Fauci Something

Dr. Fauci just said something surprising about coronavirus vaccines and face masks – BGR

  • Several coronavirus vaccine trials will soon be finished and some of the frontrunners might be deemed safe and effective for emergency use.
  • Health officials from the World Health Organization and Dr. Anthony Fauci warn that the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines won’t be enough to reduce the transmission of the illness anytime soon.
  • Fauci says that precautionary measures including face masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing will need to continue even after vaccines arrive.

The FDA will host a significant coronavirus vaccine meeting in just a few weeks, at which point we might find out more details about the progress of experimental drugs that have reached the final phase of testing. Vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca/Oxford, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna have Phase 3 trials underway and some of them expect to have conclusions in the coming months — one has been paused the US trial after an unexpected side effect in one person, although the UK trial has already been restarted. Vaccine candidates from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are also moving forward with promising results, with the latter having just reached Phase 3. That’s only five potential COVID-19 vaccines out of dozens of candidates that have been announced so far. China and Russia have their own vaccines in Phase 3 trials, and both countries have already started administering emergency immunizations.

Vaccination remains a sensitive topic, as more polls show that Americans are increasingly reluctant to get one. Some people worry about the safety of these drugs that have moved forward at such an unusual speed, especially in light of the highly politicized nature of vaccine conversations ahead of the November election. A large percentage of the world’s population will have to be vaccinated to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19. The logistics of manufacturing and deploying vaccines combined with vaccine resistance would lead to something that might seem counterintuitive. The arrival of vaccines will not mark an end for the need to wear face masks and take other precautionary measures that can prevent infection. It’s quite the contrary, as Dr. Anthony Fauci and World Health Organization officials recently explained.

Fauci said on Thursday that no coronavirus vaccine will be 100% effective, and it won’t be taken by 100% of the population. This will allow the virus to continue to spread. An effective vaccine would therefore not mean people can stop wearing face masks and taking other public health measures, like social distancing and washing hands regularly.

“It is not going to eliminate the need to be prudent and careful with our public health measures,” Fauci said during a Facebook Live conversation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, per Associated Press. “I think if we can get 75 to 80% of the population vaccinated, I think that would be a really good accomplishment,” Fauci said of vaccines, noting that he’s practical about the matter.

The doctor also addressed a recent CDC controversy regarding aerosol transmission. “There’s good enough data to say that aerosol transmission does occur,” Fauci told Murphy. The virus lingers in the air “for a period of time,” instead of falling to the ground, which is what happens with larger saliva droplets.

WHO officials echoed those remarks on Friday when addressing the imminent milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic. The illness will have killed its one-millionth victim by Monday, according to covid trackers. WHO said that figure might double in if countries do not work uniformly to reduce the spread. It’s not just vaccines that will prevent the spread of the illness, but also public health measures that can reduce the transmission.

“It’s certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible, because if we look at losing 1 million people in nine months and then we just look at the realities of getting vaccines out there in the next nine months, it’s a big task for everyone involved,” executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, Dr. Mike Ryan, said during a news conference in Geneva. “The real question is: Are we prepared, collectively, to do what it takes to avoid that number?”

Like Fauci, Ryan said that vaccines have to be combined with everything else that can prevent the infection, including face masks.

“The time for action is now on every single aspect of this strategic approach,” Ryan said. “Not just test and trace, not just clinical care, not just social distancing, not just hygiene, not just masks, not just vaccines. Do it all. And unless we do it all, [2 million deaths] are not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly very likely.”

WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic, Maria Van Kerkhove, warned that the number of cases in Europe is rising and that the flu season hasn’t even started. “We’re at the end of September, not even toward the end of September, and we haven’t even started our flu season yet,” she said. “What we are worried about is the possibility that these trends are going in the wrong direction.”

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to the WHO director-general, made a point that the endgame shouldn’t be vaccines. “Whether another million people die of Covid-19 is not a function of whether or not we have a vaccine. It’s a function of whether or not we put the tools, approaches, and knowledge we have today to work to save lives and prevent transmission,” Aylward said. “If we start thinking about it as a function of the vaccine, people will unnecessarily and unacceptably die as we wait for a vaccine. We should not be waiting.”

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Something We've

‘We’ve got to do something’: Republican rebels come together to take on Trump – The Guardian

Just like in 2016, a faction of the Republican party has emerged to try to defeat Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

But unlike the last presidential race, where the effort never truly took off, this time those rebel Republicans have formed better organized groups – and some are even openly backing Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

In 2016, as Trump steamrolled his way through the Republican primary, some Republican lawmakers and operatives tried to mount an effort to stop him. Elected officials and veterans of previous Republican administrations organized letters, endorsed Hillary Clinton, and a few set up meager outside groups to defeat Trump.

That’s happening again – but there are differences. The outside groups are more numerous and better organized, and most importantly, Trump has a governing record on which Republicans can use to decide whether to support him or not.

“I think it’s qualitatively different,” said Republican operative Tim Miller, who co-founded one of the main anti-Trump organizations. “A lot of people who opposed [Trump] did the whole, ‘Oh, Hillary’s also bad, and Trump’s bad, and everybody can vote their conscience’ kind of thing.”

Miller said that 2016’s effort was far more of a “pox on both your houses” phenomenon versus 2020’s “organized effort to defeat him”.

The latest prominent Republican anti-Trump organization made its debut in early July. It’s a Super Pac called 43 Alumni for Biden, and aims to rally alumni of George W Bush’s administration to support the Democrat.

The new Super Pac was co-founded by Kristopher Purcell, a former Bush administration official; John Farner, who worked in the commerce department during the Bush administration; and Karen Kirksey, another longtime Republican operative. Kirksey is the Super Pac’s director.

“We’re truly a grassroots organization. Our goal is to do whatever we can to elect Joe Biden as president,” said Farner.

The Super Pac is still in its early stages and isn’t setting expectations on raising something like $20m. Rather, 43 Alumni for Biden is just focused on organizing.

“After seeing three and a half years of chaos and incompetence and division, a lot of people have just been pushed to say, ‘We have got to do something else,” Purcell said. “We may not be fully on board with the Democratic agenda, but this is a one-issue election. ‘Are you for Donald Trump, or are you for America.’”

43 Alumni for Biden is new compared with two other larger anti-Republican groups.

The best-knownis the Lincoln Project, a political action committee founded in 2019 by Republican strategists who have long been critical of Trump.

The Lincoln Project has made a name for itself for its creative anti-Trump ads. It has also brought on veteran Republican strategists like Stu Stevens, a top adviser for now-Utah senator Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. George Conway, the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, is also a co-founder of the group.

Unlike other anti-Trump groups, the Lincoln Project has weighed in to Senate races and has begun endorsing Senate candidates. It has backed the Montana governor, Steve Bullock, in his Senate bid against the sitting Republican Steve Daines.

Then there’s Republican Voters Against Trump, a group led by Bill Kristol, a well-known neoconservative and former chief of staff to then vice-president Dan Quayle, and Republican consultants Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller.

That group is focused on organizing anti-Trump Republicans.

“Lincoln is doing two things really well. One is narrative-setting, and just beating Trump over the head with hard-hitting attacks,” Miller said. “And they’re also working on Senate races, which we’re not doing. I think that, frankly, they’re bringing the sledgehammer and working on Senate races, and we are elevating these peer voices in a way to persuade voters.”

A set of Republican national security officials has also emerged in opposition to Trump.

That group hasn’t given itself a name yet, and includes the former Bush homeland security adviser Ken Wainstein, and John Bellinger III, who served in the state department. The group is looking to rally national security officials away from Trump – either by supporting Biden or writing in someone else.

Even with all the organizing by these groups, there’s still the persistent fact that swaths of former Republican officials and operatives methodically endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and since then Trump has enjoyed sky-high approval ratings among the Republican party electorate.

But these groups say that was a result of Americans having not yet experienced a Trump presidency. They also say that the reason elected officials aren’t coming out to support Biden is because they’re worried about the blowback.

Colleen Graffey, part of the national security group of Republicans opposing Trump, said the reason some elected Republican officials aren’t coming out to oppose Trump publicly is because they’re scared.

“They’re worried they’re going to be primaried,” Graffey said. “They’re worried they’re going to be tweeted, if that can be a weaponized verb.”

Asked what his big fear is now, Farner said it’s that Republicans won’t come out to vote at all.

“My fear is that they will not come out and vote. And we’re here to say that it’s OK. We’re putting ourselves out here too,” Farner said. “It’s OK.”

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Something Trying

‘We Had to Do Something’: Trying to Prevent Massive Food Waste – The New York Times

Some producers acknowledge the efforts are “just a drop in the bucket” of what farmers can’t sell and are destroying instead.

Credit…David Ryder/Getty Images

While millions of Americans are worried about having enough to eat and lines at food banks grow, farmers have been plowing under vegetable fields, dumping milk and smashing eggs that cannot be sold because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down restaurants, hotels and schools.

Now, the destruction of fresh food on such a scale has prompted action by the Trump administration and state governments, as well as grass-roots efforts like a group of college students who are renting trucks to rescue unsold onions and eggs from farms. But they most likely won’t be enough to address the problem if businesses remain closed for months.

Over the next few weeks, the Department of Agriculture will begin spending $300 million a month to buy surplus vegetables, fruit, milk and meat from distributors and ship them to food banks. The federal grants will also subsidize boxing up the purchases and transporting them to charitable groups — tasks that farmers have said they cannot afford, giving them few options other than to destroy the food.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office has said New York will give food banks $25 million to buy products made from excess milk on farms in the state; the state is working with manufacturers like Chobani, Hood and Cabot to turn the milk into cheese, yogurt and butter. Some of the state subsidy can also be used to buy apples, potatoes and other produce that farms have in storage.

Nationally, the Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy co-op in the United States, has diverted almost a quarter of a million gallons of milk to food banks.

“It’s just a drop in the bucket,” said Jackie Klippenstein, a senior vice president at the co-op. “But we had to do something.”

The closure of restaurants, hotels and school cafeterias wiped out huge sources of demand for fresh food, leaving farmers with millions of pounds of excess. While increased sales at grocery stores have made up for some of that, not since the Great Depression has so much fresh food been destroyed. (In the 1930s, the problem was that people could not afford to buy all the crops farmers were producing, which led the federal government to establish an early food stamp program.)

The Agriculture Department grants are expected to be announced this week, but farmers say their losses far exceed what the grants can provide.

“These are not insolvable problems,” said Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University. “These are problems that require a lot of people, sums of money and some thought. If the government were really interested in making sure that hungry people got fed and farmers were supported, they would figure out a way to do it.”

There are some signs that the waste is starting to dissipate. At the beginning of April, farmers were dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk each day, draining it into manure pits, where it mixed with fertilizer used in the fields. Now, the waste is closer to 1.5 million gallons, according to the dairy co-op, as farmers scale back production and restaurant chains like Papa John’s heed the industry’s call to add extra cheese to every pizza.

Even as the waste declines for some food, other farmers are scrambling to find new buyers. California strawberry growers, for example, are reaching peak harvest season in May.

“Time is not on our side,” said Mary Coppola, a vice president at the United Fresh Produce Association, a trade group of fruit and vegetable growers and processors. “In my own personal opinion, we are not coming up with the supply-chain logistical solutions as quickly as produce is growing.”

Some people, upset by all the food waste when families are running low, are trying to come up with other solutions.

A group of university students have started an online site, FarmLink, seeking to connect farmers with food banks. James Kanoff at Stanford and Aidan Reilly at Brown founded the group last month with donations from family and friends.

So far, it has diverted 50,000 onions that were about to be destroyed on a farm in Oregon and paid for their transportation to Los Angeles, where they were distributed to food banks. The students also bought 10,000 eggs from a California farm, rented a truck and drove them to a large food bank.

FarmLink, which now includes about 20 students from several colleges, has been cold-calling hundreds of farms to find surpluses.

“Just getting through to the farmers is the hardest part, because they are so busy,” said Jordan Hartzell, a Brown student.

The need at food banks is only increasing as the economic crisis intensifies. There are still long lines outside many food banks, as the charities struggle with a surge in need and a scarcity of volunteers because of stay-at-home orders.

While the details are being worked out, the New York subsidy may allow dairy companies like Chobani to drive trucks of their products into neighborhoods with the most need and hand them out in a public park.

At the small food pantry she runs in Casper, Wyo., Mary Ann Budenske has seen shortages of staples like milk and eggs. On Thursday, a shipment of about 200 gallons of milk that arrived at 2:30 p.m. was half gone by 5. She has sent more than 20 emails to farmers and trade associations, offering to drive her 1998 Ford pickup truck to retrieve the leftover food herself.

“Pretty much I’m getting the bureaucratic ‘We’re looking into that — we’ll get back in touch with you,’” Ms. Budenske said. “The whole thing makes me sick.”

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

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