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Boy Scouts to sell nearly 60 works by Norman Rockwell to pay for sexual abuse claims

The Boy Scouts of America and Norman Rockwell’s association spanned more than six decades, producing dozens of commissioned coming-of-age portraits that evoke virtue, bravery and Americana.

But now faced with tens of thousands of sexual abuse complaints, the debt-ridden organization is about to do the unthinkable: sell its Rockwell art collection.

In a reorganization plan filed in Delaware Federal Bankruptcy Court this week, the Boy Scouts listed nearly 60 works of Rockwell art whose sale would raise money for a settlement fund of at least $ 300 million. dollars for victims of sexual abuse.

The names of the paintings include “The Right Way”, “On My Honor” and “I’ll Do My Best”. The years they were completed range from 1916 to a lithograph in 1976, two years before Rockwell’s death in 1978.

“The plan demonstrates that significant progress has been made as we continue to work with all parties to achieve our strategy to provide fair compensation to victims and meet our other financial obligations so that we can continue to serve young people.” for years to come, ”the Boy Scouts said in an emailed statement Tuesday night.

Last February, the organization, faced with an avalanche of sexual abuse complaints that now exceeds 82,000 cases, filed for bankruptcy.

It was not immediately clear whether the collection had been valued and for how much. The 379-page court filing on Monday did not include values ​​for each piece of art, and Boy Scouts did not say how much the organization would seek for the collection.

Most of the paintings are in oil on canvas and were commissioned over the decades by the Boy Scouts, who first hired Rockwell to illustrate “The Boy Scout’s Hike Book” in 1912. He soon became editor. of Boys’ Life, as the organization’s monthly magazine. was called at the time.

A prominent Rockwell biographer suggested on Tuesday that the paintings in the Boy Scouts’ collection may be more sentimental than some of the most prized works by Rockwell, who she says was never a Boy Scout himself.

Deborah Solomon, art critic and author of “American Mirror: The Art and Life of Norman Rockwell,” said in an email Tuesday night that while Rockwell’s Boy Scout paintings were extremely famous, they were not among his best works. .

In 2013, “Saying Grace,” a non-Boy Scout-associated Rockwell painting that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on November 24, 1951, fetched $ 46 million at its auction at Sotheby’s. The following year, “After the Prom” sold for $ 9.1 million and “The Rookie” for $ 22.5 million.

Ms Solomon, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, noted that many Boy Scout paintings are attributed to Rockwell, often for calendars, with the organization often dictating the topic and charging it with rules.

“He was not free to invent or imbue the canvases with his usual array of closely observed details,” she said.

One of the most notable examples came in 1941 when Rockwell produced a popular painting in which a scout, braving a hurricane, carries a young girl to safety, according to Ms. Solomon.

“Although the scout is standing in the rain, his uniform is dry and perfectly ironed,” she said. “Rockwell was annoyed when told to paint a single drop of water that he originally painted on the Boy Scout’s uniform.

Numerous Rockwell paintings for Boy Scouts have been on display at the Medici Museum of Art in Howland, Ohio since last year as part of a free exhibit that still continues today.

Katelyn Amendolara-Russo, associate director of the museum, said in an email on Tuesday evening that the museum was told the collection could be sold into bankruptcy when the Boy Scouts first arranged in 2019 to host the exhibit. She added that the museum would continue to exhibit Rockwell’s works for as long as possible.

“We are obviously disappointed because this is a magnificent demonstration of Scouting in action for over 100 years, as portrayed by one of America’s greatest artists, Norman Rockwell, who had a lifelong passion for Scouting,” said -she.

Boy Scouts representatives said many aspects of the reorganization plan are still being refined through mediation and the organization hopes to get out of the Chapter 11 reorganization by this fall.

So what would Rockwell think of the Boy Scout splitting up with his prized works?

“I’m sure he would be horrified to learn of the sexual assault charges,” Ms. Solomon said, “and I guess he would want the Boy Scouts to sell his collection of his paintings in an effort to create a fund for the victims. and reward children and former children who deserve compensation. “

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Assessment of claims in the coronavirus stimulation debate

Ahead of the vote on President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, lawmakers presented an array of misleading allegations to promote their position on the bill. Here is a fact check of some common talking points.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“It’s supposed to be a Covid bill. Only 9% of that amount goes to Covid. – Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and leader of the parliamentary minority, in an interview this week on Fox News.

It is misleading. A spokeswoman for Mr McCarthy said the 9% referred to the $ 160 billion for a national immunization program, expanded testing and a public health jobs program, as reported by the Biden administration. In other words, 8.4%, or $ 160 billion of the $ 1.9 trillion package, is allocated specifically to the fight against the coronavirus.

But that’s a rather narrow interpretation of pandemic-related funding. The bill also includes other health expenses like subsidizing insurance coverage for laid-off workers, extending paid sick leave and funding veterans care.

And like the first two relief bills signed by President Donald J. Trump and an alternative measure proposed this year by 10 Republican lawmakers, much of the Biden plan is devoted to providing financial assistance to families and businesses affected by the economic effects of the pandemic. Stimulus checks of $ 1,400 and extending unemployment benefits are the two biggest individual expenses, according to a breakdown by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“We have analyzed the numbers and here is your receipt, @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer,” Senator Marsha Blackburn this week on Twitter, breaking down the bill into categories like arts, museums and library services; Pelosi metro; services, including family planning; and “climate justice”.

It is misleading. Tennessee Republican Ms Blackburn accused Democratic leaders of drafting a $ 1.9 trillion bill that amounted to a Liberal “wish list.” But the four specific funding areas she highlighted total $ 547 million, or about 0.03% of the $ 1.9 trillion total.

“The Pelosi Metro” refers to a project to extend the Bay Area rapid transit system to downtown San Jose – which is an hour south of San Francisco and represented by the District President Nancy Pelosi. The project is actually in the district of another Democrat, Representative Zoe Lofgren.

A spokeswoman for the House transport committee said the BART extension was not receiving special funding, but rather “was simply funded proportionately” to other similar projects across the country.

Overall, the bill includes $ 30 billion to help transit agencies, the bulk of which covers the costs of operating transit systems across the country. About $ 1 billion of that goes to a Department of Transportation grant program to ensure that transit projects already approved – like the BART extension as well as rail improvements in Republican-led states like the Indiana and Arizona – remain solvent.

“Art, Museums and Library Services” refers to the $ 135 million earmarked for the National Endowment for the Arts and $ 200 million for the Institute of Museums and Libraries.

The bill also devotes $ 50 million to family planning projects, which Ms. Blackburn called “services including family planning.” The group is not explicitly mentioned in the bill, but it has already received family planning grants. Other grant recipients include state and local health agencies (including the Tennessee Department of Health’s Family Planning Program) and other nonprofit organizations.

Another $ 50 million is set aside for “environmental justice purposes,” the bill says, and aims to address health disparities resulting from pollution and the pandemic.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“There are bailouts at Planned Parenthood, stimulus grants to families of illegal immigrants.” – Rep. Jim Banks, Republican of Indiana, in an interview this week on Fox News.

It is misleading. Mr Banks’ assertion about “illegal immigrant families” receiving stimulus grants refers to families with mixed immigration status, not families all of whose members are undocumented. Under the bill, couples who jointly file their taxes must have only one valid Social Security number to receive a stimulus check. But the amount would be $ 1,400 for an individual, not $ 2,800 for a couple.

In other words, US citizens or legal residents married to undocumented immigrants would receive the $ 1,400, but not their spouses.

The first two rounds of stimulus tests had the same conditions with virtually identical language.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“There is over a trillion dollars of unspent money in previous relief bills that were bipartisan. The money is still in a bank account. –Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, in an interview this week on ABC.

“If you think about what’s happened before, $ 4 trillion in stimulus has been adopted. There is still a trillion dollars, or almost a trillion dollars, that has not even been spent yet. – Sen. Bill Hagerty, Republican of Tennessee, in an interview this week on Fox Business.

It is misleading. In an editorial published this month by The Washington Post, Scalise joined with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s coronavirus spending tracker as the source of the claim. According to the tracker, around $ 3 trillion has already been spent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a trillion dollars will go unused.

The think tank explained in a blog post in January that “a large part is already allocated or should be spent, and a small part will never be spent.” About $ 775 billion in “unspent” funding came from the $ 900 billion stimulus package signed at the end of December, according to the blog. The funding that should be distributed over time (Medicaid loans and spending), as well as data lags, also explain part of the disparity.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“In fact, 95% of that money can’t even be spent until 2022. Do you really want to wait until 2022 for your child to go back to school? This bill will actually delay the reopening of schools. It’s crazy. ”- Mr. Scalise in an interview this week on Fox News.

“We have to learn and follow science and get children back to school. This bill does not do that. –Mr McCarthy, in an interview this week on Fox News.

It is misleading. The bill sets aside $ 128.5 billion for funding K-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that $ 6.4 billion would be spent in fiscal 2021, which ends in September.

But the budget office also said the rate of spending it estimated was “subject to considerable uncertainty.”

In a letter to congressional leaders, educational groups wrote that the idea that schools did not need more funding because of the amount they would spend this year was “inaccurate.”

“In conversations with our respective members, they report that while the ‘expense rate’ may seem quite low to those unfamiliar with the procedures and financial requirements of state and district schools, they have budgeted for every dollar they should receive relief bills from Covid. and always anticipate greater costs than they can afford without additional federal funds, ”the groups wrote.

A spokeswoman for Mr McCarthy also noted that the bill “gives no assurance to families that schools will reopen” and that the funding was not tied to the reopening of schools.

Nothing in the bill explicitly delays the reopening of schools, nor does it make funding conditional on reopening. But a spokesperson for the House Education and Labor Committee noted that this was never planned.

“Our position has always been that these decisions should be made by local school districts in consultation with public health officials,” said Joshua Weisz, director of communications for the committee. “Congress should not force schools to reopen.”

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“If we don’t adopt the American Rescue Plan, 40 million Americans will lose their nutritional assistance because of a program we call SNAP, the old food stamp program. Are we not investing between $ 3 billion and $ 3 billion to prevent families from going hungry? – Mr. Biden speaking last week at a Pfizer factory.

It’s exaggerated. As FactCheck.org noted, the White House transcript of Mr. Biden’s remarks added “some of” in parentheses before the words “nutritional assistance.” This is because failure to pass the bill would not cause Americans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to lose all of their benefits. On the contrary, the stimulus package signed in December temporarily increased the benefits of food stamps by 15 percent from January to June. The current bill and Mr. Biden’s plan would extend that increase until September.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID

“For example, if it were – if we gradually increased it – when we indexed it to $ 7.20, if we kept it indexed by – inflation, people would earn $ 20 an hour in that. moment. “- Mr. Biden last week at a CNN town hall event.

False. The federal minimum wage was last raised to $ 7.25 in July 2009, which, if indexed to consumer inflation, would be around $ 8.81 today. Mr. Biden probably meant “worker productivity” instead of inflation. Dean Baker, an economist at the Left Center for Economic and Political Research, estimated that if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity, it would be around $ 24.

We appreciate readers’ suggestions and advice on what to look out for. E-mail and Twitter.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is banned from Instagram over false coronavirus claims.

Instagram took down the account of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the political scion and prominent anti-vaccine activist, Wednesday over false information related to the coronavirus.

“We deleted this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” Instagram owner Facebook said in a statement.

Mr. Kennedy, the son of former United States Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, worked for decades as an environmental lawyer, but is now best known as an anti-vaccine crossover. A 2019 study found that two groups, including its nonprofit, now called Children’s Health Defense, funded more than half of Facebook ads spreading false vaccine information.

He found an even larger audience during the pandemic on platforms like Instagram, where he had 800,000 followers. Although Mr Kennedy has said he does not oppose vaccines as long as they are safe, he regularly endorses the discredited links between vaccines and autism and has argued that it is safer to get the coronavirus than to ‘be vaccinated against it.

Facebook is increasingly aggressive in its efforts to stamp out vaccine misinformation, saying this week it will remove posts with false claims about the coronavirus, coronavirus vaccines and vaccines in general, which it will remove. be paid advertisements or user-generated posts. In addition to Mr. Kennedy’s Instagram account, the company said it deleted several other Instagram accounts and Facebook pages on Wednesday under its updated policies.

They did not include Mr. Kennedy’s Facebook page, which was still active as of early Thursday and made many of the same baseless claims to more than 300,000 followers. The company said it is not automatically deactivating accounts on its platforms and that there are no plans to delete Mr. Kennedy’s Facebook account “at this time.”

Children’s Health Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Members of Mr Kennedy’s family have spoken out against his anti-vaccine efforts, including a brother, sister and niece who accused him of spreading “dangerous disinformation” in a column they wrote for Politico in 2019. Another niece, Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, a doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in December to challenge her claims.

“I love my Uncle Bobby,” she wrote. “I admire him for many reasons, the main one being his decades-long struggle for a cleaner environment. But when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong.

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Impeachment case claims Trump was ‘singularly responsible’ for Capitol Riot

“He summoned a crowd to Washington, urged them into a frenzy, and pointed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” the officials wrote.

Unlike the first impeachment case against Mr. Trump, which centered on his lobbying campaign on Ukraine, this one enjoys bipartisan backing and prosecutors seem willing to frequently use Republicans’ own criticisms at the respect for Mr. Trump. Their brief cited Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment, as well as Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Minority Leader, who publicly stated that Mr. Trump “ had provoked ”the crowd.

In making constitutional arguments for Mr. Trump’s conviction, however, they went back hundreds of years, arguing that Mr. Trump not only instigated violence, but threatened the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power that had begun. by Washington. They also cited the founders’ debates over who would be arraigned and when, as well as a 19th-century impeachment trial of a former secretary of war, to argue that the Senate clearly had the right to judge Mr. Trump even after his departure. Office.

“There is no ‘January exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution,” the leaders wrote. “A president must be fully accountable for his conduct in office from his first day in office until his last.

They also insisted that the First Amendment right to free speech could not protect Mr. Trump from responsibility for inciting violence that would seek to undermine the Constitution, undermining all rights that are devoted to it, including freedom of expression.

The President’s brief was smaller by design, with a longer and more detailed brief from his lawyers early next week. Yet the contours of their defense were becoming clear.

Lawyers said Democrats misinterpreted Mr Trump’s actions and intent, denying he was responsible for the Capitol riot or intended to interfere with the formalization by Congress of Mr. Biden’s victory. They said his words to supporters on January 6 – “if you don’t fight like hell you would have no more countries” – were not meant to be a call to violent action, but were about “the necessity”. to fight for electoral security in general. “

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Trump’s New Lawyers Should Not Focus On Fake Election Claims In His Defense

The new legal team former President Donald J. Trump called for his impeachment trial next week is unlikely to focus its defense on his baseless allegations of widespread electoral fraud and instead question whether the trial is even constitutional since he is no longer president, people close to the team said on Monday.

Several Trump advisers told the former president that using his election demands as a defense for his role in the mob attack on the Capitol last month was unwise, according to a person close to the new lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. The person said the former president’s advisers did not expect this to be part of the arguments they are making in the Senate.

Mr. Schoen, an Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney, and Mr. Castor, a former Pennsylvania district attorney, replaced Butch Bowers and four other attorneys working with him after separating from the former president.

A person close to Mr Trump said there was a disagreement over the strategy’s approach and that the former president had no “chemistry” with Mr Bowers, a South Carolina lawyer who had him recommended by Senator Lindsey Graham, one of his most loyal supporters. A second person close to Mr Trump said Mr Bowers appeared “overwhelmed” by the case.

The new team is due to file a brief with the Senate on Tuesday that will give a first glimpse of how they plan to defend the former president. Mr. Trump never had a chance to offer a defense in his House impeachment trial because of the speed with which it was conducted.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn on Monday warned Mr. Trump’s team not to rehash his inflated grievances and debunked the theories of voter fraud. Better, he said, to focus on refuting the details of the House’s “incitement to insurgency” charge.

“It’s really not material,” Cornyn told reporters on Capitol Hill of repeated statements by Mr. Trump. “As much as there might be a temptation to raise other issues, I think it would be a disservice to the president’s own defense to get bogged down in things that are not really before the Senate.

Many Republicans on Capitol Hill expect the defense team to at least partially rely on their argument that holding a trial of a former president is unconstitutional. People close to Trump’s legal team have said it will be a main line of defense.

The constitutional debate around this issue – many researchers disagree, citing that the Senate has tried a former public servant in the past – will feature significantly in the lawsuit. In preparation, the Senate explicitly asked both parties to indicate in their written submissions “whether Donald John Trump is subject to the jurisdiction of an impeachment court for acts committed as President of the United States, notwithstanding the expiry of his term in said function. . “

House managers are expected to file their own more detailed legal brief on Tuesday. The document is expected to offer the first full roadmap of their argument that Mr. Trump sowed baseless allegations of election fraud, summoned his supporters to Washington, and then directly urged them to confront Congress as he met in the Capitol to certify his electoral loss.

The brief will also include an argument for holding the trial, with managers prepared to argue that the framers of the Constitution intended the impeachment to apply to officials who committed offenses during their tenure.

A similar document from Mr. Trump’s team to develop their initial argument is expected next week before the trial begins on February 9.

Some around the former president have suggested arguing against the central prosecution in the impeachment article – which he instigated an insurgency – and instead focus more narrowly on process issues like the constitutionality of the ‘case.

While the lawyers have just been appointed, Mr Schoen spoke with Mr Trump and others around him informally for several days, relatives of the former president said. Mr. Schoen has represented a range of clients, including mobsters and Mr. Trump’s longtime advisor Roger J. Stone Jr.

Mr. Castor is best known for making a deal not to prosecute Bill Cosby for sexual assault while he was a district attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was also briefly acting state attorney general.

Mr. Castor’s cousin is Stephen R. Castor, the Congressional investigator who fought Democrats against Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr. while ‘he was preparing to run against him. A person familiar with the talks said Stephen Castor recommended his cousin to the former president.

It is not known how close the Castor cousins ​​are. Stephen Castor is a veteran of some of Capitol Hill’s most fiercely partisan watchdog disputes of the past decade. He has worked on investigations into the Obama administration’s handling of an attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, and on an arms trafficking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Meanwhile, the nine House impeachment officials have gone largely underground in recent days, prioritizing preparations for private trials over the type of television interviews and other public appearances often used in Washington in an attempt to change public opinion.

Democratic leaders are trying to get through both the president’s long legislative agenda and a major impeachment trial for his predecessor more or less simultaneously. The decision to keep a low profile was apparently motivated by a desire to distract as little attention as possible from Mr Biden’s push for coronavirus relief legislation, the priority issue on his agenda.

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Fox puts on a show for a former Trump aide, but shoots down claims he hired another.

Larry Kudlow, the former CNBC star who served as director of President Donald J. Trump’s National Economic Council, is returning to broadcasting.

Mr Kudlow has been named host of a new daily show on Fox Business which is expected to begin later this year, the channel said on Tuesday. He will also appear on Fox Business and Fox News as an on-air financial analyst starting February 8.

This is the first major televised concert achieved by a senior Trump aide who remained in the White House until the president’s term ended last week. It is also a coup to hire for Fox Business, which rivals CNBC and will now feature one of its rival’s longtime players.

Fox said he would provide more information on Mr Kudlow’s new weeklong schedule at a later date.

The hiring of Mr. Kudlow is the latest example of the revolving door between Fox News and members of the Trump administration. But another prominent Trump advocate may not be heading to the Rupert Murdoch-owned network so soon.

Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, included an “employment contract” with Fox News on a federally mandated disclosure form she filed earlier this month, reporting that she had landed a job on the cable channel.

On Tuesday, Fox News had a different message for Ms. McEnany: Not so fast.

“Kayleigh McEnany is currently neither an employee nor a contributor to Fox News,” the network said in a statement.

Ms McEnany and Fox News spoke after polling day of a potential on-air role, according to a person briefed on the negotiations who requested anonymity to share details of the private talks. But the network has put those talks on hold, even though it remains open to hiring Ms McEnany at a later date, the person said.

Ms McEnany did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

As Mr. Trump’s most prominent on-air advocate in the tumultuous weeks following his loss in November, Ms. McEnany was a frequent guest on Fox News broadcasts, especially Sean’s prime-time show. Hannity.

Prior to joining the White House, Ms. McEnany was an on-air commentator for CNN. She began her media career with Fox News after college, working for Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and the father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, another former press secretary to Mr. Trump.

Ms Sanders joined the network as an on-air contributor shortly after leaving the Trump administration in 2019, but she and the network recently severed ties after announcing her candidacy for governor of the Arkansas.

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Drug prevents coronavirus infection in nursing homes, manufacturer claims

An unusual experiment to keep staff and residents of nursing homes from being infected with the coronavirus has been successful, drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday.

A drug containing monoclonal antibodies – virus fighters grown in the lab – has avoided symptomatic infections in residents exposed to the virus, even the most vulnerable frail elderly, according to preliminary results of a study conducted in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found an 80% reduction in infections among residents who received the drug, compared to those who received a placebo, and a 60% reduction among staff, both statistically very powerful results. said Eli Lilly.

The data has not yet been peer reviewed or published. The company plans to present the results at an upcoming medical meeting and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, but did not say when.

The study included 965 participants in nursing homes: 666 staff and 299 residents. (The company hoped more residents would participate, but it proved difficult to register them; many suffered from dementia and others were concerned about being given an intravenous drug.)

There were four deaths from Covid-19 among study participants. All of them were residents of the nursing homes who received a placebo, not the drug.

The drug, bamlanivimab, already has Emergency Use Clearance from the Food and Drug Administration which allows Eli Lilly to provide it to symptomatic patients at the onset of their infection.

But this study asked if the drug could stop infections before they started. It was an unusual experience: in trucks equipped with mobile laboratories, medical staff traveled to nursing homes as soon as a single infection was detected. Upon arrival, the workers set up temporary infusion centers to administer the drug.

The research ended this weekend with an emergency meeting of the Security and Data Oversight Council, an independent group monitoring the incoming results. The data was strong and compelling enough to put an end to placebos.

Vaccines against covid19>

Answers to your questions about vaccines

While the exact order of vaccinees can vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.

Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they have only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially be authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19 disease. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without experiencing a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will be no different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them have reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can produce additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.

“My jaw dropped when I saw the results chart,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a senior researcher who helped design and implement study.

Although the study is complete, Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, scientific director of Eli Lilly, said the company will continue to rush to nursing homes in its study network when an outbreak is detected. “Everyone will get the medicine,” he says.

Experts who were not part of the study were enthusiastic, but stressed that they had not yet seen full data. “I only see positive aspects here,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the precision vaccination program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s a victory.”

Dr Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland, was also encouraged.

“The mortality effect is remarkable,” she said, adding that the drug should be used more widely to prevent and treat Covid-19, “especially in populations such as residents of nursing homes, who have high mortality and may have suboptimal responses to vaccines. “

Vaccines, of course, also protect people from infection with the virus, and nursing home staff and residents were among the first priority groups for vaccines. But supplies are insufficient and many nursing home workers frightened by vaccines have refused to obtain them.

And after vaccination, it can take six weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for maximum protection, said Dr. Srilatha Edupuganti, a vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and researcher in the study.

Treatment with monoclonal antibodies, she said, can give almost equivalent protection immediately, although it will not last as long as the protection offered by a vaccine.

Eli Lilly plans to approach FDA about emergency use authorization for use of drug to prevent infections in frail elderly populations, especially those in nursing homes or long-care facilities duration, said Dr Skovronsky.

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A judge blocked Trump’s sweeping restrictions on asylum claims.

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Trump administration from implementing a rule, slated to take effect next week, that would have closed the doors of the United States to most asylum seekers.

The sweeping crackdown on asylum has reportedly prevented large numbers of people from receiving protection in the United States by reducing their eligibility. Applicants who had not applied for asylum for the first time in a transit country through which they had passed; had lived in the United States for a year without permission or had declared that persecution based on sexual orientation would be disqualified.

While President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. could take steps to reverse the policy once in office, it would take several months to reverse it as it had already been finalized.

Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for Northern California issued a national procedural injunction, saying Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf did not have the power to impose the rule because he had not been properly confirmed for his position. In his ruling, Judge Donato noted that this was the fifth time a court has ruled against the government on the same grounds.

“Indeed, the government continues to crash the same car against a door, hoping that one day it might break through,” the judge, a person appointed by Obama, wrote in his 14-page opinion.

Lawyers for the Justice Department argued that the restrictions were necessary to curb abuses of an asylum system they said was overwhelmed with frivolous demands. Immigrant advocates and lawyers have said the policy would have resulted in the demise of the U.S. asylum system.

“The rule would have been the death knell for many asylum seekers,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School. “The court ruling today leaves the door open for people fleeing persecution.”

The rule would have gutted the U.S. asylum system and violated U.S. and international law, he said.

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Unemployment claims are expected to remain high last week

New clues about the economy’s path to 2021 will come on Thursday morning when the government releases the latest data on initial claims for unemployment benefits.

While the Christmas holidays could lead to a drop in numbers, with national unemployment bureaus that process claims closed for at least one day last week, new deposits are expected to remain at a very high level, in the range of over 800,000 a week said Greg Daco, chief economist at Oxford Economics. “It is very high and we are facing an economy which has slowed down considerably.”

Claims for benefits were turned down during Thanksgiving week, only to pick up later, and a similar catch-up phenomenon could also occur after Christmas and New Years.

In California, widening restrictions on restaurants and other businesses and an increase in coronavirus infections could lead to increased deposits, said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco.

“California has locked down even more, and there is no end in sight in terms of cases and hospitalizations,” he said. “We are seeing more layoffs and that has yet to show in the numbers.

The $ 900 billion stimulus package President Trump enacted on Sunday comes too late to affect unemployment claims data. It will take months for the impact of aid to be felt, and most economists expect the layoff rate to remain high.

When new monthly employment data is released by the Labor Department next week, Anderson expects it to show an increase in the unemployment rate to 6.9% in December from 6.7 % last month. The unemployment rate has fallen sharply from its peak of 14.7% in April, but hiring has slowed as the economy has weakened in recent months.

Additionally, the pace of layoffs has been consistently high as industries like food service, travel and entertainment struggle as the pandemic has left many people at home.

The introduction of vaccines is a positive, as are the positive economic signs, such as soaring stock prices and a booming real estate market. But it will be months before enough Americans can be vaccinated to allow people to go to restaurants, events and theaters without fear of being infected.

“The trend is not good with the additional closures being implemented across the country,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust in Chicago.

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Trump claims credit for vaccines. Some of his supporters do not want to accept them.

But Mr. Trump was notably absent. According to experts, one of the reasons for the partisan division over vaccination is the president himself. His repeated denigration of scientists and his insistence that the pandemic is not a threat, they said, have helped his supporters believe that the vaccine is not safe or worth the trouble of. To be taken.

“I just don’t think there’s been enough research on this. I think it accelerated too quickly, ”said Mark Davis, 42, a disabled worker from Michigan. “You don’t even really know the side effects, what is in it.”

Mr. Lofgren agreed. “The jury is out on whether this will work,” he said, despite studies showing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be over 94% effective.

Experts say “herd immunity” – the point to which so many people are immune that the spread of a virus is diminished – can be achieved when about 75 percent of the population is vaccinated. As the Trump administration rolls out a public relations campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated, the reluctance of even a minority of Republicans is deeply troubling to public health experts.

Mr. Trump was quick to claim credit for manufacturing and distributing the vaccine. “The distribution must begin immediately,” he said on Friday. on Twitter, a day after an FDA expert advisory panel recommended approval of Moderna’s vaccine.

Although the president has recovered from Covid-19, he remains vulnerable to reinfection. Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, recommended that Mr Trump be vaccinated. But he gave no indication that he actually would, and he said little, if anything, to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

“We need him to play a proactive role,” said Matthew Motta, a political scientist at Oklahoma State University who studies vaccine policy and opinion, adding, “The best person to convince you to change your mind about something is someone who agrees with you. , someone you trust on other matters.