Harrison County and City of Marshall Clarify Essential Businesses

[Marshall, Texas, April 1, 2020]

[Harrison County and Marshall, Texas] In response to inquiries from our community regarding the Shelter in Place Orders issued on March 31, 2020, Harrison County Judge Chad Sims and City of Marshall Mayor Terri Brown have defined essential vs. nonessential businesses and/or services in Harrison County, including the City of Marshall.

Essential Businesses / Services

Healthcare Operations

•             Hospitals, Clinics and Pharmacies

•             Veterinarians

Grocery Stores

•             Grocery Stores, Certified Farmers’ Markets, Farm and Produce Stands, and Supermarkets

•             Food Banks

•             Convenience Stores

•             Other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products)

•             Liquor Stores

•             Some Retail: Stores that also sell groceries or sell supplies necessary for operation of essential businesses, working for home, or maintenance of residences. Example: electronics, appliances, health care products, office supplies.

Food Cultivation

•             Farming

•             Livestock

•             Fishing

Social Services

•             Businesses or non-profit organizations that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals

Media

•             Newspapers, Television. Radio, and Other Media Services

Vehicles

•             Gas Stations

•             Auto Sales

•             Auto Supply

•             Auto Repair

•             Car Wash & Mobile Detailing

Financial Institutions

•             Banks

•             Other Financial Institutions/Lending

Property Maintenance

•             Hardware Stores and Construction Supply Stores

•             HVAC Repairs, Plumbers, Electricians and Exterminators

•             Lawn Maintenance

•             Pool Service

•             Other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses

Mailing

•             Mailing Services, Shipping Services, and P.O. Boxes

Clothes Cleaning

•             Laundromats, Dry Cleaners, and Laundry Service Providers

Restaurants

•             Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out.

•             Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up or take-away basis only.

•             Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site.

E-Commerce

•             Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences

Supplying Essential Business support

•             Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate

•             Printers and Promotional Products

•             Hotels, motels and RV parks

Transportation

•             Airlines

•             Taxis

•             Other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in the Order

Care Facilities

•             Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children

•             Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children

•             Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted

Professional Services

•             Legal

•             Bail bonds

•             Accounting

•             Insurance

•             Real Estate Services, Architectural, Appraisal, Survey, and Title Services

Vital Infrastructure

•             Utilities

•             Telecommunications

•             Trash Collection and Disposal

•             Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS/Ambulance, Corrections, Dispatch

•             Animal Shelters

•             Governmental Employees who have not been specifically deemed non-essential and sent home by the government entity

Societal Maintenance

•             Janitorial and Maintenance Services

•             Funeral Industry

•             Defense Industry

•             Space and Technology Industry

•             Technology Support

•             Scientific Research

Religious Services with Social Distancing of 6’ between individuals and gatherings of no more than 10 people

•             Provided in Residences

•             Healthcare Operations

•             Funerals

•             Provided online while being broadcast from a religious facility

Non-Essential Businesses Prohibited from Operation

All businesses not specifically listed as essential above are considered non-essential and are to be closed at all times. A partial list is shown below:

Personal Hygiene

•             Hair Salons and Barber Shops

•             Nail Salons and Spas

•             Tattoo Parlors

•             Tanning Studios

•             Massage Studios

Other Retail

•             Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores

•             Cosmetics, Beauty Supplies, and Perfume Stores

•             Clothing Stores & Boutiques

•             Shoe Stores

•             Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores

•             Sporting Goods Stores

•             Hobby Stores and Game Stores

•             Framing Stores

•             Book Stores

•             Florists

Entertainment

•             Movie Theaters

•             Museums

•             Indoor Recreation, Game Rooms & Children’s Gyms

•             Ranches & Camps

•             Concert and Special Event Venues

Lifestyle

•             Gyms

•             Martial Arts Studios

•             Yoga Studios

•             Restaurants (Dine in), Bars, Clubs, and Lounges

Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health. In accordance with Texas Government Code §418.173, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates this Order commits a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days, and each day or portion of a day that such a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

Harrison County and the City of Marshall are following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines and recommendations on the steps our community can take to help prevent catching or spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a situation that continues to evolve and we will do our best to keep our citizens informed of the latest information.

Harrison County and the City of Marshall urge our community to practice healthy habits including:

1.        Restrict physical contact and publicly used areas.

2.        Maintain Social Distancing with a safe distance of six (6’) feet between individuals.

3.       Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more per Executive Order of Governor Abbott.

4.       Residents should not visit nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

5.        In accordance with the CDC, residents may still utilize drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options through the Executive Order.

6.        Regularly wash hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

7.        Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

8.        If soap is not available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

9.        Avoid close contact with people who are sick. All persons should remain in the home if one person in the home exhibits symptoms

If you are experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing, been exposed to a sick traveler or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. Inform your physician or emergency department of your symptoms to prevent any potential spread.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 4/1/2020

April 1, 2020

Marshall News Messenger] Harrison County and city of Marshall issue mandatory shelter in place order
https://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/general/harrison-county-and-city-of-marshall-issue-mandatory-shelter-in-place-order/article_3d845d56-739e-11ea-8d73-4fe6076c34a0.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

County Judge Chad Sims:
We have been notified of 2 more positives in Harrison County bringing our confirmed total to 3.  These are all travel related and we do not see evidence of community spread yet.  After meeting with the City of Marshall, the Marshall-Harrison County Health District, our local health authority, fire chief, fire marshal and hospital administrator we all agreed that a mandatory stay-at-home order should be implemented.

We will implement a mandatory stay-at-home order to be effective tonight, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at midnight.  All non-essential businesses will be required to close.  Residents may continue to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out restaurants, etc. as needed.  We are requesting residents to stop all unnecessary travel.  There are COVID-19 cases on our west border in Gregg County and numerous cases on our east border in Caddo Parish.  Governor Abbott has already issued an order limiting travel into Louisiana.  Now the Governor has also issued a stay-at-home directive that runs through the end of the month.  

Courthouse operations are already on a limited basis.  Department heads and Elected Officials may adjust your offices as needed while still trying to maintain limited operations to serve the public.

Chad Sims

Harrison County Judge

Northeast Texas COVID-19 case count
The total of reported cases in Northeast Texas by Tuesday evening was at least 82 in 19 counties, up from 69 in 16 counties a day earlier. Here’s a look at totals reported Tuesday, and changes from Monday’s reports:
• Anderson: 1 (+1)
• Angelina: 5 (+2)
• Bowie: 9, 1 death
• Camp: 1
• Cass: 2
• Cherokee: 1
• Franklin: 1
• Gregg: 6 (+1)
• Harrison: 3 (+2)
• Hopkins: 2
• Morris: 1
• Nacogdoches: 2
• Panola: 2 (+2)
• Rusk: 4 (+1)
• Shelby: 2 (7 says 4)
• Smith: 37 (+5), 1 death
• Upshur: 2
• Wood: 1 (+1)
• Van Zandt: 2, 1 death
Total: 83 know with C-19, 3 deaths in area

NEW TWO MINUTE TEST???
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-bodysphere/fda-authorizes-use-of-new-two-minute-test-kit-for-coronavirus-idUSKBN21I1T7?campaign_id=154&emc=edit_cb_20200331&instance_id=17231&nl=coronavirus-briefing&regi_id=68515195&segment_id=23454&te=1&user_id=bb895036534b6f3975fa13b4c601d34d
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-bodysphere/fda-authorizes-use-of-new-two-minute-test-kit-for-coronavirus-idUSKBN21I1T7?campaign_id=154&emc=edit_cb_20200331&instance_id=17231&nl=coronavirus-briefing&regi_id=68515195&segment_id=23454&te=1&user_id=bb895036534b6f3975fa13b4c601d34d

NYTimes.com: A Guide to Surviving Financially as the Bills Come Due
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/03/31/business/bc-us-virus-outbreak-financial-survival.html?smid=em-share


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 3/31/2020

March 31, 2020

MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER
https://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/commissioners-to-consider-extending-declaration-of-local-disaster/article_e49c5bb2-72d5-11ea-81ab-4b82ec866d2f.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

Northeast Texas COVID-19 case count
Updated 16 hrs ago
The total of cases in Northeast Texas is now at least 56 in 14 counties. Here’s a look at totals reported late Sunday and early Monday, and changes from Sunday’s report:

Angelina: 3
Bowie: 9 (+5)
Camp: 1 (+1)
Cass: 2
Cherokee: 1
Gregg: 5 (+1)
Harrison: 1
Hopkins: 2 (+1)
Morris: 1
Nacogdoches: 2 (+1)
Rusk: 3 (+1)
Shelby: 2 (+1)
Smith: 32 (+1), 1 death
Upshur: 2 (+1)
Van Zandt: 1 (+1), 1 death

MESSAGE FROM DR. HERMAN FELTON OF WILEY:
Marshall News Messenger] Leading with Faith during a global crisis
https://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/opinion/leading-with-faith-during-a-global-crisis/article_1591373e-7145-11ea-b870-d3bae7275e1b.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE RE CERTAIN BP PILLS:
KEEP TAKING THEM
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr2005760?query=RP
Renin–Angiotensin–Aldosterone System Inhibitors in Patients with Covid-19

SUMMARY: Given the common use of ACE inhibitors and ARBs worldwide, guidance on the use of these drugs in patients with Covid-19 is urgently needed. Here, we highlight that the data in humans are too limited to support or refute these hypotheses and concerns. Specifically, we discuss the uncertain effects of RAAS blockers on ACE2 levels and activity in humans, and we propose an alternative hypothesis that ACE2 may be beneficial rather than harmful in patients with lung injury. We also explicitly raise the concern that withdrawal of RAAS inhibitors may be harmful in certain high-risk patients with known or suspected Covid-19.
Renin–Angiotensin–Aldosterone System Inhibitors in Patients with Covid-19
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr2005760?query=RP

NAMES OF THIS TYPE OF MEDICINE: KEEP TAKING THEM UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR TELLS YOU TO STOP.

candesartan Atacand
eprosartan
irbesartan Avapro #
losartan Cozaar #
olmesartan Benicar
telmisartan Micardis
valsartan Diovan #
benazepril Lotensin

captopril Capoten
enalapril Vasotec #
enalapril solution Epaned
fosinopril
lisinopril Prinivil #
lisinopril Zestril #
lisinopril solution Qbrelis
moexipril
perindopril
quinapril Accupril #
ramipril Altace #
trandolapril

Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted (A NEJM editorial by DR. FAUCI—the little NIH doctor on the TV updates)
List of authors.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387?query=recirc_mostViewed_railB_article

This editorial is somewhat reassuring about the severity or mortality rate of the C-19 virus, but it points out it will take time to clear out. Easy to read. Based only on China, which means the cases are several months old. That’s why I also read the MNM and the NYT.  J. Harris, MD

ANOTHER NEJM SHORT ARTICLE WORTH READING:
Feeding Low-Income Children during the Covid-19 Pandemic
nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2005638?query=RP

HERE’S HOW TO FIGHT CORONAVIRUS MISINFORMATION
Send this to the person in your life who needs to read it.

Consider the source and consider the source’s source.

Be patient, kind, deliberate, and fact-based. More people will listen.

We’re in this together. It’s our civic duty to ensure we’re all making the smartest decisions and not allowing rumors or conspiracy theories to take seed. We all have a role to play. You don’t have to become an epidemiology expert—the medical professionals and journalists will do their jobs. You do have to make an effort to not spread rumors or falsehoods, or anything else that could make a public-health response harder for those around you.

Lives depend on it.

JOHNS HOPKINS DAILY MESSAGE:
(Multiple helpful stories)
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxwHMZPhtTChBCPJRvQLmhKXbDNv


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Harrison County and City of Marshall Issue Mandatory Shelter in Place Orders

[Marshall, Texas, March 31, 2020]

Harrison County and City of Marshall Issue Mandatory Shelter in Place Orders

First Amended Declaration of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Related to Communicable Disease

[Harrison County and Marshall, Texas] Harrison County Judge Chad Sims and City of Marshall Mayor Terri Brown confirm a second and third positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Harrison County. In each case, the cause of COVID-19 exposure was travel-related. County and City leadership believe it to be in the best interest to be proactive and take measures to further safeguard our citizens and prevent community spread. In response, Judge Sims and Mayor Brown are both issuing Mandatory Shelter in Place orders effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2020.

                Under this Order, citizens of Harrison County and the City of Marshall are still permitted to perform essential activities for their families; including obtaining medical supplies, visiting a health care provider, obtaining supplies they need to work from home, grocery shopping, engaging in outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing, and to perform work defined as an essential service. Citizens at a high risk of illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are urged to remain in their residence except to receive medical care.

                Essential services are defined as all first responders, emergency management personnel, individual performing government functions, healthcare operations, essential infrastructure, grocery stores, farmers’ market, food banks, pet stores, farming, livestock, fishing, social services, media, gas stations, auto supply/repair, banks, hardware, mailing services, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, laundromats, dry cleaners, restaurants, office supplies, airlines, private transportation, home-based services or shelters for seniors, adults or children, professional services (legal, accounting, insurance, real estate, appraisal, survey, and title), childcare, utilities, telecommunications, janitorial, maintenance, healthcare operations, funerals, defense industry, and educational services operating online. A full list of all essential services may be found in the Ordinance at www.marshalltexas.net.

Non-essential businesses shall shut down except for maintaining Minimum Basic Operations.  Essential Businesses exempted from shut-down are encouraged to determine staff who are essential to operations and to send non- essential staff home.

For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Travel” includes travel for any of the following purposes:

•             Any   travel   related   to   the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations;

•             Travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;

•             Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services;

•             Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction;

•             Travel required by law enforcement or court order; or

•             Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the City. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the City remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

When citizens need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times comply with the Social Distancing Requirement.

Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health. In accordance with Texas Government Code §418.173, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates this Order commits an offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days, and each day or portion of a day that such a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

                The Emergency Management Team will continue to meet with leaders from Harrison County, Marshall – Harrison County Health District, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System – Marshall, and City of Marshall monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis and providing notices to citizens as needed.

Harrison County and the City of Marshall are following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines and recommendations on the steps our community can take to help prevent catching or spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a situation that continues to evolve and we will do our best to keep our citizens informed of the latest information.

Harrison County and the City of Marshall urge our community to practice healthy habits including:

1.        Restrict physical contact and publicly used areas.

2.        Maintain Social Distancing with a safe distance of six (6’) feet between individuals.

3.       Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more per Executive Order of Governor Abbott.

4.         Residents should not visit nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

5.        In accordance with the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors. Residents may still utilize drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options through the Executive Order.

6.        Regularly wash hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

7.        Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

8.        If soap is not available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

9.        Avoid close contact with people who are sick. All persons should remain in the home if one person in the home exhibits symptoms

If you are experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing, been exposed to a sick traveler or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. Inform your physician or emergency department of your symptoms to prevent any potential spread.

The City of Marshall will hold City Commission meetings utilizing a video and audio conferencing tool, as well as, a standard conference call.  Instructions and direct links to view meetings or speak during Citizen Comment can be found at http://www.marshalltexas.net.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 3/30/2020

March 30, 2020

Monday Longview Paper: Northeast Texas COVID-19 case count
Updated 50 min ago
The total of cases in Northeast Texas is now at least 56 in 14 counties. Here’s a look at totals reported Sunday, and changes from Saturday’s report:

Angelina: 3 (+2)
Bowie: 3
Cass: 2
Cherokee: 1
Gregg: 5 (+1)
Harrison: 1
Hopkins: 1
Morris: 1
Nacogdoches: 2 (+1)
Rusk: 3
Shelby: 1
Smith: 31 (+4), 1 death
Upshur: 1
Van Zandt: 1, 1 death
Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services, Northeast Texas Public Health District, local officials

TRENDS CHART: https://aatishb.com/covidtrends/?fbclid=IwAR3CtUglbwrC6HfhCJ9SoJTE5pAn0qeDyRizWLazaKb_Uk9lz9vI5A-cyK8.

LINEAR/LOG SCALE PROJECTION OF CVID
https://aatishb.com/covidtrends/?fbclid=IwAR3CtUglbwrC6HfhCJ9SoJTE5pAn0qeDyRizWLazaKb_Uk9lz9vI5A-cyK8

Sent to me by Dr. John Vasser who got it from a colleagues son who is PhD astrophysicists at Princeton’s Advanced Institute in NJ  (Einstein founding member)  Henry Lin

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/27/822407626/mystery-in-wuhan-recovered-coronavirus-patients-test-negative-then-positive

THIS IS A COUPLE OF DAYS OLD. PROBABLY SOME CHINESE NUMBERS NEED TO BE EVALUATED CAREFULLY. A GOOD DOCTOR I KNOW IN HOUSTON SAYS THAT THEY ONLY LIE IF THEY MUST.

Last Thursday, Wuhan reported for the first time since the outbreak began that it had no new cases of the virus from the day before — a milestone in China’s virus containment efforts. The city reported a zero rise in new cases for the following four days.

Assessing asymptomatic carriers

But Caixin, an independent Chinese news outlet, reported earlier this week that Wuhan hospitals were continuing to see new cases of asymptomatic virus carriers, citing a health official who said he had seen up to a dozen such cases a day.

Responding to inquiries about how the city was counting asymptomatic cases, Wuhan’s health commission said Monday that it is quarantining new asymptomatic patients in specialized wards for 14 days. Such patients would be included in new daily case counts if they develop symptoms during that time, authorities said.

… Research suggests that the spread can be caused by asymptomatic carriers. Studies of patients from Wuhan and other Chinese cities who were diagnosed early in the outbreak suggest that asymptomatic carriers of the virus can infect those they have close contact with, such as family members.

https://vimeo.com/399733860

This long video features a New York ICU doctor who is very well informed. He’s a working doctor who’s  right in the middle of the epidemic.  It could stand some editing. It was sent to me by Dr. Al McClurg, who grew up in Marshall and lives in Austin. I don’t agree with a couple of minor things, but this doctor has been working daily in the midst of the epidemic. It runs over 30 min. but he answers many, many simple but pertinent questions. It is worth the time.


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Research. Read. Analyze. Think.

By George Smith

If you believe, truly believe, that President Trump is saying the right things, making the right decisions and creating and directing a federal response system to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, you are wrong. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

Research. Read. Analyze. Think.

Fact: The president delayed important decisions that could have curtailed or weakened the magnitude of the virus because he wanted to prop up the stock market.

He repeatedly pooh-poohed the seriousness of the growing problem despite evidence of the virus’ potential from other countries and from his own medical experts.

His blatant lies will be his legacy.

Quote: “Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion.”

This is not a misstatement; it is a lie.

There is factual evidence, however, that not only was the Trump administration warned about the potential of a pandemic and its dangers to Americans, it was given a plan on how to deal with it, which it promptly shelved.

Quote: “Anybody that needs a test gets a test. We – they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful”

Without basis, Trump has claimed the US has done an excellent job in testing people for the coronavirus. As early as January, the president said the situation was “totally under control”. Just six weeks later the US had emerged as the new global center of the pandemic.

In reality, healthcare providers faced a severe shortage of testing kits as coronavirus hit the US, with the situation exacerbated by faults in the testing system and restrictions on who could actually take a test. A big disparity opened up whereby rich or famous people were able to get

Quote: “I’ve always known this is a real – this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. I’ve always viewed it as very serious”

You cannot have it both ways. Trump believes otherwise; he us delusional and truly believes if he says it, it is true. Whatever he says, he believes his troops, his followers will believe him, not facts, but his alternative reality.

Quote: “ lAmericans will have access ‘to vaccines, I think, relatively soon.”

A “bigly” lie.

He was contradicted by Alex Azar, the health and human services secretary, who pointed out: “You won’t have a vaccine. You’ll have a vaccine to go into testing.”

Dr Fauci and others at the meeting confirmed that clinical trials – standard for any new vaccine – would have to take place first. A vaccine is more likely to be a year or 18 months away.

Again: Research. Read. Analyze. Think.


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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

By George Smith

The elephant in the room keeps getting bigger. And no one with any national status is talking about it…at least in any way, shape or form that is breaking through the constant clamor of “COVID-19”.

The elephant? National deficit and debt.

In the past decade, since the “fiscally conservative” Republican Party controlled  both houses of Congress from 2010 to 2018 and the presidency since 2017, the debt has increased exponentially.

The last time the federal government had a surplus was under President Bill Clinton. (Go ahead and check. I’ll wait.)

In February 2020, the public debt of the United States was around $23.4 trillion, more than $1.29 trillion more than a year earlier, when it was around $22.1 trillion. (Note: A trillion has 12 zeroes/- $1,000,000,000,000.

And, that does not include the $2.200,000,00,000 just approved in democratic socialist stimulus checks approved this week by a bipartisan vote in both houses.

And, a second round of bailouts for other needy entities, like non-profits will be rolled out soon.

The national debt now stands just shy of $26,000,000,000,000. (1,2,3….12 zeroes. That’s right..) so, I owe more than $69,000 for my share of the debt; my supreme spousal unit also owes that amount. So do our six kids and their kids and the baby born a few minutes ago.

The so-called tax cut in 2017 added $2-plus trillion the debt .. and few in power blinked an eye. 

The elephant in the room is sick with a disease with a worse disease than COVID-19. Our elected officials — all those who think the elephant is a “fig newton” of their imagination and will, somehow, some day, just magically vanish — are guilty of dereliction of duty and malignant neglect of their fiduciary responsibilities as gatekeepers of tax dollars.

Of course, in times like these, drastic actions must be taken to preserve the republic.

But when the debt burden becomes too heavy to bear — and it will — the resulting tumult will make the coronavirus pandemic look like a few people with bad allergies.

Count on it. The clock is ticking.


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