CDC Says Its Investigating Salmonella Outbreak in 25 States

Published on September 25, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a salmonella outbreak in about 25 states that hasn’t yet been linked to any food source or product.

So far, 127 people have become sickened and 18 hospitalized in the outbreak of the Salmonella oranienburg strain.
The agency, however, warned that the actual number could be far higher.
“Many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella,” the CDC said in the notice on its website on Sept 17.  No deaths have been reported.
Most of the cases have been reported in Texas and Minnesota, according to a map provided by the agency.
The first outbreak started in early August and the last reported illness was on Sept. 1, according to a news release.
“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the agency said in a news release.
It added: “Sick people range in age from less than 1 year to 82 years, with a median age of 33, and 59 percent are female.”
The Food and Drug Administration confirmed to news outlets that it also analyzing records collected from restaurant locations where sick people may have dined.
Authorities said they’re are not sure what’s causing the outbreak.
“State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick,” the agency said in its news release. “CDC is analyzing the data and has not identified a specific food item as a potential source of this outbreak.”
Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps, and dehydration.
Those symptoms can start between six hours and a week after being exposed to the bacteria, according to the health agency. Most recover after four to seven days without treatment.
The CDC recommends people practice food safety measures including cleaning utensils, hands, and foods, as well as separating different foods.
People should also make sure all food is cooked at a high enough temperature.
About 862,000 pounds of uncured antipasto products were recalled in August for possible salmonella contamination that sickened people across 17 different states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
See more here: theepochtimes.com
Header image: Reuters
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The More Israel Doubled Down on COVID, the Worse Things Got

Published on September 23, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

“Our tolerance for people who do not get vaccinated has run out,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated Sunday, exasperated that his vaccination strategy—arguably the most aggressive in the world—has failed to curb the Delta variant coursing through the country.

Instead of defeating the virus, as he had been promising for weeks in pushing a third COVID shot on Israelis, the number of Israelis at peril climbed steadily: 246 on Sunday were deemed critically ill, 178 of them on ventilators; a week earlier the numbers were 206 and 157, and two weeks earlier 203 and 153. About 400 Israelis died in the last two weeks, up from about 300 in the previous two weeks.
The happy talk from some Israeli medical experts earlier this month, when they expressed optimism the worst was over, is gone, replaced by dire reports of hospitals being swamped, staff in a state of post-trauma panic, and patients needing care instead hurriedly sent home—a situation deemed “catastrophic” in early September by Dr. Amir Neuberger, the director of the Rambam Health Care Campus’s coronavirus ward.
The head of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer’s Infectious Disease Unit, professor Galia Rahav, last week echoed that view, saying “the morbidity from coronavirus here is insufferable. … Patients who weren’t given a chance to live die because there aren’t enough beds and ICU staff. I see this at a lot of hospitals. It’s heartbreaking.”
The government’s response to the failure of its policies, in this, its fourth wave, is to blame the relatively few who remain unvaccinated and to double down on more vaccinations. Three shots are becoming mandatory to qualify for vaccine passports, and a fourth is on its way, in anticipation of future waves.
There’s a logic to accelerating the rate of vaccinations, just as there was a logic to Israel’s strict lockdowns and other measures to stop the spread of the virus—vaccines do seem to have a short-term benefit in reducing serious hospitalizations and deaths. A study (pdf) that Israel trumpeted last month shows that, after at least 12 days, those who received the third dose had 10 times the protection of those who only had two shots.
But the ongoing benefit is less clear since the vaccines wane, rendering them ineffective after five to six months, as seen in Delta’s success at felling Israelis. There’s also fear that the vaccine may prove all-but worthless against new virus mutations—the Israeli Defence Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate warned as early as January that mass vaccinations during a pandemic could lead to such a mutation entering Israel, and many fear that the South African C.1.2 variant will prove it right.
The government’s response is to improve detection of viruses at Israel’s Ben Gurion International airport, in the faint hope that future viruses won’t be able to penetrate Israel’s porous borders, and attack defenseless residents.
Israel does have a COVID success story, which ironically occurred where its government most failed to implement its policies. Unlike most of the Israeli population, its ultra-Orthodox largely shunned lockdowns and vaccination early on, leading to a high rate of natural infection, followed by natural immunity and long-lived protection (pdf).
The ultra-Orthodox represented 4 percent of Delta cases, according to Israeli Health Ministry data in August. Overall, Israelis with natural immunity represent 1 percent or less of Delta cases.
The same phenomenon of acquiring natural immunity appears to also apply to Sweden, which adopted policies diametrically opposed to those of Israel—no lockdowns to speak of, no shut down of the economy, few restrictions of any kind.
As a result, Sweden’s population is believed to have acquired an early herd immunity, before the vaccinations became widely available, leading to only a modest hit to its economy, manageable loads at its hospitals—Sweden’s hospital system never exceeded its capacity—and, since June, an average of less than one COVID death per day.
Sweden is now removing its few remaining restrictions and its naturally immune population may be well positioned to weather future coronaviruses, in the same way it weathered Delta. Israel, in contrast, is besieged, unsure of when its fourth wave will subside or how well it will weather the waves to come.
Not long ago, after Israel vaccinated a large proportion of its population and before the vaccines had the opportunity to wane, Israel was everyone’s model of how to tackle COVID. As the world learns more of Israel’s vulnerability, it may provide a cautionary tale of allowing short-sighted expediency to trump far-sighted policies.
See more here: theepochtimes.com
Header image: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images
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Texas Hospital Faces Closure Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Published on September 18, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

The chief executive of a hospital in Texas warned that his facility faces closure after President Joe Biden’s announcement last week that most healthcare workers get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If the mandate goes through, Brownfield Regional Medical Center CEO Jerry Jasper said that “probably 20 to 25 percent of my staff will have to go away if that’s the case,” reported KCBD. Losing those workers, he said, would likely cause his hospital to shut down, and losing Medicare and Medicaid money isn’t an option either.
A White House stipulates that healthcare workers who work at hospitals and facilities that receive either Medicaid or Medicare funds will have to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s huge in our rural community as all the other rural communities. We all have high poverty levels and stuff like that, so a lot of Medicaid usage in our communities and stuff like that,” Jasper remarked to the station.
Another local hospital executive said that the mandate echoed Jasper’s sentiments.
“Well, it would be devastating for the community, frankly. We have a large percentage of our revenue that comes from Medicare, Medicaid, and those kinds of products,” Larry Gray, the CEO of the Seminole Hospital District, told the station.
While Gray said he encourages vaccines, mandates don’t work.
“I think the mandate is just a terrible message because if the vaccinations are working, why do you have to mandate people to get the vaccines?” Gray asked. “What happens to individual choice and medical decisions between the patient and their doctor, which is all of the things that we’re trying to support.”
Other than mandates for healthcare workers, Biden also announced he would direct the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce a rule against companies with 100 or more workers that employees either get the vaccine or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Federal workers and contractors will also have to get the vaccine, he said.
In Upstate New York, a regional hospital’s executive said that the facility will have to at least temporarily close down its maternity unit and will not be able to deliver babies due to a mandate that was handed down by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said that six employees who were employed in the unit resigned, according to local media reports.
“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Cayer said at a news conference on Sept. 10.
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Header image: Town Talk Radio
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CDC Director: Agencies Urgently Working on COVID Vaccine for 5-11 Year Olds

Published on September 16, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says the federal health agency is working quickly on a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“We’re waiting for the companies to submit the data to the FDA, we’re anticipating that will happen in the fall,” she told the “Today Show” on Sept. 13. “We will look at that data from the FDA, from the CDC, with the urgency that we all feel for getting our kids vaccinated and we’re hoping by the end of the year.”
Her comments contrast with health advisory panels in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, that haven’t recommended COVID-19 shots for children aged 5 to 11. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency authorization to vaccinate children aged 12 to 17.
Last week, FDA executives, including Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock and Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research chief Peter Marks, said in a statement that the agency will carefully look at data for younger children once it becomes available.
The officials said the FDA is then “prepared to complete its review as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months,” adding that “the agency’s ability to review these submissions rapidly will depend in part on the quality and timeliness of the submissions by manufacturers.”
Should the CDC hand down a recommendation that younger children get vaccinated, it’s likely that some school districts will mandate them for in-person classes. Already, the Los Angeles Unified School District last week voted to mandate vaccines for children aged 12 and up in order to attend classes on campus.
But in other countries, some officials have noted that children have an extremely low risk of becoming seriously ill, hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19.
The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) earlier in September said it will take a “precautionary approach,” saying that “given this very low risk, considerations on the potential harms and benefits of vaccination are very finely balanced.”
In June, scientists from University College London, as well as the Universities of York, Bristol, and Liverpool, discovered that most children who died of COVID-19 had underlying health problems. Overall, the COVID-19 mortality rate among children is 2 deaths per 1 million children in England, they found.
“We hope this data will be reassuring for children and young people and their families,” said Dr. Elizabeth Whittaker, from the Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health and Imperial College London, reported the BBC.
She said that even after the emergence of the Delta variant, it hasn’t affected the child mortality rate.
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FDA Officials Say Most People Don’t Need Vaccine Boosters

Published on September 16, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

An international group of vaccine experts, including officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO), says there’s no evidence to suggest that the general population needs COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

The authors warned that if booster shots are introduced too soon, they may cause more side effects in the general population, including myocarditis or Guillain-Barré syndrome. Should that occur, the researchers said, it would create even more problems with vaccine acceptance in the general population.
The paper was published Sept. 13 in The Lancet medical journal and was co-authored by Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, two top FDA officials in charge of regulating and approving vaccines. Both Gruber and Krause are slated to depart the FDA in coming weeks, the agency confirmed about two weeks ago.
The Lancet paper’s authors said that available COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 cases and symptoms. They noted that protection against symptomatic infection from the Delta variant has dropped.
But they added that “current evidence does not … appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high.”
“Even if boosting were eventually shown to decrease the medium-term risk of serious disease, current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations,” the authors wrote.
Booster shots could lead to more harmful side effects in the general population, which is a poorly understood phenomenon, they cautioned.
“There could be risks if boosters are widely introduced too soon, or too frequently, especially with vaccines that can have immune-mediated side-effects (such as myocarditis, which is more common after the second dose of some mRNA vaccines, or Guillain-Barré syndrome, which has been associated with adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccines),” the study said.
If “unnecessary boosting causes significant adverse reactions” such as the aforementioned side-effects, the authors said, “there could be implications for vaccine acceptance that go beyond COVID-19 vaccines.”
In recent days, the WHO has urged wealthier nations NOT to embark on producing, distributing, or mandating booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week urged these countries, including the United States, to halt developing booster shots until the end of 2021.
“I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” he told a news conference on Sept. 8. “Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low-income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people.”
Meanwhile, both Gruber, the head of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review, and Krause haven’t issued statements as to why they are departing the FDA.
According to a memo that was sent by FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research head Peter Marks in August, Gruber is leaving on Oct. 31. Krause is leaving sometime in November, the memo said. In the meantime, Marks will serve as the head of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
FDA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
See more here: theepochtimes.com
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IPCC Challenged Over ‘Linking’ Climate Change to Greenhouse Gases

Published on September 11, 2021Written by theepochtimes.com

A new study in “Climate Dynamics” has criticized a key methodology that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses to attribute climate change to greenhouse gases, raising questions about the validity of research that relied on it and prompting a response from one of the scientists who developed the technique.

The new study’s author, economist Ross McKitrick, told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview that he thinks his results have weakened the IPCC’s case that greenhouse gases cause climate change.
The methodology, known as “optimal fingerprinting,” has been used to link greenhouse gases to everything from temperature to forest fires, precipitation, and snow cover.
McKitrick compared optimal fingerprinting to the way law enforcement officers use fingerprinting to identify criminals.
“[They] take this big smudge of data and say, ‘Yeah, the fingerprints of greenhouse gas are on it,’” he said.
McKitrick said the optimal fingerprinting research he criticized, 1999’s paper in Climate Dynamics “Checking for model consistency in optimal fingerprinting,” is a “cornerstone of the field of attribution”—the branch of climate science focused on identifying the causes of climate change.
But according to McKitrick, the authors of that paper, Myles Allen and Simon Tett, made errors in the steps needed to validate their strategy.
“When you do a statistical analysis, it’s not enough just to crunch some numbers and publish the result and say, ‘This is what the data tell us.’ You then have to apply some tests to your modeling technique to see if it’s valid for the kind of data you’re using,” he said.
“They claimed that their model passes all the relevant tests—but there are a couple of problems with that claim. The first is they stated the conditions wrong—they left most of the relevant conditions out that you’re supposed to test—and then they proposed a methodology for testing that is completely uninformative. It’s not actually connected to any standard testing method.”
Their framework, McKitrick said, also assumes that a major chunk of climate change has to be attributable to greenhouse gases—so using that to prove greenhouse gases lead to climate change is meaningless.
“You’re dependent on climate model data to construct the test—and the climate model already embeds the assumptions about the role of greenhouse gases,” said McKitrick. “You can’t relax that assumption.”
McKitrick, who explained his results in more technical detail at JudithCurry.com, said the IPCC’s attribution of climate change to greenhouse gases is largely based on the 1999 paper or closely related research with the same problems.
Myles Allen, co-author of the 1999 paper McKitrick challenged, responded to McKitrick’s paper in an email to The Epoch Times.
“Fully addressing the issues raised by this paper might have made some difference to conclusions regarding human influence on climate when the signal was still quite weak 20 years ago,” Allen said.
He said the signal is now much stronger, whether one uses his 1999 technique or the simpler method employed at GlobalWarmingIndex.org. He also said that newer methods, including one in his own 2003 paper, have superseded the method from 1999.
“To be a little light-hearted, it feels a bit like someone suggesting we should all stop driving because a new issue has been identified with the Model-T Ford,” Allen said.
McKitrick responded to Allen’s argument in an email: “Even if it were true that [Allen’s method] is no longer used and people have moved on to other methods, [given] its historical prominence, it would still be necessary as a scientific matter for Simon and Myles either to concede their paper contains errors or rebut the specific criticisms. And the reality is the climate profession hasn’t moved on. The IPCC still discusses the Optimal Fingerprinting method in the AR6 and relies on many papers that use it.”
While Allen argued that his later 2003 paper superseded his 1999 paper, McKitrick responded that the 2003 paper, along with other more recent methods that Allen identified, “has all the same problems.”
McKitrick also argued that the method at GlobalWarmingIndex.org may have the same issues as Allen’s 1999 paper in large part because both studies cite a 1997 study from Klaus Hasselmann, which, McKitrick said, proposes the same method.
“Thus by Myles’ own examples, AT99 is still central to the attribution literature,” McKitrick said.
Allen argued that McKitrick’s criticism of his use of a climate model is misguided, as his 1999 method may actually be “overly conservative” in attributing climate change to human influence.
According to Allen, standard climate models may yield results in which the amount of statistical “noise,” and thus uncertainty, is overstated.
This rebuttal, McKitrick said, “does not address the core problem I point out,” which has to do with testing for errors in their fingerprinting calculations.
Allen and McKitrick also sparred over a specific statistical test in the 1999 paper, with Allen saying McKitrick had greatly overstated its importance and McKitrick countering that it is the only such test researchers have used in this context.
Attribution researcher Aurélien Ribes, whose papers were among those Allen claimed had superseded the 1999 research, declined to comment on the paper in detail in an email to The Epoch Times, though he said he had looked at an earlier version of it.
“I do not expect a very large impact in terms of attribution results,” said Ribes, a climate change researcher at France’s National Centre for Meteorological Research.
He said that some of his own research wasn’t dependent on fingerprinting. He also said that certain attribution findings, such as on global mean temperature, are “very robust.”
But another expert, Richard Tol, believes much of McKitrick’s criticism is on the mark.
“McKitrick is right,” said Tol, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex and a professor of the economics of climate change at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in an email to The Epoch Times.
Tol said that Allen and Tett’s attempt to address a widespread statistical issue had “made things worse, not better.”
“To top it all off, many people have since used the method proposed by Allen & Tett,” he said.
“The implications are unclear. Many of the papers that use the fingerprinting method to detect the impact of climate change are simply wrong.”
See more here: theepochtimes.com
Header image: Ecometrica
Editor’s note: Attribution science is about the weakest form of science. I can attribute the number of hairs on my arms to the number of bristles on my broom, but that doesn’t make it a fact.
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