WHIP IT OUT, AMERICA! AP: CDC says vaccinated can largely ditch masks
In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. […]
The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated. […]
U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began. […]
The new guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not. Walensky and Biden said people who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors. […]
To date about 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer shot for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days.
CHECK OUT THE COMMENTS UNDER THIS WHITE HOUSE TWEET… PETRIFIED AMERICANS REFUSE TO UNMASK…
WHITE HOUSE: Big news from the CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask – indoors or outdoors, in most settings. We’ve gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line. (SEE COMMENTS)
KAITLAN COLLINS: Without fully explaining why, the CDC director says vaccinated people still need to wear a mask when on airplanes or public transportation, despite new guidance that vaccinated people can go mask-less indoors regardless of event size.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WITH PRIOR INFECTION? THE CDC IGNORES THEM, BUT…HERE’S WHAT THE NYT CONCLUDED IN MARCH…
Which produces a stronger immune response: a natural infection or a vaccine?
The short answer: We don’t know. But Covid-19 vaccines have predictably prevented illness, and they are a far safer bet, experts said. […]
Natural immunity from the coronavirus is fortunately quite strong. A vast majority of people infected produce at least some antibodies and immune cells that can fight off the infection. And the evidence so far suggests that this protection will persist for years, preventing serious illness, if not reinfection.
ALLAHPUNDIT TURNS ON CDC… to the extent average people are still listening to this agency, they should stop. they’re caught in a cycle now of being too cautious and then transparently bowing to political pressure to ease up. unreliable either way
Not One State Reported A Sizable Increase In Coronavirus Cases Last Week
For the first time in months, not one state reported a dramatic weekly increase in coronavirus cases.
While average daily cases fell by less than 10% in 11 states, 37 states saw cases fall by over 10% and just two states had cases marginally increase, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States also averaged fewer than 40,000 daily cases last week, a 21% drop from the week prior and the lowest total since September.
Death and hospitalization rates have also plummeted nationwide. The U.S. has averaged 600 deaths per day, the lowest point in approximately 10 months. If the number continues to fall the nation could soon hit its lowest point of the entire pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
TEACHERS’ UNION BOSS ISSUES DECREE… NYT: President of Key Teachers’ Union Shares Plea: ‘Schools Must Be Open’ in Fall
Randi Weingarten, president of the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, called on Thursday for a full reopening of the nation’s schools for the next academic year, saying: “There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In person. Five days a week.”
Her remarks come with about half of the nation’s public schools not offering five days per week of in-person learning to all students and with many families uncertain about whether they will have the option for a more traditional schedule in the fall. […]
Ms. Weingarten’s speech is sure to be greeted skeptically by some parents and school district leaders, who have been frustrated by some local unions’ insistence on two-hour school days — so students will not need to remove masks to eat lunch — or ambitious ventilation system overhauls instead of simpler solutions, such as fans and open windows.
And it is an open question whether the A.F.T.’s 3,000 local affiliates will adopt Ms. Weingarten’s proposal. This winter, she repeatedly said it could be safe for teachers to return to classrooms before vaccination, a position that was a nonstarter for unions in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that what is said from on high has a direct influence on local negotiation,” said Joshua P. Starr, a former superintendent of several large, unionized districts and president of PDK International, a professional organization for educators.
RORY COOPER: What a joke. At the end of the school year, she sees the light after intentionally causing harm to millions of children. She gets no credit. None at all. Her legacy will always be the pain she and her comrades caused.
NY POST: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to pardon anyone charged for defying COVID rules
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will pardon anyone in the Sunshine State charged for not wearing masks or socially distancing — breaking the news live on air to a gym-owning couple who were facing jail time for defying coronavirus safety recommendations.
The Republican governor made the unexpected announcement on Fox News Wednesday as he decried county officials penalizing people.
“It’s a total overreach,” he told Laura Ingraham. “These things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive.”
He broke the news of his pardon directly to Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who faced up to 120 days in jail for repeatedly allowing people to forgo masks at their gym in Plantation in Broward County.
OHIO GOV OFFERS PRIZES FOR POKES… TYLER BUCHANAN: @GovMikeDeWine just announced Ohio is using federal COVID-19 relief dollars to conduct a $1 million lotto drawing for those who have received the vaccine (VIDEO)
De Blasio was caught on camera during a press briefing Thursday talking with his mouth full while eating a burger and fries. […]
De Blasio apparently decided eating the burger and fries on camera for the entire city of New York would encourage residents to go get the coronavirus vaccine. The city launched an initiative with popular burger chain Shake Shack, where anyone who gets the vaccine gets a free burger and fries.
Residents would receive a voucher for a burger at the mobile vaccination site and then would be awarded free food at the Shake Shack with proof of vaccination.
FLASHBACK… MARCH 8… CDC Study Finds 78% Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Were People Overweight Or Obese
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.
CHARLES COOKE, in NY POST: How a fake whistleblower peddled lies about Florida’s COVID deaths
This is a story about Rebekah Jones, a former dashboard manager at the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), who has single-handedly managed to convince millions of Americans that Gov. Ron DeSantis has been fudging the state’s COVID-19 data.
When I write “single-handedly,” I mean it, for Jones is not one of the people who have advanced this conspiracy theory but rather is the person who has advanced this conspiracy theory. It has been repeated by others, sure: by partisans across the internet, by unscrupulous Florida Democrats such as Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist, and on television, by MSNBC in particular. But it flows from a single place: Rebekah Jones. To understand that is to understand the whole game. This is about Jones, and Jones alone. If she falls, it falls.
And boy does it deserve to fall.
READ THIS WHILE YOU WAIT FOR GAS… NYT: Colonial Pipeline paid 75 Bitcoin, or roughly $5 million, to hackers.
Colonial Pipeline paid its extortionists roughly 75 Bitcoin, or nearly $5 million, to recover its stolen data, according to people briefed on the transaction.
The payment came after cybercriminals last week held up Colonial Pipeline’s business networks with ransomware, a form of malware that encrypts data until the victim pays, and threatened to release it online. Colonial Pipeline pre-emptively shut down its pipeline operations to keep the ransomware from spreading and because it had no way to bill customers with its business and accounting networks offline. […]
The ransom payment was first reported by Bloomberg. A spokeswoman for Colonial declined to confirm or deny that the company had paid a ransom.
President Biden also declined to answer whether Colonial Pipeline had paid its extortionists in a press briefing on Thursday. He did not rule out the possibility that the administration would target the cybercriminals, a ransomware outfit called DarkSide, with a retaliatory strike. He said the United States would pursue “a measure to disrupt their ability to operate.”
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a separate briefing, “It’s the recommendation of the F.B.I. to not pay ransom in these cases,” because it can incentivize cybercriminals to conduct more attacks. She added that “private sector entities or companies are going to make their own decisions.”
THAT’S NOT WHAT WAPO SAID YESTERDAY…
Colonial Pipeline has no plan at this point to pay a ransom to decrypt data files, said two people familiar with the matter. Rather, they are working with the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to restore the data from backup systems where possible and rebuild systems where backups are unavailable, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.
A spokeswoman for Mandiant, which is a division of the cyber firm FireEye, declined to comment.
The hackers, a criminal group thought to operate mostly out of Russia, also appeared to be readying to extort Colonial by stealing data that it could later threaten to release unless a fee were paid. But Mandiant quickly traced the stolen data to a server owned by a New York hosting firm, which over the weekend shut the server down, preventing any data from flowing to the hackers, according to several people familiar with the matter.
With that extortion avenue sealed off and with Mandiant helping to restore data and rebuild systems, “there’s no reason to make the payment,” one of the people said.
ANOTHER RANSOMWARE ATTACK IS DEVASTATING THE DC POLICE DEPT… AP: DC Police victim of massive data leak by ransomware gang
The police department in the nation’s capital has suffered a massive leak of internal information after refusing to meet the blackmail demands of Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate. Experts say it’s the worst known ransomware attack ever to hit a U.S. police department.
The gang, known as the Babuk group, released thousands of the Metropolitan Police Department’s sensitive documents on the dark web Thursday. A review by The Associated Press found hundreds of police officer disciplinary files and intelligence reports that include feeds from other agencies, including the FBI and Secret Service. […]
Brett Callow, a threat analyst and ransomware expert at the security firm Emsisoft, said the police leak ranks as “possibly the most significant ransomware incident to date” because of the risks it presents for officers and civilians.
Some of the documents include security information from other law enforcement agencies related to President Joe Biden’s inauguration, including a reference to a “source embedded” with a militia group.
One document details the steps the FBI has taken in its investigation of two pipe bombs left at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That includes “big data pulls” of cell towers, and plans to “analyze purchases” of Nike shoes worn by a person of interest, the document said.
Georgia Becomes 13th State To Reject Unemployment Benefits Extension
Georgia will reject expanded unemployment benefits associated with the American Rescue Plan, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday.
“We’re not going to be participating in the federal subsidy any longer. That’s going to be a date in mid-to-late June. We’re working with the labor commissioner, and we’ll have more information on that soon,” Kemp told Fox News. “Every small business owner, and the workers that are currently working, they need more people. It’s hurting our productivity.”
Georgia is the thirteenth state to announce that it will not accept the extra $300 in unemployment that the federal government offered as part of the American Rescue Plan. South Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, Wyoming, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah, and North Dakota already announced that they would not accept the expansion.
Parents condemned the Loudoun County’s school board during a May 11 meeting over explicit material in reading assignments for high school students.
In a series of videos posted by Ian Prior on Twitter, parents read passages from books, including “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany Jackson, which were apparently assigned to 9th grade students in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). This is the same school board meeting where a mother blasted the school system’s use of critical race theory.
“She sucked my d*ck,” a parent read from a text.
Passages from Jackson’s book read by the furious parents included characters discussing oral sex, a female character being beaten and thrown into a closet and a sexual encounter in a classroom. The book “#MurderTrending” by Gretchen McNeil, was also quoted, where a female character discussed the size of a male friend’s genitalia.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON WHY EVERYTHING IS A DISASTER… BIDEN IS IGNORING THE WISDOM OF THE AGES…
Are the old principles really obsolete? Should we be printing money while expanding government debt? Is it wise to keep interest rates close to zero and to discourage employment, production and thrift? This dangerous behavior used to ensure inflation, followed by ruinous stagflation.
After George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, some U.S. cities slashed police spending. Police response times have slowed in many places, perhaps because officers are worried about being fired for using force.
The result? In major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, homicide and violent crime rates have increased by double digits. […]
When an arrogant present dismisses the wisdom of the past, then an all too predictable future becomes terrifying.
CALLING ALL PATRIOTS: Mainstream entertainment such as award shows, sports, and late night comedy shows have seen a decrease in ratings lately. Only 10 million viewers tuned into the 2021 Academy Awards this year, according to preliminary numbers, which is a 58.3% decrease in viewership from last year’s show. Which mainstream entertainment shows do you watch? Let us know in the form.