Coronavirus Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Coronavirus Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Pentagon scientists working inside a secretive unit set up at the height of the Cold War have created a microchip to be inserted under the skin, which will detect COVID-19 infection, and a revolutionary filter that can remove the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine. The team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working for years on preventing and ending pandemics. One of their recent inventions, they told 60 Minutes on Sunday night, was a microchip which detects COVID infection in an individual before it can become an outbreak. The microchip is sure to spark worries among some about a government agency implanting a microchip in a citizen. Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician leading DARPA's response to the pandemic, showed the 60 Minutes team a tissue-like gel, engineered to continuously test your blood. 'You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,' he explained. 'It's like a "check engine" light,' said Hepburn. Troops are likely to be highly skeptical of the new invention. In February, The New York Times reported that a third of troops have refused to take the vaccine, sighting concerns that the vaccine contains a microchip devised to monitor recipients, that it will permanently disable the body's immune system or that it is some form of government control.
The number of newly minted and reissued billionaires soared last year, Forbes reported Tuesday in its annual ranking, a staggering accumulation of personal wealth that stands in sharp contrast with the widespread economic struggles unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of billionaires on Forbes' 35th annual ranking swelled by 660 to 2,755 – a roughly 30 percent jump from a year ago – and 493 of them are first-timers. Seven of eight are richer than they were before the pandemic. Forbes calculates net worth by using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with an estimated fortune of $177 billion, topped the list. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk came in at No. 2 at $151 billion. As a class, billionaires added about $8 trillion to their total net worth from last year, totaling $13.1 trillion. The United States had the most billionaires, at 724, extending a rapid rise in wealth that hasn't happened since the Rockefellers and the Carnegies roughly a century ago. China ... had the second highest number of billionaires: 698. Gabriel Zucman, an economist ... said in an email that the explosive acceleration of wealth among the richest of the rich has only accelerated during the pandemic. "In the United States, the top 400 wealthiest Americans now own the equivalent 18% of GDP in wealth, twice as much as in 2010 (9% of GDP). The pandemic has reinforced this trend, with a boom in top-end wealth despite the decline in economic activity," he wrote.
When West Virginia declared a state of emergency to arrest the coronavirus, the social network that aids the homeless froze along with everything else. Ordered to shelter in place, people without shelter died at an alarming rate. In a bad year here ... two to four of the unhoused die. Over the past year, they have tallied 22 deaths, a sevenfold increase. Only two of the deaths are suspected to be from COVID-19. But all occurred during the collapse of the safety net that in normal times addresses the complex mix of afflictions–trauma, medical conditions, addiction–that accompany homelessness, and worsened during the profound isolation of the pandemic. What happened in [West Virginia] is happening across the country. Even before the pandemic lockdowns that fell hardest on low-income Americans –– and stand to push more people out of their homes –– the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported U.S. homelessness at 580,466 people, up 7% from a year earlier. Deaths are rising even faster. In San Francisco, the department of public health says deaths tripled over the past year in an unhoused population of 8,035. In Los Angeles, home to a vast homeless population tallied at 41,290, deaths increased by 32%. Homeless deaths in Washington, D.C., soared by 54%. In New York City, the Coalition for the Homeless reported a death rate up 75%. And over the past year, they died ... at a rate many times higher than the rate of deaths from the virus.
Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic – a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year. Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Raleigh, North Carolina, did not report increases in any of the violent crime categories. The increase in homicide rates across the country is both historic and far-reaching, as were the pandemic and social movements that touched every part of society last year. Experts point to a "perfect storm" of factors - economic collapse, social anxiety because of a pandemic, de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments, shifts in police resources from neighborhoods to downtown areas because of those protests, and the release of criminal defendants pretrial or before sentences were completed to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread in jails - all may have contributed to the spike in homicides. Covid-19 seemed to exacerbate everything - officers sometimes had to quarantine because of exposure or cases in their ranks, reducing the number of officers available.
Note: For why Baltimore fared so well and had a significant decrease in crime last year, see this inspiring CNN article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For exactly a year during the pandemic, the United States did not see a single high-profile public mass shooting. But a surge in daily gun violence contributed to an estimated 4,000 additional murders throughout 2020, in what experts warn will probably be the worst single-year increase in murders on record. There were only two public shootings in 2020 that primarily targeted strangers, were not related to other crimes and killed at least four victims – one standard definition researchers use to classify "mass shootings" – according to two databases that track this kind of gun violence. That's the lowest annual count of high-profile mass shootings in America in nearly a quarter-century, according to Jillian Peterson, the founder of the Violence Project. At the same time, the number of people murdered in everyday violence last year surged in cities large and small. Early estimates suggest the US may have seen at least 4,000 more murders last year than in 2019, and potentially as many as 5,000 more, according to projections based on FBI data, though complete official statistics will not be available until the fall. The number of all murders rose 25% across the country in 2020, with double-digit increases in small, medium and large cities, according to preliminary data from a large subset of law enforcement agencies that the FBI released last week. That would be the highest single-year increase, both in the murder rate and in the total number of additional murders, going back to 1960, the earliest year national crime data is available.
Note: Listen to an excellent 10-minute statement by Edward Snowden on the underlying causes of this increase in violence. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the coming months, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's ambassador to the United Nations, will hear from a growing chorus of developing nations about the foundering efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine globally. The nations, many of which have not even begun vaccinating their populations, are demanding that the U.S. support proposals to temporarily waive certain patent and intellectual property rights so that generic coronavirus vaccines can be produced. The proposals have been fiercely opposed by American drugmakers, including Pfizer. ASG ... represents Pfizer. Many leading figures in Biden's administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine. ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris's national security adviser. The pharmaceutical industry, in a bid to shield an expected financial windfall, has pressed the Biden administration not only to oppose the waiver, but also to impose trade-related sanctions on countries that back [a] proposal or move to manufacture coronavirus vaccines without permission from patent holders.
When Covid cases were rising in the U.S., the news coverage emphasized the increase. When cases were falling, the coverage instead focused on those places where cases were rising. And when vaccine research began showing positive results, the coverage downplayed it, as far as [Dartmouth professor Bruce] Sacerdote could tell. He began working with two other researchers, building a database of Covid coverage from every major network. The researchers then analyzed it with a social-science technique that classifies language as positive, neutral or negative. The results showed that Sacerdote's instinct had been right. The coverage by U.S. publications with a national audience has been much more negative than coverage by any other source that the researchers analyzed, including scientific journals, major international publications and regional U.S. media. About 87 percent of Covid coverage in national U.S. media last year was negative. The share was 51 percent in international media, 53 percent in U.S. regional media and 64 percent in scientific journals. Notably, the coverage was negative in both U.S. media outlets with liberal audiences (like MSNBC) and those with conservative audiences (like Fox News). If we're constantly telling a negative story, we are not giving our audience the most accurate portrait of reality. As Ranjan Sehgal, another co-author, told me, "The media is painting a picture that is a little bit different from what the scientists are saying."
Note: Explore an inspiring article sharing some of the good news to come out of these challenging times. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass media corruption from reliable sources.
Sweden, which has shunned the strict lockdowns that have choked much of the global economy, emerged from 2020 with a smaller increase in its overall mortality rate than most European countries, an analysis of official data sources showed. Infectious disease experts ... acknowledged [that the results] may indicate Sweden's overall stance on fighting the pandemic had merits worth studying. In the past week, Germany and France have extended lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases and high death tolls, moves that economists say will further delay economic recovery. While many Europeans have accepted lockdowns as a last resort given the failure to get the pandemic under control with other methods, the moves have in recent months prompted street protests in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Sweden, meanwhile, has mostly relied on voluntary measures focused on social distancing, good hygiene and targeted rules that have kept schools, restaurants and shops largely open - an approach that has sharply polarised Swedes but spared the economy from much of the hit suffered elsewhere in Europe. Data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden.
Note: Read a balanced, detailed description of Sweden's response to COVID in this New Yorker article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
AstraZeneca may have included "outdated information" in touting the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in a U.S. study, federal health officials said Tuesday in an unusual public rift that could further erode confidence in the shot. In an extraordinary rebuke, just hours after AstraZeneca on Monday announced its vaccine worked well in the U.S. study, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company for cherry-picking data, according to a senior administration official. The panel wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use data that was outdated and potentially misleading instead of the most recent and complete findings. The NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the incident "really is what you call an unforced error" and that he expects the discrepancy to be straightened out. But that nitty-gritty seldom is seen by the public, something now exposed by the extraordinary microscope being applied to development of the world's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is used widely in Britain, across the European continent and in other countries, but its rollout was troubled by inconsistent study reports about its effectiveness, and then last week a scare about blood clots that had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations. Company executives refused repeated requests from reporters to provide a breakdown of the 141 COVID-19 cases it was using to make the case for the shot's effectiveness.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Now that the 2020 figures have been properly tallied, there is still no convincing evidence that strict lockdowns reduced the death toll from COVID-19. But one effect is clear: more deaths from other causes, especially among the young and middle-aged, minorities and the less affluent. The best gauge of the pandemic's impact is what statisticians call excess mortality, which compares the overall number of deaths with the total in previous years. That measure rose among older Americans because of COVID-19, but it rose at an even sharper rate among people aged 15 to 54, and most of those excess deaths weren't attributed to the virus. Preliminary reports point to some obvious lockdown-related factors. There was a sharp decline in visits to emergency rooms and an increase in fatal heart attacks because patients didn't receive prompt treatment. Many fewer people were screened for cancer. Social isolation contributed to excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's. Researchers predicted that the social and economic upheaval would lead to tens of thousands of "deaths of despair" from drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. As unemployment surged and mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs were interrupted, the reported levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts increased dramatically, as did alcohol sales and fatal drug overdoses. The number of excess deaths not involving COVID-19 has been especially high in US counties with more low-income households and minority residents.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the growing list of countries that have suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns. The Dutch government said Sunday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would not be used until at least March 29, while Ireland said earlier in the day that it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary step. On Monday, the German government also said it was suspending its use, with the vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, calling for further investigations. The Italian medicines authority made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon and French President Emmanuel Macron also said the vaccine's use would be paused pending a verdict from the EU's regulator. Spain Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday that the country will halt use of the shot for at least two weeks. Portugal and Slovenia also suspended the vaccine. Thailand has also halted its planned deployment of the vaccine. The move to pause its use by Dutch and Irish officials came shortly after Norway's medicines agency said it had been notified of three health workers being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Norway has put its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine program on hold.
Note: Many countries have resumed using this vaccine after Europe's medicines regulator concluded it was "safe and effective". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Nearly a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the nation's first statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus, masks remain mandated, indoor dining and other activities are significantly limited, and Disneyland remains closed. By contrast, Florida has no statewide restrictions. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has prohibited municipalities from fining people who refuse to wear masks. And Disney World has been open since July. Despite their differing approaches, California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates. How have two states that took such divergent tacks arrived at similar points? "This is going to be an important question that we have to ask ourselves: What public health measures actually were the most impactful, and which ones had negligible effect or backfired by driving behavior underground?" said Amesh Adalja ... at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Though research has found that mask mandates and limits on group activities such as indoor dining can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, states with greater government-imposed restrictions have not always fared better than those without them. California and Florida both have a COVID-19 case rate of around 8,900 per 100,000 residents since the pandemic began, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In its final days, President Donald Trump's State Department made a series of highly controversial claims about the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, and its possible connection to the covid-19 outbreak. Now, the Biden administration has reviewed those claims, and is confirming some of the facts within them. The controversy surrounds a Jan. 15 statement put out by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was accompanied by a "Fact Sheet" entitled: "Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology." That fact sheet alleged that the U.S. government had evidence that "several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019 ... with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The fact sheet further alleged that the WIV has not publicly disclosed all of its work on SARS-like coronaviruses and "has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China's military." In early 2018, U.S. diplomats who visited the WIV lab wrote two cables back to Washington warning that the lab's scientists had reported safety and staffing issues – and that the lab was doing risky research on bat coronaviruses and how they infect humans. The fact sheet ... doesn't specify which information is gleaned from public sources and which data points are derived from U.S. intelligence collection. Trump administration officials told me that the information about sick researchers at the WIV and the lab's secret work with the Chinese government and military comes from intelligence sources.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
China last winter censored doctors who shared "dangerous" misinformation about the novel coronavirus on social media. Now America's self-anointed virus experts and social-media giants are also silencing doctors with contrarian views in an apparent effort to shut down scientific debate. Facebook this week appended a Wall Street Journal op-ed "We'll Have Herd Immunity by April" by Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary (Feb. 19) with the label "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people." According to Facebook, "Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation." The Facebook label links to the third-party site Health Feedback ... an affiliate of the nonprofit Science Feedback that verifies scientific claims in the media. Another Science Feedback affiliate fact-checks climate-related articles in predominantly conservative media. Dr. Makary ... made a projection, much like the epidemiologists at Imperial College and University of Washington do. But the progressive health clerisy don't like his projection because they worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions. Facebook's fact-checkers "cherry-pick," to borrow their word, studies to support their own opinions, which they present as fact. Facebook's fact checkers are presenting their opinions as fact and seeking to silence other scientists whose views challenge their own.
The factory that Pfizer Inc. plans to use to boost production of its covid-19 vaccine for the massive U.S. inoculation effort was cited by federal inspectors last year for repeated quality-control violations. Food and Drug Administration inspectors visited the McPherson, Kansas, plant at the end of 2019 into January 2020, according to an inspection report. They found the drug giant released medications for sale after failing to thoroughly review quality issues that arose in routine testing, the report shows. Additionally, the report says inspectors found bacteria and mold in supposedly sterile areas, an issue seen in previous visits to the facility. And the plant failed to properly sample drug products to ensure they didn't have excessive levels of certain toxins, the inspectors wrote. The FDA sent Pfizer a warning letter, the agency's strongest rebuke, concerning the factory in 2017 after the agency detected issues similar to those it found in 2020. The FDA concluded that Pfizer had addressed the violations in June 2018, a month before it returned to the facility and found more problems. The company plans to supply the U.S. with 200 million doses of its two-shot vaccine regimen by the end of May. The FDA halted all inspections of drugmaking facilities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, though it has since resumed some domestic visits. Pfizer's plant in Kansas is also authorized to make the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir.
A small group of scientists and others who believe the novel coronavirus that spawned the pandemic could have originated from a lab leak or accident is calling for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization's team of independent experts sent to China last month. Officials with the W.H.O. have said in recent interviews that it was "extremely unlikely" but not impossible that the spread of the virus was linked to some lab accident. The open letter ... lists what the signers see as flaws in the joint W.H.O.-China inquiry. The letter emphasized that the team was denied access to some records and did not investigate laboratories in China. Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine and microbiology at Stanford University [said] "the W.H.O. investigation appears to be biased, skewed, and insufficient." Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University and one of the scientists who signed the letter, said it grew out of a series of online discussions among scientists, policy experts and others who came to be known informally as the Paris group. Many of those who signed the letter were based in France and Dr. Ebright, who has been outspoken about the need to investigate a possible laboratory leak, said such discussion had been less vigorous in the United States. He said that no one in the group thought that the virus had been intentionally created as a weapon, but they were all convinced that an origin in a lab through research or by accidental infection was as likely as a spillover occurring in nature from animals to humans.
Note: Read more about the controversial "gain-of-function" research that took place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
President Joe Biden's administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge "basic intellectual property protections" in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need. The strident corporate opposition to any intellectual property flexibility has rankled public health advocates, many of whom note that much of the vaccine technology has been financed by the public sector. The Pfizer vaccine, noted Prabhala, was developed in partnership with the European firm BioNTech, which received $445 million from the German government to help accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing. The U.S. government provided about $1 billion for the research and testing by Moderna to create its coronavirus vaccine. Johnson & Johnson received over $1.45 billion in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for its recently approved Covid-19 vaccine.
A nursing home accused of illegally "dumping" patients onto city streets and into ill-equipped homes in order to take in more lucrative COVID-19 patients will nearly double its nursing staff, allow increased oversight and pay $275,000 in penalties and costs to settle a lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles city attorney's office. City Attorney Mike Feuer on Monday announced the legal agreement with the Lakeview Terrace skilled nursing facility, which he had accused of "sustained" and "intentional" misconduct in failing to adequately tend to some patients, while pushing others out of the 99-bed home. The city alleged in its lawsuit that the facility west of downtown had an incentive to discharge long-term residents in order to make room for COVID-19 patients, who brought Lakeview Terrace much higher reimbursement payments from Medicare. In one instance, the lawsuit said, an 88-year-old man with dementia was transferred from the nursing home in the Westlake neighborhood to a boarding house in Van Nuys, only to be found a day later wandering the streets, profoundly confused. Health care experts have warned that the money skilled nursing facilities are paid under a plan by the federal government to care for people stricken by the coronavirus would lead to patient-dumping by unscrupulous operators. The reimbursement plan pays more than four times more for COVID-19 patients than homes can charge for long-term residents with relatively mild conditions.
Sweden's novel approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has drawn both praise and fierce criticism, not just inside the Scandinavian country, but across the Western world. The country has so far resisted going into lockdown, unlike the rest of Europe, even during the peak of its second wave over Christmas. Sweden may be faring comparably better in terms of excess deaths - those greater than the usual number of deaths expected in a certain time period. Experts say excess deaths can indicate whether policies intended to combat the pandemic have unintended consequences, such as delaying treatment for other ailments and is an important measure of the overall efficacy of policy. While still performing worse than other Nordic countries on data from Eurostat, the official European Union statistics agency, and the University of Oxford, shows that Sweden recorded 7.9% excess deaths last year compared to the years 2016-19, according to the independent health news site Dagens Medicin. That means that the country had the 23rd lowest annual excess deaths out of 30 European countries - lower than the U.K. (15.1%), France (10.4%) and Spain (18.9%). Sweden also has a lower number of coronavirus deaths per million than those countries, all of which have gone under strict lockdowns during the pandemic.
Note: The media has consistently compared Sweden to its immediate neighbors Finland and Norway, which have done much better than Sweden, but were not hit hard in the beginning as Sweden was. With the exception of this a a very few other articles, they almost always fail to compare Sweden to other European countries, as they don't won't people to know how well they have done with no lockdown. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Monica Gandhi is not your typical epidemiologist in the era of COVID-19. While the vast majority of experts in her field call for the most stringent business closures and other mitigation measures, Gandhi – a professor of medicine at UCSF – has called for a "harm reduction" approach that also considers other risks beyond COVID-19 infection when making public policy. That view has not been a popular one among policymakers and experts in her city and state. But Gandhi is confident that one day, she'll be vindicated. "I have been surprised by the party lines that were drawn in terms of how to respond to pandemic, as opposed to having everyone take in new data as it comes, incorporate the data and then make decisions that can change over time," [said Gandhi]. "It seems that we decided early on that there's only one way to respond, and any dissent from standard messaging was met with dismay and criticism. For example, in terms of the winter lockdown in California, I was dismayed by the degree of profound shutdowns for outdoor playgrounds, outdoor dining and also this idea that no one from two households could see each other." And when I spoke out about that, I took a lot of criticism. My impulse in speaking out came out of a concern for the economic situations of the working class and the impacts on health that come from economic insecurity. And those questions of, "How are they going to feed their families?" were met by scientific community with, "We'll deal with that later."
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.