Category Archives: Covid 19 News

Miami man who bought Lamborghini with COVID-19 relief money sentenced to six years

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A Miami businessman was sentenced to more than six years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to fleecing millions from a federal COVID-19 relief program and buying luxury items with the money, including a $318,000 Lamborghini Huracán Evo.

David T. Hines, 29, arrested last July, was ordered by a Miami federal judge to turn over the luxury Italian sports car and $3.4 million that he received in government loans.

Hines, who owned South Florida moving businesses, applied to the Bank of America for seven loans under a Small Business Administration program. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) was meant to help struggling businesses during the coronavirus pandemic cover legitimate expenses, such as employee salaries. The PPP loans are forgiven by the government if they are properly used by businesses.

The SBA’s payroll program totaling nearly $650 billion was approved by Congress as part of the CARES Act after the coronavirus struck the nation in March 2020, but Hines’ and other similar fraud cases have been piling up in South Florida and other parts of the country.

A felon, an alleged drug dealer and a comic: How some who may be ineligible got PPP loans

In Hines’ case, Bank of America approved three of his applications, totaling more than $3.9 million. One of his first purchases was the Lamborghini, according to a criminal complaint. Prosecutor Michael Berger said Hines also used the loan money for dating websites, jewelry and clothes and for stays at high-end hotels such as the Fontainebleau and Setai on Miami Beach.

Last July, Hines was involved in a hit-and-run accident, which helped investigators link the Lamborghini to him.

“As part of his guilty plea, Hines admitted that he fraudulently sought millions of dollars in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of different companies,” the Justice Department said after his guilty plea in February. “Plea documents indicate that in the days and weeks following the disbursement of PPP funds, Hines did not make payroll payments that he claimed on his loan applications. He did, however, use the PPP proceeds for personal expenses.”

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The federal case against Hines is not his first brush with the law.

In 2018, Hines flagged down a police officer on Miami Beach to report that his girlfriend had stolen his Lamborghini. Police later found the sports car. But Hines became uncooperative, and both he and the girlfriend fled before eventually being found and arrested.

Hines received a probationary sentence for resisting an officer without violence, a misdemeanor.

Hines is not alone in exploiting the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program. The Justice Department has prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases, seizing $60 million fleeced from the SBA program.

South Florida is recognized as being at the center of the nation’s COVID-19 relief fraud, authorities said at a recent news conference.

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Should kids ages 12-15 get the COVID-19 vaccine? Yahoo News Explains

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The Daily Beast

Mass Grave Dug on Banks of Ganges for 100 Possible COVID Victims Found Floating Down River

Danish Siddiqui via ReutersIn a macabre twist to a situation that is already too dire to comprehend, authorities in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have had to call in excavators to dig a mass grave after nearly 100 bloated and decomposing bodies were found floating in the Ganges River. Scammers Sell Fire Extinguishers as Oxygen Cylinders to Dying COVID Patients in IndiaAround 40 bodies were found in one riverbank area, and groups of 10 or more were found downstream near cremation ghats that had run out of firewood. Some were partially burned, an official told local media. “We retrieved 71 bodies,” Buxar Superintendent of Police Neeraj Kumar Singh told The Hindu. “Some of them have been disposed of while the process for others are underway. Samples of some bodies too have been preserved for further tests.”It is not yet known if those found floating in the river were victims of COVID-19—nor is it known exactly who they were. None had identification on them, and given the extreme situation that has taxed all public offices across the country, it does not seem likely anyone will be able to identify them with certainty any time soon. If they were dumped from cremation platforms, authorities suggest families may assume they had been properly cremated. Videos of the floating bodies have gone viral across the country, with many blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apparent negligence for his handling of the pandemic. Over the weekend, the prestigious medical journal Lancet published a scathing editorial placing the blame squarely on his shoulders, saying the deadly mayhem could have been prevented. Meanwhile, the Times of India has reported that funeral homes are “profiteering” by selling expensive funerals and cremations to desperate family members who want their loved ones properly laid to rest. With firewood shortages, many families have had to opt for burials, which are now being sold in some states for up to three times the normal price. India has logged more than 22.6 million coronavirus cases and 246,116 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, most in the last month.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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Fauci admits COVID-19 could have come from Wuhan lab, butts heads with Rand Paul

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Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday admitted that COVID-19 could have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China — and acknowledged there should be further investigation into the possibility.

The nation’s top infectious-disease doc made the acknowledgment on Capitol Hill while getting grilled by US senators — including Republican Rand Paul, who heatedly butted heads with him over alleged government funding of the lab.

Fauci was flat-out asked by GOP Sen. Roger Marshall, a doctor from Kansas, “Do you think it’s possible that COVID-19 arose from a lab accident … in Wuhan, and should it be fully investigated?”

The National Institutes of Health official replied, “That possibility certainly exists, and I am totally in favor of a full investigation of whether that could have happened.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Rand Paul have previously gone toe-to-toe over COVID-19.AFP via Getty Images

Fauci had said a few months after the start of the pandemic that the deadly virus most likely “evolved in nature and then jumped species,’’ as opposed to being “artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

Earlier, Paul, of Kentucky, pressed Fauci over alleged US funding of the Chinese lab involving so-called “gain of function’’ research.

The research focuses on making a virus more potent in the laboratory as a way to produce better vaccines against it.

Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci again went back-and-forth on Tuesday.Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

“Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect … the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute,” Fauci said.

When Paul started to say, “Government scientists like yourself who favor gain function,’’ Fauci interrupted, “I don’t favor gain-of-function research in China.

“You are saying things that are not correct,” the doctor said.

In addition to the funding flap, Paul pressed Fauci over the potential link between the virus outbreak and the lab, too.

In March, the World Health Organization released a controversial report saying it is “extremely unlikely’’ that the pandemic was caused by a virus leak at the lab.

The WHO findings — which were criticized partly because they lacked potentially crucial data from a secretive Chinese government — said humans likely became infected through an animal that got the virus from bats.

Dr. Fauci said he would be in favor of an investigation to see if COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan, China.Greg Nash/AFP via Getty Images/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Fauci said at the time that he wanted to review the WHO’s raw data.

“I’d also would like to inquire as to the extent in which the people who were on that group had access directly to the data that they would need to make a determination,” he said. “I want to read the report first and then get a feel for what they really had access to — or did not have access to.”

Still, the same month, Fauci appeared to downplay comments by former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that the coronavirus was created in the Wuhan lab, saying Redfield was simply expressing his “opinion” when he made the claim.

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A 23-year-old Italian woman received 6 times the recommended amount of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine

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A vial of coronavirus vaccine. Dado Ruvic/Reuters

  • A 23-year-old Italian woman received six doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Sunday.

  • A nurse accidentally injected the entire vial, the Italian news agency AGI reported.

  • Medical experts said vaccine-dosing errors such as this usually don’t lead to serious side effects.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A 23-year-old Italian woman received six doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Sunday, after a nurse at a hospital in Tuscany accidentally injected an entire vial.

The Italian news agency AGI reported the incident on Monday, and USL Toscana Nord Ovest, a health network in Tuscany, acknowledged it in a press release.

Pfizer’s shot is supposed to come in two doses, administered three weeks apart.

The woman is in stable condition after receiving fluids and the pain reliever paracetamol, AGI reported.

Nigel William Crawford, the director of SAEFVIC, the vaccine-safety service in Victoria, Australia, said vaccine overdoses aren’t likely to cause serious adverse reactions.

“I often say ‘you can’t have too much of a good thing’ when it comes to vaccines,” Crawford wrote in The Conversation.

Even five or six doses, he added, is “still a relatively small amount and not likely to be harmful.” Side effects from the shot, though – such as fever or pain at the injection site – may be heightened, Crawford said.

Previous vaccine overdosing incidents haven’t seemed to cause any life-threatening outcomes. In April, dozens of inmates at an Iowa prison received six times the recommended vaccine dose. Cord Overton, a spokesperson at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, told The New York Times that none of the inmates had been hospitalized, though many were experiencing side effects such as body aches and fevers.

Similarly, an employee at the Singapore National Eye Center received five doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in February. The person was taken to a local hospital for observation and was discharged two days later.

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That same month, an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman in Brisbane, Australia, received four times the recommended dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. They did not experience any serious adverse reactions. Australia’s federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said the doctor who performed the injection hadn’t received the mandatory immunization training.

Higher doses didn’t lead to serious side effects in trials

A volunteer received a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Pfizer’s clinical trial at the University of Maryland. University of Maryland

Clinical trials often test out different dosing regimens to the find the one that’s safest and most effective.

That was the case in Pfizer’s phase one and two trials: Some participants received 100 micrograms of the vaccine – more than three times the standard dose now recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Those who received that higher dose didn’t report any serious adverse reactions and saw roughly the same types of side effects as those who’d received the standard dose. Fever was far more common among the higher-dose recipients, though – 50% versus 8%.

Overall, the researchers found “no substantial differences” in the immune responses among those who’d received the higher dose versus those who got the standard one. So it makes sense to administer less of the vaccine: A lower dosing regimen means manufacturers can get more shots into arms quickly.

“The main issue in most cases will be the waste of the vaccine rather than any serious side effects,” Peter Collignon, a physician at Canberra Hospital in Australia, told The Guardian.

But doctors do worry that reports of vaccine-administration errors could undermine public trust in coronavirus shots or in the healthcare workers who give them.

“Even if these ‘overdoses’ are not likely to be harmful, it’s always safest to stick to the recommended dose,” Crawford wrote. In the case of the Brisbane accident, he added, “We don’t want to see an incident like this repeated.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Fox News won’t say if Tucker Carlson has been vaccinated for COVID-19 or if he ever plans to be

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National Review

Facebook’s ‘Oversight Board’ Declines to Bail Out Zuckerberg on Trump Ban

Welcome back to “Forgotten Fact-Checks,” a weekly column produced by National Review’s News Desk. This week we have social media’s head-scratchers, the Biden administration’s refusal to face reality on COVID and the southern border, and more media misses. Who Watches the Watchers? The independent “oversight board” tasked with evaluating Facebook’s Trump ban found that “it is not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account will be restored.” Having found that the ban was “not permissible,” the oversight board decided to keep it in place for another six months while CEO Mark Zuckerberg comes up with a more “permissible” reason to ban the former president. In refusing to make a final determination, the oversight board declined to play its intended role: allowing Zuckerberg to avoid the criticism inherent to policing speech on his platform. Over the past month, National Review has been following Twitter’s curation team — which writes the platform’s “Moments” and “Trending” summaries to help “surface the best of what’s happening on Twitter,” according to its about page. As it curates what is happening around the world, Twitter pledges to “organize and present compelling content,” since “curators don’t act as reporters or creators of original work.” The platform claims that its team aims “to uphold high standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness in our curation.” Well, let’s take a look at some recent examples to see if they are meeting that worthy standard. Much has already been written about the media debacle in covering the tragic death of Ohio teenager Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot by police as she attempted to stab someone. That crucial detail — that Columbus police shot Bryant after she disregarded orders to drop the knife and charged a fellow girl with the deadly weapon — was completely ignored by Twitter’s Moments team. So what was the top-line takeaway? Police have named the officer in question, and “he has been ‘taken off the street’ while the criminal investigation is ongoing.” While Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams retroactively stealth-edited her USA Today op-ed on the Georgia election reform bill — removing a line in which she claimed she “can’t argue with” people who choose to boycott businesses in her state — Twitter played active defense on her behalf. According to the curation team, which cited “journalists and fact-checkers,” Abrams “supports boycotts in certain circumstances but not right now in Georgia.” A number of recent “trending” summaries, which are also curated, have raised some eyebrows. Wtf is this?? Twitter employees now promoting florida trutherism — Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 26, 2021 This is a blatant lie from Twitter and missing some serious context. Tucker Carlson didn’t tell people to not wear masks. He told people to stop wearing them outside because there’s little to no science to suggest they help. The CDC will also soon ease outdoor mask mandates. — David Hookstead (@dhookstead) April 27, 2021 So while Twitter may say it is not a publisher, its curation team sure acts like it is. More Biden Head-Burying The Biden administration tends to respond to policy criticisms by quibbling about semantics — take the southern border and COVID as two examples. Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview that the media was to blame for the use of the word “crisis” in describing the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, insisting that it “wasn’t really a crisis,” just a “huge challenge.” Unfortunately for Psaki, prominent Democrats — including both senators from the border swing state of Arizona — have repeatedly used the “c-word” when discussing the fact that migrant apprehension records are being shattered on a monthly basis— and have been since Biden took office. “What I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border,” Senator Mark Kelly said after Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress earlier this month. “The reality is that this is a crisis,” Senator Kyrsten Sinema said in a radio interview last week. “We all know it, and the federal government must do more.” And on COVID, Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has defended outdoor mask mandates for children at summer camps and is now warning that the concept of “herd immunity” is “elusive” and “mystical.” On Monday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a meticulous documenter of the pandemic since patient zero, inserted a healthy dose of reality into the public discussion. “We should be lifting the mask ordinances outside in a wholesale fashion, I think we should be lifting them in indoor settings as well in many states,” says @ScottGottliebMD. “We’ve hit our own goal–we just are reluctant to relax the measures now.” — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) May 10, 2021 The Headline Fail of the Week As we noted last time, NBC News fluffed its coverage of a critical race theory referendum failing in a Texas school district. Well here’s supposedly neutral CNN to pick up the pieces: “A school district tried to address racism, a group of parents fought back” Media Misses Remember all that “debunking” of the COVID lab-leak theory? Well, this cautious, even-handed deep-dive into all the available evidence by a prominent veteran science reporter is well worth the read. It also includes this nugget: “Science reporters, unlike political reporters, have little innate skepticism of their sources’ motives; most see their role largely as purveying the wisdom of scientists to the unwashed masses.” Politico Playbook led last Friday with a “takedown” of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis driven by anonymous former staffers. Well, turns out there are ex-staffers willing to defend him on the record too! I certainly wasn’t “scarred” @playbookdc @tarapalmeri @rachaelmbade … @GovRonDeSantis @FLCaseyDeSantis are the best of the best. Looks like anybody on-the-record here actually backs that up. — Dustin Carmack (@DustinCarmack) May 7, 2021 Was a counsel to @GovRonDeSantis while was chair of the National Security Subcommittee on House Oversight. He was as awesome then as he is now. 10/10 rating. — Mike Howell (@MHowellTweets) May 7, 2021 Finally, Democrats on social media rejoiced when Psaki first took the podium as White House press secretary earlier this year, dubbing moments where she delivers a feisty response to reporters “Psaki bombs.” Huffpost this week seemed to get caught up in the fervor as well, publishing a piece titled, “Newsmax Reporter Tries Trump’s ‘People Are Saying’ Line. Jen Psaki Isn’t Having It.”

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