Later On

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Archive for June 7th, 2020

Police push 75-year old man to pavement, claim he “tripped”

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They were suspended, but that enraged the other cops, 57 of whom resigned from the unit (though want to keep getting paid as cops). From The Week:

Two Buffalo police officers, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, were both charged with one count of second-degree assault Saturday, prosecutors said, after they were seen on video Thursday shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest against police brutality. The officers have pleaded not guilty and were released without bail, The Associated Press reports.

The video sparked outrage across the country, and criticism intensified when the Buffalo Police Department said the protester, Martin Gugino, tripped and fell. Gugino, described as a longtime peace activist, was hospitalized with a head injury resulting from the fall. He is now in “serious, but stable condition” and is “progressing in his recovery.”

McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay Friday, prompting all 57 of their colleagues on the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response team to resign from the unit — but not the police force altogether — in their defense. [Accept the resignations and get them off the force altogether, IMO. – LG]

The charges are the latest examples of swift action being taken against police officers in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In Minneapolis,  . .

Continue reading.

I would say that if a fascistic authoritarian wants to take over the US from within, there’s a ready cadre of armed goons ready to back the play. And Tom Cotton may try it. He has already come out with using deadly force (“no quarter”) against protesters.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2020 at 4:09 pm

COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months

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Ed Yong writes in the Atlantic:

For Vonny LeClerc, day one was March 16.

Hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson instated stringent social-distancing measures to halt the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, LeClerc, a Glasgow-based journalist, arrived home feeling shivery and flushed. Over the next few days, she developed a cough, chest pain, aching joints, and a prickling sensation on her skin. After a week of bed rest, she started improving. But on day 12, every old symptom returned, amplified and with reinforcements: She spiked an intermittent fever, lost her sense of taste and smell, and struggled to breathe.

When I spoke with LeClerc on day 66, she was still experiencing waves of symptoms. “Before this, I was a fit, healthy 32-year-old,” she said. “Now I’ve been reduced to not being able to stand up in the shower without feeling fatigued. I’ve tried going to the supermarket and I’m in bed for days afterwards. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.” Despite her best efforts, LeClerc has not been able to get a test, but “every doctor I’ve spoken to says there’s no shadow of a doubt that this has been COVID,” she said. Today is day 80.

COVID-19 has existed for less than six months, and it is easy to forget how little we know about it. The standard view is that a minority of infected people, who are typically elderly or have preexisting health problems, end up in critical care, requiring oxygen or a ventilator. About 80 percent of infections, according to the World Health Organization, “are mild or asymptomatic,” and patients recover after two weeks, on average. Yet support groups on Slack and Facebook host thousands of people like LeClerc, who say they have been wrestling with serious COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month, if not two or three. Some call themselves “long-termers” or “long-haulers.”

I interviewed nine of them for this story, all of whom share commonalities. Most have never been admitted to an ICU or gone on a ventilator, so their cases technically count as “mild.” But their lives have nonetheless been flattened by relentless and rolling waves of symptoms that make it hard to concentrate, exercise, or perform simple physical tasks. Most are young. Most were previously fit and healthy. “It is mild relative to dying in a hospital, but this virus has ruined my life,” LeClerc said. “Even reading a book is challenging and exhausting. What small joys other people are experiencing in lockdown—yoga, bread baking—are beyond the realms of possibility for me.”

Even though the world is consumed by concern over COVID-19, the long-haulers have been largely left out of the narrative and excluded from the figures that define the pandemic. I can pull up an online dashboard that reveals the numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and recoveries—but LeClerc falls into none of those categories. She and others are trapped in a statistical limbo, uncounted and thus overlooked.

Some have been diagnosed through tests, while others, like LeClerc, have been told by their doctors that they almost certainly have COVID-19. Still, many long-haulers have faced disbelief from friends and medical professionals because they don’t conform to the typical profile of the disease. People have questioned how they could possibly be so sick for so long, or whether they’re just stressed or anxious. “It feels like no one understands,” said Chloe Kaplan from Washington, D.C., who works in education and is on day 78. “I don’t think people are aware of the middle ground, where it knocks you off your feet for weeks, and you neither die nor have a mild case.”

The notion that most cases are mild and brief bolsters the belief that only the sick and elderly need isolate themselves, and that everyone else can get infected and be done with it. “It establishes a framework in which ‘not hiding’ from the disease looks a manageable and sensible undertaking,” writes Felicity Callard, a geographer at the University of Glasgow, who is on day 77. As the pandemic discourse turns to talk of a second wave, long-haulers who are still grappling with the consequences of the first wave are frustrated. “I’ve been very concerned by friends and family who just aren’t taking this seriously because they think you’re either asymptomatic or dead,” said Hannah Davis, an artist from New York City, who is on day 71. “This middle ground has been hellish.”

It “has been like nothing else on Earth,” said Paul Garner, who has previously endured dengue fever and malaria, and is currently on day 77 of COVID-19. Garner, an infectious-diseases professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, leads a renowned organization that reviews scientific evidence on preventing and treating infections. He tested negative on day 63. He had waited to get a COVID-19 test partly to preserve them for health-care workers, and partly because, at one point, he thought he was going to die. “I knew I had the disease; it couldn’t have been anything else,” he told me. I asked him why he thought his symptoms had persisted. “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I don’t understand what’s happening in my body.”

On march 17, a day after LeClerc came down with her first symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 sent Fiona Lowenstein to the hospital. Nine days later, after she was discharged, she started a Slack support group for people struggling with the disease. The group, which is affiliated with a wellness organization founded by Lowenstein called Body Politic, has been a haven for long-haulers. One channel for people whose symptoms have lasted longer than 30 days has more than 3,700 members.

“The group was a savior for me,” said Gina Assaf, a design consultant in Washington, D.C., who is now on day 77. She and other members with expertise in research and survey design have now sampled 640 people from the Body Politic group and beyond. Their report is neither representative nor peer-reviewed, but it provides a valuable snapshot of the long-hauler experience.

Of those surveyed, about three in five are between the ages of 30 and 49. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2020 at 3:44 pm

Even a Vaccine Won’t Erase this Pandemic

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Andrew Nikiforuk reports in The Tyee:

When William Haseltine told a group of fellow scientists in 1986 that an AIDS vaccine would be unlikely because of the difficult nature of the virus, he was booed off the stage. His colleagues even threw stuff at him.

“But we still don’t have a vaccine for AIDS,” he recently told Reuters. “We don’t know for sure that a [COVID-19] vaccine won’t be developed, but I can say with the same conviction — don’t count on it.”

In the last couple of weeks the virologist also has offered some jarring observations on the nature of the coronavirus, self-promotion by drug labs, the hazards of rapid reopenings and our global unpreparedness for what is yet to come.

He’s done so on his website and in a variety of interviews.

Besides being so unfortunately right about HIV, why else should we pay attention to what Haseltine is saying these days about COVID-19?

Start with his resume. A retired Harvard medical professor and a cancer/HIV researcher, Haseltine has been around the block a few times as both as hardcore researcher and biotech entrepeneur.

Over his career he worked on or developed drugs for HIV/AIDS, anthrax, and other ailments. The 76-year-old is also an expert on aging and dementia. And he started up Human Genome Sciences with Craig Venter in 1992.

Here, then, are eight cautions by William Haseltine that, while hard to hear, may save many lives if heeded.

1. Beware of those who purvey premature hope.

Haseltine’s years of experience cause him to caution against being manipulated by emotion. A number of firms have been giving “a false impression of progress” on the vaccine front, he worries.

Cambridge-based Moderna, for example, made headlines last week with news of a safety trial on just eight healthy individuals for its vaccine. The value of the company’s stock exploded. Although the company said their experimental vaccine raised neutralizing antibodies, it said nothing about levels.

In a pointed Forbes column, Haseltine noted that Moderna’s tidbit of information was “the equivalent of a chief executive of a public company announcing a favourable earnings report without supplying supporting financial data, which the Securities and Exchange Commission would never allow.”

In the months ahead citizens should remain skeptical about overinflated claims and remember that “medicine and science are not matters of majority opinion; they are matters of fact supported by transparent data.”

2. Even a vaccine that works likely won’t solve the pandemic.

Haseltine also wants citizens to appreciate this bit of wisdom: a vaccine will not likely end this pandemic for several reasons.

For starters the most affected population, people over the age of 60, are the most difficult population to develop vaccines for. As the immune system ages, the effectiveness and duration of vaccines wanes with it. “It is very difficult to develop a vaccine for older people,” notes Haseltine.

Second, coronaviruses make difficult vaccine candidates because they produce many proteins that allow them to trick and evade the immune system.

SARS-CoV-2 can play tricks with the immune system in a way other viruses can’t. The human immune system offers a two-pronged response to a viral invasion. One response produces antibodies which bind to the virus and eliminate the intruder. The other response more directly attacks infected cells. But SARS-CoV-2 can mute the first response and make the other hyperactive says Haseltine. “SARS-[CoV]-2 is amplifying what happens to us naturally as our immune systems age.”

As a result experiments with vaccines for SARS and MERs have not ended well. Some generated neutralizing antibodies, but they didn’t provide adequate protection, says Haseltine.

Third, Haseltine doesn’t think . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more — and it’s somewhat depressing.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2020 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Medical, Science

WTF: Police destroy a medical station at North Carolina protest

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This is staggering. John Boyle reports for the Ashville Citizen Times:

Police officers’ aggressive dismantling of a medical station near a protest in North Carolina on Tuesday has medical staff — and the city’s mayor — wondering what the department’s strategy was.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer acknowledged the incident, which occurred at 8:14 p.m. local time in a small alley.

“I am aware of the incident involving officers destroying the medical supplies of demonstrators, including water bottles, food, and other supplies,” Manheimer wrote. “Council has asked for an explanation of why that occurred.”

“We are a city that cares, and I want to thank all of our officers who have taken a knee and worked to protect us,” Manheimer continued. “But this was a disappointing moment in an otherwise peaceful evening.”

The protest marked the third day of demonstrations in Asheville in response to the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

Video by the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, shows Asheville police officers in riot gear and holding shields forming a protective circle around other officers who are stomping on water bottles and stabbing bottles with a knife. Other officers destroyed medical supplies such as bandages and saline solution.

Sean Miller, a  University of North Carolina Asheville student who is head of communications for the medical team, said the 10 to 12 medics present were all clearly marked as such and were not provoking police in any way.

“(The police) immediately, when they approached, they said, ‘We’re Asheville Police Department and you guys need to leave.’ They grabbed us by the shoulders and pushed  (us) out of the alleyway where we were trying to provide medical support,” Miller said.

The incident was “very shocking, very jarring,” said Miller. She also said they had a verbal agreement with  the Asheville Police Department to be present, even after curfew.

Some of the medics had bruises and felt the effects of tear gas, but no one was seriously injured. They  lost at least $700 in supplies, Miller said.

At no time did officers give them an explanation for the destruction, Miller said. . .

Continue reading. There’s more, with photos at the link of the militarized police in formation to protect the police destroying medical station.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2020 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

The power of fear (and rumor): Antifa the bogeyman

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Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins report for NBC News:

About 200 protesters came to Sugarman’s Corner, the local hotspot in downtown Klamath Falls, Oregon, last Sunday night to protest the killing of George Floyd.

Like in many of the protests that have recently sprung up in cities across the United States, the group was made up of white, black and Latino people, members of the Native American Klamath Tribes, and the LGBTQ community; a diverse coalition in a county of 68,000 where 9 out of every ten residents are white, according to Census estimates. They held signs, many of which have become common during recent protests: “Black Lives Matter” and “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Though it was a small gathering, they had company.

Just across the street, hundreds of their mostly white neighbors were there for decidedly different reasons. They leaned in front of local businesses The Daily Bagel and Rick’s Smoke Shop wearing military fatigues and bulletproof vests, with blue bands tied around their arms. Most everyone seemed to be carrying something: flags, baseball bats, hammers and axes. But mostly, they carried guns.

They said they came with shotguns, rifles and pistols to protect their downtown businesses from outsiders. They had heard that antifa, paid by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, were being bused in from neighboring cities, hellbent on razing their idyllic town.

Frederick Brigham, 31, Klamath Falls resident and musician who goes by “Wreck the Rebel,” said he never thought Black Lives Matter protests would come to his town. As one of the few black men who lives there, he felt compelled to attend.

But the presence of armed people who clearly did not support their group was chilling.

“It felt like walking through an enemy war camp,” he said

While large rallies in major cities have been the most visible part of recent social efforts to change how police treat black people, hundreds more have popped up in small, rural towns, where residents have marched and kneeled to protest police brutality.

Those protests — and some of the violence and looting that have accompanied them — have become the source of growing skepticism and paranoia in conservative circles. The most persistent rumors center on groups of antifa members being put on buses and sent to small towns to wreak havoc.

The rumors are unfounded. But that hasn’t stopped people in some communities, like Klamath Falls, from preparing for the worst. Towns from Washington state to Indiana have seen armed groups begin patrolling the streets after receiving warnings about an antifa invasion, often spurred by social media or passed along from friends. Those actions have yet to erupt in major violence but often bring heavily armed people in close contact with protestors, as it did in Klamath Falls.

The Rumor

Tensions were already high in Klamath Falls. Peaceful protests 150 miles north in Eugene, Oregon, had been followed by a fire in the street and looting. On local social media, rumors were swirling that buses filled with outsiders were planning to infiltrate Klamath Falls to wreak similar havoc.

And so some Klamath Falls residents armed themselves and hit the streets. Those that had children to look after watched the downtown protests from Facebook, according to comments left on the stream.

“As you can tell, we are ready,” one armed man said in a Facebook Live with 124,000 views. “Antifa members have threatened our town and said that they’re going to burn everything and to kill white people, basically.”

Beyond protecting the businesses on Main Street, the armed group asked: “Why would Black Lives Matter need to protest in Klamath Falls?”

The rally lasted about four hours with Klamath Falls Police Department officers standing between the two sets of protesters. On the north side of the street, protesters chanted “George Floyd.” On the south side of the street, chants of “USA,” and “Go home,” erupted throughout the night.

“A lot of these people came out because they swore that antifa buses were in town,” Brigham said. “They couldn’t believe that I was from here. They thought I must be a black man that came from somewhere else.”

Like nearly every other county in the U.S., Klamath County and the county seat of Klamath Falls have private Facebook groups dedicated to local news, mostly filled with postings about lost dogs, local announcements, and constant chatter about what’s heard over the police scanner. It was on Klamath County’s local Facebook news group that some 4,800 members came to talk about the potential threat of antifa, according to posts reviewed by NBC News.

Since nationwide protests began, President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr have without evidence blamed the antifa movement — a loose network of groups made up of radicals who rely on direct action, and sometimes violence, to fight the far right and fascism — for the looting and property damage seen during some of the otherwise peaceful rallies. Last week, Trump announced that he planned to designate antifa as a terrorist organization. . .

Continue reading. There are photos and more to the story.

In fairness, there was some minor violence: fistfights instigated by the anti-Antifa group (who clearly were looking for trouble and primed to fight).

Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2020 at 7:57 am

Posted in Daily life

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