightec, which developed the device; along with Focused Ultrasound Foundation, which is funded by device makers and philanthropic organizations; and the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, an Israel-U.S. government partnership that receives corporate support. However, the story falls short because it does not report the fact that nine of the study authors reported conflicts of interest, with most receiving financial compensation of some sort from device makers in the field. Lead researcher G. Rees Cosgrove, M.D. who is quoted in the story, reported receiving consulting fees from InSightec. The story states, “Doctors usually treat essential tremor with medication, but the drugs don’t work well for all patients.” That’s true, and so we’ll give this a Satisfactory rating for at least mentioning alternatives. But it should be noted that other procedural treatment options were not compared or even mentioned in the story and received only a brief mention in one of the videos. The current standard for tremor patients who don’t respond to medication is deep-brain stimulation, in which a probe connected to a pacemaker is implanted in the thalamus to suppress the tremors. Gamma Knife thalamotomy, which delivers precise doses of radiation to the thalamus, is also considered to be a safe and effective therapy for patients who don’t respond to medication. Also, some patients have mild symptoms that can be treated with relaxation techniques and the avoidance of triggers such as caffeine. The story states that the device was approved by the FDA in July. The story could have done readers a service by giving a sense of how many medical centers around the country are geared up to perform the procedure, or will be soon. This is indeed a new treatment option for essential tremor, though the story may leave readers with the false impression that the concept of killing off neurons in the thalamus is new. Rather, it’s the use of focused ultrasound to destroy brain tissue, rather than a probe inserted in the brain, that constitutes an advance. The story does not appear to rely solely on the news release, which we also reviewed.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1600159?query=featured_home,https://www.healthnewsreview.org/news-release-review/hyperbole-minimization-of-harms-found-in-release-touting-essential-tremor-treatment/
2 (true)
STAT
9710
FDA Approves Roche’s Cotellic Treatment for Melanoma
November 13, 2015
This story reports on U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval of Cotellic in combination with vemurafenib to treat advanced melanoma, cancer that has spread throughout the body. The story adheres very closely to the FDA announcement and includes ample information on the side effects. However, the story does not convey the actual efficacy of this drug combination, stating only that that “The FDA said the safety and efficacy of Cotellic in combination with vemurafenib were shown in a clinical study of 495 patients.”  There is no indication of how well this drug combination works and it is also not made immediately clear that this drug combination works only for one genetic varient of melanoma, the BRAF V600 mutation. We think the most egregious problem with this story is that nothing at all is said about the cost of this drug. The combination is reportedly going to be priced at $17,600 per month. According to the FDA, melanoma is the most aggressive and dangerous form of skin cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 73,870 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and 9,940 will die from the disease this year. The incidence of melanoma among younger people is increasing. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body it is very difficult to treat.
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, MS, PhD,Doug Campos-Outcalt, MD, MPA,Kevin Lomangino
This story does not address costs at all, even though one half of the drug combination –vemurafenib — is already being used in treatment and costs $11,000 per month of treatment. The combination treatment is reportedly going to cost $17,600 per month, and it is not clear whether payers will cover it. This story does not quantify the benefits at all except for saying that the safety and efficacy was tested on over 400 patients. What benefits they received from the treatment are totally omitted from the story. This is unacceptable, especially as the FDA provided some quantification in their news release. This story states both the severe and mild side effects of taking this drug. We’ll rule this Satisfactory since there was a good-faith attempt to address the criterion. However, while the array of side effects are listed they are not quantified. We do not know what proportion of those taking the medication get each side effect. Nor do we know how severe they are, or how many stopped the medicine die to the side effects. More detail would have been welcome. This story provides no evidence at all and relies on the fact that the FDA approved the drug combination. The research that led to the approval is not described in any meaningful way. There is no disease mongering here. Advanced melanoma is a terrible disease and many treatments fail. There appear to be no outside sources used in this story. All the information comes from the FDA. However, because of that, there is no conflict of interest as the drug manufacturer/distributor is identified, but no information apparently comes from them. It is important to remember here that the role of the FDA is to approve based on effectiveness and safety and the bar for both in a disease like melanoma is low. How clinically useful this drug will prove to be is open to question and it would have been nice to hear from some independent oncologists about that. No alternative therapies are discussed in the story. There is a lot of new drug development for melanoma; none mentioned. Because this is an announcement from the FDA about approval, the drug will now be marketed for treatment, and the story clearly indicates that the drug combination is distributed by Genentech. We’ll rule this Satisfactory, but we’d caution that FDA approval does not necessarily equal availability. The key factor here is the cost and who will pay for it, or not. The story doesn’t address this. The news hook here is the FDA approval of this drug combination. We’ve already given the story credit for this above under “Availability.” And we’d note that just because the FDA approves something, doesn’t mean that it’s novel. There are plenty of “me-too” drugs out there, and this story doesn’t make any attempt to clarify how this new drug combination works differently or better than existing drugs. This story appears to rely exclusively on a news release from the FDA and there are many similarities in the text of the two documents. Unfortunately, the story leaves out much of the quantitative data and other useful details included in the FDA news release.
0 (false)
drug costs,FDA
42183
"FDA-approved ""synthetic marijuana"" leads to deaths in Illinois."
May 18, 2018
Q: Did an FDA-approved form of “synthetic marijuana” lead to recent deaths in Illinois? A: No. The drugs that have killed four people in the last two months are unregulated and illegal.
Saranac Hale Spencer
Q: Did an FDA-approved form of “synthetic marijuana” lead to recent deaths in Illinois? A: No. The drugs that have killed four people in the last two months are unregulated and illegal. Four people have died after using drugs made to imitate the high of marijuana in Illinois over the last two months. That’s true.It’s not true that the drugs they used were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as was claimed by a story circulating on Facebook under the headline: “Big Pharma Synthetic Marijuana Leaves 2 Dead, 89 Hospitalized In Illinois.”The number of those who died is wrong in the headline because the story was copied, for the most part, from a legitimate report that was published on April 6, when that number was accurate.The recent story that Facebook users flagged as potentially false comes from a site registered to an owner in Pakistan and differs in a couple of important ways from the original. It has a misleading headline (indicating that the drugs were made by regulated pharmaceutical manufacturers) and it starts out with a sentence that is wrong.It says at the top: “The users ingested an FDA-approved version of synthetic cannabis known as K2 or Spice.”That’s not true.The FDA has approved three drugs with synthetic versions of chemicals similar to or the same as those found in marijuana — Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet can be used to help with nausea from cancer treatments and Marinol and and Syndros can also be used to treat weight loss in AIDS patients. The FDA is currently reviewing another drug related to marijuana that would treat epilepsy.Neither “K2” nor “Spice” has been approved by the FDA, administration spokesman Michael Felberbaum confirmed.Not only are they not approved by the FDA, those are two of the most common names under which imitation marijuana is sold. A Drug Enforcement Administration official, Susan Gibson, used them as an example when she testified in front of Congress earlier this year, saying, “Synthetic cannabinoids and their byproducts (sometimes sold under brand names such as K2 or Spice) continue to be a significant threat to public health and safety.”Synthetic cannabinoids are typically sprayed onto dried plant material and smoked or used in e-cigarettes to achieve a high similar to marijuana, but their effects can be unpredictable and dangerous, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The drugs used in the recent spate of overdoses in Illinois and surrounding states included a chemical found in rat poison, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.NIDA: These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called “synthetic marijuana” (or “fake weed”), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug. In fact, they are not safe and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening.The chemical composition of imitation marijuana can vary, which makes legislating against it difficult, although all 50 states have banned some form of synthetic cannabinoids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Illinois, imitation marijuana is illegal under two laws — one that was passed specifically to address those drugs and under the state’s Controlled Substances Act, according to Eileen Boyce, spokeswoman for the Illinois attorney general.In April 2017 the DEA temporarily added chemical compounds often used in imitation marijuana to the list of schedule 1 controlled substances, citing overdoses on the increasingly popular drug as the reason. Those compounds are set to remain on the list until April 10, 2019.So, if you’ve read the story traveling around Facebook and gotten the impression that people are dying from legal, regulated medications related to marijuana — they’re not. The imitation marijuana that is killing people is unregulated and illegal.Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.Illinois Department of Public Health. WARNING: Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Bleeding. Accessed 17 May 2018.“Big Pharma Synthetic Marijuana Leaves 2 Dead, 89 Hospitalized In Illinois.” Trendsadays.com. 15 May 2018.Tomoski, Miroslav. “89 hospitalized and 2 dead in Illinois after using synthetic marijuana.” Herb.co. 6 Apr 2018.Gibson, Susan. Statement for hearing entitled “COMBATING THE OPIOID CRISIS: HELPING COMMUNITIES BALANCE ENFORCEMENT AND PATIENT SAFETY.” 28 Feb 2018.Felberbaum, Michael. Spokesman, Food and Drug Administration. Interview with FactCheck.org. 17 May 2018.National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug facts — Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2/Spice). Feb 2018.National Conference of State Legislatures. Emerging Drug Threats. 7 Jun 2017.Illinois Department of Public Health. “Fourth Death Related to Synthetic Cannabinoids.” 24 Apr 2018.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak Alert: Potential Life-Threatening Vitamin K-Dependent Antagonist Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoids Use. 5 Apr 2018.Boyce, Eileen. Spokeswoman, Illinois Office of the Attorney General. Interview with FactCheck.org. 17 May 2018.Federal Register. Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Six Synthetic Cannabinoids (5F-ADB, 5F-AMB, 5F-APINACA, ADB-FUBINACA, MDMB-CHMICA and MDMB-FUBINACA) into Schedule I. 10 Apr 2017.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/10/2017-07118/schedules-of-controlled-substances-temporary-placement-of-six-synthetic-cannabinoids-5f-adb-5f-amb, https://www.tumblr.com/widgets/share/tool?canonicalUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.factcheck.org%2F2018%2F05%2Fdeadly-pot-not-approved-by-the-fda%2F%3Futm_source%3Dtumblr%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsocial-pug, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/018677s011lbl.pdf, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cannabinoids-k2spice, https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=trendsadays.com, https://web.archive.org/web/20180517204220/https://trendsadays.com/2018/05/15/big-pharma-synthetic-marijuana-leaves-2-dead-89-hospitalized-in-illinois/, https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.factcheck.org%2F2018%2F05%2Fdeadly-pot-not-approved-by-the-fda%2F%3Futm_source%3Dfacebook%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsocial-pug&t=Deadly%20%27Pot%27%20Not%20Approved%20by%20The%20FDA, https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/1e6dac3, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/205525s000lbl.pdf, http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis/synthetic-cannabinoids, http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/synthetic-drug-threats.aspx#synthetic%20drugs, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Deadly%20%27Pot%27%20Not%20Approved%20by%20The%20FDA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.factcheck.org%2F2018%2F05%2Fdeadly-pot-not-approved-by-the-fda%2F%3Futm_source%3Dtwitter%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsocial-pug&via=factcheckdotorg, http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2012_08/20120802.html, https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm421168.htm#notapproved, http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/factcheck-org-to-work-with-facebook-on-exposing-viral-fake-news/, https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/neurosciences/clinical-trials-of-cannabidiol-for-epilepsy, http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/fourth-death-related-synthetic-cannabinoids, https://www.dea.gov/pr/speeches-testimony/2018t/022818t.pdf, http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53, https://web.archive.org/web/20180415050606/https://herb.co/marijuana/news/89-hospitalized-illinois, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/018651s025s026lbl.pdf
0 (false)
drugs, false stories,
28199
Sen. David Perdue advised attendees to offer up an ominous prayer aimed at President Obama during the 2016 Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.
June 14, 2016
What's true: Sen. David Perdue referenced Psalms 109:8 at an event; Perdue's representative later denied he wished death on the President. What's false: Sen. Perdue didn't explicitly state attendees at the conference should pray expressly for the President to die.
Kim LaCapria
On 10 June 2016, the Daily Beast reported that Sen. David Perdue urged attendees of the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference to pray for misfortune and death to befall President Barack Obama: At a major event for conservative Christians this morning, a Republican senator joked about praying for President Obama’s “days to be short.” Sen. David Perdue, a freshman senator from Georgia, opened his remarks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference by encouraging attendees to pray for President Obama. But, he added in a joking tone, they need to pray for him in a very specific way: “We should pray for him like Psalms 109:8 says: Let his days be few, and let another have his office,” the senator said, smiling wryly. The crowd chuckled and he moved on with his address. The rest of that passage, which Perdue did not recite, reads, “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.” The psalm is a pointed, lengthy death wish for one of David’s enemies. Video depicted Purdue’s 10 June 2016 remarks: Psalms 109:8 (alternately named “Song of the Slandered”) was rendered in the manner below in the King James Bible: Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. As many pointed out, the Senator’s Biblical reference wasn’t a new or even uncommon scripture-based jab at President Obama. A 2009 article reported that the verse was traction across the internet as a veiled threat cloaked in the guise of prayerful intent: There’s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8” A nice sentiment? Maybe not. The psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and hats with “1/20/09” commemorated President Bush’s last day in office. But the verse immediately following the psalm referenced is a bit more ominous: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” The slogan comes at a time of heightened concern about antigovernment anger. Earlier this year, the president’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, said that Tea Parties could lead to something unhealthy. In September, authorities shut down a poll on Facebook asking if President Obama should be killed. Still, that doesn’t push the Psalms citation into the realm of hate speech, says Chris Hansen, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). That particular piece was published during President Obama’s first term in office. Some argued at the time that the reference to the verse simply expressed a hope that he not be re-elected to a second term: Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League agrees that the bumper sticker falls within acceptable political discourse. “The problem is you don’t know if people who are donning that message in a shirt or on a bumper sticker are fully aware of the quote or what follows. Obviously that message makes the ambiguity disappear. If they’re just referring to him being out of office, that’s one thing. If they’re referring to him being dead, that’s so offensive. It’s protected speech, but it’s clearly offensive.” However, that motive ceased to be relevant after Obama’s 2012 re-election. A representative for the Senator provided a terse statement to a Bloomberg reporter about the controversy: David Perdue spokeswoman Caroline Vanvick responds in an email: “He in no way wishes harm towards our president” pic.twitter.com/PPj5jtZv0n — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 10, 2016 The statement read: Senator Perdue said we are called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and for our president. He in no way wishes harm towards our president and everyone in the room understood that. However, we should add the media to our prayer list because they are pushing a narrative to create controversy and this is exactly what the American people are tired of. It is true Sen. David Perdue laughed and referenced Psalms 109:8 during a 10 June 2016 conservative Christian event. A representative for the Senator addressed the ensuing controversy, blaming the media for “pushing a narrative” for the outcry.
2 (true)
Politics, david purdue, president obama, psalms 109:8
26471
This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks. And so you would think the people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that.
April 15, 2020
Conway suggested that the World Health Organization should have been on top of the novel coronavirus earlier on because “this is COVID-19, not COVID-1.” COVID-19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019” — reflecting the year in which the disease was first identified. Conway later said on Twitter that she knows why the disease is named as such.
Bill McCarthy
"In a swipe at the World Health Organization, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway made a misleading claim about COVID-19, implying that the disease caused by the novel coronavirus was so named because it’s the latest in a string of similar coronaviruses. ""Some of the scientists and doctors say there could be other strains later on, this could come back in the fall in a limited way,"" Conway said in an April 15 ""Fox & Friends"" interview. ""This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks. And so you would think that people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that."" ""People should know the facts,"" she added. The comment came one day after President Donald Trump announced his intention to halt U.S. funding to the WHO and review its handling of the virus. But the name of the disease doesn’t mean the WHO had 18 chances to learn about coronaviruses before the latest strain hit. COVID-19 is short for ""coronavirus disease 2019,"" a name that reflects the year in which the disease was first identified. The WHO announced the name on Feb. 11. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ""CO"" stands for ""corona,"" ""VI"" stands for ""virus,"" and ""D"" stands for ""disease."" Before the WHO formalized a name for the disease, it was referred to as the ""2019 novel coronavirus"" or ""2019-nCoV."" The virus itself, by contrast, is known as ""severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2"" and abbreviated as ""SARS-CoV-2,"" according to the WHO. The CDC lists seven coronaviruses that are known to infect humans, some of which are relatively common. Conway was clearer about the origins of ""COVID-19"" during a separate interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo roughly 30 minutes after her comment on ""Fox & Friends."" ""It’s called COVID-19 because that’s the year, that’s the year,"" Conway said while ripping the WHO’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. ""It’s not COVID-20. It’s COVID-19."" Facing blowback for her ""Fox & Friends"" comment, Conway tweeted the clip from her interview with Bartiromo. She said she knows ""19 refers to (the) year,"" but that she was making the point that the WHO ""should see pandemics coming"" because of the funding it gets from the U.S. Dear @RepBobbyRush: I know 19 refers to year. I’m in Task Force daily (Congress is out until May 4). Point: WHO has received billion$ from USA for decades; it should see pandemics coming & be honestWhich felt better:insulting me or endorsing Bloomberg for President?God bless https://t.co/3LpvkoQERb In a statement to PolitiFact, a White House official said Conway is ""well aware that ‘19’ refers to the year"" and that she attends meetings held by the White House’s coronavirus task force. Conway was addressing ""the sheer number of years the U.S. has given billions and billions of dollars to WHO and were failed by them,"" the White House said, adding that in each of her April 15 interviews, she said the WHO’s job is to anticipate infectious disease pandemics. ""Kellyanne never mentioned ‘18 other coronaviruses,’"" the White House said. Conway said, ""This is COVID-19, not COVID-1,"" arguing that the WHO should have been better prepared to deal with the virus. ""People should know the facts,"" she added. We agree. The name of the disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, doesn’t mean it’s the 19th in a series of similar coronaviruses. The 19 refers to the year it was discovered, 2019. Conway made the claim with a straight-face, but she later said she knew what the name meant."
https://youtu.be/Y66L4xeuj-I?t=442, https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1227248333871173632, https://web.archive.org/web/20200415183735/https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/naming-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-2019)-and-the-virus-that-causes-it, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-press-briefing/, https://twitter.com/KellyannePolls/status/1250429485234569216?s=20, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html, https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6149567501001/?playlist_id=3166411554001#sp=show-clips, https://twitter.com/KellyannePolls/status/1250427044669747204
0 (false)
National, Public Health, Coronavirus, Kellyanne Conway,
8947
Fermented dairy products may protect against heart attack
November 2, 2018
The study described in this news release is a 20-year observational analysis of a very specific subgroup: Men from Eastern Finland, ages 42-60. The research question is: how do fermented dairy products (like yogurt, kefir, sour milk, cottage cheese, and quark) compare with non-fermented dairy (mostly milk) when it comes to the risk of heart attacks? The authors of this study of just under 2,000 men report that men who consumed more low-fat/fermented dairy had lower rates of heart attack compared with men who consumed less of those products. But we get no sense of just how much difference there was between the groups, the volumes of dairy that had to be consumed, or what limitations of the study might make the findings debatable. Further, the release engages in some cause-and-effect language when describing fermented dairy products’ potential affect on cardiovascular health but these kinds of claims can’t be supported by an observational study. Fortunately, the news release does not use unjustifiable language, and does make it clear that the mechanisms of action behind the study’s findings are not completely understood. There is an emerging assumption that fermented dairy products might be “pro-biotic” and, therefore, “heart-friendly.” But, at this time, that remains purely speculative. There’s currently no proof that any alleged pre-biotic or pro-biotic — or dairy product, for that matter —  protects against heart disease. Because CHD is a key cause of sickness and death, it is important to understand dietary patterns that might prevent or postpone the disease. Although this research is interesting, it is not conclusive because of issues discussed below.
Michael Joyce, MD,Kathleen Fairfield, MD, DrPH,Kathlyn Stone
Costs are not mentioned but we’ll let this pass since it’s reasonable to assume the approximate pricing of most of the dairy products tested are widely known. Main findings mentioned include: Readers are given no sense of just how much the risk is increased or decreased in these groups. The only data provided from the study is this: The risk of CHD was 26% lower in those men who consumed the highest amount of low fat (<3.5%) fermented dairy (compared to the lowest consumption group). It would be difficult for many readers to put that number into context without knowing how much low-fat/fermented dairy was consumed. Some data contained in the study might have helped put the numbers in context. According to the tables in the published manuscript, there is a modest reduction from 14 CHD events per 1,000 person years in the low intake group (of fermented dairy) to 10 CHD events per 1,000 person years in the high intake group (of fermented dairy). Since readers might interpret this study’s results as supporting consuming more fermented dairy (much of which contains saturated fats), not mentioning the potential harms of consuming too much saturated fats is a shortcoming. There are three major limitations of this study that aren’t mentioned. First, this is a prospective cohort study that can’t completely control for other health variables in the subjects being responsible for some of the changes observed. Second, the use of a food questionnaire (even with some supervision by nutritionists) is not a completely reliable way to document dairy intake; especially when trying to pinpoint amounts and subtypes of dairy. Finally, the cohort studied (Eastern Finnish men, ages 42-60) is a very specific subgroup. This limits the generalizability of the results. The news release addresses none of this. In the published manuscript the authors describe differences in smoking rates and other dietary patterns in the men who consumed more or less of the dairy types. These other differences could have accounted for all of the differences in this observational study. No disease mongering is noted in this news release. Nor does the release provide any context on the prevalence of  coronary heart disease. Funding for the study is not mentioned. Review of the authors does not reveal any major conflicts of interest. The headline suggests fermented dairy products may protect against heart attacks, but does not mention any other common sense steps that may be protective. Exercise, not smoking, and a prudent plant-based diet are other habits known to be associated with lower risk. Fermented dairy products are widely available and the news release does clearly outline several types. The news release claims that the new research gives more weight to earlier study findings. It states: “earlier studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products.” And that “The new study provides further evidence on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones.” Links to the earlier studies would have been helpful. As yet, it’s still speculative to claim that fermented dairy products lower the risk of CHD. No overtly unjustifiable language was used. We appreciate mention of the fact that the possible mechanisms for explaining the study’s findings are not completely understood.
https://www.healthnewsreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/GettyImages-544807136.jpg,https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/intake-of-fermented-and-nonfermented-dairy-products-and-risk-of-incident-chd-the-kuopio-ischaemic-heart-disease-risk-factor-study/C074295265BE9A67E609E22F0820CA4C
0 (false)
fermented dairy products,heart attack,University of Eastern Finland
8247
UK calls for 250,000 volunteers as virus deaths surge.
March 24, 2020
The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain jumped on Tuesday, the first day of a national lockdown, while the government called for 250,000 volunteers for the health service and announced a temporary hospital would open in London next week.
William James, Andy Bruce
In a TV message on Monday evening watched by more than 27 million people, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay at home, told nearly all shops to close and banned social gatherings including weddings and baptisms. However, public transport in London was busy during the morning rush hour and the streets were far from deserted amid confusion over the government’s advice to workers. The death toll from coronavirus in the United Kingdom has jumped by 87 to a total of 422 - the biggest daily increase since the crisis began. Meanwhile, the economic devastation was underscored by a survey that suggested the economy was shrinking at a record pace, faster than during the 2008-09 financial crisis. The unprecedented peacetime restrictions announced by Johnson, which will last at least three weeks, are intended to stop the state-run National Health Service (NHS), which suffers from staff shortages at the best of times, being overwhelmed. “These measures are not advice, they are rules and will be enforced, including by the police,” health minister Matt Hancock told parliament. At a news conference later, Hancock announced plans to open a temporary hospital next week at the Excel Centre, a huge venue in east London normally used for trade fairs and similar events. “With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support they need,” he said. British Transport Police said 500 officers will be deployed to train stations across the country to remind the public of the government’s advice to travel only when essential. Hancock called for 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS with tasks such as delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to and from hospital appointments and phoning people isolating at home to check up on them. “If you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today to help the most vulnerable people in our communities as an NHS Volunteer Responder,” Hancock said. He also said the government had bought 3.5 million coronavirus antibody tests so that people who suspect they have had the virus would be able to find out for sure. Despite the message for people to stay at home, some roads were still busy and utility workmen and others were still mingling close together. Social media images showed the capital’s underground trains were packed with passengers closer than the 2-metre (6-foot) recommended distance apart and the government said “appropriate” construction work should continue. “The government needs to urgently provide clearer guidance on who should be working and who shouldn’t,” said Rebecca Long-Bailey, the opposition Labour Party’s business policy chief. “No one should be asked to work if they are not providing an essential function in this crisis.” Under the curbs on movement, people should leave their homes only for very limited reasons such as going to supermarkets for vital supplies or for exercise once a day. Police, who will be able to issue fines of 30 pounds ($35), will now be able to break up gatherings of more than two people. A snap YouGov poll found that 93 percent of Britons supported the measures but were split on whether fines would be a sufficient deterrent. Supermarkets, where shelves have been stripped bare by panic-buying in recent days, said they had begun limiting the number of shoppers in stores at any one time, erecting barriers outside, and installing screens at checkouts to protect staff. Last week, the government announced billions of pounds of help for businesses and said it would help to pay the wages of employees, giving grants to cover 80% of a worker’s salary if they were kept on as staff. But critics said it did not provide support for the self-employed, who total about 5 million in Britain compared to roughly 28 million employees, meaning they either had to keep working or risk losing all income. Finance minister Rishi Sunak told parliament the government was working on measures to help self-employed people, but said these had to be practical and fair.
/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain-rules/what-is-lockdown-britons-including-senior-minister-are-confused-idUKKBN21B1X3
2 (true)
Health News
10118
FDA approves first inhalable version of insulin
January 27, 2006
This is a story about FDA approval for an inhaled form of insulin marketed as Exubera. The story discusses how this new form of insulin delivery may affect diabetics, possibly increasing adherence to blood sugar management by reducing the need for injected insulin. A cost comparison of the two forms of insulin is provided. There are appropriate caveats from medical professionals who specialize in diabetes care regarding the need for continued insulin injections for some diabetics. These warnings are contradictory to the story’s sub-headline which states that Exubera is an “alternative to daily injections”. (We realize that reporters don’t write headlines, but someone at AP is responsible for it.) Some diabetics, especially those with Type 1 diabetes, may need a longer-acting injected insulin and cannot rely solely on inhaled insulin. The story discusses some potentially serious side effects, such as a decrease in lung capacity in some people, however, there is no data on the incidence of this or other side effects. Overall, there is little quantitative information on the efficacy of the new form of insulin compared with the existing method of insulin delivery. While investors may be interested that this could be a “$1 billion a year seller for Pfizer”, diabetics who are considering inhaled insulin would appreciate quantitative information on the risks and benefits of Exubera.
Gives a cost comparison with injected insulin. Given that the article stresses the need for injected insulin as an adjunct to inhaled insulin (in some cases), the cost would be higher. No quantitative data presented. No information on the efficacy of Exubera at controlling blood sugar as compared to existing methods of insulin delivery. No data on the side effects, or how many people who did not have pre-pre-existing lung disease experienced inflammation due to Exubera. No quantitative data presented. No long-term data on the side effects, or how many people who did not have pre-existing lung disease experienced inflammation due to Exubera. No data from any Exubera trials. No mention of study design or incidence of side effects. Provides American Diabetes Association statistics on prevalence. Does not appear to be disease mongering. Mentions that not all diabetics take insulin and some people with Type 2 can manage with oral hypoglycemics, diet and exercise. There is some discussion that more diabetics will take insulin if it is inhaled form, which may or may not be true. Balanced. FDA, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and diabetic patient perspective provided. No conflict of interest noted. (No mention if anyone received research funding from Pfizer.) Mention of alternative treatment (i.e. injections alone) and possible treatment needed in conjunction with inhalable insulin. There is mention of some of the side effects on the lungs (coughing or decrease in lung capacity) , and that the inhaled form of insulin is not appropriate for all diabetics, especially those with asthma or poorly controlled lung disease. There is a reminder that diabetics still need to check their blood sugar levels via needles, pens or pumps. Mentions availability of treatment and that Exubera won’t replace injected insulin. The story focuses on recent FDA approval. No clear evidence that the story relied heavily on a press release; however, the financial information seems to be PR-driven. While investors may be interested that this could be a “$1 billion a year seller for Pfizer”, people with diabetes who take daily insulin in this new form would appreciate quantitative information on the risks and benefits of Exubera.
2 (true)
99
Iran's thirsty energy industry runs up against water shortage.
June 28, 2016
The plan to build a petrochemical plant near the Iranian city of Firouzabad had everything usually needed to get a project off the ground: approval from the nation’s top authority, funding from the Revolutionary Guards and plentiful gas feedstock.
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
But a decade on, work at the site is only 10% complete because of a row over an increasingly scarce resource in Iran that is vital to keep the facility cool: water. “In early project studies, there were some mistakes about the amount of water the plant would need,” said Hamidreza Soleymannejad, one of the plant’s project managers. “They found the plant needs a lot of water, but the region could not provide that.” The fate of the Firouzabad plant is not unique in Iran, even though the nation has huge oil and gas reserves and is eager to expand output of downstream products which can more easily evade crippling U.S. sanctions on its vital energy industry. At least a dozen petrochemical, fertilizer and refinery projects, with combined capacity to produce more than 5 million tonnes a year of products, have hit the buffers or been delayed due to water supply problems, according to a Reuters assessment. The list was compiled based on reports in state media, direct comments from project managers involved in several of the delayed plants, traders, and details published by some of the companies or major shareholders in the developments. Reuters sought comment from investors or companies involved. Most did not respond to emailed requests, while two confirmed water shortages were a major issue. One denied there was any problem, although a trader with close links to the project flagged a lack of water supplies as a crucial factor. Fasa Petrochemical Company and Darab Petrochemical Company, which each own 30% in Firouzabad Petrochemical Company, did not respond to requests for comment. “Many of these projects were proposed by lawmakers who were trying to create jobs in their constituencies. Unfortunately the technical studies have been widely ignored,” said Reza Banimahd, a businessman in Tehran who has worked on refinery projects. The water shortage is one of many challenges facing Tehran as it seeks to skirt U.S. sanctions by ramping up production of products, which are more difficult to trace back to Iran than Iranian crude, which has clearly identifiable characteristics. Under sanctions, crude exports have plunged 80% and are now worth about $700 million a month - a calculation based on Iran’s normal selling price although under sanctions Iran tends to sell crude at a discount. By comparison, Tehran has kept oil product sales at about $500 million a month, Reuters calculations show. Graphic: Iranian fuel oil exports, here Oil refineries and other processing plants need water mainly for cooling. Producing a single gallon of gasoline requires 0.61–0.71 of a gallon of water. But diverting limited supplies away from farming towards industry carries political risks. Drought and depleting water supplies have sparked unrest. Farmers in Iran's central region protested here in several cities in 2018 over water mismanagement, as rainfall dropped 25% below the average. The plant in Firouzabad, an inland area in the parched south of the country, aimed to produce 1 million tonnes of ethylene a year. Based on figures for a similar capacity plant, that output would use more than 2 million tonnes of water a year. The government, which worries about falling national groundwater levels, wants the $500 million plant moved to the coast where desalinated water could be used. But local officials and a senior cleric have objected and the project has stalled. Azizollah Hashemizadeh, Firouzabad’s Friday prayer leader who reports to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top authority in Iran’s theocratic system, said in June the project would bring prosperity and could not be shifted. While Khamenei has the last word in state affairs, there are a range of parallel institutions below him that often compete for influence. For example, the Revolutionary Guards, an investor in the Firouzabad plant, has a separate command structure to the conventional army and has vast industrial interests. The Revolutionary Guards did not respond to a request for comment sent via their website. The structure of rival power centers often creates a tortured decision-making process and can push aside commercial and environmental factors. “There is a problem with coordination between ministries over development plans,” said Kaveh Madani, a former Iranian deputy vice president for the environment and now visiting professor at London’s Imperial College, adding that sanctions had pushed the government to prioritize jobs over water and the environment. The delay in the Firouzabad plant has had knock on effects, disrupting four other projects that aimed to use the facility’s output of ethylene, an ingredient used to make products such as polyester resins and adhesives. Those offtake plants would also have added to strains on the region’s scant water reserves. “Delay is not a good word. After 12 years, we are practically facing a failed project,” said another project manager for the Firouzabad plant when contacted by Reuters. Asking not to be identified, he said the proposed new coastal site was empty, flattened but with nothing yet built. Despite the challenges, Iran has boosted refining capacity, announcing in February it was self sufficient in gasoline. Iran’s petrochemical plants have capacity to make about 65 million tonnes of products a year, of which about 22.5 million tonnes is exported. The government aims to increase output to 91 million tonnes in two years and 130 million tonnes in five years. Iran’s refining capacity stands at about 2.23 million barrels per day, putting it behind regional leader Saudi Arabia. Graphic: Middle East refining capacities (2018), here Social Security Investment Company, a state body with 200 subsidiaries and major energy investments, flagged problems facing the industry in a 2018 report including sanctions and “the drought and shortage of water for the inland refineries.” It said some projects “were not economically feasible as they were initiated to create jobs in unsuitable locations.” In northeast Iran, Khorasan Petrochemical Company has struggled to launch a fertilizer plant to produce 660,000 tonnes of urea, using gas as a feedstock. Five years on, the project is at a standstill despite securing $700 million in state support. “Water resources for the project have not been provided and remain unclear,” Tamin Petroleum and Petrochemical Investment Company (TAPPICO), a major shareholder, wrote on its website. Agriculture, a major employer in Iran, accounts for about 90% of Iran’s water usage, with industry using 10%. But any extra demand strains Iran’s depleting reserves. U.N. data indicate Iran is using 3.8 billion cubic meters of water a year more than is replaced, leading to a fast falling water table. Nevertheless, some projects still go ahead even in areas where strains are acute. Shazand refinery in central Iran had to drill deep wells to pump groundwater, state news agency IRNA reported in 2018, alarming environmentalists and sapping supplies from farmers. When asked to comment, Shazand Petrochemical Company pointed to a statement published on its website that was published after Reuters made the request: “To reduce consumption of groundwater, the company has planned to use the reservoir of Kamal Saleh dam - when it is full - and wastewater of neighboring cities.” The company said it was seeking a contractor for its water recycling project. Graphic: Iran refineries, here
https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7005/6987/refinery%203.jpg,https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-security-water-crisis/water-crisis-spurs-protests-in-iran-idUSKBN1H51A5,/article/us-iran-energy-water-factbox/factbox-downstream-iranian-energy-projects-disrupted-by-water-crisis-idUKKBN1X80HL,https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/OIL-IRAN-FUELOIL/0H001QES582F/eikon.png,https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/OIL-REFINING/0H001QET084Z/eikon.png
2 (true)
Environment
30597
Tamiflu is responsible for the increased number of deaths this flu season.
February 14, 2018
While Tamiflu does list some scary side effects in its insert, these side effects are both rare and irrelevant to the increased number of influenza deaths this year.
Alex Kasprak
The 2017-2018 flu season is proving to be among the worst in recent history, in part because this year’s flu shot offers little protection against the most virulent strain — H3N2. The strength of this year’s epidemic has also lead to an increase in influenza-based fear-mongering, generally about the drugs or vaccines used to combat the virus. One target of online fear is the antiviral drug Tamiflu, prescribed to reduce the length of illness, or in some cases as a preventative measure. A well-shared 14 February 2018 Facebook post took this to an extreme when it blamed the reportedly increased deaths not on the influenza itself but the drug Tamiflu: So it isn’t the flu that is causing the deaths.. Maybe it’s the tamiflu… It says so on the insert… It can lead you to death.. Yikes.. DO NOT TAKE THE TAMIFLU.. The doctor at our local hospital wouldn’t even prescribe Tamiflu when we took our daughter because of the side effects and risk. In support of this claim, the user posted a excerpt of the medication’s safety insert about “change in behavior,” using a white line to highlight the word “death”: People, especially children, who have the flu can develop nervous system problems and abnormal behavior that can lead to death. During treatment with Tamiflu, tell your healthcare provider right away if you or your child have confusion, speech problems, shaky movements, seizure, or start hearing voices or seeing things that are not really there (hallucinations). The existence of this warning is factual (though not especially unique, as many drug inserts list death as a rare side effect), but research supporting this connection is controversial. Change in behavior is indeed a class of side effects linked to Tamiflu, and it is one that has been also been linked in rare cases to deaths. However, those deaths mainly resulted from dangerous or self destructive behavior, easily distinguishable from deaths caused by flu symptoms. Our article on a viral Facebook post about a child’s possible terrifying reaction to Tamiflu goes into more detail about these side effects. However, to suggest that Tamiflu is responsible for the increased number of deaths is at best illogical, as the symptoms that would accompany the behavioral changes (hallucinations, seizures, speech problems) would be obvious even to the most untrained medical professional. It is also unsupported by any credible evidence — a majority of influenza deaths this year are due to higher than usual rates of pneumonia, a condition characterized by fluid in the lungs — which is extremely difficult to confuse with the symptoms listed above or behavioral aberrations.
0 (false)
Medical, flu, influenza, insert
12926
"The Obama administration issued an ""11th-hour rule that entrenches federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood."
February 1, 2017
"Ernst said the Obama administration issued an ""11th-hour rule that entrenches federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood."" It may be a slight exaggeration to use the word ""entrench,"" since there are ways to overturn the rule within a matter of months, and it should be noted that the rule would affect a variety of other health care providers, not just Planned Parenthood, Still, it’s hard to argue that this was not an 11th-hour rule, and in general we find that Ernst has characterized pretty accurately what the Obama administration did."
Louis Jacobson
"At this year’s March for Life -- the annual anti-abortion rally in Washington -- Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, decried a federal rule implemented in the waning days of President Barack Obama's administration. Ernst told the crowd on Jan. 27, 2017, that she would ""introduce a bill Monday to stop what some have referred to as ‘President Obama’s last gift to Planned Parenthood.’ "" Ernst referred to Title X of the United States Public Health Service Act, which covers family planning. She said that her effort, in cooperation with Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., ""would scrap the Obama administration’s 11th-hour rule that entrenches federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood."" We wondered if Ernst had accurately described the Obama administration’s action. Our conclusion: Ernst was essentially on target. About Title X Title X, as the federal rule notes, is the only federal program focused solely on providing family planning and related preventive services. In 2015, the rule says, more than 4 million individuals received services through more than 3,900 Title X-funded health centers. Planned Parenthood says its affiliates served approximately 1.5 million patients that year under Title X, about one-third of the federal program’s yearly total. Planned Parenthood has drawn criticism from anti-abortion advocates because in addition to providing uncontroversial women’s health services, the group also performs abortions. By law, abortions performed by Planned Parenthood are paid for by private money, not federal dollars. But anti-abortion advocates argue that money is fungible and that the federal government is effectively supporting a major provider of abortions. Supporters of Planned Parenthood counter that the money flows are separated and that barring federal dollars from being spent on Planned Parenthood would have dire negative consequences for women’s health, especially among poor Americans. The Obama administration rule On Sept. 7, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a ""notice of proposed rulemaking"" -- the first step in formulating a new federal rule. The proposed rule would make clear that the decision to fund an organization under Title X cannot be based on ""reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services."" The effect would be that the fact of providing abortion services couldn’t be used against a group that seeks Title X funding. After the notice of proposed rulemaking was issued, the rule went through a series of required steps, including a public comment period. Ultimately, HHS acted to finalize the rule while the Obama administration was still in charge, but after Donald Trump had won the 2016 presidential election. HHS made the rule effective Jan. 18. Though the proposal was framed broadly, it was widely perceived as having a significant impact on Planned Parenthood. Both sides essentially agreed on that. After the notice of proposed rulemaking, Ernst and other lawmakers immediately expressed concern to HHS about its impact on Planned Parenthood. And after the rule was finalized, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement that ""President Obama has cemented his legacy as a champion for women's health. This rule protects birth control, cancer screenings, (sexually-transmitted infection) testing and treatment and other health care for millions of people."" Evaluating Ernst’s description So how well does Ernst’s characterization stack up? We’ll take her statement phrase by phrase. • ""11th-hour rule."" While all relevant procedures were followed in the formulation of the rule, the final rule did materialize quicker than many federal rules do, experts said. ""The rule was proposed in September and finalized in December,"" said Columbia Law School professor Gillian Metzger. ""In practice, that's a pretty fast turnaround."" And of course, by making the effective date Jan. 18, 2017, it took effect in the final 48 hours of the Obama administration. All told, Ernst has a strong case for calling it an ""11th-hour"" rule. • ""Entrenches federal family planning funding."" Experts told PolitiFact that the Obama rulemaking did make the policy harder to overturn, although either Congress or Trump’s HHS department could take steps to do so. ""I would not quibble about the use of ‘entrench’ in this context,"" said Boston University law professor Gary S. Lawson. ""Rules are not that easy to change. There are degrees of entrenchment, of course, depending on the procedures required for change, but if someone wants to apply the term to a substantive agency rule, I would let them do it."" Metzger agreed. ""As a practical matter, reversing a rule takes resources and time by the agency, and there would likely be a court challenge and the possibility that a court would repeal the reversal as arbitrary."" • ""For Planned Parenthood."" As we noted earlier, both sides in the abortion debate publicly linked the rule to Planned Parenthood. That said, the rule did not exclusively target Planned Parenthood. The rule itself does not mention the organization by name, although the accompanying material does mention the group specifically in a question-and-answer section summarizing public comments. ""While Planned Parenthood might be one of the affected applicants, the rule is actually written in a neutral manner,"" said Jeffrey S. Lubbers, an American University law professor. Our ruling Ernst said the Obama administration issued an ""11th-hour rule that entrenches federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood."" It may be a slight exaggeration to use the word ""entrench,"" since there are ways to overturn the rule within a matter of months, and it should be noted that the rule would affect a variety of other health care providers, not just Planned Parenthood, Still, it’s hard to argue that this was not an 11th-hour rule, and in general we find that Ernst has characterized pretty accurately what the Obama administration did."
http://www.radioiowa.com/2017/01/27/senator-ernst-speaks-at-march-for-life-in-washington-d-c/, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/12/14/505595090/obama-administration-moves-to-protect-planned-parenthoods-federal-funding, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/obama-administration-protects-access-to-health-care-for-millions-of-people1, http://www.ernst.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/1/senator-ernst-speaks-at-march-for-life, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/19/2016-30276/compliance-with-title-x-requirements-by-project-recipients-in-selecting-subrecipients, http://www.ernst.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=3CB5CFBF-39F6-4BE5-91EE-1D290FE54901
2 (true)
Abortion, National, Federal Budget, Public Health, Joni Ernst,
6671
Plague confirmed in prairie dogs in Commerce City.
Plague has been confirmed in prairie dogs at several sites in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, prompting officials to close some parks and take other precautions.
The Tri-County Health Department said Thursday prairie dog burrows are being sprayed with insecticide to kill fleas that could transmit the disease to the rodents, people and pets. The health department says Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Gateway Open Space are temporarily closed. The department says parking at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids play, is restricted to asphalt lots, and a planned fireworks display after Saturday’s game has been postponed. Tri-County Health Director Dr. John M. Douglas Jr. says plague is common in Colorado prairie dog colonies and can be managed safely with insecticides.
2 (true)
Wildlife, Colorado, Health, General News, Plague, Rodents
8556
Indonesia reports biggest jump in coronavirus deaths as Malaysia trend improves.
April 9, 2020
Indonesia reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed number to 280 in the world’s fourth most populous country, the highest death toll in Asia outside China where the virus first emerged.
Indonesia confirmed 40 more deaths and its death toll accounts for nearly half of the more than 590 across Southeast Asia. More than 16,500 cases have been reported across the region. Indonesian health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said the country had registered 337 new infections, also a new daily high, taking the total to 3,293. Health experts say Indonesia faces a surge in cases after a slow government response masked the scale of the outbreak in Southeast Asia’s biggest country. Indonesia has brought in “large-scale social restrictions”, but President Joko Widodo has resisted bringing in the type of tough lockdowns imposed by neighbours and only moved to allow areas like Jakarta, where there has been a spike in cases, more powers to tackle the crisis. Researchers at the University of Indonesia have predicted there could be 140,000 deaths and 1.5 million cases by May without tougher curbs on movement and gathering. Indonesia has stepped up the number of tests to 16,511 as of Wednesday, but for a country with more than 260 million people it has one the lowest testing rates in the world Neighbouring Malaysia, with only 32 million people, has conducted 69,675 tests. There are also growing fears that the outbreak could spread across the archipelago during the annual exodus to home villages for the Muslim Ramadan holiday.Widodo has said the government would give aid to poorer families, particularly in Jakarta, to persuade them to stay put but has rejected calls for an outright ban on the “mudik”, as the holiday is known. Malaysia reported 109 new infections on Thursday, the second-lowest daily increase since a partial lockdown was imposed on March 18. The data comes a day ahead of possible ministerial discussions on whether to extend the curbs on travel and non-essential businesses beyond April 14. The country has so far recorded 4,228 infections - the highest in Southeast Asia - with 67 deaths. But government officials have said the restrictions are showing results. “We have done well,” Ministry of Health Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah told a news conference. “We have a small window of opportunity. If we do it right we may be able to avert the surge that we have seen in other countries.”
2 (true)
Health News
26473
Facebook post Says Michigan COVID-19 order bans gardening and the sale of vegetable seeds and fruit.
April 15, 2020
An executive order by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer does not prohibit gardening or the sale of any particular product. Stores in Michigan larger than 50,000 square feet must close areas that sell carpet or flooring, furniture and paint, as well as garden centers and plant nurseries.
Tom Kertscher
"In a regular feature called ""How the Left Destroys the Nation,"" a website founded by the leader of a far-right group posted this headline about one state’s coronavirus response: ""Michigan Governor Bans Gardening, Sale Of Fruit and Vegetable Seeds, Gardening Supplies Prohibited."" The attack on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has been touted as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) That’s because it’s wrong. Whitmer has issued orders directing people to stay home and limiting some commercial activity, but this claim goes too far. The headline appears on the Geller Report, a website by Pamela Geller. She is an activist who co-founded Stop Islamization of America, also known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Below the headline is an article that originally appeared in The Daily Caller, a conservative-leaning publication, that reports on an executive order issued by Whitmer in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The article does not say that the order bans gardening, but that it does restrict the sale of gardening supplies. In reality, executive order 2020-42, which went into effect April 9, 2020, requires larger stores to block off certain areas of their sales floors as a way of limiting the number of people in those stores. The order does not ban gardening or the sale of any product, including, as we mentioned in a previous fact-check, American flags. The numbers of coronavirus cases in Michigan have surged in recent weeks. As of April 14, the Wolverine State ranked fourth — behind New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, according to the New York Times. Nearly half of Michigan’s cases are in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both the state and the county have a COVID-19 fatality rate of 6%. It’s in that climate that Whitmer issued this order, subtitled the ""Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life,"" which extended and added to a stay-at-home order issued March 23. Tiffany Brown, a spokeswoman for the governor, told PolitiFact that Whitmer’s order does not ban Michiganders from buying any item. The order says that stores larger than 50,000 square feet must close areas — ""by cordoning them off, placing signs in aisles, posting prominent signs, removing goods from shelves, or other appropriate means — that are dedicated to the following classes of goods: Carpet or flooring, furniture, garden centers and plant nurseries, and paint."" Referring to that restriction at a news conference announcing the order, Whitmer said: ""If you’re not buying food or medicine or other essential items, you should not be going to the store."" As to gardening, a frequently asked questions document released by the governor’s office states: ""The order does not prohibit homeowners from tending to their own yards as they see fit."" Grocery stores, of course, remain open. And neither the order nor the FAQs mention any restriction on the sale of fruit or seeds. A headline shared on social media inaccurately describes an order that Whitmer issued in response to the coronavirus. The order does not prohibit gardening or the sale of any particular product in Michigan. Stores in Michigan larger than 50,000 square feet must close areas for garden centers and plant nurseries, as well as those that sell carpet or flooring, furniture and paint."
https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/gov-gretchen-whitmer-coronavirus-briefing-transcript-april-9, https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98455-525278--,00.html, https://web.archive.org/save/https://gellerreport.com/2020/04/michigan-governor-bans-gardening-sale-of-fruit-and-vegetable-seeds-gardening-supplies-prohibited.html/?fbclid=IwAR0VmAZksMObLgXaNlKo38TIzRmPYdIDfF8wxBzb805vL5wxww9Ie2f8w5o, https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90705-525182--,00.html, https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/04/michigans-updated-coronavirus-stay-at-home-order-will-close-garden-centers-and-other-parts-of-grocery-stores.html, https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/11/gretchen-whitmer-gardening-seeds-non-essential/
0 (false)
Government Regulation, Public Health, Facebook Fact-checks, Coronavirus, Facebook posts,
21026
"Greg Walden Says the federal stimulus program was ineffective because ""the number of jobs has actually decreased by 18,300 through July 2011."
November 30, 2011
Greg Walden says stimulus hasn't helped Oregon gain jobs
Charles Pope
"Like most Republicans, Rep. Greg Walden says the $825 billion stimulus law has been a failure. But unlike other critics who speak in contemptuous generalities, Walden puts hard numbers behind his opinion. ""When the bill was signed into law, the White House promised that the stimulus would increase by 44,000 the number of jobs in Oregon by December 2010,"" he says on his official congressional website. ""Unfortunately, even with the stimulus, since the bill was signed, the number of jobs has actually decreased by 18,300 through July 2011."" Walden supports his claim with a study by the Republican staff of the House Ways and Means Committee. That study relies on federal statistics and, sure enough, both the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Oregon Employment Department show that Oregon had fewer people working in July 2010 than February 2009. When the stimulus was signed into law in February 2009, 1.643 million people in Oregon held non-farm jobs, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In July 2010, after billions of dollars of stimulus spending had been dispersed, the number of non-farm jobs in Oregon was 1.625 million. That’s a loss of 18,000 jobs which is the number Walden cited. But it’s only part of the story. First, a quick recap. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is the full name of what is commonly called the stimulus, became law in February 2009. Democrats pushed the legislation as a way to create jobs and extend unemployment benefits through a mix of government spending, tax cuts and financial aid to cash-strapped states. The stimulus and its performance have provided a high intensity battlefield ever since. The White House released at least six reports on the program, counting jobs that were created or ""saved"" as a result of the stimulus. Those counts were augmented by dozens of other reports from independent sources. The most recent came Nov. 22 from the Congressional Budget Office. It says the stimulus is responsible for adding between 500,000 and 3.3 million jobs nationally. But the CBO, which is nonpartisan, also says its reports, ""do not provide a comprehensive estimate of the law’s impact on U.S. employment, which could be higher or lower..."" Among the reasons is that ""some of the jobs included in the reports might have existed even without the stimulus,"" and that the reports do not ""attempt to measure"" the number of indirect jobs. Earlier studies, both independent and partisan, have offered similar ranges for the law’s impact on jobs. A March study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers explains why. ""Evaluating the impact,"" said the report, which was the sixth in a series, "" … is inherently difficult because we do not observe what would have happened to the economy in the absence of policy."" Separately, the council’s report cited four independent analyses by the CBO and three private economic analysis companies that all found between 1.3 million and 3.6 million jobs saved or created. Oregon’s acting state economist Mark McMullen agrees precision is difficult -- and fraught with politics. ""This issue is about as politically charged as topics in economics get,"" he said. He points to CBO numbers to explain how many stimulus jobs were created and reported in Oregon. In 2009, 18,412 direct jobs were created with 33,489 in 2010 and 17,663 in 2011. Even trickier is estimating the indirect jobs from the stimulus. Here, McMullen and other economists extend estimates that Oregon collected between 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent of stimulus jobs depending on the year. That translates to 2,967 to 13,350 indirect jobs in 2009; 8,714 to 41,078 jobs in 2010 and 5,820 to 30,473 jobs in 2011. Economists say there’s another conundrum: Because of constant churning in the economy, the stimulus law could have generated - or come close to generating - the number of jobs the White House predicted even though total employment in the state declined. The reason is that the jobs total is fluid and that additions in jobs like road construction could be eclipsed by losses in other parts of the economy that aren’t touched by the stimulus. There are also jobs protected with stimulus money. Teachers, prison guards, and other state workers who probably would have been laid off were able to keep their jobs because the stimulus sent $2.4 billion to Oregon. More than $1.2 billion was used to fill state cuts to education that could have triggered teacher layoffs in every district. Another $117 million went to public safety, with some of that money used to avoid cut-backs in police and emergency response personnel. The White House and supporters factor those ""saved"" jobs into their calculations. Walden and critics do not. Got it? It’s all very murky and far from precise. But this much is certain: As of July 31, 2011, there were 18,300 fewer people working in Oregon than in February 2009. That is the number Walden cites in his comment and that much is true. But Walden’s context suggests that the stimulus did not produce jobs for Oregon, and that is not correct. While economists and other experts say it’s impossible to say how many Oregon jobs were ""created or saved,"" as the White House puts it, there certainly were some. And it’s clear that a significant number of Oregon jobs would have been lost without the stimulus. Walden’s assertion of lost jobs uses numbers out of context and leaves out important details. Return to OregonLive to comment on this ruling."
http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/textview.aspx?data=stateInfoJobs&state=OR, https://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12074/02-23-ARRA.pdf, https://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/125xx/doc12564/11-22-ARRA.pdf, http://www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/CES?areacode=41010000001&action=annual&submit=Continue, http://walden.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=123&sectiontree=3,123, http://waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Stimulus_Jobs_Search_9_2_2011.pdf, https://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Recovery_Act_state-by-state_jobs_2-131.pdf, http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?sm+41, https://otrans.3cdn.net/45593e8ecbd339d074_l3m6bt1te.pdf
1 (mixture)
Oregon, Jobs, Stimulus, Greg Walden,
7454
Rules for reopening hotels, gyms, attractions taking shape.
A panel tasked with reopening New Hampshire’s economy amid the easing threat from the coronavirus pandemic agreed Tuesday on proposals for seven sectors, among them lodging, outdoor attractions and gyms.
Holly Ramer
The recommendations won’t be final until public health officials and Gov. Chris Sununu give their OK. The task force unanimously recommended that hotels be limited to half their capacity, though the limit would not apply to motels with outdoor access to rooms or to inns and bed-and-breakfasts with 10 or fewer rooms. Face masks would be required for staffers and are recommended for guests, who would be asked at check-in about any possible exposure to the coronavirus. A reopening date of May 22 is recommended for lodging, but target dates for other sectors were not included. On attractions, the guidance covers activities in “recreational and natural settings,” including biking, canoe and kayak rentals, mini-golf, driving ranges, shooting ranges, and racetracks. Also included are small group tours such those offered at Lost River Gorge and the Polar Caves, but task force members said amusement parks, water parks and indoor attractions would be addressed later. Outdoor attractions would be limited to half their capacity, or to the number social distancing guidelines can accommodate, whichever is less. The requirement would be the same for gyms and fitness clubs, which also would be prohibited from enrolling out-of-state residents as new members. The Republican governor’s stay-at-home order has been extended to May 31, but some businesses were allowed to reopen this week, including retail stores, hair salons and golf courses. Restaurants will be allowed to begin offering outdoor dining May 18. Other pandemic-related developments: ___ MANDATORY MASKS? Officials in a New Hampshire town near the border with Massachusetts are considering requiring face masks in indoor public spaces. The proposal in Salem would require anyone over age 2 to wear some type of face covering, or face a fine as high as $200. The town board discussed the matter during a virtual meeting Monday but didn’t vote on it. Jim Keller, the selectman who wrote the proposal, said the main concern is to protect residents from visitors from Massachusetts, where the outbreak is worse, WMUR-TV reported. Some callers disagreed and believed the fine was too high. In Massachusetts, residents must wear face coverings in public or face fines of as much as $300. ___ THE NUMBERS As of Monday, 3,239 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 81 from the previous day. There have been at least 142 coronavirus-related deaths in the state. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. ___ Associated Press writer Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.
https://www.wmur.com/article/salem-selectmen-adjourn-without-voting-on-proposed-face-covering-order/32441081
2 (true)
New Hampshire, Health, General News, Virus Outbreak, Public health
22806
The Greenest County in America.
January 3, 2011
"DeKalb ""greenest county in nation"" claim gets muddy"
Eric Stirgus
"In metro Atlanta, the land of smog alerts and farmland-turned-to-suburbs, one local county makes a bold claim about its efforts to be environmentally conscious. DeKalb County, its website says, is ""the greenest county in America."" Let's put that on some recycled paper and send it to each of the county's estimated 750,000 residents. DeKalb's communications director, Burke Brennan, sent PolitiFact Georgia an e-mail making the case for the county. It includes: ""In DeKalb County, we are taking the lead on sustainability ...  we are one step closer to being the greenest county in America,"" DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis said in 2009 when the county was honored by the ARC. Many folks we discussed this claim with used phrases like ""bold"" or ""ambitious"" to describe DeKalb's audacity, not willing to publicly dismiss it. Some were willing to criticize the claim. ""That's all a good case for them to be one of the greenest counties in Georgia,"" said Mark Woodall, Georgia chapter chairman of the Sierra Club, which claims to be the largest grassroots environmental organization in the state. ""DeKalb being the greenest county in America seems pretty unthinkable."" Being ""green,"" means many things these days. Some organizations have occasionally released surveys rankings America's greenest cities, but we found few similar rankings of counties. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to improve health and health care for Americans, earlier this year looked at the environmental health of each U.S. county. One category was physical health. The foundation used data put together by researchers from the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the physical health of each county. The criteria included how many days the air was unhealthy, the number of days the air was unhealthy due to ozone, access to healthy foods and how many liquor stores were in a county. DeKalb ranked near the bottom of Georgia counties, 153rd, in terms of physical health. Some categories that DeKalb is bragging about are difficult to compare. In other areas, such as the number of LEED-certified buildings, Dekalb has competition. Gwinnett had three LEED-certifiied structures, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. DeKalb is an Energy Star partner -- a federal effort to protect the environment through energy-efficient practices -- but so are Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and the city of Atlanta. On hiking and biking trails, DeKalb may run into some argument about having the most in Georgia. Cobb County, for example, lists about 75 miles of trails within its cities and unincorporated areas. It was suggested we look at Arlington County, Va. to find another county that could make a case it is greener than DeKalb. The county has a page on its website with more than a dozen awards and recognition for its sustainable community and environmental efforts. Arlington won two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards this year for its recycling efforts. That organization also named Arlington its Outstanding Civil Engineering Project award in 2006 for its Green Building Program. Other counties, like Boulder, Colo., have goals such as reducing outdoor water use by 50 percent by using indigenous plants and recycling 50 percent of construction waste. DeKalb's case was muddied in December when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined $453,000 for 836 sewage spills over the last five years. The EPA estimates there are about 40,000 spills from the nation's 25,000 sewage systems a year. California officials reported about 2,000 spills into the San Francisco Bay in 2008. Brennan noted the day after the fine was announced, county commissioners voted 6-1 to spend $1.345 billion to make repairs to its water and sewer system, nearly twice as much money as the EPA recommended. DeKalb taxpayers will pay higher water and sewer bills to help fund the work. Despite the fine, Brennan stuck by DeKalb's claim. ""Nobody here is claiming perfection, but based on the programs, awards, designations and initiatives DeKalb has in place and ongoing, I am sticking with the motto 'DeKalb is the greenest county in America,' "" Brennan told us in an e-mail. ""After all, 'Cowboy Capital of the World' was already taken,"" added Brennan, referring to Oakdale, Calif. DeKalb has certainly tried to make its mark as an environmentally conscious county. But DeKalb's claim of being the ""greenest county"" in the nation ignores critical facts that would give a visitor to its web site a different impression."
http://dot.cobbcountyga.gov/trail-system.htm, http://www.southeastgreen.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1352:dekalb-county-designated-green-community&catid=1:metro-atl-news&Itemid=2, http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us, http://www.atlantaregional.com/File%20Library/Environment/Green%20Communities/ep_dekalb_sustainability_measures.pdf, https://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/epa-mandates-dekalb-clean-774943.html, http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyManager/awards/page66495.aspx, http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/georgia/dekalb
0 (false)
Georgia, Environment, DeKalb County,
6183
New California laws help animals, fire victims, immigrants.
Hundreds of new California laws take effect with the start of the new year, including measures stemming from the devastating wildfires that have swept the state. Others address animal rights, criminal justice, businesses and health care. Among them:
___ WILDFIRES — In a step to curb greenhouse gas emissions, California becomes the first state to require new homes to install solar panels, which the California Energy Commission says could add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home. But another new law exempts homeowners forced to rebuild because of a wildfire or other natural disaster. — The state is temporarily suspending its lengthy environmental review process for areas affected by the 2018 Camp Fire wildfire in a bid to speed up reconstruction of housing after the state’s most destructive wildfire displaced more than 50,000 people. But the law does not include the city of Chico because the mayor and most of the city council opposed it. — State entities can waive or reduce governmental licensing fees for businesses experiencing hardship and displacement after wildfires and other emergencies. — Caregivers can face enhanced civil penalties if they abandon the elderly in disasters such as wildfires. The law responds to the abandonment of seniors at two Santa Rosa assisted living centers during wildfires in 2017. ___ ANIMAL WELFARE — California becomes the first state to ban commercial or recreational fur trapping. It remains legal to trap animals for other purposes, including pest control and public health. — It is also the first state to bar cosmetic companies from selling products in California if they were tested on animals. — California becomes the third state, behind Hawaii and New Jersey, to ban most animals from circuses, including bears, tigers, elephants and monkeys. The law exempts rodeos and does not apply to domesticated dogs, cats and horses. — It’s illegal to hunt, trap or kill bobcats in California until 2025, when the state can begin issuing limited licenses as part of a bobcat management plan. — California’s ban on importing and selling alligator or crocodile products takes effect, though the state of Louisiana is suing to block the prohibition. — California becomes the latest state to allow for the eventual use of road-killed deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and wild pigs. But wildlife wardens warn it’s still illegal to collect roadkill because a state permitting and tracking program is not yet in place. — It’s illegal to smoke or dispose of cigar and cigarette waste in California state parks and beaches. The law covers traditional cigarettes and electric smoking devices, but smoking will still be allowed in parking lots. Supporters say it will provide a healthier environment for people, fish and wildlife. ___ CRIMINAL JUSTICE — California is the first state to bar health and dental co-pays for all inmates. California has one of nine state prison systems that already banned the charges, but the American Civil Liberties Union says California is the first to also abolish the practice in county jails. — Police are barred for three years from using facial recognition software in body-worn cameras in a move that follows New Hampshire and Oregon. — Victims of violent crime have seven years, up from three, to seek compensation. — Law enforcement agencies must submit rape kits for testing within 20 days. — The statute of limitations for domestic violence felony crimes increases from three years to five. — Most of those with felony convictions can serve on juries. — The state removes two mandatory sentences: a mandatory minimum for certain drug crimes, and an automatic one-year enhancement for each prior felony jail or prison term. Officials estimate the latter change could affect about 10,000 current inmates. — Inmates convicted of a sexually violent offense must undergo a risk assessment before their parole hearing. — Most children under age 12 must be released to their parents instead of prosecuted if they come to the attention of law enforcement. — Those under 21 can no longer buy center-fire, semiautomatic firearms, the type of rifle used in shootings this year at a Poway synagogue and a Gilroy food festival. Sales of those rifles will be limited to one a month for adults starting July 1. ___ BUSINESS — New Year’s Day is the deadline for publicly held California corporations to add at least one woman to their boards of directors, though the mandate is being challenged in court. — Employers are prohibited from using “no re-hire” clauses for workers settling a sexual harassment, discrimination or other employment dispute. Supporters say the clauses punish victims, while perpetrators may remain employed. — California’s minimum wage increases to $13 an hour for employers with more than 26 employees, and to $12 for employers with 26 or fewer workers. Annual dollar-a-year increases continue until all employers reach $15 an hour in 2023. — Employers are barred from forcing workers to enter into arbitration agreements as a condition of employment. Proponents say waiving rights including the ability to sue can leave employees more vulnerable to harassment and discrimination. — California is capping interest rates for consumer loans between $2,500 and $9,999 at 36 percentage points above the main interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. Consumer advocacy groups say some loan companies charge interest rates as high as 225%. — Local governments can form their own banks to handle taxpayer money, which supporters say could be used for things like affordable housing and infrastructure. The California Bankers Association fears they could be unfair competition for community banks. — Colleges must disclose whether they provide preferential treatment to students related to donors or alumni under a law aiming to provide more equity in college admissions following a nationwide admissions scandal. ___ HEALTHCARE — California begins taxing people who refuse to buy health insurance. A family of four would pay at least $2,000. The projected $300 million to $400 million in tax proceeds will go to giving middle-income people discounts on their monthly health insurance premiums. — California will provide health insurance for low-income immigrants ages 25 and younger living in the U.S. illegally. It’s expected to cost $98 million and cover about 100,000 people. California already provides health insurance for children living in the U.S. illegally. — Adults enrolled in the Medicaid program will have insurance coverage for eyeglasses, restoring a benefit cut during the Great Recession. Children are already eligible for the benefit. ___ GENDER — School districts must update former students’ diplomas, GEDs or transcripts upon request to reflect the graduates’ chosen names and genders. The law is intended to particularly help transgender graduates or those whose student records don’t match their legal name. — Heterosexual couples can register as domestic partners as an alternative to marriage. California’s 20-year-old domestic partnerships law previously applied only to same-sex couples, who at the time could not marry.
/c320bf9611de5927486a208aa999f073
2 (true)
Wildfires, Health, Immigration, Environment, Natural disasters, Fires, California
21950
Ten percent of violent deaths in the U.S. each year are due to strangulation.
June 12, 2011
R.I. Rep. DaSilva says 1 in 10 violent deaths in U.S. are caused by strangulation
C. Eugene Emery Jr.
"Last month, the House, on a vote of 59-11, passed legislation that would make it a felony to attempt to strangle or choke someone, even if the attack did not result in any injury to the victim. The bill, H-5087, is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposal is intended, in part, to make it easier to prosecute anyone who applies pressure on a person's throat or neck with the intent to cause harm. The chief advocate, Rep. Roberto DaSilva, a Pawtucket police officer, said he submitted it because he was seeing too many cases in which serious strangulation attempts would be prosecuted as misdemeanor simple assaults because the attack, although potentially fatal, didn't result in obvious signs of serious bodily injury. ""If you take a knife, swing it at someone and not strike them, that's a felony,"" he said. ""Under this law, strangulation itself would be a felony. When you have your hands around their throat, you've taken it to the next level. It's serious enough."" But it was his assertion about the prevalence of the crime that caught our attention. ""Ten percent of violent deaths in the U.S. each year are due to strangulation,"" he said, adding that there are ""six female victims to every male victim."" We wondered if the rate was really that high. DaSilva sent us a handful of documents. One was a 2001 article from the Journal of Emergency Medicine, which flatly stated that ""Ten percent of violent deaths each year in the United States are directly because of strangulation."" Where did that statistic come from? Although the article has 35 footnotes, the ""ten percent"" statement carries no citation. Two of the three authors, Dr. George E. McClane and Gael B. Strack, a lawyer, have apparently been using this statistic for a while. DaSilva also directed us to a 1999 article in which McClane and Strack are quoted as making the same claim. Strack has repeated the statistic as recently as a 2007 article written to help prosecutors. In each case, there is no indication where the data come from. We emailed Strack, who is CEO of the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego; she told us it came from a paper written by McClane in 1995, which we found intriguing because no McClane research is cited in their 2001 article. Researchers are typically quick to cite their previous work each time they write a paper. We couldn't get an interview with McClane. The website of the Medical Board of California of the Department of Consumer Affairs said he surrendered his medical license in March after being found guilty of unprofessional conduct. His lawyer did not respond to an email. So we took another route. DaSilva had also sent us an article from 2007, also in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, saying that national data from 1993 showed that 11.8 percent of women and 1.9 percent of men who died that year were killed by strangulation. It didn't give an overall rate. So we went to the source: a 2003 article on firearm deaths by David Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It says the strangulation rate that year was 3.4 percent. That's 1 in 29, not 1 in 10. But that 3.4 percent does not include all violence-related deaths, as DaSilva did. Suicides are excluded. If you include them, as the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control does when it catalogues all ""violence-related injury deaths,"" the rate is even lower -- about 1.4 percent, or 1 in 71. That same difference is echoed in the most recent federal data, where strangulation accounted for only about 1.2 percent of the violence-related deaths in 2007. If you only look at homicides, the rate rises, but only to 3.5 percent, still far shy of 10 percent. Only when we focused on women who have been murdered did the 10-percent figure apply. Wiebe directed us to the 1998 version of the database, where 448 of the 4,241 female homicide deaths were logged as being due to strangulation. That's 10.6 percent. We calculated a similar number for 2007. (The actual numbers show that there were not six female strangulation victims for every male, as DaSilva said. Because 448 women and 213 men died of strangulation in 2008, the actual ratio was 2 to 1. To hit a 6-to-1 ratio, you have to compare the percentages of homicide deaths due to strangulation -- 10.6 percent for women and 1.6 percent for men.) In short, the ""10 percent"" statistic cited by DaSilva has been bandied about at least since the 1990s. As presented, it is false. Federal data from 1993, 1998 and 2007 show that the percentage is significantly lower, whether or not you include suicides. It may be that the federal statistics are being repeatedly misrepresented, taking numbers that were only meant to apply to female homicides and expanding them to include all violent deaths, regardless of gender. If DaSilva had said that ""10 percent of all homicide deaths among women are due to strangulation"" and that ""women who are murdered are six times more likely to die of strangulation than men who are murdered,"" he would be on solid ground. But he didn't. In his defense, he was quoting sources that should be reliable. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, for one, failed to display adequate rigor by allowing the 10-percent estimate to appear without attribution. And DaSilva is trying to address what he sees as a serious problem, especially in domestic assaults on women. Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said her organization has been concerned for a few years that strangulation assaults are not being aggressively prosecuted, even though they ""are one of the most dangerous ways of attacking someone."" And because they are often carried out by a coldly calculating assailant, she said, the hope is that the stronger threat of jail time might be a deterrent for some men. But we make our rulings based on whether a statement is actually true or false. (Get updates from PolitiFactRI on Twitter. To comment or offer your ruling, visit us on our PolitiFact Rhode Island Facebook page.)"
http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html, http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText11/HouseText11/H5087A.pdf, http://www.cceb.upenn.edu/faculty/index.php?id=185, http://www.cce.csus.edu/conferences/oes/pedvc08/docs/5E-1.pdf, http://www.ricadv.org/, http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate9.html, http://www2.mbc.ca.gov/LicenseLookupSystem/PhysicianSurgeon/document.aspx?path=/DIDOCS/20101208/DMRAAADE1/&did=AAADE101208233145593.DID&licenseType=G&licenseNumber=68757, http://www.desarme.org/publique/media/USgunsinhome.pdf, http://www.familyjusticeinitiative.com/about-us/cfji-staff/gael-strack-jd.html, http://www.nnvawi.org/pdfs/alo/Glass_nonfatal_strangulation.pdf, http://www.correctionhistory.org/northcountry/html/knowlaw/strangulation3.htm
0 (false)
Rhode Island, Criminal Justice, Legal Issues, Crime, Women, Roberto DaSilva,
37880
Quarantine is when you restrict the movement of sick people.
April 28, 2020
A Facebook meme asserted “QUARANTINE IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF SICK PEOPLE, TYRANNY IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF HEALTHY PEOPLE,” and it demonstrated lack of knowledge about the pandemic on myriad levels.Historically and through 2020, quarantine was never designed to apply to “sick people”; the word for that is isolation. Quarantine, by contrast, was for people who might have been exposed to an infectious disease, for the duration of the time that they might pass the disease on to others. Finally, 25 to 50 percent of coronavirus carriers never get sick, and just over one percent of Americans had been tested as of April 2020. The meme was not only ignorant, but dangerously so — in fact, it ought to be quarantined until it can no longer do harm.
Kim LaCapria
On April 28 2020, amid ongoing coverage of astroturfed anti-lockdown protests, a Facebook post claimed that quarantine was intended to “restrict the movement of sick people” (archived here):White text against a red and blue background read:QUARANTINE IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF SICK PEOPLETYRANNY IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF HEALTHY PEOPLEA single word was added to the post, “Hmmm,” implying that its content was something to ponder in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, this meme simply plays to larger public ignorance about both the meaning and purpose of a “quarantine,” as well as broad lack of understanding regarding the aim of social distancing measures.Quarantine DefinitionHere are some definitions of the word “quarantine” from various sources:Cambridge:a period of time during which an animal or person that might have a disease is kept away from other people or animals so that the disease cannot spread[. ]Merriam-Webster (a bit more expansive):1: a period of 40 days 2a: a term during which a ship arriving in port and suspected of carrying contagious disease is held in isolation from the shore b: a regulation placing a ship in quarantine c: a place where a ship is detained during quarantine 3a: a restraint upon the activities or communication of persons or the transport of goods designed to prevent the spread of disease or pestsMacmillan Dictionary:a situation in which a person or animal that might have a disease is kept separate from other people or animals so that they do not catch the disease in quarantine: Animals can be kept in quarantine for up to three months.Dictionary.com:noun a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease. a period, originally 40 days, of detention or isolation imposed upon ships, persons, animals, or plants on arrival at a port or place, when suspected of carrying some infectious or contagious disease. a system of measures maintained by governmental authority at ports, frontiers, etc., for preventing the spread of disease. the branch of the governmental service concerned with such measures.verb (used with object), quar·an·tined, quar·an·tin·ing. to put in or subject to quarantine. to exclude, detain, or isolate for political, social, or hygienic reasons.You could also just Google it, and find this at the very top of the page:a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.Universally, “quarantine” is described as a condition placed upon people (or animals) who do or may have disease; a common trait in definitions for specific reasons.Quarantines in Recent HistoryHistorical quarantine signs from past epidemics are available for perusal through various web outlets, such as one from the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu pandemic:As we explained in a separate April 2020 fact check, an influenza pandemic in 1918 and 1919 killed millions of people and spread in a deadlier second wave in late 1918:Did the Second Wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu Kill 20 to 30 Million, While the First Wave Killed 3 to 5 Million?Although the sign embedded above is not easy to read, it’s clear that “movie houses,” “churches,” and “chapels” were among places closed to the ill and healthy alike during that pandemic.The Larger History of QuarantineQuarantine as we know it likely dated back to the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), the word’s etymological roots come from the Italian phrase for “forty days”:The practice of quarantine, as we know it, began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean 40 days. […]State and local governments made sporadic attempts to impose quarantine requirements. Continued outbreaks of yellow fever finally prompted Congress to pass federal quarantine legislation in 1878. This legislation, while not conflicting with states’ rights, paved the way for federal involvement in quarantine activities.As the CDC explained, the 1948 Public Health Service Act (PHSA) influenced modern pandemic management. That legislation “gave the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) responsibility for preventing the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.”Once again, the goal of quarantine was to prevent transmission — not only from the sick, but also from those who had not yet fallen ill from those who were asymptomatic. Further, preventing “the spread of communicable disease” also involved the movements of healthy people who might contract the disease and themselves become vectors.On a separate page in its series of quarantine-related resources for public education (“Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine”), the CDC outlined the purposes of “quarantine” and “isolation”:Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.• Isolation separates sick people with a quarantinable communicable disease from people who are not sick. • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.To reiterate, “isolation” referred to known infected and ill people, and separating them from the general public. “Quarantine” specifically referred to the “movement of people … exposed to a contagious disease” to see if they fall ill. Quarantine when contrasted with isolation was, again, for people who had not yet become sick, to prevent the spread of sickness by people infected but not ill.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided a nearly identical resource defining “quarantine” and “isolation” for the purposes of public health, adding:• Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.As of April 27 2020, that descriptor could easily be applied to Americans under “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders. Those people “may have been exposed” and “not know it,” or they “may have the disease” and not show symptoms.Asymptomatic Novel Coronavirus Carriers and the Necessity of QuarantineAs of April 3 2020, reports indicated a full 25 percent of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) were fully asymptomatic — a big deal number. And those people likely never become ill to begin with:According to Robert Redfield, the director of the [CDC], 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus don’t present any symptoms or fall ill but can still transmit the illness to others.And you may have heard the term “novel coronavirus,” which alludes to the fact this strain of coronavirus is completely new (which has led to its own genre of disinformation and misinformation); researchers are constantly learning new and important things about how it infects and spreads. That is why less than a month later on April 24 2020, the estimate of asymptomatic carriers rose to as many as fifty percent.If we view that information through the lens of the history of quarantine, it’s important to bear in mind it started due to an inability to test for or treat carriers of previous illnesses during pandemics or epidemics.It is also true that some protested against those historical measures, too — either a result of not understanding or refusing to understand why quarantine was important:In some countries, the suspension of personal liberty provided the opportunity—using special laws—to stop political opposition. However, the cultural and social context differed from that in previous centuries. For example, the increasing use of quarantine and isolation conflicted with the affirmation of citizens’ rights and growing sentiments of personal freedom fostered by the French Revolution of 1789. In England, liberal reformers contested both quarantine and compulsory vaccination against smallpox. Social and political tensions created an explosive mixture, culminating in popular rebellions and uprisings, a phenomenon that affected numerous European countries. In the Italian states, in which revolutionary groups had taken the cause of unification and republicanism, cholera epidemics provided a justification (i.e., the enforcement of sanitary measures) for increasing police power.A lack of testing and ability to treat the ill were a driving force behind prior quarantine orders.Only One Percent of Americans Have Been Tested for Novel CoronavirusAlthough statistics changed daily, as of April 22 2020, only one percent of Americans had been tested for the virus which caused COVID-19:At least 4,163,464 people in the U.S. have been tested, as of [April 22 2020]. This amounts to around 1.2 percent of the country’s population of nearly 332,639,000.The Math on ThatWe are not mathematicians. But we don’t need to be to point out that if just over one percent of Americans had been tested for novel coronavirus as of late April 2020, and 25 to 50 percent of the infected would never be sickened, the need to quarantine or restrict the movement of the possibly infected perhaps becomes apparent.TL;DRA Facebook meme asserted “QUARANTINE IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF SICK PEOPLE, TYRANNY IS WHEN YOU RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF HEALTHY PEOPLE,” and it demonstrated lack of knowledge about the pandemic on myriad levels.Historically and through 2020, quarantine was never designed to apply to “sick people”; the word for that is isolation. Quarantine, by contrast, was for people who might have been exposed to an infectious disease, for the duration of the time that they might pass the disease on to others. Finally, 25 to 50 percent of coronavirus carriers never get sick, and just over one percent of Americans had been tested as of April 2020. The meme was not only ignorant, but dangerously so — in fact, it ought to be quarantined until it can no longer do harm.Comments
https://www.truthorfiction.com/operation-gridlock-facebook-may-day-mutiny/, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/quarantine, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10221898735154108&set=a.1869667338003&type=3&theater, https://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fquarantine-is-when-you-restrict-the-movement-of-sick-people-facebook-meme%2F, https://www.reddit.com/submit?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fquarantine-is-when-you-restrict-the-movement-of-sick-people-facebook-meme%2F, https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/historyquarantine.html, https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html, https://www.hhs.gov/answers/public-health-and-safety/what-is-the-difference-between-isolation-and-quarantine/index.html, https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/quarantine_1, https://www.truthorfiction.com/lysol-coronavirus-conspiracy/, https://www.newsweek.com/only-1-percent-us-population-has-been-tested-coronavirus-1499523, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quarantine?s=t, https://www.truthorfiction.com/was-there-a-canine-coronavirus-vaccine-in-2001/, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/, https://www.truthorfiction.com/cnn-global-death-toll-approaches-three-million-people-chyron-error/, https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fquarantine-is-when-you-restrict-the-movement-of-sick-people-facebook-meme%2F, https://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/quarantine_1, https://www.truthorfiction.com/author/kim/, https://www.truthorfiction.com/did-the-second-wave-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-kill-20-to-30-million-while-the-first-wave-killed-3-to-5-million/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3559034/, https://www.truthorfiction.com/category/fact-checks/disinformation/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1403520/?page=1, https://archive.vn/wip/uG6vb, https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fquarantine-is-when-you-restrict-the-movement-of-sick-people-facebook-meme%2F, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bb/Spanish_flu_notice.png, https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-what-we-know-so-far-about-those-who-can-pass-corona-without-symptoms, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quarantine, https://lmgtfy.com/?q=quarantine&pp=1, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=%27Quarantine+is+When+You+Restrict+the+Movement+of+SICK+People%27+Facebook+Meme&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthorfiction.com%2Fquarantine-is-when-you-restrict-the-movement-of-sick-people-facebook-meme%2F&via=KimLaCapria, https://www.truthorfiction.com/trump-uv-light-injected-covid-19/, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/50-percent-of-people-with-covid19-not-aware-have-virus
0 (false)
Disinformation, Fact Checks
37893
"Hot mic"" video from a White House coronavirus briefing revealed a far lower ""real"" case-fatality rate, as well as the existence of a vaccine provided to the government and the press corps (but not you.)"
April 21, 2020
Did a ‘Hot Mic’ at Coronavirus White House Briefing Reveal a COVID-19 Conspiracy?
Kim LaCapria
"On April 20 2020, purported “hot mic” footage from a White House coronavirus press briefing appeared and quickly began circulating — involving discussion of what seemed to be fudged case-fatality rate numbers as well as the existence of a vaccine for the well-connected:Very Interesting exchange Caught on (GST HOT MIC) between FAKE NEWS @FoxNews @johnrobertsFox and a FAKE NEWS Tech at Todays White House Press Briefing!#coronavirus #WhiteHousePressBriefing #TrumpPressConf @realDonaldTrump @DanScavino FULL pic.twitter.com/D624MnmgcL— Golden State Times 🇺🇸 (@Goldstatetimes) April 21, 2020""Everybody here has been vaccinated anyway"" — caught on tape. https://t.co/ziXR8525yI— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) April 21, 2020BOMBSHELL: Hot Mic At White House CoronaVirus Press Briefing ‘Everybody Here’s Already Been Vaccinated’ and MORE Bombs Inside https://t.co/CZahiuogYA pic.twitter.com/QtoOCCmbaK— Matt Couch 🎙 (@RealMattCouch) April 21, 2020“Everyone here has been vaccinated” What in the world? Hot Mic before @realDonaldTrump press conference #coronavirusbriefing #coronavirus #vaccine #AnthonyFauci #CDC pic.twitter.com/7HK6T3euyb— Nate Medeiros (@NateMedeiros_) April 21, 2020Omg !!! Please retweet’s and share away please !!! https://t.co/St6uEsH6H8— Rebecca Martin (@therealblondie7) April 21, 2020“So It Was A Hoax?” – Fox News’ John Roberts Caught On Hot Mic Discussing COVID-19 Mortality Rate With Technician #coronavirus #covid19 #foxnews #johnroberts #hotmic #hoax #vaccine #whitehousebriefinghttps://t.co/8Vl1v27rwm— The Clover Chronicle (@CloverChron) April 21, 2020When, Where, Who, and WhatAccording to the rumors, a “hot mic” recording the period prior to April 20 2020’s White House coronavirus briefing captured a “very interesting” exchange. One of the two people speaking was Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts.What’s a Hot Mic?A “hot mic” in this context is “a microphone which amplifies the remarks of someone who does not know that it is on.”As such, the exchange in question was interpreted by the above Twitter users as one intended to be private, inadvertently amplified to an audience without the speakers’ awareness the discussion was recorded.Source for the VideoOne of several streams recording the daily White House briefing about COVID-19 — accessible in a lengthy Facebook video — included the exchange. Shorter clips became available, but WPMI‘s clip below included the exchange, roughly twelve minutes in.Roberts is seen conversing with a man wearing a facemask for several seconds in that clip.The Man in the Mask on the Coronavirus Hot Mic VideoPer Mediate, the second individual was New York Times photographer Doug Mills.Coronavirus Hot Mic Video TranscriptionDue to the informal nature of the exchange, no formal transcription existed.However, a forum user endeavored to transcribe the discussion, which began with Roberts addressing Mills’ mask; Mills quipped that “everyone here has been vaccinated anyway”:You can take off the mask Doug, the base mortality rate’s like point 1 to point 3 according to USC.”“Is it really? That’s reassuring … Everybody here’s been vaccinated anyway.”Roberts continued, referencing a recent study with controversial and preliminary findings:“USC in LA county public health has come out with a study. They found that there’s 7,000 cases in California, but they really believe that there are anywhere between 221,000 to 442,000 people who were infected.“Really?”“Yeah.”“So that makes it zero point 1 to zero point 3?”“Yup.”“Is the study come out < inaudible > ?”“Yeah, just came in today.”“So it suggests that the case fatality rate is about of a tenth of what it seems to be.”“Puts it right in line with the flu.”“Yeah exactly that’s what it is, the flu.”“So it’s a hoax!”“I don’t think it’s a hoax.”“Ha ha ha.”“Ha ha ha ha.”Roberts and the Coronavirus Case-Fatality Rate StudyIncidentally, Roberts tweeted about the same research that day — April 20 2020:New @USC and ⁦@lapublichealth⁩ study suggests a coronavirus case fatality rate of .1 to .3 pic.twitter.com/th8Sld0ifl— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) April 20, 2020Again, the research was preliminary and novel:By April 7 [2020], 55 (98.2%) of the 56 jurisdictions reporting COVID-19 cases also reported at least one related death (Table); however, approximately half (52.7%) of all deaths (12,757) were reported from three jurisdictions: NYC (4,111), New York (1,378), and New Jersey (1,232) (Figure 3). Other jurisdictions reporting ≥300 deaths included Michigan (845), Louisiana (582), Washington (394), Illinois (380), California (374), Massachusetts (356), and Georgia (351). Case-fatality ratios ranged from 0.7% in Utah to 5.7% in Kentucky.“Everybody Here’s Been Vaccinated Anyway.”Perhaps one of the most discussed elements of the viral coronavirus hot mic video was the snippet “everybody here’s been vaccinated anyway,” interpreted as an allusion to a vaccine for COVID-19 available only to the well-connected.The timeline for an anticipated COVID-19 vaccine is a major part of coronavirus news, and we discussed it on our page about the influential Imperial College London report; that report was published on March 16 2020, and it informed the introduction of “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders:Imperial College London’s COVID-19 Report, ExplainedThat report went into the wait for a vaccine — and why there was any wait at all. Those non-negotiable elements were again discussed in U.S. News and World Report‘s April 7 2020 article, “Why Will It Take So Long for a COVID-19 Vaccine?”In short, it was in the best interests of everyone that the general public be vaccinated at the earliest moment possible. But the realities of vaccine development meant it would take a significant amount of time to actually produce a vaccine:Public health officials have been warning that a COVID-19 vaccine will not be available to the public for 12 to 18 months, dampening hopes that there will be a quick end to the global pandemic nightmare.But Chinese researchers cracked the virus’ genetic code within weeks of its emergence late last year, and two vaccine candidates are already in early human trials — one in China and the other in the United States.What’s the holdup?Essentially, you can speed up the vaccine development process to respond to a pandemic, but you don’t want to speed it up so much that you allow a bad vaccine to enter the market, explained Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group.“The process of developing, testing and licensing a vaccine for widespread population use is designed to be slow, deliberative, peer-reviewed, reflective, evidence-based, so that we don’t make mistakes,” Poland said.Going too fast could lead to a vaccine that’s not effective or, worse, can cause serious health problems, Poland said.That means that the vaccine’s early recipients would also be its test subjects — the delay in introducing a new vaccine was safety-related. The wealthy and well-connected might get first crack at a viable vaccine, but a viable vaccine was still months away when Mills and Roberts had their sarcastic exchange.Further, the well-connected and famous are unlikely to be the same people on which any new COVID-19 vaccine is tested.White House Coronavirus ‘Hot Mic’ Video, in SummationOn April 20 2020, White House coronavirus pre-briefing streams captured a clearly sarcastic “hot mic” exchange between Roberts (of Fox News) and Mills (a Times photographer); arguably Mills and Roberts were well aware the briefing room was wired and the pair were not exchanging closely-guarded state secrets. Roberts referenced a study about which he also tweeted, but the study in no way altered the known case-fatality rate for COVID-19. Mills’ joke about reporters and White House staffers being “vaccinated anyway” seemed to play to the room and the setting, a quip squarely satirizing COVID-19 conspiracies. In any event, the clip read as a covert conversation captured and disseminated before it could be “scrubbed,” when in actuality it was clearly two journalists employing dark humor during a tongue-in-cheek discussion about a global pandemic.Comments"
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0 (false)
Disinformation, Fact Checks
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