White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report

White House officials have promoted a declaration supporting herd immunity that has reportedly been signed by fake names, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

a man wearing a suit and tie: White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report

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White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report

In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.


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Supporters of the declaration use it to argue against lockdowns and more reopenings during the pandemic.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states.

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

The declaration has been signed by 445,902 concerned citizens, 9,510 medical and public health scientists and 25,049 medical practitioners, according to its website. But Sky News found last week that dozens of fake names had signed the document, including Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename and Dr. Johnny Bananas.

Another signatory called himself Dr. Harold Shipman, a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. In 1998, a man named Harold Shipman was arrested after killing more than 200 of his patients.

The declaration was also signed by at least 18 self-declared homeopaths who signed as medical practitioners and 100 therapists, including massage therapists, hypnotherapists and psychotherapists.

Several health experts expressed concerns that the declaration is misrepresenting the size of the medical community’s support for the herd immunity approach, according to Sky News.

Experts predict that 85 to 90 percent of the U.S. population has not developed coronavirus antibodies to fight the virus, countering the argument that the U.S. has reached or is close to reaching herd immunity, according to the Times.

In the past, herd immunity has been achieved with a vaccine, but the Great Barrington Declaration advocates using infections among young, healthy people, instead of elderly or vulnerable people, to reach immunity.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Great Barrington Declaration was created after a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research and led by professor Martin Kulldorff, professor Jay Bhattacharya and professor Sunetra Gupta.

Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told Sky News that the declaration’s creators don’t have the resources “to audit each signature.”

“It is unfortunate that some people have abused our trust by adding false names, but I suppose it is inevitable,” he said.

“Still – given the volume of correspondence I have received from medical and public health professionals, as well as scientists and epidemiologists, it is clear that a very large number of experts resonate with the message of the declaration and its call for a focused protection policy,” he added.

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Assam CM directs state officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses before Durga Puja

Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 13 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday in a meeting with District Collectors (DCs), and Superintendents of Police (SPs) via video conferencing in Guwahati directed the officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja.

In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister’s office informed that Sonowal also reviewed the preparations for giving ‘land pattas’ to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December 2020.

“Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the progress of various schemes in a meeting with DCs and SPs via video conferencing in Guwahati. Inter alia, preparations for giving land pattas to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December this year was deliberated in the meeting,” the CMO tweeted.

“The Chief Minister directed officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja and ensure that all eligible beneficiaries avail benefits of schemes like Arundhati and Orunodoi,” it said in another tweet.

Sonowal further directed the officials to give special attention to law and order situation during Durga Puja and asked them to take steps to cooperate with the public during the festival.

“Reviewing law & order situation in the districts, the CM directed officials to give special attention to the same during Durga Puja festivities. The CM directed officials to take steps to cooperate with the public in observance of Durga Puja rituals and create awareness about following #COVID19 protocols,” CMO said.

CMO added that the Chief Minister further directed the officials to take necessary steps to expedite the issuance of Aadhaar card in all districts of the state.

The week-long festivities for Durga Puja will begin from October 22. (ANI)

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Coronavirus live news: record global case rise; Washington health officials ask Rose Garden guests to get tested | World news

Trump doctor says he anticipates president’s ‘return to public engagements’ on Saturday


Washington warns those at White House super-spreader event

In an extraordinary step, the Washington, DC, Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a September 26 event in the Rose Garden and inside the building to mark the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court to seek medical advice and take a Covid-19 test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two US senators, among others, The Associated Press writes.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.

It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to Covid positive individuals.”

It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.


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Health officials urge attendees of White House event to get tested for coronavirus

The health officials urged people who worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the Supreme Court nomination announcement in the Rose Garden or have had close contact with people who did, to get tested and use their local health departments as a resource. The letter contains contact information for the departments.

“As an additional reminder, if you are identified as a contact, having a negative test does not limit the time period within which you are required to quarantine,” the leaders wrote, citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend a 14-day quarantine.

The letter was distributed to people and organizations in each health department’s network, which in D.C. included Advisory Neighborhood Commission members, the D.C. Council and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, city officials said.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Wednesday that Nesbitt had spoken with the White House about contact-tracing efforts after the mayor sent a stern letter to the Trump administration seeking cooperation on tracking the outbreak. Nesbitt and the White House began talks on contact-tracing efforts in the region shortly afterward.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Thursday he is allocating $220 million in federal coronavirus aid to help public schools handle their response to the pandemic.

The money will be divided among the state’s 135 school districts to pay for testing supplies, personal protective gear, sanitizing, long-distance learning efforts and other expenses.

“Students, teachers, principals and parents are going to great lengths to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic amid a new school year, and we must do everything we can to support them,” Northam said in a statement.

The money will be drawn from about $1.3 billion in federal Cares Act funding that remains from the roughly $3.1 billion sent to the state earlier this year. It will be distributed based on enrollment, at a rate of $175 per pupil or a minimum of $100,000 for each school division, the governor’s office said.

The spending supplements $238.6 million in Cares Act funding that Virginia’s public K-12 schools received in May. The state’s colleges and universities received $343.9 million, also in May, while another $66.8 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding was split between K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

Northam’s decision to send the money to public schools comes as the General Assembly is working to finish changes to the state budget in response to the pandemic during a special legislative session.

The House of Delegates and state Senate adopted spending plans that call for $200 million in Cares Act money for K-12 schools as they combat the virus. Northam has clashed with lawmakers over spending priorities, warning state lawmakers in a letter Wednesday that he would not sign a budget that restricts his ability to manage Virginia’s virus response efforts.

In Maryland, a scheduled public appearance with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was postponed Thursday to avoid a possible exposure to the coronavirus.

The event was meant to celebrate the Associated Builders

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White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump’s Thursday fundraiser events

The White House provided New Jersey health officials with a list of at least 206 people who attended President Trump’s fundraiser events in Bedminster, N.J., last Thursday, officials said on Sunday.

a man standing in front of a tree: White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump's Thursday fundraiser events

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White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump’s Thursday fundraiser events

The New Jersey Department of Health said in a joint statement with the Somerset County Department of Health that it reached out to all of the individuals who attended the events hours before the president tested positive for COVID-19.

The agencies said they received the list from the White House and the management of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

The state health department made attendees “aware of possible exposure and recommend that they self-monitor for symptoms and quarantine if they were in close contact with the President and his staff.”

County health officials are conducting interviews with staff members at the golf club and analyzing how much contact each had with the president and his staff and “providing public health recommendations accordingly.”

The statement notes that contact tracing is “ongoing,” and the majority of the club’s staff lives within Somerset County. New Jersey officials said they were told the federal government is also conducting contact tracing.

Video: Dr. Ashish Jha: ‘Would not recommend’ gathering of senators for SCOTUS confirmation right now (MSNBC)

Dr. Ashish Jha: ‘Would not recommend’ gathering of senators for SCOTUS confirmation right now



The state and county health officials recommended attendees who want to get tested wait at least five to seven days after Thursday.

“While the risk is low, a negative test earlier than that time cannot definitively rule out that COVID-19 will not develop,” the joint statement said.

But officials called on those “who are concerned that they were in close contact should quarantine for 14 days.”

A list provided to The Washington Post on Saturday by the Republican National Committee (RNC) included 207 attendees at Trump’s golf club, with about two dozen in a small roundtable inside with the president. Several of the small roundtable members took pictures with Trump.

The RNC distributed an email to attendees saying they should contact their doctors “if you or any of your loved ones

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Timeline of what officials said about Trump’s COVID-19 battle

WASHINGTON – Ever since President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, the White House has sent mixed signals about his condition and the timeline of events leading up to his transfer to the hospital.

Trump says he tested positive for coronavirus



That confusion was amplified Saturday when Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, offered a rosy assessment of the president’s condition only to be contradicted later by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who told Fox News that Trump’s condition before entering the hospital “concerned” aides and doctors. 

Conley then clarified his remarks when he told reporters that Trump was “72 hours” into his diagnosis, a timeline that would have meant the White House knew he was sick Wednesday. Conley later said he should have described Saturday as the “third day” of Trump’s fight – that is, late Thursday, into Friday and then Saturday.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19.

© Drew Angerer, Getty Images
President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Here’s a look at the timeline of events since Trump announced his diagnosis:

Oct. 1, 10:44 p.m. ET: Trump tweets that longtime aide Hope Hicks has tested positive for coronavirus. Reporters quickly establish that Hicks took recent trips with Trump, including aboard Marine One. 

Trump says he will quarantine and says he’s awaiting test results. 

Oct. 2, 12:45 a.m. ET. Trump announces on Twitter that he has tested positive for coronavirus, a stunning development with the potential to upend his campaign and his administration’s messaging on its response to the virus. White House officials later say Trump had received the test about an hour before the announcement.  

Trump says first lady Melania Trump is also positive. 

More: Trump, Melania test positive for coronavirus, president vows to begin quarantine 

Trump is silent on whether he has symptoms, but White House physician Sean Conley says days later that Trump had developed a fever and congestion by Thursday night.

“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” Trump tweeted. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Counselor to the President Hope Hicks walks from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs Sept. 30, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

© Alex Brandon, AP
Counselor to the President Hope Hicks walks from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs Sept. 30, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Oct. 2, 1:11 a.m. Conley releases a memo confirming the positive test result and asserts that the president and first lady plan “to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.” Trump istransferred to Walter Reed Medical Center later that day. The memo mentions

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Rose Garden event suspected of virus outbreak alarms D.C. health officials

The D.C. regulations do not cover federal property, meaning the White House was technically exempt, but the fallout has left city officials scrambling over how to respond. For now, they have deferred to the Trump administration for contact tracing efforts to contain the transmission of a disease that has killed more than 208,000 Americans.

Experts said contact tracing for an event with more than 150 people — who were on hand in the Rose Garden as Trump introduced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett — would be extraordinarily difficult. Seven people besides Trump who were there have tested positive in recent days: first lady Melania Trump, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and an unnamed journalist.

It is not known how many others in the crowd have been tested, contracted the virus or begun to self-quarantine in Washington or in other cities. Hope Hicks, a senior White House aide, also has tested positive, though it is not known if she attended the Rose Garden event. Her case raises the possibility that the virus spread through the White House afterward, and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has said more positive tests among White House staff are likely.

The uncertainty comes at a crucial moment for the city, which has fared better than most states in controlling the virus, averaging about five new daily cases per 100,000 residents. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has said it is safe to begin partially reopening the city’s 51,000-student public school system in November, and she is expected to make a decision in the coming days after tussling with the teachers union about safety plans.

A local resurgence of cases could disrupt those plans.

“It is disappointing that the White House has flaunted not wearing masks and gathering large crowds,” said D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2), who represents a downtown district that includes areas surrounding the White House. “That is not only dangerous messaging for the country, but it is directly threatening to our efforts to decrease our spread across the District.”

The White House has dismissed such criticism. Since June, President Trump has routinely staged large gatherings, including official events and campaign rallies, in Washington and other cities, in some cases flouting local regulations. Last month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) slammed Trump as “reckless and selfish” after the president held an indoor rally with thousands of supporters in Henderson, Nev.

In Washington, Trump welcomed scores of guests for a fireworks show on Independence Day and spoke on the South Lawn to 1,500 supporters, most not wearing masks and seated closely together, during his renomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in August.

“For months in the midst of a global pandemic, the media has celebrated large gatherings of so-called ‘peace protesters,’ — some of whom have burned down, looted, and rioted in cities across the country,” White

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White House pressured CDC on reopening schools, officials say

Washington — Top White House officials over the summer pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to downplay the risk of the coronavirus among young people and encourage the reopening of schools, according to two former CDC officials who were at the agency at the time.

The New York Times first reported that White House officials, including aides in Vice President Mike Pence’s office and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, were involved in trying to circumvent the CDC to promote data that showed the spread of the virus was slowing. The former CDC officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CBS News that the information in the Times report was accurate.

Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Pence who worked on the White House coronavirus task force, told the Times that she was repeatedly asked by Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, to produce more data showing a decline in cases in young people. Troye left the White House in August and has since become a vocal critic of the president and the administration’s coronavirus response.

The Times also reported that Birx pushed the CDC to include data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency inside the Department of Health and Human Services, which said that extended school closures could affect children’s mental health and argued that transmission of the virus among family members was low. The Times obtained an email from Birx to CDC Director Robert Redfield asking him to incorporate the document as “background” in CDC guidance for reopening schools.

President Trump over the summer repeatedly argued that schools should be reopened for in-person learning. At an event in July, he said “we want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall.”

NYC students return to class as COVID cases s…


A second former CDC official involved in writing the guidelines told CBS News that Birx was influential in shaping the message surrounding schools reopening, and pushed to focus on the risk factors involved for kids if they stayed home instead of the risks linked to going back to class. This official said that the White House was “slicing and dicing our data to fit its narrative.”

This person said that CDC scientists were most alarmed by the “preamble” to guidance posted on the website, which stressed the potential negative impact on children if schools did not reopen quickly. While the CDC had incorporated some of the data about that into their own guidelines, they were against making it the top focus.

Brian Morgenstern, the White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement to CBS News that the president “relies on the advice of all of his top health officials who agree that it is in the public health interest to safely reopen schools, and that the relative risks posed by the virus to young people are outweighed by the risks of keeping children out of school indefinitely.”

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White House Officials Pushed CDC to Downplay Risks of Reopening Schools

Top White House officials pushed the CDC to minimize the dangers of COVID-19 for young people and pressured schools to reopen this summer.

Two former CDC officials tell The New York Times that White House officials, like aides in Mike Pence’s office and Dr. Deborah Birx—the coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force—were attempting to bypass the CDC to boost data that showed the virus’ spread was slowing down. While the identities of the former CDC officials remained anonymous, they confirmed to CBS News that The Times report was true.

Former Pence adviser Olivia Troye, who worked on the White House coronavirus task force, told The Times that Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, frequently asked her to create more data that showed a drop in cases among young people. Troye ultimately left her post in August and has now become a Trump detractor and outwardly critical of how the administration handled the pandemic.

According to The Times, Birx urged the CDC to promote data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—part of the Department of Health and Human Services—which said that prolonged school closings could impact children’s mental health and asserted that the virus’ spread in families was low. In an email from Birx to CDC Director Robert Redfield, Birx asks him to include the document as “background” in CDC guidance for school reopenings.

A second former CDC official said that Birx spearheaded the message for school reopenings, which centered on the dangers of kids staying at home rather than reentering the classroom. This official said that the White House was “slicing and dicing our data to fit its narrative.”

This official also said that CDC scientists were frightened by the “preamble” to guidance shared on the website, which emphasized the possible negative impact that delayed school openings could have. The CDC had used some of that data for its own guidelines, but it wasn’t the focal point.

Brian Morgenstern, the White House deputy press secretary, told CBS that the president “relies on the advice of all of his top health officials who agree that it is in the public health interest to safely reopen schools, and that the relative risks posed by the virus to young people are outweighed by the risks of keeping children out of school indefinitely.”

A White House official boasted about Birx’s close relationship with Redfield, telling CBS that “the notion that Dr. Birx was ‘pressuring’ Dr. Redfield to do something he didn’t agree with seems preposterous on its face.”

“A conversation or comments exchanged between friends and colleagues is hardly some sort of politically-charged demand,” the official added.

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Garden City officials hold a meeting to discuss gun violence and possible solutions

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Officials of Garden City held a meeting to discuss gun violence and possible solutions. In the past year,  officials said they’ve had 27 shootings and five deaths. 

They want to get this under control.  

“To ensure a safe community in which we can live in, to ensure a safe community our children can play in, and a community in which our elders can feel safe in,” said Reverend Monroe. 

Officials said they want to go to when they didn’t worry about crime in Garden City and people didn’t feel scared. 

“They’re concerned because young kids are losing their lives. They’re scared because bullets are flying,” said Councilwoman Natalyn Morris. 

Reverend Monroe presented “Operation Protect” to the council today. This includes a 10 point plan on how to address crime. He gave ideas such as installing more home security cameras, gated communities and having more officers on duty. 

Councilwoman Marsha Daniels urged those in the crowd to tell council if they see something. If they don’t want to tell them, call Crime Stoppers. 

They said one shooting is one too many and they want to take action immediately. 

Chief Ballard of the Garden City Police Dept. said they’re beginning to install cameras throughout the city and they want to grow this quickly so they can put a dent in criminal activity.

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