Arizona student

Arizona student group slammed for raising money for gunman – ABC News

A Republican student group at Arizona State University is receiving backlash for donating money to the 17-year-old gunman who fatally shot two protesters in Wisconsin

August 30, 2020, 6:33 AM

2 min read

TEMPE, Ariz. — A Republican student group at Arizona State University is receiving backlash for donating money to the 17-year-old gunman who fatally shot two protesters in Wisconsin.

College Republicans United announced this week that half of any funds they raise during the semester will go toward paying for the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse.

“He does not deserve to have his entire life destroyed because of the actions of violent anarchists during a lawless riot,” the group said in a tweet.

In a statement Saturday night, the ASU College Republicans denounced College Republicans United “radical, far-right extremist group.”

ASU College Republicans called for an investigation of the group.

Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin, say Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and severely wounded a third with an AR-15 rifle Tuesday. The victims were part of anti-racism demonstrations occurring in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black, by a white police officer.

Blake, who was shot seven times, remains hospitalized.

Rittenhouse told police he was trying to protect businesses and people and acted in self-defense. At a hearing Friday, a judge postponed a decision on whether Rittenhouse, who is in custody in Illinois, should be returned to Wisconsin to face charges, including first-degree intentional homicide.

ASU officials said in a statement the school cannot prohibit a group from fundraising. But the school does not endorse the fundraiser.

The group is not the only one raising money for Rittenhouse. A self-described Christian fundraising site, GiveSendGo, says it has raised more than $100,000 for his defense.

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Arizona University

How the University of Arizona used No. 2 to solve its No. 1 problem: The coronavirus – NBC News

The University of Arizona made a bold claim this week: It stopped a coronavirus outbreak before it started.

Universities around the U.S. have struggled with outbreaks as they attempt to start the fall semester. But at the Likins Hall dorm, just across the street from the University of Arizona’s recreation center, two students were found to have contracted the coronavirus — and they were asymptomatic.

The university said it pulled this off by combining more common forms of coronavirus mitigation, swab testing and contact tracing, with a more exotic one: analyzing sewage.

The university had implemented a campus-wide initiative to conduct what’s known as wastewater-based epidemiology. This effort, which involves analyzing sewage samples for traces of the coronavirus, gave the university a way to quickly and repeatedly look for traces of the virus in discrete groups of people — in this case, dorms — as part of an early warning system to catch cases of COVID-19.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

“From one test, we get the prevalence of the virus within the whole community,” said Ian Pepper, an environmental microbiologist who is leading the wastewater testing effort on campus.

The idea is catching on. Researchers in the United Kingdom launched a program in July to conduct cross-country wastewater surveillance. In Israel, scientists who collected sewage samples nationwide in March and April heralded the effort as an effective, noninvasive way of tracking outbreaks across geographic regions.

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At the University of Arizona, Pepper said this type of testing is especially useful for finding and isolating infected individuals before they have a chance to spread the virus widely. The two cases that have been identified at the university were both asymptomatic, and Pepper said wastewater testing could be sensitive enough to detect the coronavirus up to a week before a person develops symptoms.

“So, you have seven precious days in which you can undergo intervention,” he said.

Pepper’s team is conducting regular tests of sewage from 20 buildings across campus, including dorms and the university’s student union center.

If a sample comes back positive for the coronavirus, the school’s protocol is to then test everyone who lives or works in the building using traditional nasal swabs or antigen tests that are designed to detect viral proteins. Infected individuals are then quarantined, according to Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president of the University of Arizona.

Wastewater testing is designed to catch fragments of the virus that are shed from the body in fecal matter. Pepper’s team has been collecting sewage samples from buildings twice a week around 8:30 a.m. — a time that Pepper said is, “after people got up and typically go to the bathroom.”

If there are positive results, the sampling can be done more frequently, he said, but the researchers also found that bits of the virus tend to linger in wastewater rather than being dispersed immediately.

Robbins said wastewater-based epidemiology is a crucial part of the school’s “test, trace and treat” protocol and is a valuable tool that allows for more precise testing.

“What we’re trying to find are those asymptomatic individuals who can be unknowing vectors infecting people,” Robbins said.

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But this type of sampling can also be done at the neighborhood and community level, according to Pepper. In addition to studying sewage on campus, scientists at the University of Arizona have been analyzing samples from wastewater treatment plants across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

In addition to finding potential hot spots, wastewater testing can help public health officials measure the severity of viral transmission in communities. In Arizona’s Pima County, for example, wastewater samples taken six weeks ago, when the state was dealing with a significant spike in cases, were found to have “sky-high” concentrations of the virus, according to Pepper. In the last two weeks, those concentrations, along with the number of new cases, “have dropped dramatically,” he said.

Pepper said he and his colleagues are hoping to publish the results of their research in a peer-reviewed journal, but for now, they are just pleased that this testing method is proving to be effective.

“They’re all jazzed. Everyone is really hyped up,” he said. “It’s a great case study.”

Image: Denise ChowDenise Chow

Denise Chow is a reporter for NBC News Science focused on the environment and space. 

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Arizona Congressman

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva tests positive for coronavirus – CNBC

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.

Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced on Saturday.

Grijalva, a Democrat whose district includes parts of the Phoenix and Tucson areas, as well as much of the state’s border region with Mexico, is self-isolating in the Washington, D.C., area, according to spokesman Geoff Nolan. 

In a statement, the congressman criticized some other members of Congress for not taking the virus seriously and he praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to require masks

“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously,” Grijalva said in the statement. “Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

The news about Grijalva’s positive test was first reported by the Arizona Republic, which said that Grijalva presided over a committee meeting on Tuesday that included Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. Gohmert announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the virus. 

Grijalva appears to be the 12th member of Congress to test positive for Covid-19. There have been more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of the virus and at least 153,000 deaths in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Arizona Exclusive

Exclusive: Arizona leads multi-state probe into older iPhones slowing, shutting down – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A man takes pictures of iPhones in the new Apple flagship store on its opening day following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanlitun in Beijing, China, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Arizona is leading a multi-U.S. state probe into whether Apple Inc’s deliberate slowing of older iPhones violated deceptive trade practice laws, documents reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday showed.

Last week, a separate document released by a tech watchdog group showed the Texas attorney general might sue Apple for such violations in connection with a multi-state probe, without specifying charges.

In the ongoing probe since at least October 2018, investigators have asked Apple for data about “unexpected shutdowns” of iPhones and the company’s throttling, or slowing down, of the devices through power management software, documents Reuters obtained through a public records request showed.

The attorneys general offices in Arizona and Texas declined to comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple came under fire in 2017 when Primate Labs, the maker of software for measuring a phone’s processor speeds, revealed that some iPhones became slower as they aged.

Apple later acknowledged that it reduced power demands – which can slow the processor – when an aging phone’s battery struggles to supply the peak current the processor demands. Apple said without its adjustments, iPhones would have unexpectedly shut down from power spikes.

Outraged iPhone users said that appeared to confirm long-held suspicions that Apple slowed older devices to encourage users to buy new phones. Apple publicly apologized and slashed prices on battery replacements.

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit related to the battery issues.

Reporting by Paresh Dave and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Richard Chang

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Arizona control

How Arizona ‘lost control of the epidemic’ – The Washington Post

Arizona has emerged as an epicenter of the early summer coronavirus crisis as the outbreak has expanded, flaring across new parts of the country and, notably, infecting more young people.

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

At critical junctures, blunders by top officials undermined faith in the data purportedly driving decision-making, according to experts monitoring Arizona’s response. And when forbearance was most required, as the state began to reopen despite continued community transmission, an abrupt and uniform approach — without transparent benchmarks or latitude for stricken areas to hold back — led large parts of the public to believe the pandemic was over.

And now, Arizona is facing more per capita cases than recorded by any country in Europe or even by hard-hit Brazil. Among states with at least 20 people hospitalized for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, no state has seen its rate of hospitalizations increase more rapidly since Memorial Day.

This week, Arizona reported not just a record single-day increase in new cases — with Tuesday’s tally reaching 3,591 — but also record use of inpatient beds and ventilators for suspected and confirmed cases. Public health experts warn that hospitals could be stretched so thin they may have to begin triaging patients by mid-July.

Soon, the only option might be “crisis standards of care,” said Will Humble, a former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “If you’re in a bed, normally they’ll keep you for a few days, but they’re going to send you home with oxygen.”

Ducey, speaking to reporters Thursday, said hospitals are “likely to hit surge capacity very soon.”

“This virus is everywhere,” the governor said.

The situation in Arizona — as President Trump this week paid his second visit in as many months to the state, which could be a battleground in November — has exemplified the march of the virus across the Sun Belt, where it has also thrashed Florida and Texas, creating conditions as dire as at any point during the pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday paused his state’s reopening and ordered hospitals in four counties to postpone elective surgeries.

Physicians fear there is now less buy-in from a public weary of restrictions and polarized by a highly partisan response to the health crisis. In Southern states, some epidemiologists also are cautioning about what they are calling a “reverse summer effect,” with warm weather — once thought to interrupt the spread of the virus — driving residents into indoor spaces with recycled air.

“My level of frustration is high,” Kennedy of AARP said. “We could have stopped this.”

The last time she met with Ducey was March 11, Kennedy said, when she stood by his side as he declared a health emergency and promised to safeguard nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. He has failed to follow through on those efforts, she argued, saying testing of facility staffers has remained inadequate and equipment needs have gone unmet. Cara Christ, Ducey’s health director, has been absent as well, Kennedy said, pulling out of plans for a virtual town hall meeting with AARP members in April.

Now, a crisis that crashed down first on the state’s elderly population is increasingly taking hold among younger people.

The mean age of Arizonans killed by covid-19 fell from 78 on April 27 to 69 on June 14, according to data processed by a modeling team made up of experts at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. The average age of patients testing positive for the virus dropped from 51 on April 5 to 39 by mid-June. While older individuals are known to be at greater risk from the virus, Arizona has three times as many positive tests among people age 20 to 44 as it does in any other age bracket, according to state data.

The state’s cases began rising dramatically about May 25, 10 days after Ducey allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire, said Joe K. Gerald, an associate professor and public health researcher at the University of Arizona who is part of the academic team providing models to the state health department.

Ross F. Goldberg, president of the Arizona Medical Association, said that “people thought it was back to normal times.”

That mistaken view has persisted, even as new cases mount.

“I have to see somebody sick, directly related to me or close to me, in order for it to become like reality,” said Joshua Kwiatkowski, strolling this week at an open-air shopping center in Tempe, Ariz. “So it hasn’t really, I guess, sank in.”

Kwiatkowski said he was not inclined to wear a mask unless required to do so — unless, as he put it, “an Uber driver is feeling some type of way or a store makes you wear it.”

Requirements designed to stanch the spread of the virus have expanded since Ducey changed course last week and allowed local governments to impose stricter rules on masks than the recommendations issued by the state. A petition urging him to mandate face coverings statewide gained signatures from more than 1,000 medical professionals. Ducey also shifted his stance toward businesses, directing them to develop policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had previously only been recommended.

“There will be enforcement, and they will be held accountable,” the governor said.

Numerous cities responded immediately with mask ordinances and emergency proclamations, including Scottsdale, where a tony neighborhood of bars and high-end boutiques had come to epitomize disregard for social distancing guidelines still technically in effect but largely unenforced. Photos and videos of packed businesses accumulated on social media as Ducey and other officials — frequently appearing themselves without masks — insisted most people were behaving responsibly.

The area, known as Old Town Scottsdale and ordinarily packed even on a weekday, fell quiet this week after the wave of new restrictions unleashed by Ducey’s about-face. Most businesses had only a smattering of customers, while some bars and restaurants had already closed their doors for the evening, despite banners hanging from their facades welcoming customers.

Still, resistance to health precautions remains pronounced. At an anti-mask rally Wednesday, a member of the Scottsdale City Council, Republican Guy Phillips, shouted the dying words of George Floyd — “I can’t breathe” — before ripping off his mask, enlisting a rallying cry of the nationwide protests against racial injustice to inveigh against face coverings that reduce airborne transmission of tiny droplets. Hours later, he issued an apology “to anyone who became offended.”

Phillips, who did not respond to an email seeking further comment, runs an air-conditioning business, and, according to his council biography, is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the Arizona Small Business Association and the North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, among other business groups.

At virtually every stage of the state’s pandemic response, the interests of business have held sway, said Nathan Laufer, the founder of the Heart and Vascular Center of Arizona, a medical practice with locations in Phoenix and nearby counties, and a former director of the state medical association.

Ducey is a former chief executive of Cold Stone Creamery. The head of the state’s restaurant association, Steve Chucri, is also a Republican supervisor in Maricopa County. He did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s fine to be pro-business, but you have to be pro-citizen first,” Laufer said. The governor, in belatedly handing local authorities more control, is “playing catch-up,” he added, “but it’s too little, too late.”

Some residents noted that the Republican governor was following his party’s standard-bearer. “Hindsight’s 20/20, but yeah, it was a little late,” said Greg Cahill, loading his car with groceries outside a Costco at Phoenix’s Christown Spectrum mall. “I think he was a little slow. But he’s a conservative man and he wanted to do what Trump said.”

“It’s scary,” the 58-year-old said of the rising cases.

Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist affiliated with the University of Arizona and George Mason University, said the seeds of the crisis were planted in early May.

Protests were mounting at the state capitol over Ducey’s stay-at-home order. Lawmakers in his party were pledging to invalidate it. County sheriffs were refusing to enforce it.

And Trump, who was urging governors to jump-start their economies, was coming to Arizona to tour a Honeywell plant and to convene a discussion about issues facing Native Americans.

The day before the president’s visit, Ducey announced plans to accelerate the reopening of his state’s economy, lifting restrictions on salons and barbershops and allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service. A chart displaying the number of new cases, which did not show the 14-day decline recommended by White House guidelines, “really doesn’t tell you much,” Ducey said at his May 4 news conference.

That evening, the state ended its partnership with the university modeling team whose projections plainly showed a rising caseload in Arizona. It was resumed following an outcry.

Two days later, top health officials acknowledged having changed the testing count to include viral tests confirming an infection and serology tests determining the presence of coronavirus antibodies — a move with the potential to artificially lower the positivity rate touted by Ducey at his May 4 briefing.

“This is a good trajectory for Arizona,” he affirmed at the time.

Ducey’s original order reopening the state — and preventing local officials from setting their own rules despite mounting evidence about the benefits of masks and social distancing — was in keeping with a top-down approach to governance that critics say has characterized his tenure. In 2017, he signed a bill approved by the Republican-controlled legislature that allowed any state legislator to direct the Arizona attorney general to investigate a local regulation for a possible violation of state law. Consequences included potentially losing revenue from the state.

“The biggest challenge has been Governor Ducey tying the hands of mayors and county health departments,” said Regina Romero, the Democratic mayor of Tucson, who said she weighed an emergency proclamation mandating masks in mid-March but was advised against it by her city attorney. Her city’s budget is about $566 million, Romero said, more than a fifth of which comes from the state.

“There’s a real threat with money involved,” the mayor said.

Limited resources have also hampered the ability of the hardest-hit counties to conduct thorough contact tracing. Maricopa County shifted in the early weeks of the pandemic to what it called a “mediated” approach in which all sickened people are interviewed but are then made responsible for notifying their own contacts.

A spokesman for the county health department, Ron Coleman, confirmed this week the limited approach is still in use, even as cases soar.

Hugh Lytle, chief executive of Equality Health, said the willingness of people in Phoenix to wait for hours to be tested at the drive-in site organized by his medical group over the weekend has been a wake-up call.

State officials are taking note, he said, of the “overwhelming level of fear and anxiety that’s causing people to say it’s worth sitting in my car for a couple hours.”

Jacqueline Dupree contributed to this report.

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Arizona Reports

Arizona reports single-day record 1,654 new coronavirus cases –

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for the week starting June 8. (Previous daily updates: June 1-7)

PHOENIX — The Arizona health department reported a record high of 1,654 new coronavirus cases plus 17 additional deaths Friday morning.

That increased the state’s documented totals to 32,918 cases and 1,144 deaths.

The state’s previous highest single-day case report was 1,579 on June 5.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has been providing case and testing updates on its website each morning. The dashboard includes, among other information, testing trends, updated hospital capacity and a ZIP Code map of cases.

The daily reports present data after the state receives statistics and compiles them, which can lag by several days. They aren’t meant to represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.

During a Thursday press conference, Gov. Doug Ducey and Health Director Dr. Cara Christ gave assurance that the state has sufficient bed and equipment capacity to handle the rising caseload seen in recent weeks.

More than 442,000 combined tests for active COVID-19 infections (PCR testing) and antibodies (serology testing) have been given in Arizona, including 13,559 added to the total Friday.

Of the tests of both types that have been processed, 6.7% have come back positive, continuing an upward trend. It was 6% Saturday, 6.5% Thursday and has been increasing steadily since beginning of the month.

For the over 320,000 total virus tests (PCR) given, including 11,543 reported Friday, the positive rate increased to 8.1%, continuing an upward trend. It was 7.2% Saturday and 7.9% Thursday.

For the over 122,000 antibody (serology) tests given, including 2,016 added in the latest report, the positive rate held steady at 3.1%.

Of the PCR samples collected since Sunday that have been processed, 13% have come back positive. If that rate holds up, it would be higher than any previous week.

It was 12% last week, matching the mark from the week of March 1, when only 52 tests were done in the early days of the pandemic.

Below are the latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

Friday, June 12

Thursday, June 11

  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 103 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 298. While the total number of COVID-19 cases within the Navajo Nation has reached 6,378, approximately 3,063 individuals are reported to have recovered from the virus.
  • Officials said Thursday that Arizona hospitals have enough capacity for coronavirus patients as positive cases and hospitalizations rise in the state.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ encouraged residents to wear face masks in public as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the state.
  • Mesa is allocating about $7 million of its federal coronavirus aid funding to provide laptop computers and tech support for K-6 students lacking equipment needed to learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Salvation Army’s phased reopening will continue Friday when three more of its Arizona thrift stores resume service: 8702 W. Cholla Street in Peoria, 2324 N. Scottsdale Road in Tempe and 1718 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande. They will join three locations that opened last month.
  • CVS announced it was adding 14 drive-thru coronavirus testing sites in Arizona on Friday, increasing the pharmacy giant’s total to 35 in the state.

Wednesday, June 10

Tuesday, June 9

  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 40 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 285. Approximately 2,872 individuals are reported to have recovered from the virus.
  • Arizona health experts are warning parents against putting off well-child checkups, as recommended vaccination rates have declined during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Coronavirus cases among Maricopa County jail inmates have increased sharply over the last five days, leading officials to consider mass testing.
  • In the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases across the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services has urged hospitals to activate their emergency protocols.
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and CVS have teamed up to provide rapid coronavirus testing for uninsured Arizonans.

Monday, June 8

  • The former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said the state could need a new stay-at-home order if coronavirus trends he calls “disturbing” continue.
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 90 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 277. While the total amount of COVID-19 cases have reached 6,110, there have been approximately 2,814 individuals who have recovered from the virus.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services changed the way it reported intensive care unit and inpatient bed capacity over the weekend.
  • Even with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, metro Phoenix’s hotel industry reports taking in more guests in recent weeks.
  • Valleywise Health is urging the public to practice safe behaviors to prevent additional coronavirus cases and deaths in the state.

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For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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Arizona Google

Arizona sues Google over claims it illegally tracked location of Android users – The Verge

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against Google over allegations the company illegally tracked Android users’ location without their consent and even when the location tracking features had been manually disabled, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The suit argues Google kept location tracking running in the background for certain features, like weather and for web searches using its search engine and Chrome browser, even after the user disabled app-specific location tracking. Only when a user dug further into the Android system settings and turned off broader system-level tracking did Google stop surreptitiously siphoning location data, the complaint argues.

Google has found itself in similar controversies in the past over location tracking of Android users. The company has responded to privacy concerns over the years with various stopgap measures like making it easier to auto-delete your location data, and cracking down on offending third-party apps that do so without consent. But its efforts to improve privacy protections and the various settings you need to monitor to ensure you’re not being overly tracked remain complex and confusing to average users, and it can often seem impossible to keep tabs on just how much Google knows about you and what sources of data it maintains.

Brnovich is asking a court force Google to pay back profits it may have earned from monetizing this data through ads served to Arizona residents. The Post says Arizona’s anti-fraud laws also might subject Google to $10,000 per fine violations.

“The Attorney General and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement given to The Verge.

“At some point, people or companies that have a lot of money think they can do whatever the hell they want to do, and feel like they are above the law,” Brnovich told The Post in an interview. “I wanted Google to get the message that Arizona has a state consumer fraud act. They may be the most innovative company in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re above the law.”

Google and its YouTube subsidiary, as well as the other major tech companies, are facing a number of regulatory and legal quagmires right now, following antitrust and privacy enforcement in the European Union that resulted in multi-billion fines against Google over the last decade.

Now, US politicians and regulators are following suit and have begun engaging in a broad and coordinated effort across the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and state legislators to reign in Big Tech and enforce antitrust, privacy, and other laws. These are rules Silicon Valley has largely flouted over the last couple of decades as lawmakers failed to keep up with the pace of technological change and the scale of Big Tech’s ability to exploit loopholes and skirt regulation for monetary gain and market consolidation.

YouTube settled with the FTC last year for violations of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), while Google is currently under investigation by all 50 state attorneys general and the subject of a broader antitrust probe led by the Justice Department.

Update May 27th, 11:45PM ET: Added comment from Google.

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Arizona Governor

Arizona governor gives green light for pro sports to return, minus the fans –

Pro sports are welcome to return to Arizona as soon as this weekend.

“Major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday,” Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted Tuesday while announcing the easing of some restrictions aimed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Today, I’m announcing that pools, gyms and spas can reopen this Wednesday, May 13. Major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16. 7/

— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 12, 2020

The invitation applied to Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and Major League Soccer, Ducey said at a news conference Tuesday.

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“Of course, this would be with CDC guidelines and protecting public health,” he said. “We have had discussions with leaders of some of these leagues, and they all know they are welcome to operate, play and perform in the state of Arizona.”

The move follows reports that Major League Baseball was considering a truncated season beginning in early July that would include games only in Arizona and Florida.

The league’s owners were reported Monday to have approved a proposal for an 82-game season that would begin in July, but details must be worked out with the players’ union.

Ducey said positive coronavirus tests, hospital stays and symptoms were declining in the state, inspiring him to let his stay-at-home orders expire Friday. The state began allowing limited dining at restaurants this week. Gyms, pools and spas will also be allowed to reopen this weekend.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Nearly a month ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a shortened pro baseball season was feasible as long as teams played in empty stadiums and players were tested weekly and isolated off the field.

This 2020 season was supposed to start March 26. Teams were in spring training on March 12 when MLB suspended all play.

The pandemic has shut down virtually all sports around the world.

Image: Dennis RomeroDennis Romero

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Linda Takahashi


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Arizona halts

Arizona halts partnership with experts predicting coronavirus cases would continue to mount – The Washington Post

Hours after Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, accelerated plans to reopen businesses, saying the state was “headed in the right direction,” his administration halted the work of a team of experts projecting it was on a different — and much grimmer — course.

On Monday night, the eve of President Trump’s visit to the state, Ducey’s health department shut down the work of academic experts predicting the peak of the state’s coronavirus outbreak was still about two weeks away.

“We’ve been asked by Department leadership to ‘pause’ all current work on projections and modeling,” Steven Bailey, the bureau chief for public health statistics at the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote to the modeling team, composed of professionals from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, according to email correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

The move to sideline academic experts in the middle of the pandemic reflects growing friction between plans to resume economic activity and the analysis of epidemiologists that underscores the dangers of rolling back restrictions. Officials in Arizona said they would rely on “real-time” information, as well as modeling conducted by federal agencies, which is not released publicly.

During his visit to Arizona on Tuesday, Trump pressed states to pursue aggressive reopening strategies even as he acknowledged “some people will be affected badly.” Governors from Georgia to Iowa have stepped ahead of the recommendations of doctors and epidemiologists in their states, beginning phased reopenings before they met the administration’s nonbinding guidelines. Recent polling suggests they have done so against the wishes of most Americans, who support sweeping precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

But experts said Arizona’s dismissal of academics, whose analysis seems at odds with the state’s approach, marked an alarming turn against data-informed decision-making.

“The approach seems to be, ‘Shoot the messenger — and quick,’ ” said Josiah D. Rich, an epidemiologist at Brown University.

The Arizona health department was pulling back “the special data sets which have been shared under this public health emergency effort,” according to the Monday email from Bailey, which was first reported by an ABC affiliate in Phoenix.

The decision represented an abrupt turnaround from the state’s request for expert input about six weeks ago, when Bailey vowed the modelers would have “full, unfettered access to confidential . . . data from the Department.”

“This is a situation that is unprecedented in living memory, and it is going to become rapidly more dire in the coming days,” he wrote in previously unreported correspondence. “I cannot, therefore, overemphasize the importance of what we are requesting here.”

The move also troubled some federal lawmakers. “We can’t just remove scientific data and bury facts when it contradicts an agenda or narrative,” said Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).

Will Humble, a former Arizona health director, said he was concerned by the timing of the abrupt suspension of the modeling work — hours after Ducey had announced plans to ease restrictions on restaurants and barbershops, among other retailers.

Several members of the modeling group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns about professional retribution, said the work was halted without advance notice. One said the timing of the president’s visit to the state was suspicious.

“The optics don’t look good,” the academic said.

Reached by phone, Bailey, the email’s author, declined to comment. He wrote in his Monday email that the partnership with the academics, who were volunteering their time, might resume with the onset of flu season later in the year.

Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for the governor, said the department’s determination “had nothing to do with” the president’s travel to Arizona, or the governor’s Monday announcement about new steps in the state’s gradual reopening. He said the decision was made by the state’s health director, Cara Christ, “after reviewing all of the data.”

Going forward, Arizona will use modeling developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that “ensures our hospitals have capacity for any situation,” Ptak said.

But Humble said the state is eluding accountability by relying on nonpublic modeling. The academic partnership yielded public reports, the most recent of which predicted that the state’s peak of cases would not arrive before mid-May.

Ptak said the state is working to see if Arizona-specific projections can be made public.

“Good practice is always to use multiple models and multiple inputs,” said Elizabeth Carlton, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health. “A smart state program will consult a lot of different data sources.”

Efforts in other states to selectively interpret and display coronavirus cases to suit political ends are also raising concerns among epidemiologists.

“My concern is that the [Iowa Department of Public Health] — they’ve been saying the curve has been declining for a month now and it never really has,” said Eli Perencevich, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and a member of the team preparing modeling for state health officials.

The way the state is counting cases, he said, “it’s always going to look like it’s going down.”

Georgia and Iowa are among more than a dozen states marking new coronavirus cases primarily by the date of symptom onset, rather than when a test came back positive — the effect of which is to lower current case counts.

Nadia Abuelezam, of Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing, said charting cases by date of symptom onset “shifts all of the positive tests back one or two weeks” because people rarely get tested right away.

“If those numbers are trending down because we’re displacing cases backward, I think that could have significant ramifications,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Iowa Health Department did not return a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Health Department acknowledged a lag in the data but noted all cases are still counted, just not the day they are reported.

“How much is our data helping inform decisions?” asked Dr. Christine Petersen, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. “I think it’s been answered.”

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