GOP Senator Plans to Force Vote to End COVID National Emergency Declaration

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) says he plans to force a vote to end the national emergency declaration relating to COVID-19, even as hundreds of Americans die from the virus each day. Marshall explained that his planned congressional resolution to end the declaration is in response to President Joe Biden’s comment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday that the pandemic “is over.” “Since President Biden used his appearance on 60 Minutes to declare COVID is over, he must immediately terminate the COVID-19 national emergency declaration and wind down other emergency authorities that his Administration continues to force us to live…

State Audit Reveals Florida Undercounted COVID Deaths by Thousands

An audit released by the state of Florida on Monday suggests that information that the state released to the public during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic was inaccurate and incomplete. The report, conducted over the past year by the Florida Auditor General, examined the state’s COVID-19 response from March to October 2020. The audit reviewed a sample of tests from three separate state-run facilities in its investigation — and ultimately came to the conclusion that data on case and death counts frequently went unreported, and that the state often failed to adhere to protocols regarding the virus. State-contracted…

Nobel Laureate Calls for Ending Intellectual Property Rules for COVID Vaccines

Social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus on Saturday called for a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, declaring that “freeing” the technology “from profit and patent is the key” to a global health system that puts human lives above corporate profit. In an op-ed published Saturday in Stat news, Yunus — who’s previously joined with other Nobel laureates in pushing for an end to intellectual property barriers — pointed to the global inequality in access to vaccines. He referenced Oxfam’s estimate that it could take an additional two and a half years…

COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5 Could be Available in June, FDA Official Says

An official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that coronavirus vaccines for children under the age of 5 will be considered — and likely approved — as soon as June. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, suggested that the vaccines will be available shortly in an interview published on Friday in The Washington Post. So far, only Moderna has submitted a request for emergency use authorization of its version of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years old. But Pfizer and BioNTech have said that they will…

Life Expectancy in US Declined in 2021. Many High-Income Nations Saw It Recover.

Just over a month into year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, research revealed Thursday that life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2021 — which followed a well-documented drop in 2020 and contrasted a recovery trend in other high-income countries. The paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows that U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.86 years in 2019 to 76.99 years in 2020 and 76.60 years in 2021, a net loss of 2.26 years. The study comes as progressives in Congress continue to fight for Medicare for All legislation to replace the U.S. for-profit healthcare system —…

Working for Trump, Who Spouted COVID Misinformation, Was “Painful,” Fauci Says

Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious diseases experts and a prominent voice throughout the coronavirus pandemic, recently described his work under the Trump administration as being “painful,” particularly when the former president lied to the public about the crisis. In an interview with CNN journalist Chris Wallace this week, Fauci — who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden — recalled how former President Donald Trump’s inner circle came after him when he countered Trump’s misinformation back in March of 2020. At one point,…

White House Says Funding for Testing and Vaccines for Uninsured May Run Out Soon

On Tuesday, the White House announced that the government may soon have to stop providing free COVID vaccines, testing and treatments for uninsured people because Congress failed to approve more funding to address the pandemic in recent spending packages. If COVID funding continues to stall, providers won’t be able to submit claims for COVID testing and treatments starting next week, the White House warned. In April, the program will run out of funds to allow people without health insurance to get COVID vaccines for free. People without health insurance have been at a higher risk of dying due to COVID…

Far Right Truckers in “Freedom Convoy” Stopped by Ottawa Neighborhood Residents

Fed up with far right truck drivers and other extremist supporters in their city, residents from a neighborhood in Ottawa, Ontario, confronted and disrupted several truckers who were on their way downtown to join the so-called “Freedom Convoy.” Upon learning that the route of some trucks was located nearby, Sean Burges, a senior instructor at Carleton University, posted in a neighborhood Facebook group about a plan to protest the truckers’ arrival, according to a report by Ottawa Citizen. Around two dozen residents of his neighborhood initially joined him at the intersection at Riverside Drive and Bronson Avenue at 9 a.m.…

Disabled Activist Speaks Out Against Ableism During Pandemic

San Francisco — In early January, one of the country’s top public health officials went on national television and delivered what she called “really encouraging news” on covid-19: A recent study showed that more than three-fourths of fatalities from the omicron variant of the virus occurred among people with several other medical conditions. “These are people who were unwell to begin with,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walensky’s remarks infuriated Americans with disabilities, who say the pandemic has highlighted how the medical establishment — and society at large — treats their lives…

South Carolina Lawmakers Propose Fines or Prison Time for Asking Vaccine Status

A bill proposed by the South Carolina state legislature would make it a crime for employers or business owners — and possibly even state residents in general — to ask someone if they have been vaccinated for protection against COVID-19. The lead sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Mike Burns, defended the proposal by claiming that it would protect state residents’ privacy rights. “Your private health information is still your private health information,” Burns said to a local news affiliate in the state, adding that he is opposed to private companies imposing vaccine rules for their workers. “We have a…

Gorsuch Goes Maskless at Supreme Court, Increasing Colleagues’ COVID Risk Levels

Since last Friday afternoon, Justice Neil Gorsuch has refused to wear a mask during in-person hearings at the Supreme Court, a decision that could impact the health of his fellow justices — especially given that the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus continues to push COVID hospitalization rates into record high levels. NBC News has reported that on Tuesday Gorsuch appeared without a mask on. All other justices in attendance were wearing masks, while two justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, attended via remote video communication. All nine justices are vaccinated, including with boosters, for protection against coronavirus. The…

Fauci Accuses Rand Paul of Exploiting the Pandemic to Fundraise

On Tuesday, Anthony Fauci responded to accusations from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) over his handling of the pandemic, pointing out that the lawmaker is exploiting the crisis to raise campaign funds. Fauci currently serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and as Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden. Over the course of the pandemic, Paul has frequently rebuked Fauci during congressional testimonies, often while peddling lies about the nature of the virus itself. In September, for example, Paul suggested that vaccines were ineffective at combating the pandemic, and claimed that better outcomes in…

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