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Cuomo’s threat to sue Trump over vaccine highlights racism in medicine : TheGrio

President Donald Trump’s 139th lawsuit may come at the hands of his arch-nemesis Governor Andrew Cuomo if he keeps the COVID-19 vaccine away from Black and Brown communities. (Photo: Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s 139th lawsuit may come at the hands of his arch-nemesis Governor Andrew Cuomo if he keeps the COVID-19 vaccine away from Black and Brown communities, in what proves to be a fitting end to a tumultuous four-year run. 

As if we needed any more drama in 2020, Cuomo called out the president’s plan to deliver doses of the vaccine from Big Pharma producers like Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer to private pharmacies citing flaws in the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s distribution model. 

Read More: Gov. Cuomo says ‘we spend too much time’ trying to interpret Trump

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a Sept. news conference in New York City, at which he criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Historically these medication distribution models have not worked in favor of Black and Brown people because they rely too heavily on hospitals and big box store pharmacies rendering it less likely for low-income, uninsured, and marginalized communities to get the vaccine. 

“Any plan that intentionally burdens communities of color to hinder access to the vaccine deprives those communities of equal protection under the law,” said Cuomo during a Sunday service at Riverside Church in New York City. 

Cuomo went on to suggest that the Trump administration meet the people in the middle by including churches and community centers in its distribution plan.

I won’t hold my breath. 

Trump Atlas thegrio.com
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as member of the White House’s coronavirus task force Dr. Scott Atlas speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House on September 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Read More: Trump COVID-19 official faces backlash for telling Michigan to ‘rise up’ against restrictions

Black people are no strangers to being shut out from medical care. The withholding of the syphilis-curing drug, penicillin, to 300 Black men during the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment serves as a constant reminder of this nation’s disregard for Black life.

While access to quality healthcare has improved for all people since 1932, when the experiment was first started, health disparities still remain. African Americans have the lowest life expectancy of any racial group – 75 years old compared to 79 years old for white people.

The dubious distinction of early death is based on differences in our social determinants of health, the factors that govern our health. These differences are due to structural racism; historical and contemporary policies aimed at disproportionately segregating communities of color from equal access and opportunity to quality education, jobs, housing, healthcare, and equal treatment in the criminal justice system.

Diseases like COVID-19 do not discriminate, but they do spread more rapidly among those discriminated against. 

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Without

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health

Twitter Reacts To Melania Trump Voting With No Mask After Contracting COVID-19: ‘Disrespectful’

KEY POINTS

  • Melania Trump did not wear a face mask when she voted in person in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Twitter users criticized Trump for stepping out without a mask despite having contracted COVID-19
  • Some netizens came to Trump’s defense and said the first lady was no longer contagious

Melania Trump has been criticized on Twitter after ditching her face mask when she went to the polls to cast her ballot on Tuesday.

Trump voted in person in Palm Beach, Florida, sporting an outfit that reportedly cost $22,000 but didn’t include a face covering. This didn’t sit well with some netizens, who said that the 50-year-old first lady didn’t learn her lesson after testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

“She doesn’t really care. Especially since she has already had C-19.  No one else matters to her,” one wrote.

“Irresponsible leadership – she needs a good fine.  Take back some of the tax payer money she spends,” another  Twitter user posted.

“Did not even learn one bit on what happened to his husband catching the CCP virus,” a third netizen commented.

Others, however, came to Trump’s defense, claiming that there was no need for her to wear a mask because she is no longer contagious. Some said they had no problem with her ditching a face covering since she is unlikely to come in contact with people.

“She’s surrounded by secret service and won’t get within hundreds of feet from anyone!! She’s the First Lady, no one can go near her. She doesn’t need a mask!” a Twitter user wrote.

“Why would someone who just had the virus, has antibodies, and is no longer contagious wear a mask?” another tweeted.

“Well she did have COVID, so currently unlikely to get infected or be infectious…” a third netizen wrote.

Some pointed out that Trump could be susceptible to getting infected again even after testing negative for the coronavirus.

“Having COVID already doesn’t stop you from being infectious again. If she came in contact with the virus again, is asymptomatic, or simply carrying it, she could infect others,” one Twitter user argued.

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Oct. 2 that he and Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be going into quarantine.

Two weeks later, Melania penned an essay for the White House website about her battle with coronavirus, revealing that their 14-year-old son, Barron, also tested positive. Unlike the president and Barron, however, Melania said she exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, including body aches, fatigue, a cough and headaches.

All three have since tested negative for COVID-19.

In a rare public statement, US first lady Melania Trump said the allegations about her husband published by The Atlantic magazine -- that he called fallen US Marines "losers" and "suckers" -- were false In a rare public statement, US first lady Melania Trump said the allegations about her husband published by The Atlantic magazine — that he called fallen US Marines “losers” and “suckers” — were false Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

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health

Birx Issues Blunt Coronavirus Warning Starkly at Odds With Trump

WASHINGTON — Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who has carefully straddled the line between science and politics as she helps lead the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, delivered a stark private warning on Monday, telling White House officials that the pandemic is entering a new and “deadly phase” that demands a more aggressive approach.

The warning, contained in a private memo to White House officials as the nation’s daily coronavirus caseload has broken records and approached 100,000, amounted to a direct contradiction of President Trump’s repeated — and inaccurate — assertions that the pandemic is “rounding the corner.”

In the memo, Dr. Birx suggested that Mr. Trump and his advisers were spending too much time focusing on preventing lockdowns and not enough time on controlling the virus.

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Dr. Birx wrote, adding: “This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

The memo’s existence was reported earlier by The Washington Post. A top White House official who has seen it confirmed its contents.

The blunt message was a striking one for Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, who at least in public has taken care not to criticize the president or his administration. Her sharp critique reflects a growing concern among government scientists and public health experts that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, has also been offering unusually blunt assessments, and is once again in Mr. Trump’s cross-hairs as a result. At a campaign rally early Monday morning in Miami, the president attacked the news media for its emphasis on the virus, which prompted the crowd to chant: “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”

To that, Mr. Trump responded: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice.” Dr. Fauci has Civil Service protections, and it would be extremely difficult for the president to remove him, though Mr. Trump recently signed an executive order in an attempt to give himself more leeway to fire federal workers.

Dr. Birx, a respected AIDS researcher, was named the coronavirus response coordinator in March. The job has required her to manage the work of the White House coronavirus task force, tracking and orchestrating the government’s effort to contain the outbreak. In the early days of the pandemic, she projected a calm, authoritative presence — and a steady counterpoint to the mixed messages from Mr. Trump.

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health

LGBT advocacy groups sue over Trump diversity training order

Trump’s executive order explicitly prohibits contractors from using any workplace training “that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.”

The Labor Department clarified that “race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating” includes using concepts in training that suggest “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” or that “any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”

The lawsuit argues that the order violates freedom of speech protections and is overly vague as to what conduct would violate the order.

The advocacy groups say that if the order is allowed to stand, “more people will fall out of care, become homeless, fail to get tested, decline to take a vaccine when one becomes available, sicken, and even die.”

Opposition building: Groups from across the political spectrum have lined up in opposition to Trump’s order.

More than 150 trade groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged the president to abandon the executive order, warning that it will “lead to non-meritorious investigations, and hinder the ability of employers to implement critical programs to promote diversity and combat discrimination in the workplace.”

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League and National Fair Housing Alliance also filed a lawsuit over the order late last month.

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health

Op-Ed: Why Trump Should Listen to the Right Doctor on COVID

On any subject, presidents can handpick experts from the best and the brightest to give them advice, and many have dipped into America’s deep well of intellectual talent throughout our history. But there was a telling moment during the final presidential election debate, when President Trump was asked about a recent report when he called infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, MD, and those like him, “idiots”: “If you’re not listening to them, who are you listening to?”

Much public reporting suggests that the most influential medical advisor the president is listening to right now is Scott Atlas, MD. To those without medical training, Atlas might seem like the right choice.

He is on the faculty at Stanford and is a fellow at the well-known Hoover Institution. Such a distinguished resume might presumptively qualify him to advise the president on how to guide the country through the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst public health crisis in over a century, which has already taken more than 225,000 American lives and had a devastating impact on our economy. The public would reasonably expect that the president was getting the best available advice and that the advice was coming from people known to be experts.

But the issue of Atlas’s expertise goes directly to the core value proposition of board certification: it’s about verified expertise, not just self-declared expertise.

An early published history of the American Board of Internal Medicine (of which this author is the CEO) locates the beginning of the “board movement” to the 1865 meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) where the New York delegation brought forward a complaint that there were local doctors advertising that they had special expertise in heart disease. But, said the New York delegation, they did not have not such expertise; it was, in their words, a “naked attempt to grab patients.”

The remedy requested by the New York delegates? They asked the AMA to declare specialization “unprofessional,” requesting that any doctor who claimed to be a specialist should be kicked out of the AMA.

Doing what organizations do in this situation, the AMA appointed a committee to study it, and the committee came back three years later with the conclusion that specialization was not itself the problem: that could advance scientific knowledge and lead to better patient care. But self-declared expertise was, in their view, a risk to the profession, and it should be looked at very skeptically.

The idea of board certification is rooted in the concept that the public deserves to be served by physician experts whose training, competence, and ability in a field have been independently verified by a body of their peers, not simply self-declared.

At a time when the public is confused about whose advice to follow, how to keep themselves safe, and what steps we should be taking as a country to protect ourselves, verified expertise is critically important. This is especially true at a time when anyone can say anything they want about themselves on the internet or

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health

Birx warns Trump administration ‘aggressive action’ must be taken on COVID-19

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, wrote in an internal report shared with White House officials on Monday that the Trump administration must take “much more aggressive action” in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Birx warned that “cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” The Washington Post reports. In many areas, testing is “flat or declining” but the number of cases is increasing, Birx wrote, and the country is “entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality. This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

President Trump has been claiming the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the virus, and in the report, Birx expressly contradicts Trump, warning against huge gatherings like his campaign rallies. One administration official told the Post that Birx has been sending “urgent” messages like this for weeks, and has been pleading with Trump staffers to “ask the American people to use masks, avoid gatherings, and socially distance, basically since it became apparent that we were heading into a third surge.”

Another administration official told the Post that Birx feels “like she’s being ignored,” especially since Trump has been persuaded by his new medical adviser, radiologist Scott Atlas, that herd immunity is the way to go. Birx has been challenging Atlas in meetings, the Post reports, and has spent the last few weeks traveling to virus hot spots and asking health officials to shutter restaurants and bars and make masks mandatory. Read more at The Washington Post.

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health

Stanford faculty demand university sanctions for Trump adviser and faculty member Scott Atlas

Scott Atlas; Donald Trump
Scott Atlas; Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump (L) listens to White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas speak during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 23, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

This article originally appeared here on Salon.com

Scott Atlas, one of President Trump’s special coronavirus advisers and a faculty member at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, Calif., is causing a minor fracas among students and faculty at the elite university. Specifically, Atlas’ recommendations on coronavirus public health measures fly in the face of scientific consensus, faculty says — a charge that Atlas denies, and which he has threatened litigation over.  

During a Faculty Senate meeting at Stanford University late last month, the college’s president and provost were asked whether Dr. Scott Atlas should face university sanctions for positions he has taken about the novel coronavirus pandemic that go against the scientific consensus. (As the faculty noted, Atlas is a neuroradiologist, not an epidemiologist or a scholar of infectious disease.) At the meeting, similar questions were raised about the university’s relationship with the Hoover Institution, where Atlas is a senior fellow. The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank located on Stanford’s campus that has supported a laundry list of prominent right-wing statesmen over the years, from Condoleezza Rice to Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz. 

Unsurprisingly given the politics of his employer, Atlas’ public statements tend to delight conservatives and alarm scientists who study public health and infectious diseases. Atlas recently tweeted that masks do not work to prevent infection (an unsupported claim, and one which Twitter wound up taking down for being misleading); previously, he claimed publicly that the threat of the coronavirus is greatly exaggerated. Atlas also claimed that summer civil rights protests were to blame for coronavirus outbreaks, as well as proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, two more claims for which there is no evidence.

Despite being described by Trump as “one of the great experts of the world,” Atlas is reported to not have expertise in infectious disease mitigation or public health. Most recently, Atlas raised eyebrows last week for appearing on Russian state broadcaster RT, which is registered with the Justice Department as an agent of the Russian government.

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David Spiegel, a medicine professor and associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, claimed during the late October meeting (which occurred before the RT interview) that Atlas is the “latest member of the Hoover Institution to disseminate incorrect and unscientific information about the coronavirus pandemic,” according to Stanford News. He also accused Atlas of violating the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics and claimed that he may have additionally violated Stanford’s Code of Conduct.

University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne responded by citing the college’s Statement on Academic Freedom, although the provost acknowledged the validity of engineering professor Stephen Monismith’s concern about a New York Times report that some of Trump’s senior economic advisers had

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health

Top Trump adviser bluntly contradicts president on covid-19 threat, urging all-out response

A top White House coronavirus adviser sounded alarms Monday about a new and deadly phase in the health crisis, pleading with top administration officials for “much more aggressive action,” even as President Trump continues to assure rallygoers the nation is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.



Deborah Birx wearing a suit and tie: Deborah Birx delivers remarks on the pandemic in the White House last April. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)


Deborah Birx delivers remarks on the pandemic in the White House last April. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality,” said the Nov. 2 report from Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. “This is not about lockdowns — It hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

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Birx’s internal report, shared with top White House and agency officials, contradicts Trump on numerous points: While the president holds large campaign events with hundreds of attendees, most without masks, she explicitly warns against them. While the president blames rising cases on more testing, she says testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising. And while Trump says the country is “rounding the turn,” Birx notes the country is entering its most dangerous period yet and will see more than 100,000 new cases a day this week.

Through a spokesperson, Birx did not respond to a request for comment.

Other health experts, including Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have warned of record surges in cases and hospitalizations as the United States records more than 9 million cases and 230,000 deaths. “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Fauci told The Washington Post late Friday, predicting a long and potentially deadly winter unless there’s an “abrupt change” — prompting Trump to suggest he planned to fire the scientist after the election.

But Birx’s daily missives go further, revealing how much the administration’s internal reports are in direct conflict with Trump’s public pronouncements that downplay the seriousness of the threat and erroneously suggest few people are dying. They also speak to the increasing desperation of health officials to spotlight the risks of a pandemic that is forecast to take thousands more lives as the weather worsens unless people change their behaviors.

The increasingly dire tone of her reports has gotten little traction, according to an administration official who works with Birx and spoke on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive information. “She feels like she’s being ignored,” the official said.

Birx’s message “has been urgent for weeks,” said another administration official, “as has the plea for the administration to ask the American people to use masks, avoid gatherings and socially distance, basically since it became apparent that we were heading into a third surge.”

The report hits hard on the worsening situation: “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” it said. “Half of the United States is

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health

Voters approve more of Fauci than Trump on coronavirus

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in Washington, D.C.

Erin Scot | Pool | Reuters

American voters overwhelmingly approve of how the country’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is handling the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new CNBC/Change Research poll.

President Donald Trump gets much worse reviews.

Nationwide, 72% of likely voters said they approve of the job Fauci is doing in handling the outbreak and only 28% disapprove, the poll found. At the same time, only 41% of respondents said they approve of how Trump is managing the virus, versus 59% who disapprove.

In six battleground states, 66% of voters answered that they approve of how Fauci is handling Covid-19, versus 34% who disapprove. For Trump, 46% of swing-state respondents said they approve of how he is managing the outbreak, while 54% said they disapprove.

The poll findings came Monday, hours after the president suggested he could fire the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director following Tuesday’s presidential election. Fauci has warned of a brutal winter looming as coronavirus cases spike around the U.S.

Trump has downplayed the outbreak, which has led to more than 230,000 American deaths as he tries to win a second term in the White House. At a campaign rally in Florida early Monday, the president signaled he could try to dismiss the infectious diseases expert during a rampaging pandemic.

Supporters gathered at the event chanted, “Fire Fauci!” The president responded, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

Trump’s presidential election rival, Democrat Joe Biden, aimed to leverage Fauci’s popularity during his final string of campaign stops. During remarks in Cleveland on Monday, he criticized Trump for threatening to oust one of the faces of the government’s virus response.

“I’ve got a better idea: Let’s keep Dr. Fauci on the job and fire Donald Trump,” he said.

Trump could face difficulties in trying to directly fire Fauci, a civil servant whose career has spanned decades.

On Sunday, 81,400 new Covid-19 infections were reported, putting the seven-day average for U.S. cases above 81,000. On Friday, Fauci told The Washington Post that “we’re in for a whole lot of hurt” and “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” heading into the winter.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

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Top Trump adviser pleads for ‘more aggressive action’ against covid-19, even as president downplays threat

A top White House coronavirus adviser sounded alarms Monday about a new and deadly phase in the health crisis, pleading with top administration officials for “much more aggressive action,” even as President Trump continues to assure rallygoers the nation is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.



Deborah Birx wearing a suit and tie: Deborah Birx delivers remarks on the pandemic in the White House last April. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)


Deborah Birx delivers remarks on the pandemic in the White House last April. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality,” said the Nov. 2 report from Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. “This is not about lockdowns — It hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

Birx’s internal report, shared with top White House and agency officials, contradicts Trump on numerous points: While the president holds large campaign events with hundreds of attendees, most without masks, she explicitly warns against them. While the president blames rising cases on more testing, she says testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising. And while Trump says the country is “rounding the turn,” Birx notes the country is entering its most dangerous period yet and will see more than 100,000 new cases a day this week.

Through a spokesperson, Birx did not respond to a request for comment.

Other experts, including Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have warned of record surges in cases and hospitalizations as the United States records more than 9 million cases and 230,000 deaths. “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Fauci told The Washington Post late Friday, predicting a long and potentially deadly winter unless there’s an “abrupt change” — prompting Trump to suggest he planned to fire the scientist after the election.

But Birx’s daily missives go much further, revealing how much the administration’s internal reports are in direct conflict with Trump’s public pronouncements that downplay the seriousness of the threat and erroneously suggest few people are dying. They also speak to the increasing desperation of health officials to spotlight the risks of a pandemic that is forecast to take thousands more lives as the weather worsens unless people change their behaviors.

The increasingly dire tone of her reports has gotten little traction, according to an administration official who works with Birx and spoke on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive information. “She feels like she’s being ignored,” the official said.

Birx’s message “has been urgent for weeks,” said another administration official, “as has the plea for the administration to ask the American people to use masks, avoid gatherings and socially distance, basically since it became apparent that we were heading into a third surge.”

The report hits hard on the worsening situation: “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” it said. “Half of the United States is in

Read More