|News & Information for May 2-3, 2020
Trump Cancels Funding of US/China Research Making Pandemic Viruses
For years, US researchers have been collaborating with Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists in China to build more deadly SARS-CoV viruses similar in their clinical effect to SARS-CoV-2, the epidemic coronavirus. The American/Chinese effort has used same species of bats from which new epidemic virus has come. Within a week of my wife Ginger and I announcing this disastrous situation through a blog, video, and an array of contacts—President Donald Trump stopped NIH’s funding of the research. In this video, I discuss Fauci’s role in enabling this tragic research, implications for the future, and the undaunted efforts by the Chinese to forge ahead on their own to make ever more dangerous viruses. See: https://breggin.com/trump-cancels-funding-of-us-china-research-making-epidemic-viruses/
Dr. Fauci backed funding for controversial Wuhan lab studying origin of coronavirus
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, had previously backed funding for a controversial lab in Wuhan, China, that has been studying the coronavirus in bats, reports said. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had shelled out a total of $7.4 million to the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab — which has become the focus of theories about the origin of COVID-19, according to Newsweek. The National Institutes of Health, which oversees the NIAID, shut down all funding to the lab last week. “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities,” a deputy director at the agency wrote in a letter obtained by Politico. There is “increasing confidence” among officials in the Trump administration that the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab is the original site of the virus. A report by Fox News said embassy officials warned in January 2018 about inadequate safety there. The NIH defended its funding of the lab in a statement to Newsweek. “Most emerging human viruses come from wildlife, and these represent a significant threat to public health and biosecurity in the US and globally,” the statement read.
Brazil fills mass graves as Covid-19 hits the Amazon
Day and night, the dead are delivered into the tawny Amazonian earth – the latest victims of a devastating pandemic now reaching deep into the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. On Sunday 140 bodies were laid to rest in Manaus, the jungle-flanked capital of Amazonas state. On Saturday, 98. Normally the figure would be closer to 30 – but these are no longer normal times. “It’s madness – just madness,” said Gilson de Freitas, a 30-year-old maintenance man whose mother, Rosemeire Rodrigues Silva, was one of 136 people buried there last Tuesday as local morticians set yet another grim daily record.
Freitas – who believes his mother contracted Covid-19 after being admitted to hospital following a stroke – recalled watching in despair as her remains were lowered into a muddy trench alongside perhaps 20 other coffins. “They were just dumped there like dogs,” he said. “What are our lives worth now? Nothing.” The city’s mayor, Arthur Virgílio, pleaded for urgent international help. “We aren’t in a state of emergency – we’re well beyond that. We are in a state of utter disaster … like a country that is at war – and has lost,” he said. “It’s tragic surrealism … I can’t stop thinking about Gabriel García Márquez when I think about the situation Manaus is facing.”
Daily confirmed Covid-19 deaths in Brazil
Coronavirus surge in Brazil brings coffin shortage, morgue chaos
In Brazil’s bustling Amazon city of Manaus, so many people have died within days in the coronavirus pandemic that coffins had to be stacked on top of each other in long, hastily dug trenches in a city cemetery. Some despairing relatives reluctantly chose cremation for loved ones to avoid burying them in those common graves. Now, with Brazil emerging as Latin America’s coronavirus epicentre with more than 6,000 deaths, even the coffins are running out in Manaus. The national funeral home association has pleaded for an urgent airlift of coffins from Sao Paulo, 2,700km (1,677 miles) away, because Manaus has no paved roads connecting it to the rest of the country. […] By Thursday, all those graves were filled with the dead, as were dozens of other new ones, according to images by the AP photographer who took the original photos and revisited the site on Sao Paulo’s eastern region. Refrigerated trucks to hold the overflow of bodies are now seen outside hospitals and cemeteries.
How staying home during coronavirus lockdown can lead to depression in kids
This period of social isolation has been hard on adults, so it should be no surprise that it’s taking a toll on children too. Researchers surveyed nearly two thousand children in second through sixth grade both in Wuhan, China and in a city about 50 miles away. After an average of 34 days under the lockdown, 23% of the kids reported symptoms of depression. 19% reported symptoms of anxiety. “It’s really important for us as adults to normalize the emotional tone in the house, so that children can follow our lead and not be nervous because we are,” said Dr. Donna Rockwell, a clinical psychologist. Dr. Rockwell says it’s important to be creative about finding projects for your children to do, and to get outside for walks, to create a new normal. […] “It’s not really what they’re going through, it’s how protected they feel as they’re going through it, and as adults we can sort of check our emotions at the door,” said Dr. Rockwell. “It’s important that we stand strong, confident, and yet truthful at an age-appropriate level with our children so that they know how to cope by watching how we cope. We will get through this together. it’s the togetherness and the connection that helps human beings survive really difficult times.”
Anxiety impairs judgment in social situations, study finds
A new study suggests that people are remarkably adept at avoiding exploitation at the hands of others – unless they suffer from anxiety. A group of three researchers from Brown University recently conducted a study that found that healthy people easily recognize when those around them become increasingly untrustworthy – and they react, appropriately enough, by pulling away. But they found that the same wasn’t true for those who have significant levels of anxiety. People who are anxious, the study concluded, continue to trust and invest in people who display increasingly untrustworthy behavior. The findings were published in Psychological Science on Tuesday, April 28. “We know from previous research that learning and uncertainty are very closely linked,” said Amrita Lamba, the study’s first author and a Ph.D. student in Brown’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. “This study demonstrates that, if we do not have anxiety, we’re actually able to learn more once we detect uncertainty in social interactions, which helps us to avoid being exploited and to learn who can be trusted. With every uncertain social situation we navigate, with every change in trustworthiness we observe in people, we are fine-tuning our opinions of them and adjusting our relationships with them accordingly.”
Why some labs work on making viruses deadlier — and why they should stop
The pandemic should make us question the value of gain-of-function research. Earlier this week, Newsweek and the Washington Post reported that the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab near the site of the first coronavirus cases in the world, had been studying bat coronaviruses. The Newsweek report revealed an alarming tidbit: The Wuhan lab at the center of the controversy had for years been engaged in gain-of-function research. What exactly is it? It’s a line of research where scientists take viruses and study how they might be modified to become deadlier or more transmissible. Why would they do this? Scientists who engage in such research say it helps them figure out which viruses threaten people so they can design countermeasures. […] Others are skeptical. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, told me last year that he doesn’t think the benefits for vaccine development hold up in most cases. “I haven’t seen any of the vaccine companies say that they need to do this work in order to make vaccines,” he pointed out. “I have not seen evidence that the information people are pursuing could be put into widespread use in the field.”