stephen jay gould

(september 10, 1941-may 20,2002)
  • Why is Trump so restrained about the Biden sexual assault allegation?

    Why is Trump so restrained about the Biden sexual assault allegation?The president rarely misses a chance to sling mud but he has been uncharacteristically quiet about Tara Reade’s claimSometimes Donald Trump portrays his election rival, Joe Biden, as a sleepy geriatric who should be in a care home because “he doesn’t know he’s alive”. At others, the president speaks of Biden as a wily manipulator who conspired with the deep state and China.But in this scattergun approach, the US president has been uncharacteristically reluctant to use what, in normal times, would seem standard political ammunition: an allegation of sexual assault.It took more than a month after Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer, alleged on a podcast that Biden sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill basement in 1993, for Trump to publicly address the matter.Even then, the US president’s comments on 30 April were unusually milquetoast. “I don’t know anything about it,” Trump said. “I don’t know exactly – I think he should respond. You know, it could be false accusations. I know all about false accusations. I’ve been falsely charged numerous times. And there is such a thing.”Then, speaking on Fox News’s Fox & Friends, usually a comfort zone, he again declined to go for Biden’s jugular. “Look, he’s got to fight that battle,” he said. “I’ve had battles, too, where I’ve had false accusations, many times. I’ve had many false accusations made, I can tell you that. Many. And maybe it is a false accusation. Frankly, I hope it is, for his sake.”The first and most obvious explanation for the president’s reticence is that he himself has been accused of assault and unwanted touching by a long list of women, some far more recently than Reade’s account. He also denies the allegations. On the other hand, Trump has never allowed perceived double standards to get in the way of his scorched earth tactics in the past.Monika McDermott, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York, said: “It’s surprising in a way because usually Trump doesn’t pull back on things even when they do seem hypocritical or ironic or choose your adjective. Yet he is in this particular instance. I don’t know if he’s waiting for something to happen or whether he’s waiting to see how it plays out before he does anything. He seems to be finding what seem to him more fruitful attack routes against Obama and other things and people than against Biden right now.”In 2016 Trump’s campaign was rocked by the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which he could heard bragging about using his fame to grab women’s private parts. Instead of quitting, he went on the offensive against his rival Hillary Clinton by highlighting sexual assault allegations against her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and even inviting those accusers to a press conference before a presidential debate.But this November will witness the first presidential election since the rise of the MeToo movement, which has encouraged women to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against prominent men in politics, show business and other industries.Biden has committed to picking a woman as his running mate and frequently cites his work as lead sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. Both candidates are keenly aware that suburban women could be a pivotal demographic in the final vote.While Trump remains taciturn, Republicans have instead focused much of their response on Brett Kavanaugh, the supreme court justice whose nomination was nearly derailed by sexual misconduct allegations. The Trump campaign pointed to statements made by Democrats during the Kavanaugh episode to portray them as hypocritical.Erin Perrine, principal deputy communications director at the Trump campaign, said: “During Justice Kavanaugh’s hearings, Biden made clear that all women should be believed when they come forward with allegations of sexual assault. Biden’s own work during the Obama administration lowered standards for such accusations on college campuses as to effectively institute a presumption of guilt. In a dramatic shift, Biden now says ‘believe women’ doesn’t actually mean ‘believe women.’”Trump himself, however, has preferred to take aim at other targets, seeking to implicate Biden in a so-called “Obamagate” conspiracy that many seen as an attempt to deflect attention from the coronavirus pandemic – likely to prove a more significant issue in November.Amid Democratic alarm that the Reade allegation could dent Biden’s support among women, the former vice-president vehemently denied it in an interview on the MSNBC network on 1 May and repeated that position in a series of media appearances.The story has faded from prominence in recent days, especially after the PBS NewsHour interviewed 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women, and found none said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden, nor ever heard rumors or allegations to that effect.By pushing the case, Trump may have more to lose than to gain. Rich Galen, a former Republican strategist, said: “The case against Biden keeps getting thinner and thinner so I’m not sure that there’s much there. And all the people who’s accused Trump, it would be like listing the names of the people who died in Vietnam every night.”Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, added: “Trump, if nothing else, knows how to read his audience: ‘No, they’re not going to buy anything I sell on this point.’ There’s no need to even open that Pandora’s box because it’s a Pandora’s box for him, not Joe Biden. I think that’s why the president has largely decided not to engage at that level.“My sense is right now, despite what others in the campaign may want to do, there is no energy from the president himself to open up that door and go through it.”


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  • Beijing says it will unilaterally impose national laws in Hong Kong 'without delay' as thousands take to the streets in protest

    Beijing says it will unilaterally impose national laws in Hong Kong 'without delay' as thousands take to the streets in protestCritics worry that the new laws could hurt Hong Kong's independence and the city's position as a financial center.


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  • Airbus experts probe plane crash that killed 97 in Pakistan

    Airbus experts probe plane crash that killed 97 in PakistanPakistan announced Tuesday that Airbus experts have opened a probe into last week’s plane crash that killed 97 people when an Airbus A320 went down in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in the port city of Karachi. Initial reports have said the Pakistan International Airlines jet crashed after an apparent engine failure. The Airbus experts and engineers are also to visit the crash site, according to Abdul Hafeez, a spokesman for PIA.


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  • Brazil police raid Rio governor's residences amid COVID-19 probe

    Brazil police raid Rio governor's residences amid COVID-19 probeBrazilian federal police on Tuesday raided the residences of Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel as part of a COVID-19 corruption probe, targeting one of President Jair Bolsonaro's political foes as the pandemic sweeps the nation. Two sources and a statement from the federal police said the search warrants were part of an investigation into alleged corruption involving the use of public money destined to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Rio de Janeiro state.


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  • Corruption prosecutions nearly double in China over last year

    Corruption prosecutions nearly double in China over last yearThe number of prosecutions related to corruption in China nearly doubled last year, according to a report by Beijing's top prosecutor, as President Xi Jinping ramped up his crackdown on graft. According to the annual report from the Supreme People's Procuratorate submitted to the national parliament, 18,585 people were prosecuted for crimes related to corruption in 2019, a 90 percent year-on-year increase. Sixteen cases involved former provincial or ministerial-level Communist Party cadres, including former Yunnan party chief Qin Guangrong, who was accused of taking bribes.


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  • Trans Mountain pipeline: Protest ban is 'great time' to build, says minister

    Trans Mountain pipeline: Protest ban is 'great time' to build, says ministerAlberta's energy minister cites a ban on protests when asked about a controversial project in Canada.


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  • NASA astronauts go back to the future with capsule launch

    NASA astronauts go back to the future with capsule launchSpaceX’s Dragon crew capsule outshines NASA’s old Apollo spacecraft in virtually every way. The Dragon’s clean lines and minimalist interior, with touchscreens instead of a mess of switches and knobs, make even the space shuttles seem yesteryear. This fresh take on a vintage look will be on full display Wednesday when SpaceX plans to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station — a first for a private company.


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  • Coronavirus: Shoppers berate woman for not wearing face mask inside store

    Coronavirus: Shoppers berate woman for not wearing face mask inside storeA group of shoppers was seen on video shouting at a woman in a Staten Island ShopRite for apparently not wearing a facemask amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports said.In a video posted on Facebook over the weekend, customers can be seen shouting at a woman who is not wearing a facemask in the store.


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  • Russia records its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus as its number of new cases appears to decline

    Russia records its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus as its number of new cases appears to declineRussia denies that it has manipulated coronavirus data and maintains that its mortality rate from the virus is among the lowest in the world.


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  • Joe Biden wears mask in 1st public appearance since March

    Joe Biden wears mask in 1st public appearance since MarchBiden is back.Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday made his first public appearance since mid-March as he visited a veterans memorial in Delaware, notably clad in a mask. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee laid a wreath in honor of Memorial Day, alongside his wife, Jill Biden, who also wore a mask.Biden's choice to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic is in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who often refuses to wear masks in public, fearful that he'd look ridiculous.Biden's first outing in two months may serve as a trial run for public events, reports The Associated Press, suggesting he won't spend the remaining five months until the election campaigning from home. While advisers hope to resume campaign activities eventually, they intend to do so "when safety allows, and we will not do that a day sooner," said Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon.More stories from theweek.com Trump shares disturbing meme of Biden's campaign in a coffin Trump keeps falsely accusing Joe Scarborough of murder, and it's long past weird We've all been saying Steve Buscemi's name wrong


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  • Trump tweets from the golf course as U.S. virus death toll nears 100,000

    Trump tweets from the golf course as U.S. virus death toll nears 100,000As the American death toll from the coronavirus approached 100,000 on Sunday, President Trump was on the golf course in Virginia.


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  • Taiwan considers revoking Hong Kong's special status on law fears

    Taiwan considers revoking Hong Kong's special status on law fearsChina's planned national security law may prompt Taiwan to revoke the special status it extends to Hong Kong, President Tsai Ing-wen said, a move that could anger Beijing and make it harder for Hong Kongers to visit and invest. China is proposing the new legislation for the Chinese-ruled city after months of anti-government protests, and the decision has already ignited renewed unrest in Hong Kong and prompted condemnation from Western capitals. The demonstrators have won widespread sympathy in democratic Taiwan, and the support for the protesters by Tsai and her administration has worsened already poor ties between Taipei and Beijing.


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  • 50 billion years of animal evolution under threat from human activity, study says

    50 billion years of animal evolution under threat from human activity, study saysFifty billion years of evolutionary history is under threat from human activity, according to a new study which suggests some of the most threatened areas contain the most unique animals. Branches of the tree of life will be cut by the loss of animals such as the Mary River turtle, native to Queensland, Australia, recognisable by its punk-like algae ‘hair’, whose evolution stretches back 40 million years. The turtle, which breathes out of its genitals underwater and doesn’t reach sexual maturity for 25 years, is threatened by the pet trade. Other highly evolutionarily distinct species include the Aye-aye lemur, which are found only on the island of Madagascar, where in 1990 Gerald Durrell embarked on a rescue mission to save dwindling numbers of the long-finger and bushy-tailed primate from the effects of deforestation.


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  • Israel court rules Australia sex crimes suspect fit to stand trial

    Israel court rules Australia sex crimes suspect fit to stand trialAn Israeli court ruled Tuesday that an Orthodox Jewish teacher accused of child sex abuse in Australia was mentally fit to stand trial, bringing her closer to extradition after years of legal battles. The decision was hailed by alleged victims who have campaigned for years for Malka Leifer to be sent back to face trial. Jerusalem district court judge Chana Lomp said that she had "decided to accept the expert panel's opinion, the defendant is fit to stand trial".


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  • Xi Jinping says China strengthening armed forces amid tensions with US over coronavirus

    Xi Jinping says China strengthening armed forces amid tensions with US over coronavirusBeijing says it will improve its preparedness for military combat. In the background: heightened U.S. tensions.


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  • France unveils $8.8 billion rescue for ailing car industry

    France unveils $8.8 billion rescue for ailing car industryFrench President Emmanuel Macron announced an 8 billion-euro ($8.8 billion) plan Tuesday to save the country’s car industry from huge losses wrought by virus lockdowns, including a big boost for electric vehicles. The plan includes government subsidies for car buyers and longer-term investment in innovative technology, especially in battery-powered cars. “Our country wouldn’t be the same without its great brands – Renault, Peugeot, Citroen,” Macron declared, and announcing a goal of making France the leading producer of “clean” cars in Europe.


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  • Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Orbit rocket fails on debut flight

    Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Orbit rocket fails on debut flightA California company owned by UK businessman Sir Richard Branson fails to launch a rocket to orbit.


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  • The private jet version of the Boeing 787 can cost more than $200 million and fly over 18 hours. Take a look at some its most luxurious designs.

    The private jet version of the Boeing 787 can cost more than $200 million and fly over 18 hours. Take a look at some its most luxurious designs.The BBJ 787 Dreamliner is like the hybrid of private jets costing over $200 million. The jet can fly over 18 hours with a bedroom and shower onboard.


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  • Joe Biden forced to make his fundraisers fully virtual – bar the price tag

    Joe Biden forced to make his fundraisers fully virtual – bar the price tagThe pandemic has led the presumptive Democratic nominee, like other politicians to take his high-dollar events onlineThe coronavirus pandemic may have driven Joe Biden into his basement and forced his campaign online, but one crucial factor is still the same: his run for the White House still needs to raise giant amounts of money.But, in these days of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, campaign fundraisers do not include the usual finger food and wine or fancy parked cars outside a posh home right out of the pages of Architectural Digest.Instead it has become normal to host a high-dollar fundraiser via online video conferencing services. The thing that hasn’t changed? The hefty price tags of what can be tens of thousands of dollars that donors are charged for glorified Zoom meet-ups, or even one-on-one video chats with the candidate himself or his powerful surrogates.“You don’t get to go drink wine and eat cheap cheese, but the campaigns are still able to provide access to the candidate,” said Democratic strategist Connor Farrell, a veteran Democratic fundraising consultant. “The campaigns are still able to provide access to the candidate in a different format. You can’t pull someone aside and mention your favorite bill, but you still get face time with the candidates and that’s ultimately the attraction of in-person events.“So I think a lot of the draw is still there.”According to a set of fundraising invitations for Biden’s campaign, obtained by the Guardian, upcoming fundraisers featuring him or high-profile surrogates still include the fundraising levels one would expect for physical high-dollar gatherings.A Biden campaign event featuring the presumptive Democratic party nominee himself and moderated by the Sacramento mayor, Darrell Steinberg, and former California treasurer Phil Angelides starts out at the guest level of $500 and goes all the way up to a co-chair level at $41,100. A virtual reception on 27 May featuring the former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg starts out at $1,000 to be an “advocate”, and goes up to $50,000 to be a co-chair.Events are still spotted with celebrities too. A “Rock out on a night in with Joe Biden” virtual fundraising event on 28 May includes performances by Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, David Crosby and Joe Walsh. Donations for that event start at $250 and go all the way to $100,000.The events are lucrative. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to headline at least two events between mid-May and June for Biden and the Democratic National Committee. The first event on Tuesday raised $2m.It’s not just the Biden campaign and Democrats, though, or even just presidential candidates. In Iowa, an invitation for a fundraiser for the Republican senator Joni Ernst on 3 June has fundraising levels ranging from $500 to $5,000. The invitation, reported by Politico, is not contingent on being in person or virtual.“If it is not possible to gather in person for this event, we will host a virtual meeting and plan an in-person gathering at a later date,” the invitation read.A fundraising invite for a 14 May event for the New Hampshire Republican congressional candidate Matt Mowers featuring the former New Jersey governor Chris Christie starts at $250 for the “individual” level and goes all the way to $1,000 for the chair level.“A web link for this exclusive video conference will be emailed prior to the event,” the invitation read.


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  • Trump uses easily disproved claim to attack Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb

    Trump uses easily disproved claim to attack Democratic Rep. Conor LambLamb, a veteran first elected to Congress in a 2018, kept his campaign promise and did not vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.


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  • Italy records 78 new coronavirus deaths, 397 new cases

    Italy records 78 new coronavirus deaths, 397 new casesDeaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 78 on Tuesday, against 92 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases increased to 397 from 300 on Monday. People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 52,942 from 55,300 the day before, the agency said.


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  • Jeffrey Epstein: Up to 130 people claim they could be child of dead financier with £470m fortune

    Jeffrey Epstein: Up to 130 people claim they could be child of dead financier with £470m fortuneMore than 100 people claim they could be the offspring of the deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is thought to have had a personal fortune of around £470 million.A DNA company, which set up a website called epsteinheirs.com, said as many as 130 people had come forward – including a number of Britons – since the site’s launch.


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  • First Iranian oil tanker docks in Venezuela

    First Iranian oil tanker docks in VenezuelaThe first of five Iranian tankers carrying much-needed gasoline and oil derivatives has docked in Venezuela and a second one entered its waters, the government said on Monday amid concern in Washington over the burgeoning relationship. The United States has closely monitored the shipments, concerned that Iran and Venezuela -- both under US sanctions -- were taking their longstanding ties to another strategic level. Venezuela boasts the largest proven oil reserves in the world, but production has plummeted under the current regime and its oil exports have been hampered by US sanctions.


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  • Daytona beachside shooting wounds at least 5 people

    Daytona beachside shooting wounds at least 5 peopleAbout 200 young people were observed in a helicopter video dancing, partying and gathering on the sidewalk in the middle of the street.


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  • New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quake

    New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quakeNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern barely skipped a beat when an earthquake struck during a live television interview Monday morning. New Zealand sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is sometimes called the Shaky Isles for its frequent quakes. Ardern continued on with her interview, telling the host the shaking had stopped.


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  • US accuses Russia of deploying fighter jets in Libya

    US accuses Russia of deploying fighter jets in LibyaThe United States has accused Russia of deploying jet fighters to Libya in what if confirmed would be a dramatic escalation of its military support for renegade field marshal Khalifa Haftar's war against the country's UN-recognised government. United States Africa Command said on Tuesday it had monitored several jet fighters flying from Russia to Libya via Syria, and that it expected them to be used to support Russian mercenaries fighting on the ground in support of Gen Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). "We watched as Russia flew fourth generation jet fighters to Libya - every step of the way. Neither the LNA nor private military companies can arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support - support they are getting from Russia," US Army Gen Stephen Townsend, the head of Africom, said in a statement. Africom said it had tracked the Russia and that they stopped en-route in Syria, "where it is assessed that they were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin." It did not say exactly how many aircraft were involved, but released several images of what appeared to be Mig-29 Fulcrum and Su-35 Flanker fighters in flight, as well as one Mig-29 being towed on a runway at the al Jufra airbase 300 miles southeast of Tripoli. The Russian ministry of defence did not immediately comment on the claims.


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  • China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlines

    China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlinesChina said on Monday it opposes all U.S. restrictions imposed against Chinese airlines, responding to a report that the U.S. Transportation Department has demanded Chinese carriers file their schedules and other flight details by May 27. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said flight restrictions imposed by Beijing treated all airlines equally and were due to efforts to curb COVID-19 related risks. The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China.


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  • Biden makes first in-person appearance in over 2 months

    Biden makes first in-person appearance in over 2 monthsJoe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday as he commemorated Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans’ park near his Delaware home.


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  • Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus's Toll

    Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus's TollWASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump's motorcade pulled into his golf club in Virginia on an overcast Sunday, a small group of protesters waited outside the entrance. One held up a sign."I care do U?" it read. "100,000 dead."Trump and his advisers have said that he does, but he has made scant effort to demonstrate it this Memorial Day weekend. He finally ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House only after being badgered to do so by his critics and otherwise took no public notice as the American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached a staggering 100,000.While the country neared six digits of death, the president who repeatedly criticized his predecessor for golfing during a crisis spent the weekend on the links for the first time since March. When he was not zipping around on a cart, he was on social media embracing fringe conspiracy theories, amplifying messages from a racist and sexist Twitter account and lobbing playground insults at perceived enemies, including his own former attorney general.This was a death toll that Trump once predicted would never be reached. In late February, he said there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States, understating even then the actual number, and declared that "the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero." In the annals of the American presidency, it would be hard to recall a more catastrophically wrong prediction. Even after he later acknowledged that it would not be zero, he insisted the death toll would fall "substantially below the 100,000" mark.As it stands now, the coronavirus has infected 1.6 million and taken so many lives it is as if an entire midsize American city -- say Boca Raton, Florida, just to pick an example -- simply disappeared. The toll is about to match the 100,000 killed in the United States by the pandemic of 1968 and is closing in on the outbreak of 1957-58, which killed 116,000. At this pace, it will stand as the country's deadliest public health disaster since the great influenza of 1918-20 -- all at the same time the nation confronts the most severe economic collapse since the Great Depression.The historical comparisons are breathtaking. More Americans have died of the coronavirus in the last 12 weeks than died in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined and nearly twice as many as died of battle wounds during World War I. The death toll has nearly matched the number of people killed by the initial blasts of the world's first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of American deaths, it is the equivalent of 22 Iraq wars, 33 Sept. 11 attacks, 41 Afghanistan wars, 42 Pearl Harbors or 25,000 Benghazis.Trump, who has been sharply criticized for a slow and initially ineffective response to the pandemic, focused Sunday on the more recent progress, looking ahead, not behind. "Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!" he exulted on Twitter.Even that was not completely true. While total new cases nationally have begun declining, hospitalizations outside New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have increased slightly in recent days, as Trump's own former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, pointed out.Altogether, cases are falling in 14 states and Washington, D.C., but holding steady in 28 states and Guam while rising in eight states plus Puerto Rico, according to a New York Times database. The American Public Health Association said the 100,000 milestone was a time to reinforce efforts to curb the virus, not abandon them."This is both a tragedy and a call to action," it said in a statement. "Infection rates are slowing overall in the U.S., but with 1.6 million cases across the nation in the past four months, the outbreak is far from over. New hot spots are showing up daily, and rates remain steady in at least 25 states."And even that grim total barely begins to scratch the surface of the pain and suffering endured by a country under siege by the worst public health crisis combined with the worst economic crisis in decades."It's a milestone to reflect on the fact that even those who didn't die got sick, to reflect on the sacrifices people made to stay home, the sacrifices of the health care workers who shouldn't have had to sacrifice," said Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Most importantly, it should lead us to take this seriously. It's 100,000, but it looks like we're still at the beginning of this pandemic."The White House on Sunday expressed condolences on the president's behalf."President Trump's prayers for comfort and strength are with all of those grieving the loss of a loved one or friend as a result of this unprecedented plague, and his message to this great nation remains one of resilience, hope and optimism," said Judd Deere, a spokesman.For the president, the emphasis now is on recovery, not tragedy, as he urges the country to reopen the shuttered economy and return to some form of public life. While he will travel to Baltimore on Monday to mark Memorial Day and pay tribute to fallen troops -- and perhaps the virus victims -- he was sending a different signal by golfing two days in a row, telling the nation that it was all right to leave home, head to the course, attend church, frolic on the beach and get back to work.Golfing during a crisis has always proved problematic for presidents. Dwight D. Eisenhower was criticized for playing after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. George W. Bush gave up golfing during the Iraq War to avoid looking insensitive to the troops and their families. Barack Obama was excoriated for golfing after an American was beheaded by terrorists in the Middle East.Among those who regularly assailed Obama for golfing was Trump -- by one count, 27 times. "Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf," Trump wrote in 2014. He was criticizing Obama for golfing after just two cases of Ebola were confirmed in the United States. "When you're president you sort of say, like, 'I'm going to sort of give it up for a couple of years and I'm really going to focus on the job,'" he said on "Fox & Friends."Giving up, though, is not Trump's style, nor is public mourning. Since the outbreak, he has hosted corporate executives, truck drivers and governors at the White House; toured factories producing medical equipment; and celebrated doctors, nurses and others responding to the virus. He welcomed to the White House several patients who recovered. But he has arranged no event for those who have lost loved ones, nor publicly dwelled on their grief.He deals with the death count in clinical terms, making forecasts quickly overtaken by reality, then declaring that the new reality is better than it could have been. In effect, he is making a grim political argument, asserting success if the final toll turns out to be anything less than the most extreme 2.2 million fatalities predicted if the country had done nothing at all to respond.At the White House last week, Trump took credit again for limiting travel from China in early February. "We would have lost millions of lives if we didn't," he said. "Think of it: If we lost 100,000 lives, the minimum we would have lost is a million-two, a million-three, a million-five maybe. But take it to a million. So that would mean 10 times more than we lost already."Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, amplified that idea Sunday, pointing back to projections made at the end of March that the coronavirus would kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans if lockdowns and social distancing measures were imposed, and that up to 2.2 million Americans would die if nothing was done."When we had that first briefing, we talked about 1.2 million to 2.4 million, and 100,000 to 240,000 people succumbing to this incredibly aggressive virus," Birx said. "Those are the figures that we continue to stand by."Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Birx tried to square those numbers with rosier projections she later made April 10, when aggressive social distancing measures appeared to be slowing the spread of the virus and she embraced a new projection of 60,000 dead. "There are different models we have been using all along," she said.The president's critics said he would not be able to convince voters this fall that he should be celebrated for a death toll of 100,000 or more just because it could have been worse."It's not the moving of the goal posts on loss of life that hurts Trump as much as the loss of life itself," said Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster and principal at the firm GBAO. "The facts are what worry people -- majorities hold Trump responsible for high death tolls, high unemployment and a lack of testing. And even more now than a month ago."Republicans, though, have argued that voters will blame China for not being more forthcoming about the virus and see the rest through the lens of their preexisting views of Trump. "Mostly, I think this will wind up falling on our normal partisan lines," said Scott Jennings, a Republican operative. "If you hate Trump, you won't find anything he did to be right. If you love Trump, you will find the media and Democratic governors at fault for overhyping and overreacting."If the country's losses were on his mind this weekend, Trump did a good job of hiding it. His Twitter feed was full of everything but that. He tweeted or retweeted messages falsely implying that "Psycho Joe Scarborough," the MSNBC host, murdered an aide in 2001; suggesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has denture problems and likes to "drink booze on the job"; and declaring that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions "had no courage" and "ran for the hills" by recusing himself from the Russia investigation in 2017 as required by ethics rules.Trump reposted eight tweets from John K. Stahl, a conservative who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California in 2012. Stahl has a history of racist and sexist posts, especially against black women like Sen. Kamala Harris of California ("Willie's Ho"); Stacey Abrams, the former candidate for governor of Georgia ("Shamu"); and Joy Reid, the MSNBC host ("butt ugly" and a "skank").While the president indulged his political feuds, experts were warning that the pandemic was hardly over. Another 1,000 Americans or more will most likely die by Monday and another 1,000 the day after that and another 1,000 the day after that.Imperial College London predicted last week that the relaxation of quarantine measures encouraged by Trump "will lead to resurgence of transmission" and that "deaths over the next two-month period could exceed current cumulative deaths by greater than twofold" -- in other words, another 200,000 deaths by August.As the nation reaches this macabre milestone, that is the grim worry: That it is not the last one. "To me," Frieden said, "the most important question is are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000?"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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  • German government takes controls at Lufthansa with bailout

    German government takes controls at Lufthansa with bailoutThe largest aviation rescue in Europe is going to have to be approved by Brussels.


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  • Kitten born with two faces dies days after internet fame

    Kitten born with two faces dies days after internet fameA two-faced kitten that was born with a rare condition has died after capturing the attention of thousands of adoring fans.The kitten, named Biscuits and Gravy by owners Kyla and BJ King, was born on 20 May in Oregon. He lived to be nearly four days old, said the Kings on a Facebook page dedicated to his progress.


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  • US urges probe into alleged ethics breach at African Development Bank

    US urges probe into alleged ethics breach at African Development BankThe US Department of the Treasury has called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to carry out an independent probe into alleged ethics breaches by its president, Akinwumi Adesina. In a letter obtained by AFP on Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed "deep reservations" about the outcome of an internal inquiry clearing Adesina, and urged the appointment of an independent outside investigator. The letter, dated May 22, was sent to the chair of the AfDB's board, Ivorian Planning and Development Minister Niale Kaba.


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  • Multi-state manhunt ongoing for UConn senior accused of killing two, abducting one

    Multi-state manhunt ongoing for UConn senior accused of killing two, abducting onePeter Manfredonia, a University of Connecticut senior, is a suspect in the killing of two people.


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  • Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in weeks

    Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in weeksIt's his first public appearance since May 1​, when state-run media reported he attended at a factory opening after rumors flew that he was gravely ill.


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  • Iran oil tanker reaches Venezuela amid US tension

    Iran oil tanker reaches Venezuela amid US tensionFive tankers are being escorted by the Venezuelan military as the country struggles with shortages.


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  • Brazil surpasses U.S. in daily coronavirus death toll

    Brazil surpasses U.S. in daily coronavirus death tollBrazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country's Health Ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the United States. Brazil has the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the U.S. with 1.637 million cases.


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  • 'I hit the trifecta': She was battling cancer. Then came coronavirus and the complications.

    'I hit the trifecta': She was battling cancer. Then came coronavirus and the complications.In the age of COVID-19, cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering have been forced to reimagine how to care for patients like 27-year-old Eliza Paris.


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  • Joe Biden made his first appearance outside his home in 2 months to honor Memorial Day at a Delaware veterans park

    Joe Biden made his first appearance outside his home in 2 months to honor Memorial Day at a Delaware veterans parkBiden and his wife, Jill, wore black face masks in their first public appearance during the coronavirus pandemic.


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  • ‘Fox & Friends’ Confronts Kayleigh McEnany With Chris Wallace Criticism

    ‘Fox & Friends’ Confronts Kayleigh McEnany With Chris Wallace CriticismFox News Sunday host Chris Wallace didn’t get the chance to confront White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany directly this weekend. So Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade did it for him. About halfway through her appearance on that show Tuesday morning, Kilmeade brought up a comment McEnany made during her Friday press conference. “Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed,” she told reporters, some of whom objected in the moment to that blatant condescension.As Kilmeade put it, “Some of the press got insulted,” before reading McEnany part of what Wallace said about her comments on his Sunday show. “Let me just say, Sam Donaldson and me in the Reagan White House, we were pretty tough on the White House press secretaries and we never had our religious beliefs questioned or were lectured on what we should ask,” Wallace said. Kilmeade left out the part where Wallace said that in his six years covering the White House he “never saw a White House press secretary act like that.”Kayleigh McEnany: Trump Supports Vote by Mail ‘For a Reason’—Just Not a Pandemic“Were you questioning the religious beliefs of the press?” Kilmeade asked her directly. “No, I never questioned the religious beliefs of the press,” she insisted, before adding, “Many of our journalists are great men and women of faith.” McEnany said her comments were merely trying to draw attention to the fact that “it was a bit peculiar” that she was asked so many questions about why the Trump administration was pushing to reopen churches across the country during a pandemic. “I’ve never been asked why a liquor store was essential,” she added.  Of course, while Wallace likely would have thrown a few follow-up questions at McEnany’s nonsensical answer, the Fox & Friends hosts moved right along to the next topic.  Seth Meyers Exposes New Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s Breathtakingly Stupid Coronavirus TakeRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • Baby gorilla injured at Seattle Zoo

    Baby gorilla injured at Seattle ZooA baby gorilla was badly injured at a Seattle zoo on Saturday when he was caught in a skirmish between his family group members, zookeepers said.


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  • Latin America's largest airline LATAM files for bankruptcy in US

    Latin America's largest airline LATAM files for bankruptcy in USLatin America's largest airline LATAM filed for bankruptcy in the US on Tuesday, the company said in a statement, following a drastic slump in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic. "Given the impact that the COVID-19-generated crisis has had on the aviation industry, LATAM has been forced to make a series of extremely difficult decisions in the past few months," said the airline's chief executive Roberto Alvo in a video statement. "LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia entered into a voluntary reorganization under Chapter 11 protection in the United States," he added.


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  • Ahmaud Arbery shooting being investigated as federal hate crime, family’s lawyer says

    Ahmaud Arbery shooting being investigated as federal hate crime, family’s lawyer saysA lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery has said that the US Department of Justice is investigating his killing as a possible hate crime.Lee Merritt said federal authorities are not only pursuing the hate crime line, but are also investigating two local county officials, George Barnhill and Jackie Johnson, who recused themselves from the case shortly after the killing in February, according to several news reports quoting him.


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  • Second immigrant dies of COVID-19 while in ICE custody

    Second immigrant dies of COVID-19 while in ICE custodySantiago Baten-Oxlag, of Guatemala, is the second known immigrant to die of coronavirus complications while detained by U.S. immigration authorities.


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  • UN probe: Both Koreas violate armistice in gunfire exchange

    UN probe: Both Koreas violate armistice in gunfire exchangeA U.N. investigation into a recent exchange of gunfire between the two Koreas has determined that both countries violated the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, the American-led U.N. Command said Tuesday. The May 3 gunfire exchange was the first shooting inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone in about 2½ years. The DMZ, which was established as a buffer at the end of the Korean War, is a de facto border separating North and South Korea.


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  • Italy reports 92 coronavirus deaths on Monday, just 300 new infections

    Italy reports 92 coronavirus deaths on Monday, just 300 new infectionsDeaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 92 on Monday, against 50 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases dropped to just 300 from 531 on Sunday. Sunday's daily death toll did not include fatalities from the worst-affected Lombardy region, due to technical problems. It was not immediately clear if Lombardy's deaths from Sunday had been added on Monday, when the region reported 34 new fatalities.


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  • 'Billions of years of evolutionary history' under threat

    'Billions of years of evolutionary history' under threat'Weird and wonderful' animals unlike anything else on Earth are sliding toward extinction, say scientists.


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  • Joe Biden makes first public appearance since March

    Joe Biden makes first public appearance since MarchThe apparent Democratic presidential nominee and his wife laid a wreath Monday to honor Delaware war dead, his first public foray since mid-March.


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  • Russia’s Pushing a Quack COVID Cure All Over Africa

    Russia’s Pushing a Quack COVID Cure All Over AfricaABUJA, Nigeria—U.S. President Donald Trump is not the only figure threatening the World Health Organization while endorsing dubious coronavirus treatments. In Africa, news outlets and social media posts notorious for spreading Russian-created disinformation and conspiracy theories are leveling all sorts of allegations against the WHO, ranging from incompetence to fraud.At the center of the attacks is what appears to be a coordinated campaign promoting an herbal concoction the Moscow-backed government of Madagascar claims will cure COVID-19. The attacks on the WHO intensified when the agency released a statement on May 4 warning Africans against using untested remedies for treatment of the coronavirus after the Malagasy government began to extoll—and export in large quantities—an untested herbal infusion sometimes bottled like soda that’s called Covid-Organics. The main component for the tonic is artemisia annua, known as sweet wormwood, which has been shown to have some therapeutic value against malaria (PDF).Russians Are Using African Troll Factories—and Encrypted Messaging—to Attack the U.S.The WHO announced its support for traditional medicines if they are “scientifically proven” to be effective, but warned pointedly that "the use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention."The herbal remedy’s biggest booster is Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina, a 45-year-old media entrepreneur elected in 2018 with help from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose meddling, as detailed by the New York Times, was blatant even by Kremlin standards. (Rajoelina denies getting any assistance.)Covid-Organics has not gone through clinical trials. An aide to Rajoelina told the BBC the tonic was “tried out” on fewer than 20 people over three weeks before it was launched in April—a “test” that does not even begin to meet scientific or medical standards.Rajoelina’s response? He accused the West of condescending behavior toward traditional African therapy, telling French media that the product would have been globally accepted "if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy.""[Madagascar] has come up with this formula to save the world," said Rajoelina, who claims the herbal tonic cures COVID-19 patients within 10 days. "No country or organization will keep us from going forward."Rajoelina has gained lots of support in East Africa, especially in Tanzania (another country that has established deep ties with the Kremlin in recent years). Its controversial leader, President John Pombe Magufuli, has openly endorsed Covid-Organics and also insinuated recently that the WHO artificially inflated the number of COVID-19 cases in his country.All this parallels, however weirdly, the kinds of assertions and statements made by the U.S. president about miracle cures—ranging in his case from hydroxychloroquine to household bleach, thought not yet Covid-Organics—as well as the failings of a World Health Organization he says is under China’s thumb. And the similarities in the narrative are not entirely coincidental. Many of the African sites spreading these stories also are enthusiastic supporters of Trump. A number of Tanzanian newspapers have criticized the WHO for its refusal to approve Covid-Organics. A pro-government publication, Tanzania Perspective, particularly, reported that Rajoelina accused the WHO of offering him a $20 million bribe to poison the herbal tonic. A spokesperson for the Malagasy president later denied that wild claim, but not until it had gone viral on social media across the continent, including broadcasts on WhatsApp by such groups as One Africa, One Success (OAOS), a platform for African students studying in Russia that has been used to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories targeting the U.S. and defending Trump.Members of the OAOS have also claimed in their messages that Bill Gates has prevented the WHO from approving coronavirus therapies—including hydroxychloroquine—that supposedly have proven to be effective in Africa, a narrative that has been picked up by high-profile politicians in the continent and extended to Covid-Organics."Madagascar claims to have a herbal-based cure for Covid 19," tweeted Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Nigeria aviation minister and a die-hard Trump supporter. "Why is it that the @BillGates-controlled @WHO refuses to take Africans seriously even where some of these ‘cures’ have yielded appreciable positive results?"Back in Madagascar, numerous media outlets, some of which were used by Russia to publish fawning articles about Rajoelina to help him win the 2018 presidential election, have accused the WHO of ineffectiveness, claiming that the agency is being manipulated by certain high powers to undermine Madagascar's coronavirus treatment discovery."What you see mostly in the papers is that the WHO doesn't care about finding a coronavirus cure," Thierry Pam, a French freelance journalist living in Madagascar, told The Daily Beast. "No one says anything good about the WHO."One social media post that went viral across Africa in late April claimed that Putin actually ordered a million doses of Covid-Organics and called on Africans not to listen to the WHO. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported the story was totally bogus. There was never such an order, Madagascar’s authorities denied it, and, officially at least, Russia usually supports WHO efforts to address the pandemic. But disinformation campaigns often are at odds with officially stated policies because their objectives are different. The focus of Russia’s activities has been to drive a wedge between Africa and other international players, whether the U.S., European nations, or China. The Covid-Organics controversy is potentially just another tool to create resentment, as reflected in President Rajoelina’s assertions that his country’s “cure” for the pandemic is being ignored by the West because it is from Africa.Much of the news that people in Madagascar see or listen to is content created by media outlets set up by the operations of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of  Putin who was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly financing the Internet Research Agency that worked to influence the U.S. 2016 presidential election.A leaked document viewed last year by The Guardian revealed that Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month.” The Russians also run a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, according to The Guardian's report.Madagascar is one of Africa’s poorest nations, with about 80 percent of its 25 million people living on less than $2 per day, but it has managed to ship tens of thousands of doses of Covid-Organics to several countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania, Comoros, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Equatorial Guinea. Many of these reportedly have been sent for free, leading to suggestions that Madagascar may have gotten Russia's help to produce large amounts of the drug. Since his election, Rajoelina has promoted closer ties with Moscow. Most notably, he has strengthened his military cooperation and allowed a company owned by Prigozhin, which had acquired a major stake in a government-run firm that mines chromium under Rajoelina's predecessor, to keep control of the operation. This despite protests by workers complaining of canceled benefits and unpaid wages.Meanwhile, in a country where tests have been very limited, and some of those marred by controversy,  hundreds of people are now known to be infected with the virus, and the numbers are rising rapidly. The first two confirmed COVID-19 deaths were reported just this week.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • 20 hikers were rescued from flooding in popular Virginia hike trail, fire official says

    20 hikers were rescued from flooding in popular Virginia hike trail, fire official saysEmergency crews rescued 20 hikers on a Virginia trail who had been trapped since Sunday evening due to flash flooding.


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  • You're Getting Used to Masks. Will You Wear a Face Shield?

    You're Getting Used to Masks. Will You Wear a Face Shield?The debate over whether Americans should wear face masks to control coronavirus transmission has been settled. Governments and businesses now require or at least recommend them in many public settings. But as parts of the country reopen, some doctors want you to consider another layer of personal protective equipment in your daily life: clear plastic face shields."I wear a face shield every time I enter a store or other building," Dr. Eli Perencevich said. "Sometimes I also wear a cloth mask if required by the store's policy."Perencevich is an infectious disease physician at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System. In an opinion article published last month in JAMA, he and two colleagues argued that simple, clear plastic face shields could help reduce the transmission of infections when added to public health measures like increased testing, contact tracing, social distancing and hand hygiene.The idea is not just a thought experiment. In Singapore, preschool students and their teachers will receive face shields when they return to school next month. Local health experts recommended that teachers in Philadelphia wear shields when schools reopen, and a teachers union in Palo Alto, California, requested them as well.But it can be difficult to imagine Americans being willing to put on another form of protective equipment. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have shirked wearing masks in settings that would seem to call for them, and simple face-covering requirements have provoked conflicts at grocery stores and restaurants.Face shields have long been required equipment for many procedures in hospitals. Doctors and nurses wear them when intubating COVID-19 patients and during surgeries that may cause blood and bone fragments to fly out.As debate arose over whether tiny coronavirus droplets could float on air currents, protecting the eyes and the entire face became a bigger issue in health care settings, said Dr. Sherry Yu, a dermatology resident affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. People needed them to do nasal swabs for the coronavirus test or for triage in the emergency room. As shortages loomed, Yu was among the many people and groups around the country who began fabricating face shields for front-line health care workers."The nice thing about face shields is that they can be resterilized and cleaned by the user, so they're reusable indefinitely until some component breaks or cracks," Yu said.A simple alcohol wipe or rinse with soap and hot water is all it takes for the shields to be contaminant-free again.Surgical masks and N95s, on the other hand, are meant to be disposed after each use, although some studies have shown masks can be reused two or three times after being sterilized before they lose integrity.Perencevich believes that face shields should be the preferred personal protective equipment of everyone for the same reason that health care workers use them: They protect the entire face, including the eyes, and prevent people from touching their faces or inadvertently exposing themselves to the coronavirus.Face shields may be easier to wear than masks, he said, comparing them with wearing glasses or a hat. They wrap around a small portion of a person's forehead rather than covering more than half their face with material that can create the urge to itch.Many people also wear masks incorrectly, letting them dangle off the tips of their noses or concealing just their mouths. People also tend to readjust face masks frequently or remove them to communicate with others, which increases their risk of being exposed or infecting others, he said. And while cloth masks can prevent people from spreading germs to others, they don't usually protect the wearer from infection.Face shields can also aid people who depend on lip-reading, Perencevich said. They may be slightly dorky-looking, but the shields allow facial expressions and lip movements to remain visible while serving as an obvious reminder to maintain social distancing.Still, he and other experts acknowledge that face shields have their limits.Just like masks, they must be removed when eating in cafeterias or restaurants. And studies on how effectively they can reduce a person's viral exposure are scarce.One cough simulation study in 2014 suggested that a shield could reduce a user's viral exposure by 96% when worn within 18 inches of someone who was coughing. But most people in the general public are much farther away from others they are interacting with, said William Lindsley, a bioengineer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health who led the study. Large droplets that may contain virus will fall to the ground quickly, reducing the need for a face shield worn when standing farther away.Even in close range, there can be scenarios where face shields are not as effective as masks like N95s that create a seal around one's face."If you're facing sideways, or I'm behind you -- maybe you're sitting at a desk, and I'm standing -- there's other scenarios you can imagine where droplets can come around a face shield," Lindsley said.There is also no research on how well one person's face shield protects other people from viral transmission, the concept called source control that is a primary benefit of surgical and cloth masks.One of the main reasons the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their recommendations to suggest everyone wear a face covering in public was to protect others in case they were among the asymptomatic or presymptomatic group of people infected with the virus."I'm a huge fan of face shields," said Saskia Popescu, a senior infection prevention specialist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. "But I don't think we can swap them out for face masks just yet."Perencevich and his colleagues expect that more research will show shields to be superior to cloth masks, not only because shields provide full face protection but also because they are nearly impossible to wear incorrectly."Remember, effectiveness depends not only on the inherent properties of the facial covering but also how well the facial covering is worn," he said.And he and his co-authors like to imagine that people who are reluctant to wear masks will find face shields more comfortable: Once a person tries one on, they say, the wearer realizes its many benefits.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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