IST Covid-19 News #1

There is lots of news flying around the web about this killer virus… much so that it almost impossible for the normal human to keep up with…..I will update my readers on stories that do not get much air time as the numbers game……

Times like this brings out the worst in some people…..people that want scam the population for profit……

A major California labor union that claimed to have discovered a stockpile of 39 million masks for health care workers fighting the coronavirus was duped in an elaborate scam uncovered by FBI investigators, the AP reports. Investigators stumbled onto the scheme while looking into whether they could intercept the masks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Defense Production Act, the US attorney’s office said Friday. The federal government has been quietly seizing supplies across the country as the outbreak spreads. But in this case, there was no warehouse, and there were no masks to seize, the LA Times reports. US Attorney Scott Brady told the Times that investigators tracked the tip back to a Pittsburgh businessman.

That businessman, Brady said, had been working with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West to secure millions of masks. The businessman had been communicating with a broker in Australia and a supplier in Kuwait, who are both now the target of a federal investigation. The union and the Pittsburgh businessman appear to be among a string of middlemen who were fooled. The promise of 39 million masks was first made public March 26, when the union announced it had found the stockpile after seeking potential suppliers by phone. No money was ever exchanged, but the masks never appeared, either. Experts say dubious brokers and suppliers have flooded the market with suspect medical-supply offers, creating an atmosphere of confusion and distrust.

We all have seen first hand at the shortages and the empty shelves in the markets….especially the food stuffs….well there could be a new and more devastating shortage……Meat

Employees at meat processing plants are getting the new coronavirus—and some of the facilities are shutting down, including one of the country’s biggest pork processing facilities. Bloomberg reports there’s been a “spike” in coronavirus infections at such plants, with hundreds of new cases last week. Plants are starting to slow operations or reduce output, and one economist explains that’s “one of the huge reasons for the decline in futures prices,” down about 40% in recent months. As the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork plant announced Sunday it was closing until further notice, the CEO of Smithfield, which runs the facility, had a dire warning for what this could mean.

  • The warning: “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain,” Kenneth Sullivan said, per CNN. “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.”
  • More on the South Dakota cases: As of Saturday, when there were 430 active coronavirus cases in the state, Smithfield employees accounted for 240 of those. The plant, which employs 3,700, produces 4% to 5% of the country’s pork. South Dakota’s governor recommended a shutdown of at least two weeks, and employees will be paid for the next two weeks. (Its current inventory will be processed Tuesday with some employees on site.)
  • Colorado: There are as many as 50 cases at a Colorado JBS USA beef facility; AgWeb reports the Greeley plant will close through Tuesday so it can be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Pennsylvania: A Cargill meat packaging facility in Pennsylvania where at least 164 cases have been reported so far closed Tuesday with no indication of when it might reopen, the Citizens’ Voice reports. “The number that is even scarier is the many more who are sick and waiting for their test results,” says the union president, per the Star Tribune. He estimated as many as 200 others were out sick when the plant closed. Other plants in Pennsylvania have also gone idle, including a JBS USA beef plant, per NPR.
  • Iowa: After more than two dozen confirmed cases among employees of a Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, the facility suspended operations last week without saying when they might resume, the Des Moines Register reports. A National Beef Packing plant in the state also suspended slaughter operations so it could move up a cleaning that was originally scheduled for later this month, Reuters reports.
  • Deaths: Two of the Colorado employees have died, as well as one employee at another JBS facility and two workers from a Georgia Tyson Foods plant. “You cannot make sacrifices like this with people’s lives,” a Colorado union president says. “People can live without beef.”
  • Risky environment: As Bloomberg explains, workers in plants like these are often quite close together, making social distancing a challenge.
  • Could this idea help? Iowa’s governor says quick tests should be made available for meat packing workers. Rapid testing machines at meat packing plants could produce results within minutes, Radio Iowa reports.

Looks like the celebrations on the 4th of July may be cancelled…..

Have plans for Fourth of July? Better make sure they’re not cancelled. The News & Observer reports that at least a half dozen cities from Redwood City, Calif., to Ithaca, NY, are already nixing Independence Day events amid concerns over the coronavirus. That includes the much-loved festival in Southport, North Carolina: “The July 4th Celebration in Southport has been an iconic event for over 200 years,” writes Southport Mayor Joseph Hatem on Facebook. He recommends that “this celebration of independence and freedom be canceled to assist in stopping the spread of this contagious disease. This was a difficult decision, but the most prudent one and will … save lives.”

Other cancellations include St. Louis (Belleville News-Democrat); Redlands, Calif. (Redlands Daily Facts), and, in the Pacific Northwest, Portland and Fort Vancouver (Oregon Live). This jibes with a Maryland state health official’s take on coronavirus numbers possibly peaking around July 4: “If that happens, that means we will have done our job because we have slowed down hospital capacity demands,” said Webster Ye, per the Baltimore Sun. Similarly, the Washington Post quotes DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as saying the nation’s capital expects hospitalized COVID-19 patients to peak in late June or early July

I listen to our president and everyday he sounds more and more like a dictator instead of a leader of the Free World…..especially when he pushes some weird untried drug…..

Two drugs that have been promoted by President Trump for use in treating the coronavirus are being linked to heart problems in international research. The Hill reports that a review by France’s drug safety regulator turned up 43 “cardiac adverse effects” in COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine, typically used to treat malaria. The agency reported 100 total cases of adverse reactions in patients treated with experimental drugs—82 of them serious, including four deaths—though only about half of these incidents were tied to hydroxycloroquine; the other half were linked to lopinavir-ritonavir, which is used to treat HIV. Meanwhile, a small study out of Brazil has been brought to a halt after patients given a higher dose of chloroquine, also used to treat malaria, developed heart arrhythmias, per the New York Times.

About half of the 81 patients involved in that study took 450mg of the drug two times a day for five days; the other half received 600mg for 10 days. Researchers started seeing irregular heart rates within three days in the patients given the higher doses; by the sixth day, 11 of them had died, and that portion of the study was ended. “Chloroquine causes a dose-dependent increase in an abnormality in the [electrocardiogram] that could predispose people to sudden cardiac death,” says Dr. David Juurlink, who heads up the University of Toronto’s clinical pharmacology division. Last month, Bloomberg reported that China had initially pushed using chloroquine after encouraging clinical trials, but that it soon walked that back after Wuhan Institute of Virology research showed just 2g of the drug—twice the recommended daily amount—proved deadly.

Just does not sound like the “miracle drug” that Trump wants us to believe….how much does he make off this branding thing?

Speaking of a dictator……Trump’s latest verbiage sounds just like one…..

President Donald Trump on Monday declared that he could force states across the country to reopen their economies, even if those states’ governors believe that doing so would be dangerous.

“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect. It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”

The National Guard is being used to help with this pandemic and it seems that they are not allocated much health care for their work…..

Legal arcana and the narrow wording of President Trump’s orders are complicating the mobilization of National Guard troops to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Pentagon, the White House, and the states are working urgently to increase the number of troops with federal funding and full benefits, said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the four-star chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a phone briefing with reporters this afternoon.

Part of the problem is that President Trump has not actually authorized federal funding and benefits for every state. Only 34 states and three territories are currently covered by his call-up orders, with 16 states and the District of Columbia still ineligible. (The full list is at the end of this article). Indeed, it’s not clear that all states have even requested federal support for their Guard troops, especially in rural areas where the spread of the virus has been slower and suspicion of the federal government can be high.

COVID-19 Federal Funds, Benefits Lag For National Guard

This is not the way to instill confidence in the leadership for this pandemic.

Finally, the numbers seem to be dropping more rapid than predicted…..some are asking ……..wassup?

Good idea because it is a little of a downer to have a 4th BBQ and have NO flesh to scorch.

Dire predictions about the coronavirus are easing a little—or let’s face it, a lot—and Fareed Zakaria wants to know why. Writing this week in the Washington Post, the CNN host looks at projected US fatalities and current hospitalization rates, both of which are way down. Just last month, he notes, the White House estimated 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths, but Anthony Fauci now says that will drop, and a prominent University of Washington model predicts a death toll of 60,415 by June 1 if social distancing is maintained. “That’s on par with the number of people estimated to have died of the flu in the 2019-2020 season,” writes Zakaria. “What is going on?”

Meanwhile, hospitalization rates in California, Louisiana, and even New York have plummeted from original projections. Zakaria says Stanford University scholars might have an explanation—that the lack of early widespread testing hid the number of mild or asymptomatic cases. Some studies say 75% to 80% could be asymptomatic, meaning most people who get infected “never get to a clinic and never get counted,” writes Zakaria. “We have shut down the economy based on models, understandably worried about worst-case scenarios. But models are only as good as the data that shapes them. And reopening the economy will depend crucially on mass testing.” Click for his full piece. (Fauci just predicted “a real degree of normality” by November.)

Just few of the stories that you may not have read or heard over the weekend……

The news seems to be breaking faster than a Trumpian lie……I will try to keep my readers up-to-date as best I can…..

Watch This Blog!

Stay Calm…..Avoid Crowds……Wash Hands Often….Stay Prepared

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

6 thoughts on “IST Covid-19 News #1

  1. They are right to cancel the 4th of July celebrations. This pandemic is a long way from being anywhere near ‘coming to a close’ yet.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I agree….and this fool we have leading us will open the country up as soon as possible and get many more killed….he is a criminal. chuq

      1. It’s affecting his personal economy and he’s no leader. Running this thing by the seat of his pants. He will pay dearly.

  2. I even heard Dr Oz pushing that drug but he’s always trying to push something. Dr Fauci has said we could see a new rise in cases in the fall, which is why he may be fired from his position. I see stress all over him in trying to do his job. I can’t imagine the PTSD health-care workers will have. I appreciate what you’ve written here.

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