Guardian – France, Italy and Spain are preparing to loosen coronavirus restrictions, with other countries watching closely to see how some of the first and hardest-hit countries in Europe might safely emerge from their crippling lockdowns.
After the US, where the number of infections is heading towards the 1m mark, with more than 53,000 deaths, the three countries have the highest numbers of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic passed 200,000 on Saturday, with more than 2.9m confirmed cases, rising rapidly in many countries but slowing in others because of lockdowns.
Decisions on how and when to reopen will be vital to how people and businesses can cope with the pandemic, balancing the need for economies to restart with the risks of new outbreaks and further shutdowns.
BBC- New Zealand says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus.
With new cases in single figures for several days – one on Sunday – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the virus was “currently” eliminated.
But officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.
The news comes hours before New Zealand is set to move out of its toughest level of social restrictions.
From Tuesday, some non-essential business, healthcare and education activity will be able to resume.
Most people will still be required to remain at home at all times and avoid all social interactions.
Mirror – A prison emergency has been declared in El Salvador as the country’s murder rate spiked from zero during lockdown, to 22 in just one day.
President Nayib Bukele announced a 24-hour lockdown inside prisons, meaning inmates were crammed together in one room, sitting one behind the other.
Many of the prisoners were seen wearing face masks and just their pants, with their heads were just inches away from each other.
President Bukele said gang leaders would be sent into solitary confinement in a bid to fight the rise in murders across the country.
He wrote on Twitter : “No contact with the outside world. Shops will remain closed and all activities are suspended until further notice.
Breitbart – The Australian government’s call for China to explain its bungled handling of the deadly coronavirus pandemic could spark a boycott by Chinese consumers, who may no longer travel and study in Australia or buy major exports including beef and wine.
That was the stark warning delivered Monday by Ambassador Cheng Jingye via an interview published in the Australian Financial Review.
The ambassador said Australia’s inquiry push was “dangerous” and destined to fail, adding to previous criticism from Beijing, which portrayed Canberra as unblinking lackeys of the U.S. in the Pacific.
“I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China? The tourists may have second thoughts’,” he said.
“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send our kids.”
Education is Australia’s third biggest export and is worth more than $30 billion to the economy every year.
The ambassador refused to comment on whether key exports such as iron ore, coal and gas would be similarly affected by perceived anti-China sentiment.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Fox – The embattled Louisiana pastor who repeatedly flouted social distancing measures defied house arrest by hosting a large gathering of congregants for a Sunday service in defiance of orders to stay at home to limit the impact of the coronavirus.
Pastor Tony Spell of the Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge was seen on a live stream Sunday walking among more than 100 congregants, often repeating the phrase, “I’ve just got to get to Jesus. … Come on America, let’s get back to Jesus.”
Nearly all parishioners were not wearing face masks, and social distancing was not being practiced, The Associated Press reported.
Spell had been placed on house arrest at 9 a.m. Saturday morning after refusing to tell a judge if he’d continue to hold Sunday services.
A Facebook Live video shared by Central City News showed the pastor playing the piano surrounded by family members inside his home. A man wearing personal protective equipment had Spell sign paperwork before fitting him for an ankle monitor.
FBI Raids Detroit-Area Medical Facility ‘For Using Intravenous Vitamin C to Treat COVID-19 Patients’
Information Liberation – The FBI on Thursday raided a Detroit-area medical facility for reportedly treating non-hospitalized coronavirus patients with intravenous vitamin C, which the FBI appears to be claiming is a “fraudulent treatment.”
Allure Medical Spa, which is owned by Dr. Charles Mok, had been giving out vitamin C injections for free to first responders before the FBI came in and aggressively shut him down.
FBI agents went into the building wearing full protective gear to protect themselves from potential exposure. Sources claim the raid is because Allure has been allegedly performing treatments for COVID-19 patients without an approved treatment or cure.
On April 18, Allure’s Facebook page had a post that said “At Allure Medical, we have been using intravenous vitamin c therapy to treat COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients with great results.”
That post, as well as a post on Allure Medical’s official website on vitamin c treatments, has been taken down.
After talking to staff members off-camera, some believe this is a misunderstanding. They claim the vitamin c is meant to help prevent or shorten the duration.
Dr. Charles Mok, who owns Allure Medical Spa, did a Facebook live video giving an IV-vitamin c treatment for free to a Detroit police officer. In the video, Mok said “What I’m finding in practice — I treat a lot of COVID patients — is that if we catch people early, get them on intravenous vitamin c, they turn around really fast.”
While it may not be a “cure,” vitamin C is being used widely as a treatment for coronavirus in hospitals throughout the world and has been shown to be effective in patients with sepsis and severe acute respiratory failure in past studies. Multiple clinical trials to study its effectiveness at treating the coronavirus are currently ongoing.
FOX 2 Detroit, which simply parroted the line fed to them by the FBI, claimed vitamin C is a “fake treatment” and quoted FBI spokesperson Mara Schneider saying the clinic was accused of providing “fraudulent treatments for COVID-19” and allegedly “did not observe proper protocols to protect patients and staff from the virus.”
FOX 2 Detroit said a doctor at the facility told them Dr. Mok is “ahead of the curve in this type of treatment and has always put the [patients’] health first, often treating them for free.”
“Vitamin C infusion, is a common practice in the US because it boosts the immune system,” the doctor said.
“I’ve gone there for several years and always found them to be so welcoming and helpful and informative,” one of their patients told FOX 2 Detroit.
“The FBI said that no one is in custody, no arrests were made but they did say that this was an ongoing investigation,” FOX 2 Detroit reported.
Activist Post – There is increasing evidence on social media that the National Guard has been deployed to the nation’s food banks to ensure food supply chain networks are not severed, and shortages do not materialize.
This comes at a challenging period for the country, one where 26.5 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in five weeks as the economy crashes into depression.
We have documented the unprecedented volume of Americans flooding food banks across the country in the last four weeks as a hunger crisis develops.
Now it appears National Guard troops have been deployed to food banks in many states to make sure logistical pipelines of food to these facilities can continue dishing out care packages to the working poor.
And why would the Pentagon, likely instructed by the Trump administration, deploy military assets to food banks? Because food shortages are already starting to develop as facilities are overwhelmed with hungry people.
The deployment of military assets to these facilities is a reflection of where the government believes the most vulnerable parts of instabilities reside at the moment. Just imagine if some of these places ran out of food, and people in mile-long lines were told to go home empty-handed. That would leave many in an untenable hangry state where social instabilities could be seen.
Watch: Bill Gates Defends Communist Chinese Government; Says It ‘Did A Lot Of Things Right’ While US Acted ‘Poorly’
Infowars – Pandemic playboy Bill Gates has attacked the US response to the coronavirus outbreak, while defending China’s actions, claiming that the communist state “did a lot of things right at the beginning,” even though it failed to warn global health authorities and attempted to cover up the true scale of the crisis.
Appearing on CNN (of course), Gates claimed that “China did a lot of things right at the beginning,” but conceded that “Like any country where a virus first shows up, they can look back and see where they missed some things.”
Does silencing whistleblowers and lying about transmissibility count among the “right things”?
When CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Gates what he thinks about China’s lies and deception, the billionaire replied that it is “a distraction.”
“How would you respond to the charge that the Chinese covered this up, they essentially deceived the rest of the world, and as a result, they should be held in someway responsible for this?” Zakaria asked.
“Well, I don’t think that’s a timely thing because it doesn’t affect how we act today,” Gates responded.
In addition, Gates attacked the US government’s response to the outbreak, saying that “Some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place and they avoided the incredible economic pain, and its sad that even the US, that you would have expected to do this well, did it particularly poorly.”
Gates, who stands to profit in the billions, then urged that the only thing on everyone’s minds now should be “to take the great science we have, the fact that we’re in this together, fix testing and treatments and get that vaccine.
Study Finds – Where do you usually get your news? If the answer is a conservative media outlet, you’re more likely to believe COVID-19 misinformation or conspiracy theories, according to a new study just released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The study also found a similar connection regarding social media use and belief in false coronavirus stories.
Over a thousand adults were surveyed in the beginning of March on their news and media consumption habits and beliefs regarding the coronavirus.
All in all, a significant correlation between conservative news consumption and belief in various COVID-19 myths was observed. Such conspiracies include the theory that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab for use as a bioweapon; the notion that the CDC has exaggerated the threat posed by COVID-19 to damage Donald Trump’s chances of being re-elected; and the belief that enough vitamin C can make a person immune to the coronavirus.
Additionally, surveyed adults who frequently used platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc, were more likely to believe similar theories (vitamin C leads to immunity, the virus was created by the U.S. government). Interestingly, adults who reported usually using web aggregators (Google News, Yahoo! News) were less likely to believe that hand-washing and social distancing were effective ways to avoid contracting COVID-19. Granted, at the time this survey was held we didn’t know as much as we do now about the coronavirus’ nature.
Conversely, respondents who reported watching mostly broadcast news (CBS, ABC, NBC) were more likely to accurately believe that the coronavirus is more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Adults who usually turn to mainstream print news (The New York Times, Wall Street Journal) were also much more likely to hold factual beliefs on the virus and disregard conspiracies about Chinese labs or targeted attempts to hurt President Trump’s reputation.
“Because both information and misinformation can affect behavior, we all ought be doing our part not only to increase essential knowledge about SARS-CoV-2, but also to interdict the spread of deceptions about its origins, prevention, and effects,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), in a statement. “Additionally, all forms of media should ask, Are our audiences better prepared to deal with this coronavirus as a result of our work or is their trust in us endangering them and their communities?”
n total, 87% of the 1,008 surveyed adults said that hand-washing and social distancing were effective against the virus. However, 23% believed at the time of the survey that it was “probably or definitely true” that the virus came from a Chinese lab. Another 21% thought vitamin C would offer immunity and 19% held the opinion that the virus was being over-exaggerated to hurt Trump. Finally, 10% felt it was “probably or definitely true” that the U.S. government created COVID-19.
Pelosi says Trump’s travel ban was not effective in preventing people or coronavirus from entering US
Fox- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argued Sunday the travel ban President Trump has boasted as a major move in stemming the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. was actually not as effective as the White House says.
“Actually tens of thousands of people were allowed in from China, it wasn’t as it was described as this great moment,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “So if you’re going to shut the door because you have an evaluation because of an epidemic, then shut the door.”
The travel ban, which exempted Americans and some other authorized travelers, did not totally cut off people entering the U.S. from China and Europe. A New York Times investigation earlier this month found that nearly 40,000 people arrived in the U.S. on direct flights from China in the two months after Trump imposed the restrictions.
Pelosi has been a harsh critic of trump’s ban and has heaped the blame on Trump’s slow response to addressing the coronavirus.
“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an earlier interview. “The president, his denial at the beginning, was deadly,”
When questioned on Sunday whether she now supported the travel ban, Pelosi deflected the question, saying: “let’s go into the future.”
“What the American people want is a plan to go forward,” she said.
The HIll – Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden‘s White House bid, becoming the latest prominent Democrat to officially lend her support to the party’s presumptive nominee.
In a prerecorded video, Pelosi touted Biden as a “voice of reason and resilience” who has the ability to lead recovery efforts in the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic. She also cited his work to implement the Affordable Care Act and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as examples of his leadership skills.
“I am proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States because he will be an extraordinary president,” Pelosi said. “He knows how to get the job done.”
“When our nation faced the Great Recession, it was Joe Biden who led the implementation — and the accountability — of the Recovery Act, helping create and save millions of jobs. When the Democratic Congress was passing the Affordable Care Act, Joe Biden was a partner for progress in the White House and also championed the Cancer Moonshot,” she added
WND – The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered officials in San Jose, California, to explain why they confiscated the legally owned guns of Lori Rodriguez.
hey still have them.
The case was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation on behalf of the woman.
The Supreme Court justices have instructed city officials to respond by May 20.
“We’re encouraged by this development in the case,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “If the city thought they could just ignore this case and make it go away, they’re wrong.”
SAF has been joined in the case by the California Gun Rights Foundation.
“Her firearms were seized seven years ago after her husband was taken to a hospital on a mental health issue,” the foundation said. “At the time, a San Jose police officer advised Rodriguez he had authority to seize all firearms in the residence, including those belonging solely to her, which were all locked in a California-approved safe. The guns were taken without a warrant, and over Rodriguez’s objection.”
Gottlieb said the inquiry is “a significant development, because it signals the Supreme Court is interested in the case.”
Bloomberg – The Trump administration will square off against House Democrats on Tuesday over a crucial question: Is a congressional subpoena of White House officials a formidable weapon or an empty threat? The battle, which is likely to reach the Supreme Court, could shape legal fights ranging from the quest for President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a conflict over his proposed border wall with Mexico. More broadly, it will help determine the extent of his and future presidents’ power. The case, in federal appeals court in Washington, stems from the Democrats’ subpoena of former White House counsel Donald McGahn. The demand for his testimony came in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election and in the run-up to last year’s impeachment hearings.
But while those struggles ended in the president’s acquittal and now seem a world away, Tuesday’s court clash goes far beyond them.
The dispute “hits at the core of the constitutional separation of powers,” said Richard Pildes, a constitutional law professor at New York University. “When high-level executive officials refuse to comply with a congressional subpoena, this case will determine whether Congress can turn to the courts to resolve that conflict.”
The Supreme Court has scheduled a May 12 hearing on Trump appeals that raise sweeping questions about government’s investigative powers, including the president’s claim of immunity from local criminal probes while in office. That case, in which the Manhattan district attorney is seeking the president’s financial records, “is probably more of a threat to President Trump personally,” Pildes said.
The McGahn case is important because it will affect the continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches, he said.
Economy & Business
Michael Snyder – When meat processing facilities started shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic, we were initially told not to worry because the facilities that were still operating normally would be able to make up the difference. But now all of that has changed. As you will see below, even the mainstream media is beginning to use the phrase “meat shortages”, and we are being told to brace for supply chain disruptions all over America. Hopefully any “shortages” will only last for a few months, and hopefully supply chain disruptions will disappear later this year as the pandemic fades. But this is yet another example that shows how exceedingly vulnerable our system has become, and it makes one wonder what will happen once a crisis even worse than this pandemic comes along.
In today’s extremely litigious environment, big corporations are going to exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to COVID-19, and we have already seen that just a handful of confirmed cases can shut down an entire food processing facility for weeks. As a result of all the shutdowns that have already taken place, Bloomberg is warning that we are “dangerously close to meat shortages”…
Plant shutdowns are leaving the U.S. dangerously close to meat shortages as coronavirus outbreaks now spread to suppliers across the Americas.
Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that domestic shortages are just weeks away. Brazil, the world’s No. 1 shipper of chicken and beef, saw its first major closure with the halt of a poultry plant owned by JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company. Key operations are also down in Canada, the latest being a British Columbia poultry plant.
Who ever imagined that we would be talking about “meat shortages” during the first half of 2020?
It is crazy how rapidly things have changed.
On Friday, Smithfield Foods announced the closure of a fifth meat processing facility
Jared Kushner on securing US supply chain amid coronavirus: We can never rely on foreign supplies again
Fox – The coronavirus pandemic brought to light the critical importance of securing U.S. supply chains to eliminate the long-time reliance on foreign governments, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said during a rare appearance on “The Next Revolution” Sunday.
“I think the campaign platform that President Trump ran on in 2016 – which was basically ‘you have to secure your borders and you have to control your own manufacturing as a national security issue’ – I think those have been totally vindicated positions from the virus and I doubt it will be easy for people to argue against them in the future,” Kushner said.
Kushner has been a key figure in the federal effort to manage the flow of U.S. supply chains and ensure hospitals in need are properly equipped with ventilators and other life-saving medical equipment.
“We can take all the learnings from this virus and figure out how we can be more prepared for the future.”
— Jared Kushner, ‘The Next Revolution’
His team, which has worked together with the coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, is now focused on solving the issue of insufficient testing at the center of the coronavirus crisis.
“We figured out how to really stimulate that supply,” Kushner said. “We believe by the month of April we will have close to five million tests that will be performed. We’re anticipating for the month of May, the number we were originally asked to do, we can exceed it…we think we can double that number and we should have more than ample amount of tests in the market for the month of May,” he explained.
Politico – Congress’ mad dash to shovel nearly $3 trillion into the economy and rescue failing industries met little resistance as the coronavirus crisis overwhelmed communities across the country.
But now the hangover has set in.
The sprawling CARES Act, and its similarly rushed companion bills, has fueled rising angst for lawmakers. They’ve been bombarded with complaints about breakdowns in the small business lending program, loopholes that have allowed large companies to snatch cash meant for smaller operations and administrative failures that have delayed stimulus checks to struggling American households.
Hospitals, lawmakers say, are competing with each other and the federal government for life-saving equipment for their employees, and coronavirus testing is still hard to access in many parts of the country, despite Congress’ efforts.
And it’s all occurring without the oversight operations meant to confront these problems as they arise.
“Our constituents have a lot of questions about where the hell this $3 trillion is going and why it isn’t coming into their pockets,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) said during a Thursday meeting at the Capitol.
Lawmakers are now begging for fixes to a litany of legislative shortcomings. Several brought up issues with the small business program on a call with the head of Small Business Administration, Jovita Carranza, on Wednesday.
But the very next day, Congress passed another roughly massive relief bill with little done to address the early problems that have emerged.
CNBC – U.S. oil prices plunged 25% on Monday on fears that worldwide storage will soon fill as the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil demand.
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 25%, or $4.27, to trade at $12.71 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude traded 6.2% lower at $20.11 per barrel. Each contract is coming off its eighth week of losses in nine weeks.
WTI for July delivery fell more than 11% to $18.84 while the August contract slipped more than 7% to $22, suggesting the Street doesn’t see a meaningful recovery in the next few months.
Science & Technology
Newsmax – Contact lenses may someday do more than correct poor vision, with new, preliminary research in animals suggesting they could also monitor your diabetes and deliver medications.
The new lenses were designed to check blood sugar levels and to deliver drugs to the eye, possibly for the eye disease related to diabetes called diabetic retinopathy. After trying them out on rabbits, scientists found the new lenses worked on both counts.
It may sound like science fiction, but the researchers noted there is already a contact lens that’s been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for measuring the pressure in the eye when worn overnight. Levels of eye pressure are important to know for people with the eye disease glaucoma.
“Among various wearable devices, a smart contact lens is especially promising for healthcare applications because it can be used as an excellent interface between the human body and an electronic device,” said senior study author Sei Kwang Hahn. He’s a professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, and a visiting professor at Stanford University in California.
Hahn said this is the first study to show a combination of blood sugar sensing and drug delivery technology in a contact lens. However, what works well in animals doesn’t always work well in humans.
The smart contact lens contains ultrathin, flexible electrical circuits and a microcontroller chip. It’s currently about 0.2 millimeters (mm) thick, and Hahn said the researchers hope to reduce that to 0.15 mm. Hahn said the current lens is already thinner than the FDA-approved lenses that measure eye pressure.
Newsmax – Six new potential symptoms of COVID-19 have been added to the list by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a move that is expected to increase the number of patients requiring to be tested.
Chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and a loss of taste or smell are among those added, according to USA Today.
Here is the complete list as of Sunday:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Repeated shaking with chills.
- Muscle pain.
- Sore throat.
- New loss of taste or smell.
“People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness,” according to the CDC website. “These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.”
Mind Body Green – You might think of longevity a little differently nowadays. Amid a global pandemic, shouldn’t we focus on how to stay healthy in the here-and-now rather than as we age? But with a COVID-19 lens, longevity and immunity are two sides of the same coin. After all, a strong immune system has been shown to be paramount for fighting off the virus and lowering mortality.
It’s exactly why we consulted longevity expert and Harvard geneticist David Sinclair, Ph.D., on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. He’s accomplished years upon years of research on how to treat rare diseases and promote longevity, but as COVID-19 has spread around the globe, he’s shifted his focus to how we can alleviate symptoms and increase survival.
Especially now, he says, “We can’t take our health for granted. It’s the most important thing we possess.” That said, finding ways to optimize our longevity is crucial—and it starts with immunity. Here, Sinclair’s five best practices to enhance our immune systems and support our longevity genes. With the right nutrients, you can be better prepared to prevent and face infection:
- Get adequate levels of vitamin D.
- Load up on alpha-lipoic acid.
- Raise NAD levels in the body.
- Try a hot sauna.
- Stay in shape now, to stave off inflammation later.
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Mercola – A Chinese trial comparing clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and those receiving standard of care alone reports “disappointing” result.
The hydroxychloroquine group only had a 28-day negative conversion rate of 85.4% compared to the control group’s rate of 81.3%. No difference in the alleviation of symptoms was observed between the two groups.
The study did not, however, use supplemental zinc, which helps prevent viral replication. Evidence suggests hydroxychloroquine works for COVID-19 because it acts as a zinc ionophore, meaning it shuttles zinc inside your cells.
A Brazilian chloroquine trial stopped the high-dose arm of the study early due to patients developing ventricular tachychardia, a dangerous heart rhythm problem. Chloroquine is known to be more toxic than hydroxychloroquine.
Quercetin is a naturally occurring zinc ionophore. Taken with zinc, it may be helpful to prevent and potentially treat COVID-19. Research is currently underway to assess quercetin’s effectiveness against COVID-19.
>> Power Mall Product of Interest: Zinc & Copper Re-Natured – 60 CT