President Donald Trump’s intervention into a criminal case connected to his own conduct drew fierce rebukes Saturday from Democrats and a few lonely Republicans, with calls for investigations and legislation.
But it remained to be seen if Trump’s most recent defiance of the conventions of his office to commute the sentence of political confidant Roger Stone, just four months before Election Day, would matter to voters grappling with a deadly COVID-19 surge and a national discourse on racial justice.
Shortly before heading out Saturday morning for his Virginia golf club, Trump made unfounded accusations against his political foes while taking another swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which led to convictions for six Trump aides or advisers, including Stone, a larger-than-life political character who embraced his reputation as a dirty trickster.
“Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place,” Trump tweeted. “It is the other side that are criminals, including Biden and Obama, who spied on my campaign – AND GOT CAUGHT!”
Trump has long sought vengeance against the Russia investigation that helped define his first two years in office. And now that the coronavirus pandemic has imperiled his reelection chances by crushing the economy and sending his poll numbers sliding, he has taken to testing the limits of his power in order to reward loyalty and fire up his conservative base.
Mueller himself spoke out — a rarity for the former FBI director — in an op-ed posted Saturday by The Washington Post in which he defended his investigation as “of paramount importance” and added: ”Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”
The decision to commute the sentence of the 67-year-old Stone, who was convicted of lying to help the president and set to report to prison on Tuesday, was loudly celebrated by some in Trump’s orbit as a triumph over deep state prosecutorial overreach.
But the move announced Friday evening came over the advice of a number of the president’s senior advisers, who warned him it would be politically self-destructive to reward Stone for his silence. Trump had long floated the idea of clemency for Stone — as well as for other associates in legal trouble, including his former national security adviser Michael Flynn and campaign chairman Paul Manafort — which itself was viewed by some as witness tampering by encouraging them not to cooperate with prosecutors.
The reaction from Democrats was swift and furious.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday called it “an act of staggering corruption,” saying legislation is needed to prevent a president from pardoning or commuting the sentence of someone who acted to shield that president from prosecution. House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff called it “offensive to the rule of law and principles of justice.”
And Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, resurfaced a 2019 tweet in which he said that “Trump has surrounded himself with people who flout our laws — we shouldn’t be surprised that he thinks he is above the law.” He added: “Still true.”
Republicans largely stayed silent on the issue Saturday, reluctant again to challenge a president who remains very popular with rank-and-file GOP voters. But one loud voice was Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who was also the lone GOP senator to vote to convict the president during his impeachment trial earlier this year.
“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney tweeted Saturday.
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, signaled dismay with the commutation, saying in a statement Saturday that it was a mistake while calling the Russia investigation “badly flawed” and a source of “frustration.” He added that Stone had been duly convicted and that any objections to the conviction and trial “should be resolved through the appeals process.”
Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman who made a short-lived primary challenge to Trump, wrote: “So much for the Republican Party being the party of law and order. Have we not lost our minds in not condemning as a party the president’s corruption by Roger Stone.”
But most of Republicans who did speak out about the decision supported it. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant, said Stone was convicted of a “nonviolent, first-time offense” and the president was “justified” in commuting the sentence.
Advisers who had previously talked Trump out of acting on Stone’s behalf awaited the possible fallout, but they considered that Congress may be too consumed with virus relief packages while wondering if the electorate long ago tuned out any talk of the complicated Russia investigation, particularly during a pandemic.
But Trump likely could not afford more political damage. He is decidedly trailing Biden, per his campaign’s own private admissions, and his effort to reboot his reelection bid took another blow when his planned rally Saturday night in New Hampshire was postponed. Campaign officials had deeply worried about low turnout. While an impending storm was blamed for the cancellation, sunny skies were seen in Portsmouth an hour before the president had been due to arrive.
By commuting Stone’s sentence, Trump evoked other controversial acts of clemency by his predecessors, though his was done in the height of an election year.
President George H. W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on Christmas Eve 1992, six weeks after he was defeated for reelection, prompting an uproar from Democrats and the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra affair. And President Bill Clinton waited until his final hours in office in 2001 to issue a raft of pardons, including of financier Marc Rich.
But one president who resisted the use of pardon was Richard Nixon, who privately discussed acts of clemency but never followed through even as many of his associates faced legal trouble during the Watergate scandal.
A few months after resigning, Nixon himself received a pardon from his successor Gerald Ford.
Stone, a former Nixon aide, told the AP he expressed his gratitude to Trump in a phone call.
“You know, he has a great sense of fairness,” Stone said. “We’ve been friends for many, many years, and he understands that I was targeted strictly for political reasons.”
Hong Kong scientist Dr. Li-Meng Yan was stepping into uncharted territory.
Hours before she boarded an April 28 Cathay Pacific flight to the United States, the respected doctor who specialized in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health had plotted her escape, packing her bag and sneaking past the censors and video cameras on campus.
She had her passport and her purse and was about to leave all of her loved ones behind. If she was caught, she knew she could be thrown in jail — or, worse, rendered one of the “disappeared.”
Yan told Fox News in an exclusive interview that she believes the Chinese government knew about the novel coronavirus well before it claimed it did. She says her supervisors, renowned as some of the top experts in the field, also ignored research she was doing at the onset of the pandemic that she believes could have saved lives.
She adds that they likely had an obligation to tell the world, given their status as a World Health Organization reference laboratory specializing in influenza viruses and pandemics, especially as the virus began spreading in the early days of 2020.
Yan, now in hiding, claims the government in the country where she was born is trying to shred her reputation and accuses government goons of choreographing a cyber-attack against her in hopes of keeping her quiet.
Yan believes her life is in danger. She fears she can never go back to her home and lives with the hard truth that she’ll likely never see her friends or family there again.
Still, she says, the risk is worth it.
“The reason I came to the U.S. is because I deliver the message of the truth of COVID,” she told Fox News from an undisclosed location.
She added that if she tried to tell her story in China, she “will be disappeared and killed.”
Yan’s story weaves an extraordinary claim about cover-ups at the highest levels of government and seemingly exposes the obsessive compulsion of President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party to control the coronavirus narrative: what China knew, when it knew it and what edited information it peddled to the rest of the world.
Yan, who says she was one of the first scientists in the world to study the novel coronavirus, was allegedly asked by her supervisor at the University/WHO reference lab, Dr. Leo Poon, in 2019 to look into the odd cluster of SARS-like cases coming out of mainland China at the end of December 2019.
“The China government refused to let overseas experts, including ones in Hong Kong, do research in China,” she said. “So I turned to my friends to get more information.”
Yan had an extensive network of professional contacts in various medical facilities in mainland China, having grown up and completed much of her studies there. She says that is the precise reason she was asked to conduct this kind of research, especially at a time when she says her team knew they weren’t getting the whole truth from the government.
One friend, a scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, had first-hand knowledge of the cases and purportedly told Yan on Dec. 31 about human-to-human transmission well before China or the WHO admitted such spread was possible.
She reported some of these early findings back to her boss, Yan said.
“He just nodded,” she recalled, and told her to keep working.
A few days later, on Jan. 9, 2020, the WHO put out a statement: “According to Chinese authorities, the virus in question can cause severe illness in some patients and does not transmit readily between people… There is limited information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster.”
Yan said she and her colleagues across China discussed the peculiar virus but that she soon noted a sharp shift in tone.
Doctors and researchers who had been openly discussing the virus suddenly clammed up. Those from the city of Wuhan–which later would become the hub of the outbreak–went silent and others were warned not to ask them details.
The doctors said, ominously, “We can’t talk about it, but we need to wear masks,'” Yan said.
When the numbers of human-to-human transmission began to grow exponentially, according to her sources, and Yan started digging for answers.
“There are many, many patients who don’t get treatment on time and diagnosis on time,” Yan said. “Hospital doctors are scared, but they cannot talk. CDC staff are scared.”
She said she reported her findings to her supervisor again on Jan. 16 but that’s when he allegedly told her “to keep silent, and be careful.”
“As he warned me before, ‘Don’t touch the red line,'” Yan said referring to the government. “We will get in trouble and we’ll be disappeared.”
She also claims the co-director of a WHO-affiliated lab, Professor Malik Peiris, knew but didn’t do anything about it.
Peiris also did not respond to requests for comment. The WHO website lists Peiris as an “adviser” on the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Pneumonia due to the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Yan was frustrated, but not surprised.
“I already know that would happen because I know the corruption among this kind of international organization like the WHO to China government, and to China Communist Party,” she said. “So basically… I accept it but I don’t want this misleading information to spread to the world.”
The WHO and China have vehemently denied claims of a coronavirus cover-up.
The WHO has also denied that Yan, Poon or Peiris ever worked directly for the organization.
“Professor Malik Peiris is an infectious disease expert who has been on WHO missions and expert groups – as are many people eminent in their fields,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Ann Harris said in an email. “That does not make him a WHO staff member, nor does he represent WHO.”
Yan says despite any pushback, she has been emboldened by a sense of right and wrong and says she had to speak up despite the personal and professional consequences.
“I know how they treat whistleblowers,” she said.
“I know how they treat whistleblowers.”
Like so many before her, once Yan decided to speak out against China, she discovered her life was apparently in jeopardy, as well as that of those closest to her.
It was a fear directly relayed to her and seemingly confirmed by U.S.-based Hong Kong blogger Lu Deh, she says.
After she shared some of her theories and suspicions with him, he told her she would need to relocate, perhaps to the United States, where she wouldn’t have to constantly look over her shoulder. Only then would she be safe and have a platform to speak, he said.
Yan made the decision to leave, but things got complicated when her husband of six years, who also worked at her lab, discovered the telephone call between his wife and the blogger.
Yan told Fox News she begged her husband to go with her, and says while her spouse, a reputable scientist himself, had initially been supportive of her research, he suddenly had a change of heart.
“He was totally pissed off,” she said. “He blamed me, tried to ruin my confidence… He said they will kill all of us.'”
“He said, ‘they will kill all of us.'”
Shocked and hurt, Yan made the decision to leave without him.
She got her ticket to the U.S. on April 27. She was on a flight the next day.
When she landed at Los Angeles International Airport after her 13-hour journey, she was stopped by customs officials.
Fear gripped her and Yan didn’t know if she would end up in jail or be sent back to China.
“I had to tell them the truth,” she said. “I’m doing the right thing. So I tell them that ‘don’t let me go back to China. I’m the one who came to tell the truth here of COVID-19… And please protect me. If not, the China government will kill me.”
The FBI was allegedly called in to investigate. Yan claims they interviewed her for hours, took her cell phone as evidence and allowed her to continue to her destination.
The FBI told Fox News it could neither confirm nor deny Yan’s claims; however, Fox News was shown an evidence receipt that appeared to confirm an interaction.
As Yan was trying to find her footing in America, she says her friends and family back home were being put through the wringer.
Yan claims the government swarmed her hometown of Qingdao and that agents ripped apart her tiny apartment and questioned her parents. When she contacted her mother and father, they pleaded with her to come home, told her she didn’t know what she was talking about and begged her to give up the fight.
The University of Hong Kong took down her page and apparently revoked access to her online portals and emails, despite the fact that she says she was on an approved annual leave. In a statement to Fox News, a school spokesperson said Yan is not currently an employee.
“Dr Li-Meng Yan is no longer a staff member of the University,” the statement read. “Out of respect for our current and former employees, we don’t disclose personal information about her. Your understanding is appreciated.”
The Chinese Embassy in the United States told Fox News they don’t know who Yan is and maintain China has handled the pandemic heroically.
“We have never heard of this person,” the emailed statement read. “The Chinese government has responded swiftly and effectively to COVID-19 since its outbreak. All its efforts have been clearly documented in the white paper “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action” with full transparency. Facts tell all.”
The WHO has also continued to deny any wrongdoing during the earliest days of the virus. The medical arm of the United Nations has been taken to task recently by scientists challenging its official view of how the virus spreads. The WHO has also altered the coronavirus timeline on its website, now saying it got information about the virus from WHO scientists and not the Beijing authorities–as it has claimed for more than six months.
Despite the best combined efforts of leftist Democrats and their Fake News minions to keep America in a total panic throughout the spring, the political manipulations of the Wuhan Flu “Pandemic” eventually became evident, as people began to notice that the streets across America were not littered with the bodies of the dead. As the days dragged on and the weather warmed, the devastating effects of everything except the virus began to take their collective toll on the nation.
The economy was in a shambles, domestic abuse and suicide rates skyrocketed, and the general health and wellbeing of Americans who had never been touched by the virus had nonetheless taken a huge hit. So, in defiance of the “experts” whose dire prognostications had been completely wrong, doors opened and people stepped cautiously out into the daylight. To their amazement, they lived to tell of the experience.
With Memorial Weekend approaching, the rebound across the nation was rapid and profound. Unemployment rates plummeted as Americans happily went back to work. Summer tourism began to recover, and Americans were once again making plans to get their lives back to the flourishing prosperity that they had been enjoying only a few months prior. But that which is good for America is, by definition, bad for the leftist Democrats and their strategy of maximizing the crisis to seize political power.
So it was that on May 25, when George Floyd was cruelly murdered in Minneapolis by a policeman who had a long history of abuses and excesses, leftists had their new “cause” on which they could exuberantly pounce, in order to continue their manipulations of the American people through crisis and pandemonium. Protests against the horrendous event quickly escalated into riots, with leftist Democrat politicians once again given center stage on the nightly news to raise racial discord and stoke the anger to a horrific crescendo.
Suddenly, the Wuhan virus pandemic was passé. Leftist Fake News minions completely reversed their opposition to public gatherings, virtually claiming that the “worthiness” of the cause of rioters and looters rendered them immune to any contagious disease. Leftists’ biggest fear, that the nation might be returning to normality just in time for the November election, were relieved. With George Floyd’s fate disappearing into the dust and smoke of looted and burning cities, leftists could now climb on to their phony “moral high ground” with almost unassailable clout.
Citing one contrived example after another, they decried “white privilege” and “systemic racism,” insisting that every vestige of American history be erased and replaced with leftist dogma and leftist icons. George Washington and Christopher Columbus were verboten, but Karl Marx remained. Somehow, violent assaults, vandalism, arson, and the destruction of small urban businesses (many of which were black owned), became a worthy tribute to George Floyd and all those other victims of a universally discredited white America.
Colleges are hiking the price of tuition and living fees despite a decrease in classroom learning and student services.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), New York University, the University of Southern California (USC), and Indiana University are among several universities raising tuition and other fees in the upcoming academic year. These institutions will raise the cost of tuition and living expenses by an average of $1,511 while minimizing services, amenities, and in-person classroom learning.
Tuition hikes come as universities struggle to adapt to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced schools to send students home from campus and adopt alternative teaching methods. Colleges fear tuition revenue will decrease as they transition to online programming, but students are more concerned that they are paying exorbitant rates with little return.
“As students, we still do not know what classes will be in-person or online,” said UIUC College Republicans president Matthew Krauter. “We do not know what activities the university will offer or what events our student organizations may hold. The decision to raise the cost of tuition and campus life while simultaneously scaling back activities and in-person education is tone-deaf.”
Colleges justify the tuition and fee increase by citing the fixed operation costs and decisions made before the pandemic. UIUC will raise in-state student tuition by 4.5 percent to a minimum of $32,814 and out-of-state tuition will rise by 3.5 percent to $50,604 in the 2020-2021 academic year.
University of Illinois spokesman Jan Dennis told the Washington Free Beacon that the public university—which received $1.9 billion in taxpayer funds in 2019— would not roll back costs, though it is attempting to expand scholarship programs.
“The tuition increase was approved in January, before the pandemic,” Dennis said. “[The University of Illinois] system created a new fund that will provide at least $36 million to help students facing increased financial need due to COVID.”
According to a UIUC press briefing, the university plans to uphold the six-feet social distancing guideline in classrooms, and students will be required to wear masks on campus. But the school is also scaling back the traditional services it provides to students. Residence halls will have limited occupancy, and dining centers will transition to take-out centers. USC announced similar plans in early June, but reversed course on July 1 when it announced a transition to online instruction, citing Los Angeles County health guidelines. A USC spokesman directed the Washington Free Beacon to a university tweet about the Trump administration’s decision to force foreign students to return home if classes do not reconvene in the fall. He refused to answer questions about tuition hikes.
Students are upset with the disconnect—traditional universities have moved online, but still cost far more than existing e-learning programs. At Indiana University, students were told they would be learning almost exclusively online despite the decision by the board of trustees to increase tuition.
“I found out five of my six classes were moved online for the fall, on top of that, my tuition is increasing by more than 5 percent [since 2019],” an IU rising sophomore told the Free Beacon. “This isn’t fair and it’s frustrating for students, like me, who feel web-based learning isn’t sufficient.”
Indiana University did not return a request for comment.
Social factors have long justified the high price tag of a college education. Beth Akers, a higher education expert at the Manhattan Institute, said these changes will force colleges to rethink their purpose.
“The traditional business model of higher [education] has long been a message that by having this immersive, on-campus experience, we’re creating some sort of higher education ‘magic’ that justifies this exorbitant price tag,” Akers said. “COVID has taken away the ability for colleges to offer those things that supposedly make the higher education experience so special, so valuable, and worth these very big price tags.”
NYU has not released an official statement confirming whether classes will reconvene in-person in the fall, although on July 1 the school announced it will still accept deposits for undergraduate housing. The university tells prospective students that they will pay $54,882 in tuition, as well as an estimated $19,244 in room and board next year—up from $53,308 and $18,684 for the 2019-2020 academic year. NYU did not return a request for comment.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what revenue will actually look like. That’s because a lot have not made a decision about whether or not to have online or in-person classes,” Akers said. “COVID is adding costs in some instances when they’re choosing to keep campuses open and others when those campuses are closing.” The college business model likely cannot withstand a price reduction in tuition as the coronavirus pandemic affects enrollment. Akers predicts there will be a drop-off in enrollment, particularly among first-year students, which will dramatically impact revenue for these colleges.
Tuition has been rising for decades, based in part on the higher earnings and job prospects that graduates enjoy. Higher education’s primacy in the job market, however, is facing challenges not just from the pandemic, but also from the White House. In June, President Trump issued an executive order to replace college degree-based hiring with skills-based hiring within the federal government. Such an approach could jeopardize a major recruiting tool for America’s colleges.
Inez Stepman, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum, told the Free Beacon the crash of traditional universities may be exactly what the country needs.
“The university sector, which has long been growing on the tax investment of mechanics, janitors, and the majority of Americans without a four-year degree, may see contractions for the first time in decades,” Stepman said. “Since universities have mostly abandoned their mission to shape thoughtful, informed citizens and have degenerated into activism training camps for the far left, this overdue contraction could have positive effects for the country.”
On Saturday, just four months before the 2020 election, musician, provocateur and former ardent Donald Trump supporter Kanye West tweeted that he was launching his own bid to become president.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION,” West wrote on Independence Day.
His tweet was boosted by his wife, reality star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, and was endorsed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Fellow artists like rapper 2Chainz griped that he’s upset he voted in Georgia’s primary elections, implying that he’d rather have waited to cast his ballot for West, but that won’t be possible in many states where deadlines have already passed for names to be added to preprinted voting forms.
So far, however, there’s little indication that West intends to follow through with his campaign announcement. No official FEC filing has been made under West’s name this year (back in 2015, however, a parody filing was made by Kanye “Deez Nuts” West).
In 2020, West would be forced to run as an independent, as Joe Biden has already become the presumptive Democratic nominee and Republicans are unlikely to substitute him for Trump. Deadlines to appear on several states ballots as an independent are also quickly approaching, and the chance to run in six major states, including delegate-rich Texas and New York, have already passed. West would have to assemble a campaign and file paperwork at breakneck speed to even be considered a viable candidate in the most traditional sense.
Of course, a West win could be possible (though, again, highly improbable) through a series of grassroots, write-in-ballots, which is more pie-in-the-sky thought exercise than anything else.
Making his prospects even dimmer, write-in ballots aren’t even possible in eight states, and even if he were able to win the popular vote in other states, he would have had to file before Election Day with many other states for it to matter.
So what’s West’s ploy, then? Is his last-minute campaign a bid to peel votes away from Biden? Or is the whole endeavor simply a PR stunt?
West has always found his way into presidential politics. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, West declared live on television controversially that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” West spoke openly about what he believed to be the president’s failure to reach ailing Black families in Louisiana in the aftermath of the deadly storm.
After West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, President Obama called him a “jackass.”
In 2012, West accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes.
In 2018, West made fresh waves by coming out in support of Trump, calling the Republican president “his brother” who he said possesses “dragon energy.” In 2019 his defense of Trump became much sharper, accusing Democrats of controlling the Black community and teasing his own future run with a simple “2024.”
West and wife Kardashian helped promote criminal justice reform legislation and have visited the White House on a handful of occasions.
The Biden campaign has yet to make any public comment about West’s announcement to run for president. When asked for comment by ABC News, the Trump campaign simply said: “God bless America.”
Korean Air’s U.S. operation received millions in federal small-business loans aimed to soften the blow of Covid-19, federal data shows.
The carrier received $5 million to $10 million in U.S. loans intended to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls, according to a list of the largest recipients of loans in the Paycheck Protection Program released by the Trump administration on Monday.
The Seoul-based airline, South Korea’s largest, has about 500 employees in the U.S., and a spokeswoman said it applied for the loan because more than half of the carrier’s operation is suspended because of the pandemic.
The funds will be used toward it’s payroll costs of its U.S. staff, including those in its large cargo business and in office jobs like marketing and human resources, the spokeswoman said.
Long-haul international travel has plunged because of Covid-19 as demand dried up and a series of travel restrictions has made trips abroad difficult if not impossible for some potential customers.
Korean Air is a major cargo carrier with routes to or from the Americas comprising about 40% of its cargo sales.
Rising coronavirus cases in 39 U.S. states cast a shadow over the nation’s Fourth of July celebrations as health experts worried that holiday parties will cause a further spike in infections that could overwhelm hospitals.
After towns and cities across the country canceled annual fireworks displays to avoid large crowds gathering, many Americans launched bottle rockets and roman candles from streets and suburban backyards to commemorate Independence Day.
In the first four days of July alone, 15 states have reported record increases in new cases of COVID-19, which has infected nearly 3 million Americans and killed about 130,000, according to a Reuters tally.
Florida’s cases have risen by over 10,000 for three out of the last four days, including climbing by 10,059 on Sunday, surpassing the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the coronavirus outbreak there. Cases are also soaring in Arizona, California and Texas and trending upwards in Midwest states that once had infections declining such as Iowa, Ohio and Michigan, according to a Reuters analysis of how much cases rose in the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.
In Phoenix, Arizona, people gathered on Saturday without masks or social distancing to listen to a speaker at a rally against restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Many in the crowd wore red, white and blue, and some held signs saying, “Capitalism makes sense. Socialism doesn’t. Go Trump 2020.”
“We opened way too early in Arizona,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said on ABC. She said the city was in a “crisis related to testing,” with people waiting in eight-hour lines in their cars to find out if they were infected.
During an Independence Day speech at the White House on Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases in the United States were “totally harmless.”
In Texas alone, the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized rose to a record 7,890 on Saturday compared with 3,247 just two weeks ago. The Democratic mayor of Austin, Texas, warned during an interview with CNN that his city’s hospitals could reach capacity in two weeks and run out of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in 10 days. In Arizona, about 90% of ICU beds are full.
‘NO ROOM TO EXPERIMENT’
Trump, a Republican, has refused to wear a mask in public and has been reluctant to encourage Americans to do so, saying it was a personal choice. A July 4 celebration he attended at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was “mask-optional” and had no social distancing.
Mixed messaging from governments has been a major factor in people not following coronavirus mitigation recommendations in Miami Beach, said its Democratic mayor, Dan Gelber.
Miami Beach’s coronavirus hospitalizations have doubled in the last 14 days and hospitals now have 158 people on ventilators, up from 64 two weeks ago, he told CNN.
“We’re spreading it because of this incredible activity, and too many people obviously are not taking seriously all of these admonishments to socially distance to wear masks,” he said.
In addition to rising cases, an alarming percentage of tests are coming back positive. The World Health Organization considers a positivity rate above 5% to be cause for concern because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have yet to be uncovered.
Ten states averaged double-digit positivity rates over the past week – Arizona (26%), Florida (18%), South Carolina (17%), Nevada (14%), Alabama (14%), Texas (14%), Mississippi (13%), Georgia (13%), Idaho (11%) and Kansas (10%), according to The COVID Tracking Project https://covidtracking.com/data/charts/state-percent-positive-and-average-tests-per-100k-people, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County, a hard-hit county in Texas that includes Houston, said officials must be proactive in getting ahead of the virus and advocated a stay-at-home order. “We don’t have room to experiment. We don’t have room for incrementalism when we’re seeing these kinds of numbers,” she told ABC.
Governments around the world are testing citizens for coronavirus antibodies, to work out whether people have had the deadly Covid-19 disease.
Some countries are setting up so-called “immunity passports” and others may follow suit.
The idea is that a passport would certify that you have had coronavirus and will not carry or contract the disease again, opening up a way out of lockdown restrictions for the holder.
But is this theory correct? And will it create a group of antibody-carrying elite who can date, travel and work as they wish, while others are still limited by health precautions?
This article features interviews broadcast on Business Daily, on the BBC World Service:
They are photographing positive test results to use as a kind of improvised “Covid-immunity passport”.
If you have antibodies, the theory goes, you will not get the disease again.
Dating aside, what if we could decide who is safe to return to work or get on an aircraft? For those people. the Covid-19 lockdown could be over.
The idea behind immunity passports, is that of a certificate confirming that you have had Covid-19. It could be used to enter places that those people without one are barred from.
To get one, you’d have to test positive for antibodies created after exposure to the virus.
Thousands packed the streets in Chicago for an unofficial gay pride march despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first openly gay mayor, canceling the official annual event because of her worries over the coronavirus.
Organizers insisted that the rally held in the city’s West Side Lakeview neighborhood was an attempt to “reclaim” the “grassroots” efforts to push gay pride, according to ABC 7.
The gay pride parade has roots in the Windy City going back to 1972 and has taken place in the Boystown area of the city until this year, when it was canceled over the coronavirus. But the cancellation did not deter avid pride marchers, who began gathering at noon on Sunday near the CTA Belmont station in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Hundreds flocked to the march flogged by social media posts until thousands were massed in close proximity for a two-mile demonstration into Uptown.
“The reason the march is so important is to highlight those lives that we lost and highlight the people whose lives may not have been lost, but have been wrecked just because they exist openly,” Ashabi Owagboriaye told ABC 7.
Organizers tried to tell marchers that masks were required in compliance with the city’s coronavirus rules.
But many photos posted to social media by pride enthusiasts showed large numbers of people without masks, in contradiction to the coronavirus response orders issued by Lightfoot.
Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.
It does not mean counting cuts in overtime as cuts, even as NYPD ignores every attempt by City Council to curb overtime spending and overspends on overtime anyways. The fight to defund policing continues.
If these reports are accurate, then these proposed ‘cuts’ to the NYPD budget are a disingenuous illusion. This is not a victory. The fight to defund policing continues.
Lemme translate: She mad.
AOC — of all people — accusing anyone of “funny math” is like Barack Obama criticizing Donald Trump for saying “I” too many times in a speech. In other words, Alex, you might want to sit this one out.
Thing is, AOC was already riled up at the Democrat Party over the “Defund the Police” movement, as we reported in early June, when she warned that they might try to “repackage” the Left’s anti-police efforts.
In a series of rambling condescending tweets, the erstwhile bartender went off on “lots of D.C. insiders.”