U.S. Issues ‘Do Not Travel’ Guidance to 80 Percent of Countries, Cites COVID-19

Airplane in the sky

The State Department is expanding the “Do Not Travel” guidelines for U.S. citizens to include nearly 80% of countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced Monday.

The travel advisories will be updated to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) health notices as travelers are at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department said in a statement.

“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.

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Virginians 16 and Older Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

All Virginians 16 years old and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as of Sunday.

“Over the past few months, we have made tremendous progress vaccinating Virginians as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible, and we need to keep up the good work,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a press release.

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Virginia Tech Claims to Follow the Science on COVID, But Does Just the Opposite

Ralph Northam

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam amended a previous executive order to ease up on COVID-19 restrictions, effective on April 1, allowing up to 50 people to gather for indoor events and up to 100 people to gather for outdoor events. However, Virginia Polytechnic Institute announced it would not follow these guidelines but maintain previous restrictions that limit indoor gathering to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 people.

Alyssa Jones, president of the Turning Point USA chapter at Virginia Tech, contacted her school following Northam’s announcement that he would ease COVID-19 restrictions.

In a March 23 email obtained by Campus Reform, Student Engagement and Campus Life told Jones that “after April 1st groups are permitted to have up to 50 people in attendance for indoor events.”

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Commentary: Too Much Data, Too Little Wisdom

Every day, we are bombarded with information. A police shooting under questionable circumstances. A tense encounter between people of different races. A flood of statistics on COVID-19 cases, mortality, and vaccine effectiveness. 

We receive the data in the form of easily digested soundbites and a never-ending reel of videos. We are supposed to respond by taking a stand and making a judgment. If there is any doubt as to what that stand should be, the mood music on the news and the explicit narratives on social media make it plain what we are supposed to feel and think. 

Objectively speaking, these videos present as many questions as they present answers. Maybe it’s grainy and fast moving. Maybe the lens is distorting perspective. With YouTube, we can slow it down, rewind, and enhance the color. Ah ha! See! The kid dropped the gun a tenth of a second before the officer’s shot went off, says the know-it-all. 

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Fauci Admits Biden Administration is Flouting CDC Guidance in Border Facilities

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday conceded in a tense exchange with Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise that the Biden administration is violating major Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines by packing countless illegal immigrants into relatively small facilities without enforcing social distancing or masking measures. 

The CDC has aggressively pushed those guidelines over the past year, directing that Americans should work to remain six feet apart from each other in public spaces and wear face coverings when away from the home. 

Images from U.S. border facilities over the past several weeks, however, have shown little enforcement of those guidelines among illegal immigrants detained amid the current surge of unlawful migration at the southern border.

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Analysis: Scientific Survey Shows Voters Across the Political Spectrum Are Ideologically Deluded

Laptop with statistics

During the late 1800s when the renowned scientist Louis Pasteur was trying to overturn the medical community’s deadly belief that germs are not communicable, he wrote: “The greatest aberration of the mind is to believe a thing to be, because we desire it.” The results of a scientific survey conducted just after the 2020 presidential election show that voters from across the political spectrum have failed to heed that warning.

The survey, commissioned by Just Facts, reveals that the vast bulk of voters have embraced false and harmful dogmas that accord with their political views. This is a typical consequence of confirmation bias, the human tendency to reflexively accept anything that accords with one’s preexisting beliefs and ignore or twist everything that defies them.

While most polls measure public opinion, this annual scientific survey measures voters’ perceptions of issues that can have major impacts on their lives. This year’s survey used an entirely new set of questions that addressed the topics of Covid-19, income, poverty, racial disparities, global warming, drug overdoses, life expectancy, pollution, and the national debt.

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Hospitals Saw 10 Percent Decrease in Inpatient Volumes in 2020, Driving Lower Revenue

Virginia hospitals saw a 10 percent decrease in inpatient volumes in 2020 and a 30 percent decrease in emergency department visits, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA). On Wednesday, VHHA staff held a virtual press conference presenting an update on hospitalization and emergency department visit trends. Hospitalization data does not show a COVID-19-lockdown baby boom, but rather a decrease in usage of hospital pregnancy services when compares to previous years. On the other hand, inpatient discharge data shows an increase in treatment of alcohol, drug use, and related mental disorders, a trend that began before COVID-19.

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Virginia Department of Education Announces Guidelines for Reopening Schools

The Virginia Department of Education announced a new set of guidelines for school reopening, the result of a workgroup created in February. The guidelines include recommendations for remediating learning loss, note that virtual learning doesn’t work for every students, calls for special attention for vulnerable populations, and say that more staff may be needed to keep student-teacher ratios low.

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Commentary: Behold DeSantis, Destroyer of Narratives

Ron DeSantis

Those who are looking for someone who could be a post-Trump bearer of the MAGA standard within the Republican Party have had a keen eye on Ron DeSantis for a while now.

And this week it’s becoming perfectly clear why.

DeSantis was the subject of a tired and constant phenomenon in American politics: the 60 Minutes hit piece. That happened on Sunday, with a report by Sharyn Alfonsi alleging that DeSantis was running a “pay-for-play” scheme surrounding the state of Florida’s vaccine distribution.

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McAuliffe, Chase, and Cox Announce Significant Endorsements

Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.

“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.

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Cuomo Repeals His Nursing Home Legal Immunity Measure Amid FBI Investigation And Impeachment Probe

Gov. Andrew Cuomo repealed a measure on Tuesday he had originally signed into law in April 2020 that shielded nursing homes from COVID-19 lawsuits.

The New York Democrat repealed the law as he faces an FBI investigation into his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. FBI investigators are looking into how the nursing home legal immunity bill made it into the state’s budget legislation just before Cuomo signed it into law, according to THE CITY.

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Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order Banning Vaccine Passports

Passport

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday banning government-issued “vaccine passports” statewide.

Abbott said that vaccinations against COVID-19 cannot be government-mandated, and that residents’ choice to not receive one should not prevent them from going about their lives.

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Ten Percent of Migrant Minors Held in San Diego Convention Center Test Positive for COVID-19

San Diego Convention Center

Of the more than 700 unaccompanied migrant minors who were transported to the San Diego Convention Center from Texas, roughly 10% have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple news reports citing health officials.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported on March 30 that 70 of these minors tested positive; none required hospitalization.

The San Diego Convention Center is currently holding 723 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 – all of whom were transferred from federal shelters in Texas.

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Commentary: Will Students Returning to the Classroom Remember How to Learn?

by Larry Sand   According to the Burbio school tracker, 53 percent of schools nationwide are now fully open for business. With the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines having determined that three-feet is a safe distance for students, one would think the other 47 percent would embrace the chance to…

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Commentary: Just Say No to Vaccine Passports

We all desperately want normal lives again. And I’m not talking about the finnicky “new normal” that accommodates Aunt Karen’s irrational fear of leaving her house. I’m talking about “normal normal,” where people crowd into concert halls with standing room only, restaurants operate crowded tables at 120 percent capacity, and cruise ship buffets shove food and alcohol down my throat like it’s Fat Tuesday, all day, every day. Ah … don’t you miss 2019? I sure do.

It was only a matter of time before some in our society turned the national COVID experiment into an excuse to say, “Papers, please.” That’s right — the so-called vaccine passport is now emerging in the United States. It’s an app that is advertised as a way to help people do the things they miss doing from pre-pandemic times. Want to feel completely safe in your favorite store, and surround yourself with others who, like you, have rolled up their sleeve and gotten the vaccine? There’s an app for that. Just scan your QR code and enter feeling sanctimoniously sanitized.

Last week, New York became the first state to offer such a vaccine verification app. The state-sanctioned app, called Excelsior Pass, claims to let participants “Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Well that sounds fun to me! Sign me up!

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Minnesota Breweries Take Expansions to Other States Because of Outdated Alcohol Laws

Twenty miles means a world of difference for Minnesota breweries that have grown as much as state law allows.

Minnesota’s alcohol laws are pushing breweries to expand in other states, Brad Glynn, Lift Bridge Brewing cofounder and vice president of marketing told The Center Square in a phone interview.

In May, Lift Bridge Brewing Co plans to expand to a New Richmond, Wisconsin location.

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Factory Mixup Ruins 15 Million Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Workers at a Baltimore plant responsible for producing two separate coronavirus vaccines mistakenly mixed up their respective ingredients, ruining approximately 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and pausing all production at the plant, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The facility, run by Emergent BioSolutions, had partnered with both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to produce vaccines. Federal officials said that the mistake was a result of human error, according to The New York Times, which first reported the mix up that reportedly occurred several weeks ago.

A quality control review “identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions, a site not yet authorized to manufacture drug substance for our COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. “This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process.”

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Biden’s First 100 Days: Polling Versus Media Coverage of Getting the Pandemic Under Control

RealClear Opinion Research recently conducted a poll about Biden’s first 100 days in office. One of the questions asked was how important it was to get the pandemic under control and public satisfaction with results to date.

The timeline below shows total daily mentions of the pandemic across television news, showing that starting with December 31, 2020, CNN and MSNBC sharply reduced their coverage and have mentioned the pandemic this year far less than last year, while Fox News is largely mentioning it the same number of times each day.

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Fraternities Say Duke’s Latest Action Poses ‘Existential Threat’ to Greek Life

After Duke University decided to end recruitment of freshmen by Greek and non-Greek selective living groups, nine fraternities decided to disaffiliate from the Interfraternity Council, and thus from the university itself.

Duke University has made several changes to Greek life since the hiring of former Tufts University dean of student affairs Mary Pat McMahon. McMahon is now the vice president and vice provost for student affairs at Duke.

McMahon collaborated with the Office of Undergraduate Education to create a new committee called the Next Generation Living and Learning 2.0 Committee in 2020. The committee seeks to “build a joyful and intentional 4-year residential experience that promotes growth, meaningful inclusion, and health, and that is distinctly Duke.”

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WHO Delays Report on COVID’s Origins as China ‘Fights Tooth & Nail Over Each Sentence,’ WHO Advisor Says

China has delayed the release of a World Health Organization report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic as it reviews the document, according to a World Health Organization advisor.

A team of scientists led by the WHO was expected to release the report this week, after an investigation in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first known cases of COVID-19 were found.

“Just received confirmation that release of the @WHO-organized int’l committee/Chinese gov’t report on #COVID19 origins has again been delayed, apparently as the Chinese side fights tooth & nail over each sentence. Anyone believe this compromise report can possibly be credible?” World Health Organization advisory committee member Jamie Metzl said Friday in a tweet.

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Social Media Doesn’t Allow Posts That Break COVID-19 Narratives, Even Though Health Organizations Keep Backtracking Previous Findings

Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.

Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.

Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”

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84 Percent of Texas Facilities Holding Unaccompanied Migrant Children Have Seen Positive COVID-19 Tests

Border surge

Thirty-seven of 44 shelters, or 87 percent, currently housing unaccompanied migrant minors in Texas reported positive COVID-19 test results between March 5 and 23, according to data collected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Cases are identified by shelter facilities and foster care providers, which are then reported to officials at the agency.

“The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane. From a lack of safe drinking water in one location to a COVID-19 outbreak in another, the Biden Administration has no excuse for subjecting these children to these kinds of conditions.

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Members of Andrew Cuomo’s Family Received Special Priority for Coronavirus Testing

In yet another potential scandal for the already-embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), a new report claims that his family members and others with close ties to his administration were given special priority with regards to early testing procedures for the coronavirus, according to The Hill.

The report, which first came from the Albany Times Union, says that Cuomo’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered the New York State Department of Health to give priority to those who Cuomo himself specifically designated, which included his brother, his mother, and one of his sisters. Such testing was conducted in their own private residences, with the officials from the Health Department going out of their way to travel to their homes just to give them the tests.

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CBP Detaining as Many as 9,000 Migrants Daily, Around Half of Them Are Unaccompanied Minors and Families

border surge

Customs and Border Protection is detaining as many as 9,000 migrants daily and over half of them are unaccompanied minors and families, a senior U.S. Border Patrol official said Friday.

Around 6,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended Thursday including 1,900 unaccompanied migrant minors and families who were processed under Title 8, according to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) senior official. Title 42 is still used to expel most single migrant adults and U.S. officials are working with other countries to identify the migrants coming into the U.S., the official said.

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Commentary: Following the ‘Science’ Amongst COVID-19 to Protect Unscientific Bias

Throughout the Trump years and in particular during the 2020 COVID pandemic crisis, the nation was lectured by the Left “to follow the data,” as the Democrats proclaimed themselves the “party of science.” As sober and judicious children of the enlightenment, they alone offered the necessary disinterested correctives to Trump’s supposed bluster and exaggeration—and to his anti-scientific deplorable following (often dismissed by Biden as dregs, chumps, and Neanderthals).

In truth, leftists and Democrats have become the purveyors of superstition. Their creation of a fantasy world is not because they do not believe in science per se, but because they believe more in the primacy of ideology that should shape and warp science in the proper fashion for the greater good. What prompted Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, or Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hysterically and wrongly to forecast widespread demographic or climatological catastrophe in just a few years was not ignorance of science per se, but a desire to massage science for our own good.

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Commentary: The Nature of Chinese Communist Party’s Contempt for Us

Last week in Anchorage, Alaska, Chinese diplomats dressed down Biden Administration Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Both seem stunned by the Chinese broadsides. 

Apparently, as elite Americans readily confess to inherent white supremacy and racism—highlighting the complaints of BLM and Antifa—the Chinese are happy to agree that such admittedly toxic Americans should not dare to criticize China’s racist policies. 

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Commentary: Today’s Real Systemic Injustice with COVID and Our Kids

Black Lives Matter. Believe All Women. Everybody wants to be on the right side of contentious civil rights issues — that’s why the debate over what that “right side” is becomes so intense. But the most quantifiable systemic injustice in our nation today is not black versus white, or male versus female. It’s old against young.

During the coronavirus pandemic, abandonment of adult responsibility in respected institutions — medical, educational, and parental — is indicative of sweeping moral collapse. Making sacrifices for future generations used to make sense in a grown-up world. But baby boomers, those children of the ’60s who have controlled the country for 30 years, have desensitized our culture with their apathy and entitlement. Why should healthy children be held to the same medical standard as a 70-year-old “boomer” with multiple comorbidities? Why have young people, who beat COVID-19 quicker than the annual flu, been forced to surrender a year of their lives to satisfy the anxieties of a paranoid gerontocracy? The calculated hysteria of our politicians has accelerated institutional fragility, a condition of paralysis in which medical and educational leaders refuse to acknowledge prejudicial restrictions on the young and the healthy.

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Americans Are Starting to Reemerge from Their COVID Bunkers as Vaccinations Accelerate

As coronavirus vaccinations accelerate across the country, more and more Americans are seeing their friends in public, eating at restaurants and shopping in retail stores, according to a Tuesday Axios/Ipsos poll.

Almost 50% of Americans said that they had visited family or friends in the past month, according to the poll, up from just 39% in February. And 45% said that they had gone out to eat, up 12 points from the past month as well.

Additionally, 90% of respondents said they knew someone who had already been vaccinated, and 36% said that they had been vaccinated themselves.

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Pfizer: Israeli Data Finds Vaccine Prevents 94 Percent of Asymptomatic Infections

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was over 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, according to real-world Israeli data released late Thursday.

The latest analysis suggests that Pfizer’s vaccine could overwhelmingly halt asymptomatic spread — a main driver of infections since asymptomatic people are often unaware they have the virus. The data also showed that the vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic cases, hospitalizations and deaths, slightly higher than the 95% effectiveness found in its clinical trials.

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Commentary: Mixed Messaging and Silencing Campaign Fuel Vaccine Skepticism

It took a Mexican comedian to do the job the American news media refuses to do.

During a series of pointed questions, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted the COVID-19 vaccines won’t stop people from contracting the virus; the shots only lessen the symptoms if a recipient is later infected with SARS-CoV-2.

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‘Americans Must Be Prepared for What Is Coming’: Pro-Life Lawmakers, Activists Condemn Becerra’s Confirmation to Health and Human Services

Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned news Thursday that the senate confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as health and human services secretary, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”

“Becerra is a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckled politics by bullying nuns,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday, referring to Becerra’s battles with the Little Sisters of the Poor over an Obama-era contraception mandate.

The Nebraska senator added that Health and Human Services (HHS) should be focused on health during the pandemic — not Becerra’s progressive priorities.

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Virginia Gov. Northam Releases Draft Plan Allowing up to 5,000 People at Outdoor Graduations

Schools will be able to hold in-person graduations this year, according to a draft of preliminary guidance announced by Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday. Outdoor graduations can have the lesser of 5,000 people or 30 percent capacity, while indoor graduations can have the lesser of 500 people or 30 percent capacity.

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Biden Calls Kamala Harris ‘President Harris’

President Joe Biden referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris” on Thursday.

“Now, when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people and giving vaccinations said that each shot was like administering a dose of hope,” Biden said during an announcement at the White House.

Biden previously appeared to forget Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s name during a March 8 speech over the nomination of two female Air Force generals.

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Online Sales and Big Jackpots Put Virginia Lottery on Path to Record-Breaking Year

The Virginia Lottery’s new online offerings are driving an increase in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, which runs until the end of June. By February, online sales hit $436 million, about 21 percent of overall sales for that same period, according to lottery spokesperson John Hagerty.

“Fiscal Year 2021, which ends on June 30, is on track to break sales and profit records,” a Tuesday press release from the lottery states.

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Democrats Block GOP Bill to Test Illegal Immigrants for COVID-19

Illegal Alien Detention center

Democrats blocked a bill sponsored by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), which would require the Department of Homeland Security to test all migrants crossing illegally into the country for COVID-19, Breitbart reports.

Republicans put forward a motion to block the previous question on a piece of legislation Tuesday that would allow for the consideration of Miller-Meeks’ legislation, the Requiring Every Alien to Receive a COVID-19 Test (REACT) Act. This bill would mandate that the Homeland Security Department (DHS) test all migrants crossing the border illegally that the DHS releases into the country, Breitbart reported.

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Michigan County Experimenting with Social Distancing Guidelines in Schools

After a damning New York Times report in which a Virginia Tech virologist said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) six-foot social distancing guidelines appeared to be pulled out of “thin air,” one Michigan county is experimenting with three feet of social distancing in schools.

“The Kent County Health Department is in the middle of a study that officials hope will reduce the social distance requirements in all pre-k through 8th grade classrooms,” a WZZM report said. “During the six-week pilot study, any student that has been within three feet of a COVID-positive student for 15 minutes or more — within 48 hours — must quarantine at home for 10 days. Before that, quarantine was triggered at a distance of six feet.”

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U.S. Nonprofit with Ties to Wuhan Lab Violated Federal Law by Failing to Disclose Taxpayer Funding, Complaint Alleges

A U.S. nonprofit with close ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology violated federal law by failing to disclose that taxpayer funds supported its work, according to a complaint a taxpayer watchdog group filed Monday.

EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) diverted $600,000 in taxpayer funds to the WIV in the form of National Institutes of Health subgrants between 2014 and 2019 as part of a research project studying coronaviruses from Chinese bats. But press releases from EHA describing the project failed to disclose that the project was backed by federal dollars, an omission that, according to the White Coat Waste Project, is a violation of a federal law known as the Stevens Amendment.

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Fauci Warns States to Keep Restrictions or Independence Day Could Be Cancelled

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the Biden Administration’s prediction that coronavirus vaccines can lead to relative normalcy by July Fourth is “quite reasonable” —assuming states don’t pull back public safety measures, Politico reported.

“If you wait just a bit longer to give the vaccine program the chance to increase the protection in the community, then it makes pulling back much less risky,” said Fauci, on “Fox News Sunday.” “But if you do it prematurely there really is a danger of triggering another surge.”

But Fauci expressed concerns the pandemic is still a danger in the United States, with the number of new cases seeming to plateau at 50,000 or 60,000 daily over the last week.

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Over 100 Arrested at Miami Beach Spring Break Celebrations

A spring break celebration in Miami Beach, Florida led to over 100 partygoers being arrested over the weekend after a crowd became unruly, with two police officers being injured, as reported by CNN.

The incident took place on Friday night, where a crowd allegedly began surrounding and taunting a group of police officers. The Miami Beach Police Department’s official Twitter account described the crowd as “disorderly,” and said that pepper balls were used to disperse the crowd as dozens were arrested.

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Commentary: ‘Woke’ Science Has No Place in Government Policymaking

“Science, at its core, is a social phenomenon.” This observation, from Alondra Nelson, the newly appointed deputy director of President Biden’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), certainly qualifies for a prominent place in the Pantheon of Inane Statements. The core of science, in fact, is the scientific method—posing and testing hypotheses; carefully gathering, examining, and generating experimental evidence; and finally, synthesizing all the available information into logical conclusions. 

Dr. Nelson’s assertion is inauspicious, but perhaps we should not be too surprised by a “squishy” statement from someone whose undergraduate degree was in sociology, while her doctorate is in “American Studies.” What, we wonder, qualifies her to be deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy? And how does it comport with President Biden’s commitment to always rely on “science and truth.” We suspect it is an example of how lip service to science has invaded the domain of real science. 

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Colonial Downs Announces In-Person Racing to Begin July 19

After closing the 2020 racing season early due to COVID-19, Colonial Downs Racetrack is announcing 21 live racing dates running from July 19. Premium tickets go on sale on Monday, but general admission and parking are free.

“As we enter our third year of racing, Colonial Downs looks forward to once again hosting top horses and horsemen from across the country with daily purses offered amongst the highest during the summer months,” Vice President of Racing Operations at Colonial Downs Group Jill Byrne said in a press release. “The past year of the pandemic has been so challenging for everyone, we can’t wait to see our wonderful fans and supporters safely enjoying the excitement of live horse racing.”

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As Vaccinations Ramp up, One-Third of Americans Still Say They Don’t Want One

As more people receive vaccines across the U.S. coronavirus cases have continued to fall, but one-third of Americans still say they will not get one, according to a Thursday NPR/Marist poll.

While 45% said they would get vaccinated and 22% said that they had already received a shot, 30% of Americans said they would not get one, the poll showed. Among Republicans, 41% said they would not take one, compared to just 11% of Democrats.

Those unwilling leapt to 49% among Republican men, while just 6% of Democratic men said the same.

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Pfizer Says Its Vaccine Significantly Halts COVID-19’s Spread, Effective Against UK Variant

Pfizer said Wednesday that real-world data suggests its coronavirus vaccine is 94% effective in halting asymptomatic infections and effective against a highly transmissible variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.

Israeli analysis of vaccine distribution shows the vaccine being over 97% effective in preventing symptomatic cases and death, higher than the 90% efficiency that was reported in the vaccine’s Phase III trials, Pfizer said in a press release Thursday. Over 80% of the tested specimens were against the UK variant known as B.1.1.7.

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Commentary: ‘Follow the Science’ with Dr. Fauci

No matter what we are told by the “experts,” science is constantly evolving and is rarely ever as settled as those in power want us to believe. Doctors are often forced to make consequential decisions and recommendations based on partial or incomplete sets of data and information. Perhaps no one knows this better than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to Fauci, it is now safe for schools to reopen. All it took was the passing of President Biden’s “COVID relief bill,” which will likely be signed into law this week. “As we now have the relief bill signed at $1.9 trillion — a lot of that is going into addressing COVID-19 including help to the schools to allow them to more safely bring the kids back,” Fauci said on Monday. Considering that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 95 percent of the money appropriated from the bill to fund schools will not be spent this year, there was no reason for Fauci to present its passing as a prerequisite for reopening schools — unless of course we fool ourselves into believing that he is motivated by science, and not by whatever the Biden administration tells him to say.

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Wedding Venue Sues Northam For Not Allowing Expanded Capacity at Outdoor Weddings

Outdoor wedding venue Belle Garden Estate (BGE) is suing Governor Ralph Northam over Executive Order 72.  The governor has begun relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities, allowing the lower of either 1,000 people or 30 percent capacity at many outdoor venues. However, outdoor wedding venues are not included in those relaxed restrictions.

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Commentary: Movement to End COVID Emergency Orders Grows as Governors, Lawmakers, and Citizens Fight Back

The governors of Texas and Mississippi both announced this week they would be lifting their states’ mask mandates and rolling back many of their Covid-19 health mandates. This is part of a growing movement across the country from lawmakers, governors, and citizens to curtail emergency orders that have robbed Americans of individual liberties and freedoms for nearly a year.

In New York state, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the legislature is passing legislation repealing emergency powers granted to Gov. Cuomo last year at the start of the pandemic. Lawmakers say the legislation will allow current directives pertaining to preserving public health to continue.

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Ducey Removes Arizona’s COVID-19 Restrictions on Businesses

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has rescinded the business restrictions he put in place last year to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

Ducey’s latest executive order, which he signed Friday, removes the capacity limits on businesses he had put in place July 9, effective immediately. 

“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”

Ducey said Arizona, unlike many other states, never shut down.

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Virginia Directing $2.6 Million to Prevent Evictions

Virginia will award $2.6 million in grants to help prevent evictions in highly needed areas, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.

Funding will help build capacity and implement eviction prevention and diversion programs created to address underlying causes of eviction. Money will go to the 14 localities the state identified as having the highest eviction rates. The grants will be awarded through a new pilot program called the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP) Program.

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Commentary: It’s Time to Reopen America Now

On Tuesday, governors Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) announced they would be lifting their statewide mask-wearing mandates, business capacity limitations, and various other COVID-19-related restrictions. “COVID still exists,” Abbott said, “but it is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”

Texans and Mississippians might be forgiven for wondering why their governors did not earlier follow the courageous path of Governor Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who has garnered national headlines for her stubborn refusal to enact various mask-wearing mandates and other lockdown orders. But still: Better late than never.

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Chief of World-Renowned Medical Journal Has Repeatedly Bashed U.S., Praised China for Coronavirus Response

One of China Global Television Network’s most recent ads on Facebook is of an interview that the state-controlled propaganda network conducted about the coronavirus pandemic with the editor of The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals.

The editor, Richard Horton, largely praised the Chinese government’s response to the pandemic while blasting the U.S. in the May 2020 interview, which garnered around 900,000 impressions at a cost of around $500, according to Facebook data.

“I think we have a great deal to thank China for, about the way that it handled the outbreak,” Horton said in the interview.

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