Connect with us

News

For virus briefings, Biden says he’s ‘bringing back the pros’

Published

on

For virus briefings, Biden says he's 'bringing back the pros'

For virus briefings, Biden says he’s ‘bringing back the pros’

 

He said Tuesday, repeating a central pledge of his inaugural address, “I will always level with you on the state of affairs.”

This is a message that has helped bring Biden to the White House. As a candidate, he warned that in what would be a “dark winter,” the nation faced a surge of coronavirus cases; Trump, for his part, falsely claimed the worst of the virus was over.

Dr. David Hamer, a professor of global health and medicine at the School of Public Health at Boston University, said it would go a long way towards improving public perceptions of the vaccine by having briefings from health officials that are “based on serious science.”

“There is a certain amount of hesitancy in the vaccine, so it is really important to educate people about the vaccine, how it works, how it is safe and how it can protect against the disease but also slow transmission,” he said.

The stakes could hardly be higher for Biden, whose presidency depends on his handling of the pandemic and the largest vaccination campaign in global history.

Biden is pushing a weary population to reconnect to measures of social distancing and mask-wearing, pointing to scientific models that suggest that practises in the coming months could save 50,000 lives. He has stressed the best behaviours for the nation by members of his administration model.

In the former administration, those messages found few champions, as Trump openly flouted science-based guidance from his own administration. At his reelection rallies, face coverings were sparse and social distance was almost nonexistent.

The U.S. recorded new cases and reported deaths almost daily in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Biden, as many states reimposed costly restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Even so, Trump limited his top scientists and public health officials’ media appearances and continued to spread misinformation.

Asked by CNN last week if the Trump administration’s lack of candour about the virus had cost lives, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, replied, “You know, it very likely did.”

The Trump administration ended the practise of regular scientific briefings early on in the pandemic, after Trump expressed anger over the dire warnings of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Nancy Messonnier in February about the threat from the virus.

Trump later told journalist Bob Woodward that to avoid creating panic about the virus, he had been “playing it down.” Aides said that he was also seeking to preserve the economy to improve his chances for reelection.

“Last spring, when the pandemic took place in the U.S., Trump assumed the position of “wartime president,” attending extended briefings at the White House, where he was the star, not science. For his early appearances, Trump pointed to the strong television ratings and timed the sessions to overtake the national evening news.

Trump expressed his doubts about face coverings from the briefing room, despite the scientists’ common observations that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of the virus. He wondered aloud if, like cleaning a floor, Americans would ingest toxic bleach to destroy the virus. He encouraged governors, even as cases surged, to “reopen” their states.

The briefing on Wednesday will be conducted virtually, instead of in person at the White House, to allow health journalists to ask questions and to maintain a set timing in the West Wing regardless of the schedule. It will feature Jeff Zients, the pandemic response coordinator of the Biden administration; his deputy, Andy Slavitt; Fauci; Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the equality task force of Biden’s COVID-19; and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

It comes as government scientists, led by Fauci, have been making regular media appearances in television and podcast interviews to share their expertise. Fauci called his current circumstances “liberating” last week, offering that “one of the new things in this administration is, don’t guess if you don’t know the answer.”

Hamer said that enough confusion and distrust had been created by the Trump administration around the coronavirus and vaccine that the Biden administration has a long way to go to rebuild public confidence, adding that some Americans may never come around.

“It is going to take time. It is difficult to say exactly how much damage was done,’ he said. In the country, I think there might be pockets that might be more resistant to listening to evidence, because they may have focused their minds on what they have heard from the past. But others can still be influenced and educated.

News

Should I get a flu shot if I’m getting a COVID vaccine booster?

Published

on

Should I get a flu shot if I’m getting a COVID vaccine booster?

ST. LOUIS – COVID-19 booster shots could become more widely available right as doctors recommend that people get their flu shots. But is it okay to get both vaccines at the same time?

The flu season is upon us at a time when the country already is battling a resurgence of the coronavirus. Doctors are urging Americans to avail themselves of any and all vaccines they are eligible for.

An FDA advisory panel is endorsing the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines for people 65 and older and those with certain health conditions that compromise their immune systems. The CDC says, yes, you can get the COVID vaccine and the flu shot at the same time and one won’t interfere with the other.

“Flu vaccine influenza vaccine has been co-administered with other vaccines for decades people needed their tetanus or some other vaccine at the same time we always did that we do them in separate arms because if you have redness or a reaction you want to know which one it was,” said Dr. Peter Montgomery, a physician with SSM Health Family Medicine.

Montgomery says the flu shots are available now.

“We want to get people vaccinated hopefully by Thanksgiving and it will take a while to get everybody in to get that done, ideally for the whole population around Halloween, so I would say if you can get it now, get it now,” he said.

The flu season can run from now until spring. SSM Health is reporting zero flu cases throughout its system so far this flu season. Last year, there were few flu cases reported. That is attributed to widespread mask use and social distancing.

Continue Reading

News

Two suspects arrested for shooting death of Denver man in Adams County

Published

on

Two suspects arrested for shooting death of Denver man in Adams County

Two suspects have been arrested in the shooting death of a Denver man in an Adams County apartment complex parking lot.

Continue Reading

News

Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

Published

on

Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

WASHINGTON — Fossilized footprints discovered in New Mexico indicate that early humans were walking across North America around 23,000 years ago, researchers reported Thursday.

The first footprints were found in a dry lake bed in White Sands National Park in 2009. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey recently analyzed seeds stuck in the footprints to determine their approximate age, ranging from around 22,800 and 21,130 years ago.

The findings may shed light on a mystery that has long intrigued scientists: When did people first arrive in the Americas, after dispersing from Africa and Asia?

Most scientists believe ancient migration came by way of a now-submerged land bridge that connected Asia to Alaska. Based on various evidence — including stone tools, fossil bones and genetic analysis — other researchers have offered a range of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more.

The current study provides a more solid baseline for when humans definitely were in North America, although they could have arrived even earlier, the authors say. Fossil footprints are more indisputable and direct evidence than “cultural artifacts, modified bones, or other more conventional fossils,” they wrote in the journal Science, which published the study Thursday.

“What we present here is evidence of a firm time and location,” they said.

Based on the size of the footprints, researchers believe that at least some were made by children and teenagers who lived during the last ice age.

David Bustos, the park’s resource program manager, spotted the first footprints in ancient wetlands in 2009. He and others found more in the park over the years.

“We knew they were old, but we had no way to date the prints before we discovered some with (seeds) on top,” he said Thursday.

Made of fine silt and clay, the footprints are fragile, so the researchers had to work quickly to gather samples, Bustos said.

Continue Reading

News

Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey out at Texans with hamstring injury

Published

on

Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey out at Texans with hamstring injury

HOUSTON — Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey left Thursday night’s game against the Houston Texans with a hamstring injury and will not return.

McCaffrey had a 2-yard run early in the second quarter and went to the medical tent on the sideline soon after that. The team announced he was out for the rest of the game later in the second quarter.

McCaffrey had seven carries for 31 yards and two receptions for nine yards before he was injured.

McCaffrey has been great in the first two games for the Panthers. He entered the game with 45 carries for 170 yards and 14 receptions for 154 yards.

Continue Reading

News

MLB, union send notices of intent to seek labor changes

Published

on

MLB, union send notices of intent to seek labor changes

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball and the players’ association sent the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service letters of intent to seek new labor terms as the Dec. 1 expiration of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement approaches.

The notices, a formality under federal labor law required during every negotiation, were exchanged Aug. 26 by Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem and Ian Penny, the general counsel of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Under federal labor law, a collective bargaining agreement may not be modified or terminated unless a side seeking to make changes notifies the other side more than 60 days in advance of expiration and tells the mediation service within 30 days of giving notice.

Baseball has not had a work stoppage since the 7 1/2-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series. The sides reached agreements without work stoppages in 2002, 2006, 2011 and 2016, but the relationship has become more strained in recent years as the salary escalation has slowed.

The average salary rose from $3.97 million in 2016 to just under $4.1 million in 2017, according to union figures, then dropped to $3.9 million in 2020 before accounting for a shortened season caused by the pandemic that reduced the figure to about $1.6 million.

Based on opening day figures, the 2021 final average is likely to be in the $3.6 million to $3.7 million range.

Negotiations have proceeded slowly, and both sides appear to be bracing for a lockout that could start either on Dec. 1 or when players are scheduled to report to spring training in February.

Continue Reading

News

House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump advisers, associates

Published

on

House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump advisers, associates

WASHINGTON -- A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has issued its first subpoenas, demanding records and testimony from four of former President Donald Trump’s close advisers and associates who were in contact with him before and during the attack.

In a significant escalation for the panel, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., announced the subpoenas of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The four men are among Trump’s most loyal aides.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote to the four that the committee is investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes” of the attack and asked them to produce documents and appear at depositions in mid-October.

The panel, formed over the summer, is now launching the interview phase of its investigation after sorting through thousands of pages of documents it had requested in August from federal agencies and social media companies. The goal is to provide a complete accounting of what went wrong when the Trump loyalists brutally beat police, broke through windows and doors and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory — and to prevent anything like it from ever happening again.

Thompson says in letters to each of the witnesses that investigators believe they have relevant information about the lead-up to the insurrection. In the case of Bannon, for instance, Democrats cite his Jan. 5 prediction that ”(a)ll hell is going to break loose tomorrow” and his communications with Trump one week before the riot in which he urged the president to focus his attention on Jan. 6.

In the letter to Meadows, Thompson cites his efforts to overturn Trump’s defeat in the weeks prior to the insurrection and his pressure on state officials to push the former president’s false claims of widespread voter fraud.

“You were the president’s chief of staff and have critical information regarding many elements of our inquiry,” Thompson wrote. “It appears you were with or in the vicinity of President Trump on January 6, had communication with the president and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol and are a witness regarding the activities of the day.”

Thompson wrote that the panel has “credible evidence” of Meadows’ involvement in events within the scope of the committee’s investigation. That also includes involvement in the “planning and preparation of efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes.”

The letter also signals that the committee is interested in Meadows’ requests to Justice Department officials for investigations into potential election fraud. Former Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department did not find fraud that could have affected the election’s outcome.

The panel cites reports that Patel, a Trump loyalist who had recently been placed at the Pentagon, was talking to Meadows “nonstop” the day the attack unfolded. In the letter to Patel, Thompson wrote that based on documents obtained by the committee, there is “substantial reason to believe that you have additional documents and information relevant to understanding the role played by the Defense Department and the White House in preparing for and responding to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

Scavino was with Trump on Jan. 5 during a discussion about how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden, according to reports cited by the committee. On Twitter, he promoted Trump’s rally ahead of the attack and encouraged supporters to “be a part of history.” In the letter to Scavino, Thompson said the panel’s records indicate that Scavino was “tweeting messages from the White House” on Jan. 6.

Thompson wrote that it appears Scavino was with Trump on Jan. 6 and may have “materials relevant to his videotaping and tweeting” messages that day. He noted Scavino’s “long service” to the former president, spanning more than a decade.

Continue Reading

News

Major Case Squad called to St. Clair County for investigation

Published

on

Major Case Squad called to St. Clair County for investigation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some Missouri senators want to give the Department of Social Services the ability to block abortion providers from Medicaid funding for unethical behavior. 

After a special session over the summer to renew the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA), the tax from health care providers that funds Missouri’s Medicaid program, Senate leaders formed a committee to address some members’ concerns over Medicaid funds going to abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood. 

The Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection met for a third time Thursday since July. The focus during the hearing was to discuss a committee report that made changes to the state’s Medicaid system. Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, is the committee chairman and he read the six-page report. 

“The state has the authority in Medicaid programs to establish qualification standards for Medicaid providers and to take action against providers that fail to meet those standards,” White said.

One of the proposals would allow joint investigations into Medicaid providers from the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). This regulatory proposal would need to be approved by members of the committee and then sent to the department. 

“The committee urges DSS and DHSS to collaborate in modifying and expanding the existing rules to incorporate consideration by DSS of any state law,” White said.

“These violations of state law may include failure to ensure informed patient consent, failure to retain medical records, failure to cooperate with DHSS during an investigation, failure to ensure adequate facilities and sterilized equipment, and failure to provide required printed materials to women referred to an out-of-state abortion facility.”

White and other members are asking DSS and DHSS to draft emergency rules and put them into effect as soon as possible. Under this change, DSS would be able to consider revoking or denying a license based on DHSS reports. 

Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, is concerned the language could affect more health care providers than what’s intended.  

“If this is a backdoor attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, I do worry about the impact it would have on health care access,” Arthur said. “It doesn’t seem like there’s solution for who would feel that gap.”

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Couer, told the committee she’s worried the investigations could cause a gap in health care coverage for Missourians. 

“I’m concerned about what we are pushing ahead and trying to move forward quickly in a process that ends up perhaps taking away necessary healthcare from our recipients,” Schupp said.

“I’m not sure how that’s beneficial to the state or to the recipient. I think this has the intention of allowing DSS to have more control without having to do their own investigation.”

One proposed law change in the report allows the state to deny or revoke Medicaid funding to MO HealthNet providers, like abortion facilities which in Missouri is only Planned Parenthood, for unethical behavior. 

“That Missouri has an interest in protecting unborn children throughout pregnancy and ensuring respect for all human life from conception to natural death,” White said. 

This law change would require approval from the General Assembly when members return in January. Arthur said she can’t support the language because she’s worried it could affect the entire state’s Medicaid funding. 

“Until there is that assurance that we are in compliance, I think we are taking a gamble that I’m not comfortable with,” Arthur said.

Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using Medicaid funds for abortions. Another key part of the proposal means if an abortion facility, like Planned Parenthood, fell out of compliance in another state, Missouri could force the location in the Central West End in St. Louis to close. 

White said members are expected to sign off on the report in the coming days with the report being sent to the departments by early next week.

The committee will meet again Oct. 4 to hear from MO Healthnet about transparency issues. 

Continue Reading

News

Where do the bulk of Missouri’s medical marijuana Missouri patients reside?

Published

on

Missouri veterans fund receives $6.8M from medical marijuana

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some Missouri senators want to give the Department of Social Services the ability to block abortion providers from Medicaid funding for unethical behavior. 

After a special session over the summer to renew the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA), the tax from health care providers that funds Missouri’s Medicaid program, Senate leaders formed a committee to address some members’ concerns over Medicaid funds going to abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood. 

The Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection met for a third time Thursday since July. The focus during the hearing was to discuss a committee report that made changes to the state’s Medicaid system. Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, is the committee chairman and he read the six-page report. 

“The state has the authority in Medicaid programs to establish qualification standards for Medicaid providers and to take action against providers that fail to meet those standards,” White said.

One of the proposals would allow joint investigations into Medicaid providers from the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). This regulatory proposal would need to be approved by members of the committee and then sent to the department. 

“The committee urges DSS and DHSS to collaborate in modifying and expanding the existing rules to incorporate consideration by DSS of any state law,” White said.

“These violations of state law may include failure to ensure informed patient consent, failure to retain medical records, failure to cooperate with DHSS during an investigation, failure to ensure adequate facilities and sterilized equipment, and failure to provide required printed materials to women referred to an out-of-state abortion facility.”

White and other members are asking DSS and DHSS to draft emergency rules and put them into effect as soon as possible. Under this change, DSS would be able to consider revoking or denying a license based on DHSS reports. 

Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, is concerned the language could affect more health care providers than what’s intended.  

“If this is a backdoor attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, I do worry about the impact it would have on health care access,” Arthur said. “It doesn’t seem like there’s solution for who would feel that gap.”

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Couer, told the committee she’s worried the investigations could cause a gap in health care coverage for Missourians. 

“I’m concerned about what we are pushing ahead and trying to move forward quickly in a process that ends up perhaps taking away necessary healthcare from our recipients,” Schupp said.

“I’m not sure how that’s beneficial to the state or to the recipient. I think this has the intention of allowing DSS to have more control without having to do their own investigation.”

One proposed law change in the report allows the state to deny or revoke Medicaid funding to MO HealthNet providers, like abortion facilities which in Missouri is only Planned Parenthood, for unethical behavior. 

“That Missouri has an interest in protecting unborn children throughout pregnancy and ensuring respect for all human life from conception to natural death,” White said. 

This law change would require approval from the General Assembly when members return in January. Arthur said she can’t support the language because she’s worried it could affect the entire state’s Medicaid funding. 

“Until there is that assurance that we are in compliance, I think we are taking a gamble that I’m not comfortable with,” Arthur said.

Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using Medicaid funds for abortions. Another key part of the proposal means if an abortion facility, like Planned Parenthood, fell out of compliance in another state, Missouri could force the location in the Central West End in St. Louis to close. 

White said members are expected to sign off on the report in the coming days with the report being sent to the departments by early next week.

The committee will meet again Oct. 4 to hear from MO Healthnet about transparency issues. 

Continue Reading

News

Home explosion in Cahokia Heights

Published

on

Home explosion in Cahokia Heights

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill.– There was an apparent home explosion in Cahokia Heights with smoke and flames darting out of the roof.

Fire crews worked to knock out the flames and Bommarito Automotive Skyfox is over the scene.

This incident happened on St. Bartholomew Street in Cahokia Heights. Occupants of the home made it out safely with no injuries.

The family’s two cats and hamster are missing.

This is a developing story and we will update this story as new information becomes available.

Continue Reading

News

Powerball jackpot climbs to an estimated $523 million prize

Published

on

Powerball jackpot climbs to an estimated $523 million prize

The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $523 million, according to Colorado Lottery officials.

The estimated cash value is $370 million and the next drawing is on Saturday. Odds of winning the jackpot prize are 1 in 292 million.

Earlier this week, the Mega Millions jackpot was an estimated $432 million. A jackpot winning ticket was sold in New York for the Tuesday Mega Millions drawing.

Continue Reading

Trending