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Iceland Avoids State-Wide Shutdown, Provides Data Addressing Key Questions On Coronavirus

Daily Wire - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:59

Many experts are increasingly pointing to Iceland as a country that might provide key information about how to combat the coronavirus pandemic. While the small country of just 360,000 people has closed secondary and tertiary schools and has banned gatherings of 100 people or more, it has thus far avoided the widespread “lockdowns” that are economically devastating many countries, including the United States, which has already suffered historic unemployment amid an increasing number of government-mandated shutdowns.

Some of the most helpful of the data coming out of Iceland are the results of its widespread COVID-19 testing, which includes a large percentage of people who are asymptomatic, showing no symptoms of the virus. According to the latest numbers, Iceland has found that as much has half of the people who have been infected by coronavirus may be asymptomatic.

“As of Tuesday, Iceland had tested more than 17,900 people for the virus — nearly 5% of its population,” CNN reported Wednesday. “And while its National University Hospital tests people who are high-risk or show symptoms, nearly half of Iceland’s tests have been conducted by biopharma company deCODE Genetics, focusing on the wider population. Crucially, deCODE’s ‘screening program accepts everybody who is not showing symptoms and not currently in quarantine,’ Iceland’s Directorate of Health said in a statement, adding that Iceland-based company was doing it on the behalf of the Chief Epidemiologist and the health agency.”

“Our number one priority is to limit the damage of the pandemic to the health of our citizens and to our social and economic infrastructure,” Iceland’s Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir said in a statement when deCODE’s role in testing was first announced. “We have followed the policy of adhering to the best available advice of the medical community in Iceland. The large scale testing by deCODE Genetics among the general population will hopefully inform improved decision making throughout the current crisis, and more importantly, serve a useful purpose for how the world prepares for similar events in the future.”

The minister’s prediction about the importance of deCODE’s testing is proving true. “The results of the additional tests performed by deCODE have given an indication that efforts to limit the spread of the virus have been effective so far,” Iceland’s government said in an update last week. That general testing of the population “will continue to elicit a much clearer picture of the actual spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Iceland.”

The private biopharma company, which was found by Dr. Kári Stefánsson and is a subsidiary of U.S. biotech company Amgen, has tested around 9,000 people so far, CNN reports, and found that less than 1% of the tests were positive and, of those positive tests, around 50% of people were asymptomatic.

That finding, CNN reports, aligns with estimates by other experts who told the network that while how much of the outbreak has been fueled by those with no symptoms or very mild symptoms was yet unclear, “it’s become clear that transmission by people who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic is responsible for more transmission than previously thought.”

Stefánsson offered his own take-away from his company’s findings thus far. “What it means in my mind, is that because we are screening the general population, we are catching people early in the infection before they start showing symptoms,” he told CNN. Another important aspect of the randomized tests is that it is helping to trace the way the virus has spread. “We can determine the geographic origin of the virus in every single [virus] in Iceland,” said Stefánsson.

Stefánsson also expressed hope that more information could come to light to clarify how people respond so differently to the virus. CNN notes that deCODE is better positioned to answer than most groups because “it already has the medical and genotype data of nearly half of Iceland’s population.”

As for how Iceland has been able to avoid the more “draconian measures” taken by other countries, the Directorate of Health told CNN that the country’s more widespread “testing and contact tracing” have allowed it to keep most of the society open. “There is also another reason, no less important,” the Directorate of Health added, “we have pursued a very aggressive policy of quarantine for individuals — suspected to be at risk of having contracted the virus — for much longer and at a higher scale than most other countries we are aware of.”

Related: Professors Push Back On Pandemic Models: Be Honest About What Happens After Lockdowns Are Lifted

WATCH: Trump acknowledged COVID-19 in State of the Union speech shredded by Nancy Pelosi

LifeZette - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:57

While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) goes on a media blitz, claiming President Donald Trump ignored the seriousness of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in hopes of lowering his approval ratings, we want to remind you of what really happened “early on.”

For starters, Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats squandered precious time and resources on their phony sham impeachment process in December and January.

Furthermore, while President Trump worked alone assembling his Coronavirus Task Force, the fake news media called it “racist and misogynistic.” And when he wisely halted flights from China, Democrats and media also called that “racist” and added “xenophobic” to the list.

MORE NEWS: [VIDEO] CBS News Used “Packed Emergency Room” Video From Italy in Story About New York Hospital Conditions

Joe Biden went so far as to claim he wouldn’t have halted flights—a move that Dr. Anthony Fauci says likely saved thousands of American lives. But one thing we really want to remind you of is that during President Trump’s SOTU address, he discussed and warned Americans about the coronavirus.. Written proof of that was redcued to confetti as Pelosi made a spectacle by ripping it to pieces. Liberals “celebrated” that move. You can watch the video below:

Nancy Pelosi ripping up Donald Trump’s #SOTU  speech is the mood.

— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) February 5, 2020

Trump warned Americans about the dangers of the coronavirus and Pelosi, who was bitter about her party’s failed attempt at “destroying” Trump with a sham impeachment, couldn’t have cared less. Her destructive actions with the official SOTU speech exemplifies a vindictive nature and sore losers on the other side of the political aisle.

Nancy didn’t think this was of any import…

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 1, 2020

Pelosi and the Democrats have never cared a lick about coronavirus or what it can do to Americans. Their sole focus is on the personal and political destruction of President Trump. They don’t care how many Americans suffer, get hurt, or die in the process.

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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Bernie Sanders: Trump Downplayed The Threat From Coronavirus "From The Very Beginning"

RealClear - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:57
Sen. Bernie Sanders told ABC's "Tihs View" on Wednesday that President Trump's initially dismissive attitude towards the coronavirus outbreak "has cost the lives of many, many Americans." "Instead of rallying the scientific community, instead of educating the American people about the need for social distancing and the other things that we have to do," he said. "Trump from the very beginning downplayed the threat of this virus. The idea that today we have doctors and nurses all over this country who do not have masks that cost fifty cents or a dollar apiece is unbelievable. We don't have enough ventilators, gloves, gowns - that speaks to a dysfunctional healthcare system."

Federal Prisons Enter 14-Day Quarantine To Combat Coronavirus

Daily Wire - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:50

Federal prisons begin a 14-day lockdown on Wednesday amid fears the coronavirus could spread throughout the nation’s government-run penal institutions.

The Bureau of Prisons released a statement Tuesday evening announcing the quarantine and saying that it may be extended if needed. The Bureau said it would take the following actions to contain the spread of the coronavirus at federal prisons:

  • For a 14-day period, inmates in every institution will be secured in their assigned cells/quarters to decrease the spread of the virus. This modification to our action plan is based on health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior.
  • During this time, to the extent practicable, inmates should still have access to programs and services that are offered under normal operating procedures, such as mental health treatment and education.
  • In addition, the Bureau is coordinating with the United States Marshals Service (USMS) to significantly decrease incoming movement during this time.
  • After 14 days, this decision will be reevaluated and a decision made as to whether or not to return to modified operations.
  • Limited group gathering will be afforded to the extent practical to facilitate commissary, laundry, showers, telephone, and Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS) access.

The statement said this was “Phase 5” of its coronavirus Action Plan and that phases 1 through 4 occurred between January and March. Phase 4 was implemented on March 26 and consisted of revised preventative measures.

“The agency updated its quarantine and isolation procedures to require all newly admitted inmates to BOP, whether in a sustained community transition area or not, be assessed using a screening tool and temperature check. This includes all new intakes, detainees, commitments, writ returns from judicial proceedings, and parole violators, regardless of their method of arrival,” the Bureau said of Phase 4. “Asymptomatic inmates are placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or until cleared by medical staff. Symptomatic inmates are placed in isolation until they test negative for COVID-19 or are cleared by medical staff as meeting CDC criteria for release from isolation.”

Politico reported that 29 inmates and 30 staff members within the federal prison system had tested positive for COVID-19 and that unions suggest the numbers are likely higher. So far, one federal prisoner has died from the coronavirus, the outlet reported.

Late last month, Attorney General William Barr requested the Bureau of Prisons look into sending some prisoners to home confinement if they were not dangerous, Politico reported.

“I asked if it was possible to expand home confinement, particularly for those older prisoners who have served substantial parts of their sentences and no longer pose a threat and may have underlying conditions that make them particularly vulnerable,” Barr said at the time.

The directive he issued included a non-exhaustive list of discretionary factors:

  • The age and vulnerability of the inmate to COVID-19, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines;
  • The security level of the facility currently holding the inmate, with priority given to inmates residing in low and minimum security facilities;
  • The inmate’s conduct in prison, with inmates who have engaged in violent or gang-related activity in prison or who have incurred a BOP violation within the last year not receiving priority treatment under this Memorandum;
  • The inmate’s score under PATTERN, with inmates who have anything above a minimum score not receiving priority treatment under this Memorandum;
  • Whether the intimate has a demonstrated and verifiable re-entry plan that will prevent recidivism and maximize public safety, including verification that the conditions under which the inmate would be confined upon release would present a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than the inmate would face in his or her BOP facility;
  • The inmate’s crime of conviction, and assessment of the danger posed by the inmate to the community. Some offenses, such as sex offenses, will render an inmate ineligible for home detention. Other serious offenses should weigh more heavily against consideration for home detention.

Barr noted that many inmates may be safer in prison than outside due to the spread of the coronavirus in society.

NY Gov. Cuomo: Models Now Predict COVID-19 Apex At End Of April, "Which Means Another Month Of This"

RealClear - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:49
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke about the coronavirus models at Wednesday's press pandemic conference and suggests the latest projections predict the apex of the coronavirus outbreak is now projected for around the end of April, "which means another month of this" quarantine.

Joe Biden: It’s ‘Hard To Envision’ A Democratic Convention Will Go On As Planned

Daily Wire - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:49

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he does not believe there will be a Democratic National Convention in July even though the Democratic National Committee is insisting that the show will go on in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as planned.

“It’s hard to envision that,” Biden told MSNBC, referring to a full-scale arena convention with thousands of attendees. “Again, we should listen to the scientists.”

The Democratic National Convention was deliberately scheduled to take place before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo; that gathering is now postponed until at least 2021. Other major summer events, like the Wimbeldon tennis tournament, are now being canceled pending further information on the coronavirus outbreak.

Biden predicts a smaller scale operation, perhaps even some sort of “conference call” to announce the 2020 Democratic presidential contender.

“We ought to be able to do, we were able to do in the middle of a Civil War all the way through to World War II, have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety. And we’re able to do both. But the fact is it may have to be different,” he said.

The DNC says it has not yet made a call on whether or not it will hold its convention and that it is considering a range of “contingency plans” that could include a digital meetup.

The DNC will “balance protecting the health and well-being of convention attendees and our host city with our responsibility to deliver this historic and critical occasion,” the group told CNN in response to Biden’s claims. “Providing an opportunity for our candidate to reaffirm our democratic values, unify the party and share his vision for a safer and stronger future for our country has never before felt more important.”

A second “convention aide” told CNN that, “Biden’s full remarks are in line with the convention’s contingency planning efforts that center on following the guidance of health officials and prioritizing the health and safety of all attendees and our host community.”

The Republican National Committee expressed similar sentiments last week. Their convention, though, takes place in late August, well after the Democratic National Convention.

Biden’s concerns might be better focused on the primary contest rather than the Democratic convention. With most coronavirus lockdowns now extended into May, many states have postponed their primary contests indefinitely, and it is possible that Biden won’t get enough delegates by the July 13th convention date to secure the nomination outright.