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Editor Daily Rundown: Biden Will Deliver Address To Commemorate Coronavirus Shutdown And CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks

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BIDEN ADMIN TO COMMEMORATE THE *SHUTDOWN*… White House: Biden Will Deliver First Primetime National Address To Commemorate Anniversary Of Shutdown

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Monday morning that President Joe Biden will deliver his first primetime national address Thursday evening to commemorate one year of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Psaki’s announcement comes as Congress is preparing to send the American Rescue Plan to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The House is expected to vote for final passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package as soon as Tuesday.

“The president will deliver his first primetime address to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown on Thursday,” Psaki told reporters gathered at Monday’s White House press briefing. “He will discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered.”

She added that Biden “will look forward to highlighting the role of Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country toward getting back to normal.”

 

THAT SHUTDOWN HAS BEEN DEVASTATING… PROPUBLICA: The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.

Doctors are concerned about possible increases in childhood obesity — no surprise with many kids housebound in stress-filled homes — while addiction experts are warning of the long-term effects of endless hours of screen time when both schoolwork and downtime stimulation are delivered digitally. (Perhaps the only indicator of youth distress that is falling — reports of child abuse and neglect, which dropped about 40% early in the pandemic — is nonetheless worrisome because experts suspect it is the reporting that is declining, not the frequency of the abuse.)

Finally, the nationwide surge in gun violence since the start of the pandemic has included, in many cities, a sharp rise in crimes involving juveniles, including many killed or arrested during what would normally be school time. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a Washington, D.C., suburb where school buildings have remained closed, seven teenagers were charged with murder in just the first five weeks of this year.

 

‘PARENTS ARE… COMPLAINING’ … JORGE VENTURA: New York School board member from Valley Central during meeting : “It’s almost June, why bother? Then goes on to say “Why do we want the kids back in school? Is it because they are truly missing their education or their parents are missing something and complaining?” (VIDEO)

 

BILL MELUGIN: NEW: In a leaked post from a private Facebook group for UTLA union members only, teachers are warned not to post on social media if they go on spring break vacations because the optics would be bad for them while UTLA is refusing to return to “unsafe” in-person schooling @FOXLA (SCREENGRABS, THREAD)

 

NOW MORE AMERICANS VACCINATED THAN INFECTED… More Americans Now Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Than Have Been Confirmed Infected

More Americans have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 than have tested positive for the virus itself.

The United States recently surpassed 30 million people who have gotten two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to The Washington Post. By comparison, 28.7 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

Nearly 59 million people have received at least one vaccine dose, and more than 116 million total doses have been distributed. All three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have proven overwhelmingly effective at preventing serious cases of the virus, and they are thought to drastically reduce chances of transmitting the virus as well.

 

OH, GOOD… AP: Fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says

NEW YORK (AP) — Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials.

The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday.

The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

 

ATTENTION CITIZENS: YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED ‘LIMITED FREEDOMS’… REAL CNN TWEET: The CDC releases guidelines giving limited freedoms to people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Here are the rules to keep following.

 

THE BIG SURPRISE… CDC Study Finds 78% Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Were People Overweight Or Obese

The overwhelming majority of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 have been overweight or obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded in a study Monday.

Researchers found that 27.8% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were overweight while 50.2% of patients were obese. The CDC study was conducted from a sample of 71,491 adults who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to 238 hospitals nationwide between March and December 2020. […]

Researchers concluded that the risk of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and even death “increased sharply” if a patient’s BMI categorized them as overweight or obese, particularly among adults over 65 years. Patients with lower BMIs conversely had lower risks of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death.

 

JOHN SEXTON: WHO Hasn’t Ruled Out Lab Leak And Washington Post Calls For New Investigation Of Leak Theory

The World Health Organization team that visited Wuhan to investigate the origin of the coronavirus still hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a lab leak. Business Insider confirmed that the possibility is still on the table as far as the WHO is concerned […]

Also last week, a group of 26 scientists published an open letter calling for a full investigation into the origins of COVID, one which is not hampered by Chinese efforts to curate information. […]

I read the letter last week and expected it would receive a strong pushback in the media. I was surprised to see that the Washington Post published an editorial echoing some of these same complaints over the weekend:

A joint inquiry by the World Health Organization and China has run into trouble, as a group of 26 scientists pointed out this week in an open letter to the WHO. Both the possibility of a zoonotic spillover from animal hosts and that of a laboratory accident need independent, expert investigation — and it is time for a new team to seriously tackle the laboratory hypothesis…

 

SPEAKING OF CHINA… EXAMINER: State Department: China ‘was‘ committing Uyghur genocide but won’t say if it is ongoing

Ned Price, the State Department’s top spokesman, was pushed on the Uyghur genocide during a Monday press briefing, when a reporter asked about the “ongoing genocide in China” and whether the Biden administration planned to “impose a cost on China” more than the Trump administration did.

“The secretary has made clear that, in his judgment, genocide was committed against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The PRC also has committed crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs, who, of course, are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, and that includes imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution,” Price said.

Price added: “I think the question that we are posing to like-minded allies and partners around the world is what collectively can we do not only to impose costs on China for what has transpired but in order to ensure that these, seek to ensure, that these atrocities do not continue going forward.”

The Biden spokesman was then asked a “grammatical question” about “tense” by another reporter, who noted Price had said Blinken determined a genocide “was” committed, asking if it was the Biden administration’s belief that “this is not an ongoing thing” and if “you think it only happened in the past, or is it continuing now?”

The spokesmen kept things in the past tense, notably.

“So, the secretary made clear that in his judgment, genocide was committed against Uyghurs, and we’re using that tense because the secretary was speaking in the context of his confirmation hearings at that moment in time,” Price said.

“The questions of genocide, questions of crimes against humanity, these are always questions that our bureaus are looking at,” he added. “It’s not only the Department of State, but also our interagency partners are looking closely at to form an assessment as to whether these are ongoing. At that moment in time, it was the judgment of Secretary Blinken that genocide had been committed in Xinjiang, just as it was the judgment of Secretary Pompeo, as I understand it, that genocide was committed in Xinjiang.”

 

Number of COVID-positive migrants released in Texas surges, officials say

The number of migrants who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after being released by the Border Patrol into Texas has nearly doubled, officials say.

Felipe Romero, a spokesperson for Brownsville, tells Fox News that 185 migrants dropped off and rapid-tested at the city’s main bus station have contracted the coronavirus – up from the 108 he disclosed last Wednesday.

As of Saturday, a total of 1,553 individuals since Jan. 25 have been tested for COVID-19 after coming across the U.S.-Mexico border there, Romero added.

 

A PAIR OF REPORTS FLAG PACKED CHILD DETENTION CENTERS…

 

CBS: Record 3,200 migrant children stuck in Border Patrol custody, with nearly half held past legal limit

More than 3,200 migrant children were stuck in Border Patrol facilities on Monday, with nearly half held beyond a three-day legal limit, as the Biden administration struggles to respond to the sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to government documents obtained by CBS News, nearly 1,400 unaccompanied minors had been held in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding facilities for more than three days as of Monday, despite the agency’s legal obligation to transfer these children to shelters operated by the U.S. refugee agency within 72 hours of taking them into custody.

Nearly 170 unaccompanied children stuck in Border Patrol custody are under the age of 13, according to the CBP documents.

 

NYT: A surge in migrant children detained at the border is straining shelters.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children detained along the southern border has tripled in the last two weeks to more than 3,250, filling facilities akin to jails as the Biden administration struggles to find room for them in shelters, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

More than 1,360 of the children have been detained beyond the 72 hours permitted by law before a child must be transferred to a shelter, according to one of the documents, dated March 8. The figures highlight the growing pressure on President Biden to address the increased number of people trying to cross the border in the belief that he will be more welcoming to them than former President Donald J. Trump was.

The children are being held in facilities, managed by the Customs and Border Protection agency, that were built for adults. The border agency has been the subject of widespread criticism for the horrific conditions in its federal detention facilities, in which children are exposed to disease, hunger and overcrowding.

 

PRESS WANTS TO SEE THE CAGES… Psaki Gets Into Dust-Up With Reporter Over Lack Of Media Access To Child Migrant Detention Facilities (VIDEO)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki got into a dust-up with a reporter Monday over the press’ lack of access into child migrant detention facilities. […]

One reporter inquired about more transparency regarding the situation during the press briefing, prompting a back-and-forth with Psaki.

“I want to clarify – you said that a policy discussion behind the scenes with the president and this delegation is private. I just want to clarify … I’m not asking for a detailed readout on a private conversation that’s happening in the Oval Office between the president and this delegation. Journalists have not been allowed to see what’s happening inside places …,” the reporter began to note before Psaki interrupted.

Psaki said she “understand[s]” and tried to clarify her earlier comment. The press secretary said she meant to express that reporters shouldn’t expect “a readout of” a “private conversation.”

The reporter continued to press Psaki, wondering whether the press will be able to learn about what exactly is going on inside the facilities.

“Will we be able to get a readout on what these children, whom we’ve not been able to speak to ourselves, are saying to the delegation of 14 members that went on the conditions that they’re being held in? Or if not a readout on this conversation on what these kids told the people … can we get in ourselves?” she wondered.

Psaki said the administration is “very open to … providing access to these facilities” before doubling down on the stance that reporters will not yet be allowed inside.

 

12 States Sue Biden Administration Over Climate Policies, ‘Massive Expansion’ Of Regulations

A group of Republican state attorneys general alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that President Joe Biden’s climate policies are a major overreach and could damage their states’ economies.

The 12-state coalition said Biden overstepped his constitutional authority by declaring there were “social costs” of continued greenhouse gas emissions in a Jan. 20 executive order. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Missouri, argued that assigning such costs is a “quintessentially legislative action” that falls within Congress’ authority.

“The Biden Administration’s calculation of ‘social costs’ would justify imposing trillions of dollars in regulatory costs on the American economy every year to offset these supposed costs,” the lawsuit said. […]

The lawsuit said Biden’s executive order enables regulatory agencies to place restrictions on nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives in order to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Potential regulations could affect cars, refrigerators, homes, food purchases and electric bills.

 

Biden Appears To Forget The Name Of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (VIDEO)

President Joe Biden appeared to forget the name of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin when referring to him during a televised speech Monday. […]

“And I want to thank the Sec, the former general, I keep calling him general, my my uh, the guy who runs that outfit over there,” he continued. “I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we’ve just talked about and for recommending these two women for promotion. Thank you all. May God bless you all and may God protect our troops.”

 

TWITTER HANDLES BIDEN FLUB BY MAKING IT ABOUT OLD TRUMP FUMBLE… ‘TIM APPLE’… DAVE RUBIN: How Twitter Manipulates The Conversation 101. It’s not about Biden forgetting the name of the Secretary of Defense, it’s about, yea, you guessed it…

 

REPORT: BIDEN’S DOG BIT A STAFFER… BOTH GERMAN SHEPHERDS BANISHED TO DELAWARE… CNN: Biden German Shepherd has aggressive incident and is sent back to Delaware

The two German Shepherds belonging to President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were returned to the Biden family home in Delaware last week after aggressive behavior at the White House involving Major Biden, two sources with knowledge tell CNN.

Major, who was adopted by Biden in November 2018 from a Delaware animal shelter, had what one of the people described as a “biting incident” with a member of White House security. The exact condition of the victim is unknown, however, the episode was serious enough that the dogs were subsequently moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where they remain.

CNN reached out to the White House for comment and did not immediately receive a reply.

Major, who is 3 years old, is the younger of the two Biden dogs, and has been known to display agitated behavior on multiple occasions, including jumping, barking, and “charging” at staff and security, according to the people CNN spoke with about the dog’s demeanor at the White House. The older of Biden’s German Shepherds, Champ, is approximately 13 and has slowed down physically due to his advanced age.

 

STEVE KRAKAUER: Can you imagine the media coverage if it was President Trump’s dog who bit a member of White House security (“condition unknown”) frequently “charged” at staff, got sent home quietly last week… and then the White House refused to comment?

 

Ex-US Attorney Will Lead Investigation Into Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations

New York attorney general Letitia James appointed the former top prosecutor for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan to conduct an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

James announced on Monday that Joon H. Kim, who served as acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anne L. Clark, an employment discrimination attorney, will lead the investigation.

James’ office also said that a report of the investigation will be released to the public.

“We are committed to an independent and thorough investigation of the facts,” James said in a statement announcing the independent investigation.

 

NYT: Publisher Halts Promotion of Cuomo Book, Citing Nursing Homes Inquiry

The publisher of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s book on his leadership during the pandemic said it had stopped promoting the title because of an inquiry into the withholding of data on the deaths of nursing home residents.

Sales of the book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” had already dramatically slowed as the governor found himself embroiled in overlapping crises of his own making, including a drumbeat of accusations about his inappropriate behavior toward younger women and his aides’ manipulation of nursing home data.

Gillian Blake of Crown Publishing Group said in response to an email from The New York Times that there were “no plans” to reprint Mr. Cuomo’s book or to reissue it in paperback, citing “the ongoing investigation into N.Y.S. reporting of Covid-related fatalities in nursing homes.”

 

CUOMO WAS PAID MILLIONS TO SPIN HIS PERFORMANCE… BYRON YORK: According to report in Vanity Fair, Crown Books paid ‘at least low- to mid-seven figures’ for Cuomo book.

 

GREG PRICE: SCOTUS ruled 8-1 in this case involving a Christian student who sued his college for being forced to use a “speech zone” to share his Christian faith on campus. The lone dissent was… Justice Roberts

 

MORE… Supreme Court Sides With Christian Student In College Free Speech Case

The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision Monday that a Georgia college’s speech code policy violated the First Amendment and that a student who was harmed by the policy can seek damages.

Justice Clarence Thomas issued the opinion of the court Monday, siding with Chike Uzuegbunam, a former student at Georgia Gwinnett College, and affirming his right to share his Christian faith on campus. The opinion reversed an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which said Uzuegbunam didn’t have standing to sue the college over its policy that severely restricted his speech. […]

In 2016, Uzuegbunam was told that he needed to use one of two “speech zones,” which made up less than 1% of the entire campus, if he wanted to continue sharing his Christian faith on campus, according to ADF. Uzuegbunam complied, but minutes after speaking in a reserved zone, campus police threatened him with discipline if he continued. […]

School officials ultimately accused Uzuegbunam of violating a campus speech code, which prohibited offensive speech, Langhofer said. Georgia Gwinnett College initially defended its speech code in court after ADF sued on behalf of Uzuegbunam in 2016, but then reversed its speech policy and argued the case was moot as a result. […]

“It is undisputed that Uzuegbunam experienced a completed violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him,” Thomas wrote.

Justice John Roberts issued the lone dissent. Roberts agreed with the appeals court, which argued that because Georgia Gwinnett College changed its policy after Uzuegbunam sued, the case was moot.

 

Chauvin Trial Paused While Additional Charges Are Weighed

Jury selection for the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd’s murder was delayed Monday as additional charges are weighed against the former officer, CBS Minnesota reported.

Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck while arresting him in May 2020, CBS Minnesota reported, but the court is considering reinstating third-degree murder as a charge.

Prosecutors asked Judge Peter Cahill to delay Chauvin’s trial while the appeals process is completed, but Cahill said the jury selection process would continue, CBS Minnesota reported. Potential jurors were excused, however, after prosecutors said they would contact the Minnesota Court of Appeals if Cahill allowed the selection process to proceed.

Chauvin’s attorney said he would take the appellate court’s decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court during a pre-trial hearing, CBS Minnesota reported.

Prosecutors said in a motion that Cahill does not have the authority to continue the trial as the defense appeals the third-degree murder charge, CBS Minnesota reported. Jury selection could be delayed for weeks as the appeal moves through the appeals court.

 

NYT TRACKS DOWN JOSH HAWLEY’S HIGH SCHOOL PROM DATE TO ATTACK HIM… Josh Hawley Is ‘Not Going Anywhere.’ How Did He Get Here?

But in recent weeks, some of Mr. Hawley’s old classmates and teachers have been aghast at his role in undermining confidence in America’s elections.

“I’ve been very disappointed to see who he has become,” said Kristen Ruehter-Thompson, a close friend growing up who was once Mr. Hawley’s prom date.

Even his middle school principal, Barbara Weibling, has weighed in. “I’m not surprised he’s a politician and that he’s shooting for the presidency,” said Ms. Weibling, a vocal supporter of Democrats. “The only thing is, I think he had a strict moral upbringing, and I was really disappointed he would suck the country into the lies that Trump told about the election. I just think that’s wrong.”

 

Why Would The New York Times Interview Sen. Josh Hawley’s Prom Date?

The New York Times (NYT) dug into Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s past for a piece suggesting he’s changed since coming into “power,” even managing to get a comment from his prom date.

Critics swiftly called out the article on Twitter after its publication, with many specifically pointing out the prom date interview and poking fun at it.

“I’ve been very disappointed to see who he has become,” Hawley’s former prom date Kristen Ruehter-Thompson told the NYT for the piece, adding that Hawley’s father was “more of the influence” and that “there were always discussions of [former conservative radio host] Rush Limbaugh.”

The NYT article explored Hawley’s background following his decision to object to certification of the 2020 election results.

Radio host Dana Loesch called the prom date addition “[p]eak 2021 journalisming.” Barstool sports blogger and podcaster “Chaps,” meanwhile, joked that the public needs “to hear from [Hawley’s] Homecoming Date too” in an effort to be unbiased.

“What about his grandma’s friend Phyllis? can we get word from the gecko his 3rd grade class owned?” Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway suggested.

 

Hillary Clinton Says Republicans Are ‘Turning Themselves Into A Cult’ (VIDEO)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday during an interview that the Republicans are “turning themselves into a cult.”

“It is really troubling to see the Republican party turn themselves into a cult and you know, basically pledge allegiance, not to the United States of America, but to Donald Trump — something I do not understand, I cannot accept,” Clinton said on “Washington Post Live.”

Clinton said she believed most Americans oppose Trump’s dominance of politics, given the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and the popularity of Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

“I don’t understand why the Republican Party is so afraid of itself,” Clinton said during the video.

 

MEGHAN MARKLE’S FATHER REACTS TO OPRAH INTERVIEW… ALEX SALVI: NEW: Meghan Markle’s father says the last time he spoke to his daughter was in the hospital after he had a heart attack four years ago; says he’ll stop talking to the press when she reached out to him. (THREAD, VIDEO)

NEW: Thomas Markle on Meghan’s claims that she had suicidal thoughts: “Obviously Harry had not supported her that well … She’s ghosted members of family on both sides, my side and her mums, and we would have been there for her.”

GMB anchor Susanna Reid: “Meghan feels like you let her down.” Meghan Markle’s father Thomas: “I feel like she let me down.”

 

CALLING ALL PATRIOTS: Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on March 2 that he would be lifting the mask mandate and opening Texas 100%. The state of Mississippi did the same just hours later and Wyoming announced Monday that it would be loosening coronavirus restrictions as well. When do you think other states will begin to loosen their restrictions? Let us know in the form.