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The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: May 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm
by toucana
Dr Rick Bright who was removed by President Trump from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) after refusing to endorse Hydroxychloroquine as a panacea for COVID-19 is scheduled to testify before Congress this Thursday. A copy of his prepared statement obtained by CNN includes the following:
Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be (the) darkest winter in modern history.

First and foremost we need to be truthful with the American people. They want the truth. They can handle the truth. Truth, no matter how unpleasant, decreases the fear generated by uncertainty. The truth must be based on scientific evidence - and not filtered for political reasons. We must know and appreciate what we are up against. We have the world’s greatest scientists - they must be permitted to lead. Let them speak truthfully, without fear of retribution. We must listen so that government can then take the most powerful steps to save lives.

Bright is set to testify Thursday morning before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's health subcommittee

Bright is seeking to be reinstated to his position as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Office of Special Counsel, which is reviewing Bright's complaint, has determined there is reason to believe his removal was retaliatory and is recommending he be reinstated during its investigation, according to Bright's attorneys.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson responded that it was "a personnel matter that is currently under review" but said it "strongly disagrees with the allegations and characterizations."

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: May 17th, 2020, 8:55 pm
by TheVat
Passing this along. One factor in a dark winter is a healthcare system that is unavailable to many citizens of the US.

The unspoken problem with engaging with a testing regime is why do it when you can’t get treatment, or afford it if you could get it? Why go to the doctor when that risks destroying your family’s future? We want to test, trace the contacts of every case, and isolate everyone infected, and thus reopen the economy, but without the treatment piece, this idea fails the most basic part of epidemiology: universal participation.

The way we get out is not immunity passports or herd immunity, it’s not test test test, it’s a whole system of health that cares for the whole population. The things that have worked the world over, from Germany to Vietnam, always begin and end with universal access to healthcare. Not just testing, tracing, isolating, but the most important part of public health: treatment. But doing that requires a public health system with the public as the beneficiary, not a small percentage of those who can afford it with ease... ... n-america/

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: August 18th, 2020, 5:32 am
by toucana
“Winter is Coming” is the motto of House Stark who are the lords of the North in the Game of Thrones series.

A recent article by veteran journalist David A. Andelman who founded the ‘Red Lines Project’ reminds readers that winter is already here.
Earlier this month, Africa passed the 1 million mark for the number of recorded cases of COVID-19. Australia has imposed its second lockdown in Melbourne as cases spiked in key urban areas.

Besides the obvious humanitarian concerns, why should the U.S. be troubled by these events?

Because the Southern Hemisphere is deep into its winter season, and the virus's progress in colder continents could be a precursor of horrors to come as America and the Northern Hemisphere head toward their first full fall and winter since this coronavirus was discovered.

Sadly, for the moment, a search of government statements issued by officials in the United States suggests that little attention is being directed south. This is a mistake.

In addition to the hiemal spikes observed in South Africa and Australia, there are also fresh concerns about new outbreaks in New Zealand in the last few days as well.

Low temperatures in Johannesburg average around 36 degrees in mid-summer, while north in Lagos, Nigeria, average temperatures do not usually drop below 72 degrees.

Australia's main population centers, meanwhile, are roughly on the same latitude as South Africa, as that country also moves into the heart of its winter season. Worryingly, Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, locked down for a second time in early July for six weeks, though officials warned that could well be extended. Nighttime temperatures have dropped to the low 40s — its average throughout August.

Research suggests that respiratory viruses seem to transmit more readily, and droplets carrying them remain more viable in the winter's cold weather and lower humidity.

Lower humidity in winter may be a significant factor. Researchers discovered a 1 percent decrease in humidity could increase the number of COVID-19 cases by 6 percent."

Other behavioral differences between the seasons may also contribute to spikes. Quite simply, the tendency of more people clustering in enclosed spaces to keep warm during the winter months inevitably facilitates the spread of the coronavirus.

There is an ominous precedent in the behaviour of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic that killed up to 50 million people, and came in three waves.

The deadliest, second wave arrived in Africa beginning in August 1918 as soldiers and laborers returning from World War I in Europe rapidly spread the disease, which swept from the seaports into the continent's interior during the winter season. Then, as now, South Africa itself was one of the five most-impacted impacted nations, with some 5 percent of the country's population dying.

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: October 7th, 2020, 8:40 am
by toucana
The ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine has now resigned from his post at the National Institutes of Health, charging that the Trump administration "ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists."

Rick Bright, who filed an extensive whistleblower complaint this spring alleging that his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at hydroxychloroquine led to his removal, is exiting the federal government altogether after being "sidelined" at NIH, his attorneys said in a pointed statement released Tuesday.

Bright's attorneys said Tuesday that his whistleblower complaint has been updated to include his allegations that he wasn't given meaningful work at the NIH and that his suggestions have been ignored because of "political considerations."

After Bright initially aired his complaints, administration officials leveled a range of allegations against Bright, including accusing him of poorly managing his office, mistreating staff and failing to consult his superiors on consequential decisions.

But Bright's most recent performance review from May 2019, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, delivered rave reviews for Bright's management of his office and included no criticisms.

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: October 29th, 2020, 6:48 am
by toucana
President Macron of France has announced that France will re-enter a full national lockdown at midnight tonight. From Friday October 30, citizens will once again need an “attestation de sortie” to leave their homes - even to take their children to school, or to go out for daily exercise.

The decision by France mirrors that of Spain which reintroduced a lockdown a several days ago, while Angela Merkel the German Chancellor has warned that her country’s hospitals are probably just nine days away from being overwhelmed. From Monday restaurants, bars and gyms and theatres in Germany will be closed once more.

In Italy hospitals in the the capital Rome are said to be on the point of collapse with their ICUs almost full, while in Brussels, the situation is so dire that doctors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being asked to carry on working to avoid a complete collapse of health care.

In Britain, the latest study by Imperial College London indicates that almost 100,000 people a day are contracting COVID-19, with the number of infections now doubling every nine days. The R number reinfection index is said to be currently as high as 2.86 in the capital London, and the government are reported to be planning a ‘circuit-breaker’ shut-down in response.

In The USA where COVID-19 cases are spiking upwards, a new audio recording has emerged of an extraordinary conversation that took place last April between Jared Kushner and veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. On the tape Jared Kushner boasts that president Donald Trump has “taken control of the country back from the doctors.”

In the final week before election day, coronavirus infections in the USA have been at an all time high for the last seven days with 72,000 new cases per day. Over 220,000 people have now died from the virus in USA, and this third wave is likley to be worse than the first

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: October 29th, 2020, 7:43 am
by charon
And all Trump cares about is being the centre of attention at his rallies where he says whatever sounds good, where they're all packed together, very few masks in sight, and all the rest of it.

I don't really blame him, he's what he is, I blame the fools who go to these things.

If they'd laughed at Hitler when it mattered nothing would have happened.

As for Bright, it'll all come out in the wash. He ought to get his job back but he probably won't.

Re: The Darkest Winter

PostPosted: October 29th, 2020, 10:53 am
by toucana

This clip featuring Olivia Troye (former member of the WH pandemic task force) and Patrick Gaspard (President Obama’s ambassador to South Africa during Ebola crisis) summarises a number of the most troubling issues mentioned here.