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Air Force training jet crashes in Alabama, killing 2 people

An Air Force trainer flying from Columbus, Mississippi to Tallahassee, Fla., Crashed Friday night in a wooded area near the Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama, killing the two people in edge, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash. It was a T-38 trainer aircraft assigned to the 14th Flight Training Wing, which is based at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, the wing said in a statement.

The 14th Flight Training Wing specializes in training undergraduate pilots, and the T-38 is one of the planes it uses to prepare pilots to fly fighters and bombers. Authorities did not immediately release the names of the two people killed.

The plane fell around 5:30 p.m., the squadron said.

Marshall J. Taggart Jr., the executive director of Montgomery Airport, said the plane crashed in a wooded area near Old Lamar Road and US Highway 80, about 100 yards from the ‘airport. He said firefighters and police responded.

The 14th Flight Training Wing said a safety investigation committee would meet to investigate the crash.

The crash came less than three weeks after three Idaho Army National Guard pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed in bad weather on February 2 while on a training mission to routine. The pilots were in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it fell south of Lucky Peak, a park about 10 miles east of Boise, the National Guard said in a statement .

Last month, a New York Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter on a routine training mission crashed in a rural area south of Rochester, killing three people. It was not immediately clear what caused the fall of this plane, a UH-60 medevac helicopter. Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxter told a press conference people called 911 and said they saw a helicopter flying very low and heard the sounds of a spray engine.

In October, a Navy plane crashed in a residential area in southern Alabama, killing its two crew members. The plane fell next to a house near Foley, a coastal area about 30 miles southeast of Mobile, officials said. The plane was a T-6B Texan IIsaid the Navy. The type of aircraft is often used to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots, according to the Navy website.

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How to help people in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

A brutal winter storm hit large parts of the central and southern United States, forcing millions to search for the basics to survive – food, water and shelter from record cold weather.

President Biden has declared emergencies in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and pledged to send aid. Nonprofits are also working to address the humanitarian crisis created by the storm.

Here is how you can help.

The Dallas Wings, the WNBA basketball team, help raise funds with the American Fidelity Foundation and OurCalling to help those sheltering at the Dallas Convention Center. All cash donations up to $ 6,000 will be matched, organizers say.

The Houston Food Bank collects donations to help feed people. A total of 150 meals can be provided with a donation of $ 50, depending on the organization.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network accepts donations to provide people with emergency housing, gift cards and supplies for short and long term needs.

Providing food to those in need can be difficult, especially when freezing cold strains local energy grids. Organizations that are on the ground and help feed people include the North Texas Food Bank; the San Antonio Food Bank, which serves southwest Texas; and Feeding Texas, which partners with nearly two dozen food banks statewide.

Front Steps, an Austin-based organization that works to end homelessness, is running a fundraising campaign. Instead of “blessing bags, snack bars, etc.”, the group notes that the blankets have a “lasting impact”. The group says acrylic blankets are preferred (wool can irritate damaged skin and cotton easily retains moisture).

The American Red Cross is seeking help from blood and platelet donors. And a blood center in Knoxville, Tennessee is asking for blood donations to help replenish supplies in Texas.

In Lewisville, about 40 km north of Dallas, the Salvation Army is in search of food and supplies, including gloves, towels, soap and moisturizer.

The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma request donations so that he can operate his day shelter and expand his street awareness efforts. Depending on the organization, she can offer a week’s meal to a person at their day shelter with a donation of $ 4.

The Oklahoma Regional Food Bank has issued an ongoing appeal for financial contributions, as well as non-perishable and dry food donations.

The American Red Cross in Oklahoma is asking for monetary contributions as well as blood donations, which the group notes there is a shortage.

The Acadiana Regional Coalition for Homelessness and Housing, which serves eight parishes in the state, is soliciting donations for both its general fund and its emergency shelter fund.

According to the Foodbank of Northeast Louisiana, one in five people in their area experiences hunger. The organization says it can help provide 55 meals with every $ 10 donation.

Be sure to research any organization on trusted sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar, which rate nonprofits based on their efficiency and financial standing. These sites can also show whether the organization’s goals and practices match your values ​​and beliefs. For example, those who want to donate to nonprofits focused on climate change, which is linked to the intensity and frequency of natural disasters, may want to check out Charity Navigator’s list of organizations chosen by experts in environment.

The Internal Revenue Service’s database can tell you if the organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.

After disasters like crippling storms, there is often an increase in fraudulent activity. If you suspect that an organization or person is committing fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.

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‘Likely a death penalty’: Officials fear cold weather is more risky for homeless people than virus

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – For weeks after opening a day shelter for the homeless, Jae Bennett was pretty rigid about the building’s 37-person capacity. The last thing he wanted was a lack of social distancing to cause the deadly coronavirus to spread among a population in which many were in fragile health.

But then temperatures in Kansas City, Missouri plunged into single-digit numbers just over a week ago and stayed there, the coldest arctic blast of the season. And Mr. Bennett looked into the eyes of the people who were waiting outside because the stocky brown building was full.

“I said, ‘Go on, just walked in,’ said Bennett, who founded a nonprofit, Street Medicine Kansas City, six years ago. “What’s the option? Follow the Covid health code, or put them in the cold and let them die? “

Cold weather and the country’s homelessness crisis have long been a fatal mix that community advocates and officials have struggled to resolve. But this winter, the coronavirus added a dangerous new complication as cities and community groups struggle to keep members of a vulnerable population safe from the elements without exposing them to an airborne virus that spreads more easily indoors.

The math has taken on greater urgency in recent days as arctic weather freezes much of mid-country from Minnesota to Texas with wind chills expected to dip to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.

Officials in Ramsey County, Minnesota, which includes St. Paul, have set up shelters in a vacant hospital and a vacant seminary dormitory to better keep homeless residents away from each other. Chicago officials have used old school buildings as well as Salvation Army and YMCA premises to give service providers more space for shelter beds. New Life Center, a non-profit rescue mission in Fargo, ND, equipped an abandoned warehouse to expand its shelter capacity. And in Kansas City, where forecasts call for a low of minus 14 degrees on Monday, officials have converted the downtown convention center – the size of eight football fields – to a shelter.

With the closure of public spaces like libraries and the dining rooms of many fast food restaurants, homeless people have fewer places to warm up during the day or use the bathroom. Traditional shelters have had to reduce their capacity for social distancing.

At the same time, city leaders and advocates say the economic destruction of the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people needing services for the homeless. While there is little solid data to prove that more people have become homeless in the past year, these leaders and advocates say the anecdotal evidence is clear.

Officials from the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness have seen formerly homeless customers return to the streets, said Marqueia Watson, the executive director. They also saw many new names on the shelter lists. And, Ms Watson said, social service providers have told them their phones are ringing nonstop with people who need things like rent and help with utilities.

“We all see the warning signs of doom that we look for when we talk about homelessness prevention,” she said.

Kansas City typically spends $ 1.5 million a year on homeless services, according to a city spokesperson. But this year, with help from federal relief funds, he plans to spend $ 8.5 million on programs that include paying for hotel rooms to house families and providing financial assistance to avoid evictions.

At the request of local activists, city officials opened a temporary shelter, with a capacity of 65 people, in a community center in mid-January. The number of people showing up quickly exceeded that number and city leaders had a tough call to pass.

“We made a collective decision to say, ‘Look, if any of these people were to spend the night on the streets, it’s probably a death sentence,’ said Brian Platt, the city manager. “If they get inside and there is a possibility of spreading or catching the Covid virus, there is a higher chance that they could experience that.”

They therefore allowed the refuge to operate above capacity.

This worried Anton Washington, a community organizer who helped lead efforts to urge the city to open the temporary shelter.

“It can’t happen,” Washington reminded city officials, concerned about a Covid-19 outbreak as neighborhoods grew increasingly crowded. He urged the city leaders to find a bigger place.

The city has seen some minor outbreaks in shelters and among the homeless. Nationally, sporadic outbreaks have led to clusters of dozens of infections, although the requirements for testing and reporting cases among the homeless population have not been as stringent as for many. other groups, such as nursing home residents and inmates.

After San Diego officials opened a shelter at a convention center last spring, very few residents tested positive in the next few months. But after Thanksgiving, more than 150 residents tested positive, indicating how quickly and spontaneously the virus can spread in shelters.

By the end of January, demand was so high that Kansas City officials moved the shelter from the community center to the convention center, Bartle Hall, and named it after Scott Eicke, a man from 41 year old who lived on the streets and was found frozen to death on New Years Day. The convention center’s population quickly grew from 150 to over 300 on Thursday, less than two weeks after it opened.

The shelter couldn’t have opened soon enough for Celestria Gilyard, who was evicted from her two-bedroom apartment in October after her landlord lost her Section 8 refunds for failing to make the repairs. Ms Gilyard, a waitress whose livelihood was wiped out by the pandemic as she received fewer positions and tips, couldn’t afford a deposit on a new apartment and bounced back between living on the streets and with relatives and friends.

Mr Bennett, the founder of Street Medicine, spoke to Ms Gilyard, 48, about the town shelter, and she has been sleeping there since mid-January.

“They’re trying to get us in every night and make sure we’re not cold,” said Ms Gilyard, whose 12-year-old son lives with relatives. “When we knock on the door they ask us, do we want snacks, hot chocolate, coffee? And they really satisfy us to the point that I feel that every homeless person really has to embrace that.

Ms Gilyard leaves her crib at the immaculately made-up convention center when she leaves each morning, with a burgundy blanket draped over it, propped pillows, and chairs on either side serving as nightstands.

The experience was so comfortable that concerns about the coronavirus are secondary to her.

Each person’s temperature is checked upon entering. Masks are mandatory. Cribs are spaced in neat rows in a light and airy room with polished concrete floors and high rafters that give the feel of an airplane hangar. Officials plan to start offering Covid-19 testing on site.

Colorful posters are stuck on a wall with handwritten messages: “We want jobs and training.” “Housing, not handcuffs.” “We have the power.”

While the city provides the space, the shelter is run by activists and community organizations. They shaped it not only as a place to sleep at night, but as a hub where homeless people can get the services they need and organize and advocate for systemic changes to end homelessness. .

“Basically a shelter is a problem,” said Troy Robertson, 27, a community organizer who has lived on the streets intermittently since the age of 16.

City officials were to “find us a space that we can call ours for temporary or permanent housing,” he added, standing in the shelter, where he volunteers. “Just shelter for the night, paying all that money to say, ‘Oh, we can house these people at night’ and leave us out in the morning, that’s not fair to me.

This fleeting feeling of shelter kept Fahri Korkmaz on the streets a few days ago, in single-digit temperatures and a biting wind that numbed fingers in 10 minutes. He was not interested in temporary relief, he said, but a place that offers services to help him get back on his feet. He had heard of the convention center shelter, but was unaware that it offered services, highlighting the challenge officials face in getting the message out to the homeless population.

Mr Korkmaz, 45, was released from prison a few years ago and has lived on the streets since his car broke down five months ago. He was worried about catching an illness from a shelter – although Covid-19 was not a big concern, he said. He also didn’t want to leave his personal belongings unattended as he feared they might be stolen.

So, on that recent cold afternoon, he sat in a gray dome tent under an interstate viaduct. Dressed in a black hoodie, red jacket and snow pants, he wrapped himself in three blankets and smoked a cigarette. He warmed himself by lighting scented candles when he was awake and curling up to use his body heat when he slept.

Still, Mr Korkmaz, from Turkey, admitted that there might be a limit to what he could take. If temperatures were to drop as low as expected, he said, he might have to give in and take shelter.

“I mean, if I don’t go I’m stupid, you know what I mean?” he said. “If I lose my hands and my feet, it’s like self-suicide, self-destruction.

Mitch Smith contributed reporting.

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People with dementia are twice as likely to contract Covid, huge study finds

People with dementia had a significantly higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, and they were much more likely to be hospitalized and die from it, than people without dementia, a new study of millions of cases found. medical in the United States.

Their risk could not be fully explained by characteristics common to people with dementia that are known risk factors for Covid-19: old age, living in a nursing home, and conditions such as obesity, l asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. After researchers adjusted for these factors, Americans with dementia were still twice as likely to have contracted Covid-19 at the end of last summer.

“It’s pretty compelling to suggest that there is something about dementia that makes you more vulnerable,” said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, who doesn’t did not participate in the study.

The study found that black people with dementia were almost three times more likely than white people with dementia to be infected with the virus, a finding that experts say most likely reflected the fact that people of color have generally suffered disproportionate damage during the pandemic.

“This study highlights the need to protect patients with dementia, especially those who are black,” the authors wrote.

Maria Carrillo, chief scientist of the Alzheimer’s Association, which heads the journal that published the study, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, said in an interview: “One of the things that comes out of this Covid situation is that we should highlight these disparities. . “

The study was conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University who analyzed the electronic health records of 61.9 million people aged 18 and older in the United States from February 1 to August 21, 2020. data, collected by IBM Watson Health Explorys, came from 360 hospitals and 317,000 health care providers in all 50 states and represented one-fifth of the US population, the authors said.

Rong Xu, professor of biomedical informatics at Case Western and lead author of the study, said there had been speculation about whether people with dementia were more prone to infections and damage from Covid-19.

“We thought, ‘We have the data, we can just test this hypothesis,’ Dr Xu said.

The researchers found that out of 15,770 patients with Covid-19 in the records analyzed, 810 of them also had dementia. When researchers adjusted for general demographic factors – age, sex, and race – they found that people with dementia were more than three times more likely to contract Covid-19. When they adjusted for Covid-specific risk factors like nursing home residency and underlying physical conditions, the gap narrowed somewhat, but people with dementia were still twice as likely to ‘be infected.

Experts and study authors said the reasons for this vulnerability could include cognitive and physiological factors.

“People with dementia are more dependent on those around them to ensure safety, to remember to wear a mask, to keep people away through social distancing,” said Dr. Kenneth Langa, professor of medicine at the University of Michigan , who did not participate in the study. “There’s the cognitive impairment and the fact that they’re more socially at risk,” he says.

Dr Yaffe said there could also be an “element of frailty” in people with dementia, including a lack of mobility and muscle tone, which could affect their resilience to infections.

Dr Carrillo noted that the coronavirus infection was associated with an inflammatory response that has been shown to affect blood vessels and other aspects of the circulatory system. Many people with dementia already have vascular disorders, which can be made worse or amplified by Covid-19.

Indeed, the study authors subdivided patients according to the type of dementia listed in the electronic records and found that people designated as having vascular dementia had a greater risk of infection than those designated as having vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s disease or other types.

But Dr Langa and Dr Yaffe warned that there was a significant overlap between types of dementia. Many patients have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disease, they said, and physicians who are not specialists may not distinguish the subtypes when providing codes for electronic records.

In examining the risk of hospitalization and death for patients with Covid dementia, the researchers did not adjust demographics such as age or whether they lived in nursing homes or had under-developed medical conditions. underlying. They found that dementia patients with Covid were 2.6 times more likely to have been hospitalized in the first six months of the pandemic than those without dementia. They were 4.4 times more likely to die.

Blacks with Covid-19 and dementia were significantly more likely to be hospitalized than whites with both diseases. The authors did not find a significant difference in the death rate of black-and-white coronavirus patients with dementia, although they wrote that the number of deaths analyzed, 170, may be too small to provide a conclusion. solid about it.

Experts noted that one of the limitations of the study was that researchers did not have access to socio-economic information, which could lead to a better understanding of patients’ risk factors.

Dr Langa also noted that the data only reflected people who interacted with the health system, so it did not include “more isolated and poorer patients who have a harder time getting to homes. doctors”.

Therefore, he said, the study could be “an underestimate of the higher risk of Covid infection for people with dementia.”

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Do you have climate anxiety? These people do something about it

Dr. Atkinson, hoping to assuage her feelings and those of her students, has designed a seminar on eco-grief and climate anxiety.

According to Dr Van Susteren, eco-distress can manifest itself in different ways, from angst over what the future holds to extreme guilt over purchases and individual behaviors. Although her symptoms sometimes mirror those of clinical anxiety, she said she views eco-distress as a reasonable reaction to scientific fact – a reaction that in mild cases should be treated but not pathologized. (In cases of extreme anxiety, Dr Van Susteren said it’s important to seek professional help.)

For many Americans, climate distress counseling is relatively accessible. In some communities, however, especially in less wealthy countries, this may seem rather a rare privilege.

Kritee, senior climatologist at the Environmental Defense Fund, has feet in both worlds. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Dr. Kritee (she has only one name) leads workshops and retreats for people experiencing climate mourning. She also works with Indian farmers whose livelihoods are directly threatened by the extreme droughts and floods that accompany climate change.

Dr Kritee, who has a doctorate in biochemistry and microbiology, said she believes people from all walks of life should take their feelings about climate change into account. She makes her services affordable through scholarships, installment payments, and donation-based courses. Some of her sessions are open only to people of color, who are often on the front lines of climate change, and whose ecological grief, she says, is often compounded by racial trauma.

As for whites and the better-off, who are unlikely to feel the worst effects of climate change, Dr Kritee said it was crucial that they also face their grief. In doing so, she says, they can begin to think about questions like, “If I am in so much pain, what happens to less privileged people?”

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People are falsifying COVID-19 tests to travel

What started last year when a few bad apples falsified COVID-19 tests to allow them to travel has grown into a full-fledged thriving market.

The black market, that is.

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The start of travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a culture of cheating for many who want to fly, but cannot do so if they test positive for the virus, according to the Vice media outlet.

In short, if you have the cash, there are a lot of nefarious characters who use Photoshop and Microsoft Paint to fake documents.

Being a trend now

Naughty passengers

Vice asked two of those counterfeiters how it worked, and both, who asked to remain anonymous, were more than happy to provide details.

“I just turned on Photoshop and changed the date,” wrote a man who had manipulated the results of a whole group of friends. “Fun fact, the document [test result] it was in French while they were in Sweden the day it was supposedly done, but they didn’t see any problem with that. “

The other person took a slightly less sophisticated route and rescheduled a previous test with Microsoft Paint for their southern European vacation.

The two are not alone. This week, 40 travelers tried to submit false test results to enter Croatia, and earlier this year a Dutch teenager who tested positive for the virus went one step further and falsified her result to escape quarantine in Switzerland. She was arrested just before boarding the plane.

Vice’s report includes confirmation from a spokesperson for the aviation industry group Airlines for America that staff members “charged with verifying that a passenger has a legitimate test result do not receive any specialized training.”

The respected Frommer’s travel guide said part of the problem is that COVID-19 tests are not universal and come in different languages. Frommer’s said the need to standardize test results becomes more urgent on January 26, when the United States begins requiring negative COVID-19 tests from all those entering from abroad, including U.S. citizens returning from vacation. .

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Video: Several people killed in liquid nitrogen leak at Georgia poultry plant

new video loaded: Several killed in liquid nitrogen leak at Georgia poultry plant

transcription

transcription

Several killed in liquid nitrogen leak at Georgia poultry plant

At least 6 people have died and nine others were hospitalized after a liquid nitrogen leak at a Foundation Food Group poultry plant in Gainesville, Ga. On Thursday.

“At 10 am today, a tragic accident occurred at the Foundation Food Group’s prepared food facility in Gainesville, Georgia. The first indications indicate that a nitrogen line has broken inside the installation. Pending confirmation, we are very, very sad to say that six team members appear to have died and others have been taken to hospital with very serious injuries. Some first responders were also exposed and treated. People lost today include members of the maintenance, supervision and management teams. Every member of the team is equally important to us, and our hearts go out to their families and communities who have suffered such a devastating loss. “The involvement of the sheriff’s office in this situation is right now with the death investigation, the deceased person investigation. Additionally, as you’ve heard from the fire department, OSHA is also on the scene to investigate, as well as the investigation unit of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. So they will mainly look at the cause of this. We are investigating the matter from the point of view of the death investigation. I heard from our on-scene investigators that fire departments were able to enter the facility and found it safe at around 1:40 p.m. this afternoon. And so our crime scene unit was able to come in and start processing the scene. “Our sheriff’s investigators are currently working to identify all the victims who lost their lives in this very tragic event today. They’ll – from there, they’ll inform the families of those victims who perished. So I would ask everyone to keep families in your prayers. And many of these people who came to work today had no idea what was going to happen, neither did their families. They are not in a profession where you would expect something like this to happen. But here we are. “

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Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest styling trends and scientific developments, Times Video reporters offer an eye-opening and unforgettable view of the world.

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Millions of people intended for public health threats have been diverted elsewhere, Watchdog says

WASHINGTON – A federal watchdog has found that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which gained national attention last year when the Trump administration sacked its director, has been used for the past 10 years as a ” slush fund ”to cover expenses unrelated to its main mission of combating health threats such as Ebola, Zika and the coronavirus.

The 223-page report, released Wednesday by the Office of the Special Advisor, found that the Department of Health and Human Services embezzled millions of taxpayer dollars intended for BARDA to fund vaccine research and preparedness for an pandemic to other government activities, and failed to notify Congress – a potential violation of federal law.

Non-related activities included moving office furniture, administrative expenses, news subscriptions, legal services and salaries of other ministry employees. Investigators found that the practice of embezzlement was so common that the employees had a name: “BARDA Bank”.

The report focuses on the actions of the Deputy Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the head of the health department who oversees BARDA and is responsible for its budget. The Deputy Secretary is responsible for leading the federal response to pandemic threats like the novel coronavirus. Its last occupant was Dr Robert Kadlec; President Biden has not named a successor.

“I am deeply concerned by the apparent misuse by ASPR of millions of dollars in funding intended for public health emergencies like the one our country is currently facing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” wrote Henry J. Kerner, the special advisor, in a letter to Mr. Biden, using the acronym of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

“Equally concerning,” Kerner added, “is the spread and awareness of this practice for nearly a decade.”

The report does not specifically say how much money was embezzled. But about $ 25 million was taken from BARDA programs and provided to the deputy secretary’s office as recently as fiscal 2019, the office found. And between fiscal years 2007 to 2016, the assistant secretary did not record $ 517.8 million in administrative expenses, according to the report.

It also suggests that a senator, Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, who drafted the legislation that created BARDA and is considered its champion in Congress, got involved in internal funding disputes. The whistleblower told investigators that “restrictive wording” was added to the 2016 appropriation bill at the request of Mr Burr and his “pet project” – an apparent reference to BARDA.

A spokesperson for the senator made no comment.

BARDA was established by Congress in 2006. Its mission is to fund new research into vaccines, therapies, diagnostics and other “medical countermeasures” to combat natural and biodefense threats. It operated in relative obscurity until April, when Dr Kadlec sacked its director, Dr Rick Bright.

Dr Bright then said he was removed from his post and reassigned to a smaller post at the National Institutes of Health after pushing for stringent monitoring of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug adopted by President Donald J. Trump as a treatment for the coronavirus, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism before science”.

Days later, he filed a whistleblower complaint with the Office of Special Advocates, an independent federal oversight agency. He has since left the federal government and recently advised Mr Biden on the coronavirus during the transition.

But the report released on Wednesday fails to respond to Dr Bright’s claims. Rather, it covers the Obama and Trump administrations, and grew out of an investigation into a 2018 complaint by an anonymous whistleblower whose allegations primarily concerned Dr. Kadlec’s predecessor, Dr. Nicole Lurie. The whistleblower accused Dr Lurie of “reporting false information to Congress” in his monthly reports to lawyers.

Dr Kadlec and Dr Lurie have denied any wrongdoing. In a brief interview on Wednesday, Dr Lurie said she had not been interviewed for the investigation. The results were reported earlier by the Washington Post.

“We left the country stronger than we found, including with a pandemic handbook,” Dr Lurie said of his time overseeing the agency. “All spending was routinely done and approved through multiple layers of rigorous budget processes. No expenses were incurred unilaterally. “

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement it would review how the assistant secretary allocated money from fiscal years 2015 to 2019 to determine whether a law had been broken.

A lawyer for Dr Bright, Debra S. Katz, called the findings “scandalous”. While the special advocate said last spring that he had “reasonable grounds” to believe Dr Bright’s impeachment was a return on his investment and called for his reinstatement, Ms Katz said the investigation into his complaint was progressing slowly because the Trump administration had not cooperated.

“These people used BARDA as their own piggy bank – both to run the contracts with their buddies and to do the special projects they wanted, to the detriment of American public health and safety,” she said. declared.

In a statement, Kerner urged Congress and the health department to “take immediate action to ensure that funding for public health emergencies can no longer be used as a slush fund for unrelated expenses.”

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The flaming lips played to people in literal bubbles. Is it safer?

There are the Covid-19 bubbles – small groups of friends or family who agree to exclusively socialize with each other during the pandemic – and then there are the types of bubbles that the Flaming Lips have used. during recent concerts.

Band members and spectators rocked and bounced as they were encased in large individual plastic bubbles amid swirling bright lights in trippy stages at concerts Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City.

The group took elaborate precautions during their live performances to protect against transmission of the coronavirus, but some health experts were unsure of the effectiveness of those measures.

“I would need to see how the air exchange occurred between the outside and the inside of the bubbles to be able to tell if it was safe on everything or if it reduced the risk of transmission”, said Dr Eric Cioe-Peña, director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, NY

The concerts held Friday and Saturday were originally scheduled for December, but the group has postponed them due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

“It’s a very small and strange event,” band frontman Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone last month. “But the oddity is that we can enjoy a gig before we put our families and everyone else in danger.”

“I think it’s a bit of a new normal,” he added. “You could go to a show, maybe not, but I think we’re going to be able to make it.”

In March, Mr Coyne posted a sketch on Instagram showing what the bubble concert could look like.

Nathan Poppe, videographer and photographer who documents the show for the group, said on twitter that the soil was placed in a grid of 10 bubbles by 10 bubbles. “Each bubble can hold one person or two or maybe three,” he says.

Photos showed fans climbing inside the spheres on the concert floor, where the bubbles were then inflated with leaf blowers.

Each bubble was equipped with high frequency speaker, water bottle, fan, towel and sign if someone had to use the toilet or if it was too hot inside. If it got too stuffy inside, the bubble could be filled with fresh air, Mr Poppe said.

He said spectators can remove their masks inside the bubble but must wear them after leaving the bubble.

“You roll your bubble to the exit and unzip it at the door,” he says.

It is not immediately clear what happened to the bubbles used after the 90-minute performances, which were attended by around 200 people each.

Some health experts had concerns about the safety of users inside the bubbles.

“There is no evidence that these bubbles are effective – or not – from an infectious disease transmission perspective,” said Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health.

He said that controlling the transmission of the virus depends on good air circulation and good filtration.

“So in theory, if the air filtration is good, protective barriers can usefully increase and reduce the risk of transmission, but I would hesitate to attend a concert in a bubble at this time unless it is. ‘has been evaluated further,’ he said.

Dr Cioe-Peña said the plastic bubbles used in concerts did not appear to be ventilated. But if each of the bubbles “had a supply of bidirectionally filtered air,” he said, “it would effectively prevent the transmission of Covid between the bubbles.”

While a plastic bubble could help reduce exposure to “infectious agents” if filled with filtered air, it could also lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide inside the bubble, said Richard E. Peltier, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University. of Massachusetts Amherst.

“My recommendation would be to add a small CO2 sensor to the bubble,” he says. “While not always the most precise, they should be enough to tell a viewer it’s time to take a break and freshen up that stale air.” And then start enjoying the music again safely.

At least 48 new Covid-19 deaths and 2,941 new cases were reported in Oklahoma on Sunday, according to a New York Times database.

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As Biden lifts ban, transgender people have long sought-after chance to enlist

Among the roughly 200,000 transgender Americans of recruiting age is James Wong, an engineering student at Carnegie Mellon University who, while in Girl Scouts as a child, became an ace at survival skills, including including lighting a fire using only a flint and an ax.

“I like leading people, I like solving problems, I want to serve my country,” Mr. Wong said in an interview from his home in Los Angeles, where he takes distance education. “The army is a natural fit for me.”

Mr. Wong, 20, initially considered applying to one of the United States’ service academies, but the ban prevented him from entering. Instead, he joined the ROTC, hoping that politics would change by the time he graduated and could be made an officer. Before the virus finished school, he would wake up at 4:30 a.m. several times a week to go to physical training, but he knew that, under the ban, he would have to leave the ROTC when the time came to do a workout. military physical examination. Now he hopes to continue with ROTC this summer.

“I have met all the standards,” he says. “None of the cadets or commanders have a problem with me.”

When President Trump announced the ban, many legal scholars thought the courts would eventually find that the courts violated the constitutional right to equal protection of laws. But the legal process evolved so slowly that it effectively denied many young people the opportunity to join the military, according to Shannon Minter, a civil rights lawyer and legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, who continued. the Department of Defense on behalf of Mr. Talbott and other transgender recruits.

“It was a ban based purely on discrimination, and we all knew it would be overturned, but maybe not in time to help,” he said.

Mr. Minter has spent years fighting Pentagon lawyers. Now that the Biden administration has overturned the settlement, his lawsuits are moot. But he added that the ban had an unlikely silver lining.

“Before Trump’s ban, most people had no idea transgender people were even in the military – they were stereotyped,” he said. “I think it raised acceptance. It has forced people to realize that there are some really talented and committed transgender people who want to serve.