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Floridians Demand DeSantis Veto Bill Extending Immunity To Hospitals Treating COVID-19 Patients

Floridians Demand DeSantis Veto Bill Extending Immunity To Hospitals Treating COVID-19 Patients

Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times…

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Floridians Demand DeSantis Veto Bill Extending Immunity To Hospitals Treating COVID-19 Patients

Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A growing contingent of people concerned about how hospitals treat COVID-19 is calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a bill the Republican Party is quickly pushing through the state’s legislature.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to reporters Feb. 2 about the need to boost hospitalized patient's rights at a press conference at Santa Fe College's construction school in Gainesville, Fla. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)

The Republican-led effort seeks to extend a law that grants near-immunity to health care providers for their treatment of COVID-19, as long as they follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They say the measure still is needed to help health care facilities stay solvent during the pandemic.

The original measure was passed in 2021 and was set to expire in March. But Republicans are pushing an extension bill through the Florida Legislature. The effort seeks to extend the law’s special protections for health care providers through June 1, 2023.

Contention over the bill puts DeSantis, a Republican, in a tricky spot in an election year, with 17 challengers vying for his position.

DeSantis must decide whether to support lawmakers in his own party or listen to conservative groups, setting a powerful example for governors around the country.

Participants in medical freedom rallies across Florida and the rest of the country have decried hospital behavior in the treatment of COVID-19. Many families have asked courts to intervene and help them obtain treatments for their loved ones when all other government-recommended treatments had failed.

DeSantis recently said he’s pushing Florida lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow doctors in his state to go against federal guidelines and prescribe what they think will work best for a patient. His office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the effort to extend the immunity period.

Health care experts, political activists, families who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19, and attorneys involved in recent health care battles to obtain alternative treatments signed a letter that was hand-delivered on Feb. 14 to DeSantis’s office, asking him to veto the bill. The signers of the letter represent 25 organizations with members that number in the hundreds of thousands of Floridians, says the letter’s author, attorney R. Shawn McBride, of the American Freedom Information Institute in Maitland, Florida.

The letter’s signers don’t have a problem with giving health care providers protection from unfair lawsuits, McBride says.

Their problem with the law is that it ties liability protection for medical providers to their adherence to government guidelines in the treatment of COVID-19. That provision makes doctors and hospitals unwilling to try other treatments that may work better, or that families desperately want to try when all government-recommended treatments have failed, McBride and other attorneys told The Epoch Times.

The stipulation has “led to medical decisions and policies that are causing unnecessary deaths,” the letter states. “We must move to a better liability immunity system that leads to doctors getting to use the treatments they believe will work for their patients. SB 7014 does not accomplish this goal.”

The law “takes away patient choice and encourages health care providers to keep doing what they want to do,” the letter states.

Dr. Robert Malone, the virologist and immunologist credited as the pioneer of mRNA vaccine technology used in the fight against COVID-19, was among the first to sign the letter to DeSantis, McBride said.

Dr. Robert Malone, who invented mRNA vaccine technology, in Washington on June 29, 2021. (Zhen Wang/The Epoch Times)

Malone has become an outspoken opponent of vaccine mandates and created a social media firestorm after telling podcaster Joe Rogan that the United States is in the midst of a “mass formation psychosis” about the pandemic. Mass formation psychosis is when a large group of people unquestioningly allow their leaders to guide them and will continue to follow those leaders no matter what evidence emerges that conflicts with the leaders’ narrative.

“The big concern is that the law is causing hospital group-think,” McBride told The Epoch Times. “It makes it scary for them to break away from CDC protocols. If they try emerging treatments, they lose liability protections.”

Under the legislation, health care providers still can face lawsuits. But to prevail, plaintiffs have to prove “that the health care provider was grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct.”

And that makes it practically impossible to sue medical providers, which can lower the standard of care, attorneys have told The Epoch Times.

Florida is one of 29 states across the country to enact laws shielding medical professionals from liability related to COVID-19. All 50 state governors were urged to put the protections in place by the federal government shortly after the pandemic began nearly two years ago, according to the American Medical Association.

Breathing tubes hang next to a man with COVID-19 on a ventilator at a Stamford Hospital Intensive Care Unit in Stamford, Conn., on April 24, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

In Florida, it’s now up to DeSantis to decide whether to sign or veto the bill. He has seven days to respond once lawmakers officially deliver it to him. If he vetoes the bill, the legislature can override his veto with a two-thirds vote. If DeSantis chooses to do nothing, the bill will become law without his signature and go into effect immediately.

Signers of the letter asking for a veto urged DeSantis to “create appropriate legislation that reflects our shared core values: protecting life, individual liberty and the freedom of medical choice. All of the signatory groups are taking action because we know better legislation will save lives and give patients the dignity of getting the treatment they desire.”

Lori Bontell traveled to Tallahassee on Feb. 14 to deliver the letter to DeSantis’s office. For her, blocking the legislation is deeply personal, and it’s her most heartfelt prayer that her governor will veto it, she said.

“I helplessly watched my sister die as the hospital refused to provide life-saving treatments,” she wrote in an email to The Epoch Times. “They would only follow the CDC COVID protocols, which ultimately led to her death.

“We aren’t against the healthcare providers. We just want patients to have the right to choose the treatments that they want and need and for their own doctors to have the freedom to exercise their independent medical judgment on a case-by-case basis to help their patients.”

Bontell and her brother were fighting in court for the right to try other medications to save their sister when she died. Now, it has become Bontell’s mission to affect change. She hopes that changing things in Florida could lead to change across the country.

Otherwise, these unnecessary deaths will continue,” Bontell wrote. “Families like mine will be left to suffer the consequences of these protocols that several doctors have stated are outdated, ineffective, and lead to ventilation and death.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/17/2022 - 17:00

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Government

Coronavirus dashboard for October 5: an autumn lull as COVID-19 evolves towards seasonal endemicity

  – by New Deal democratBack in August I highlighted some epidemiological work by Trevor Bedford about what endemic COVID is likely to look like, based…

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 - by New Deal democrat

Back in August I highlighted some epidemiological work by Trevor Bedford about what endemic COVID is likely to look like, based on the rate of mutations and the period of time that previous infection makes a recovered person resistant to re-infection. Here’s his graph:




He indicated that it “illustrate[s] a scenario where we end up in a regime of year-round variant-driven circulation with more circulation in the winter than summer, but not flu-like winter seasons and summer troughs.”

In other words, we could expect higher caseloads during regular seasonal waves, but unlike influenza, the virus would never entirely recede into the background during the “off” seasons.

That is what we are seeing so far this autumn.

Confirmed cases have continued to decline, presently just under 45,000/day, a little under 1/3rd of their recent summer peak in mid-June. Deaths have been hovering between 400 and 450/day, about in the middle of their 350-550 range since the beginning of this past spring:



The longer-term graph of each since the beginning of the pandemic shows that, at their present level cases are at their lowest point since summer 2020, with the exception of a brief period during September 2020, the May-July lull in 2021, and the springtime lull this year. Deaths since spring remain lower than at any point except the May-July lull of 2021:



Because so many cases are asymptomatic, or people confirm their cases via home testing but do not get confirmation by “official” tests, we know that the confirmed cases indicated above are lower than the “real” number. For that, here is the long-term look from Biobot, which measures COVID concentrations in wastewater:



The likelihood is that there are about 200,000 “actual” new cases each day at present. But even so, this level is below any time since Delta first hit in summer 2021, with the exception of last autumn and this spring’s lulls.

Hospitalizations show a similar pattern. They are currently down 50% since their summer peak, at about 25,000/day:



This is also below any point in the pandemic except for briefly during September 2020, the May-July 2021 low, and this past spring’s lull.

The CDC’s most recent update of variants shows that BA.5 is still dominant, causing about 81% of cases, while more recent offshoots of BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 are causing the rest. BA’s share is down from 89% in late August:



But this does not mean that the other variants are surging, because cases have declined from roughly 90,000 to 45,000 during that time. Here’s how the math works out:

89% of 90k=80k (remaining variants cause 10k cases)
81% of 45k=36k (remaining variants cause 9k cases)

The batch of new variants have been dubbed the “Pentagon” by epidmiologist JP Weiland, and have caused a sharp increase in cases in several countries in Europe and elsewhere. Here’s what she thinks that means for the US:


But even she is not sure that any wave generated by the new variants will exceed summer’s BA.5 peak, let alone approach last winter’s horrible wave:



In summary, we have having an autumn lull as predicted by the seasonal model. There will probably be a winter wave, but the size of that wave is completely unknown, primarily due to the fact that probably 90%+ of the population has been vaccinated and/or previously infected, giving rise to at least some level of resistance - a disease on its way to seasonal endemicity.

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Government

JOLTs jolted: Did the Fed break the labour market?

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) August release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the number of job openings, a measure…

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In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) August release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the number of job openings, a measure of demand for labour, fell to 10.1 million. This was short of market estimates of 11 million and lower than last month’s level of 11.2 million.

It also marked the fifth consecutive month of decreases in job openings this year, while the August unemployment rate had ticked higher to 3.7%, near a five-decade low.

In the latest numbers, the total job openings were the lowest reported since June 2021, while incredibly, the decline in vacancies of 1.1 million was the sharpest in two decades save for the extraordinary circumstances in April 2020. 

Healthcare services, other services and retail saw the deepest declines in job openings of 236,000, 183,000, and 143,000, respectively.

With total jobs in some of these sectors settling below pre-pandemic levels, the Fed’s push for higher borrowing costs may finally be restricting demand for workers in these areas.

The levels of hires, quits and layoffs (collectively known as separations) were little changed from July.

The quits rate (a percentage of total employment in the month), a proxy for confidence in the market was steady at 2.8%.

Source: US BLS

From a bird’s eye view, 1.7 openings were available for each unemployed person, cooling from 2.0 in the month prior but still above the historic average. 

The market still appears favourable for workers but seems to have begun showing signs of fatigue.

Ian Shepherdson, Economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics noted that it was too soon to suggest if a new trend had started to emerge, and said,

…this is the first official indicator to point unambiguously, if not necessarily reliably, to a clear slowing in labour demand.

Nick Bunker, Head of Economic Research at Indeed, also stated,

The heat of the labour market is slowly coming down to a slow boil as demand for hiring new workers fades.

Ironically, equities surged as investors pinned their hopes on weakness in headline jobs numbers being the sign of breakage the Fed needed to pull back on its tightening.

Kristen Bitterly, Citi Global Wealth’s head of North American investments added,

(In the past, in) 8 out of the 10 bear markets, we have seen bounces off the lows of 10%…and not just one but several, this is very common in this type of environment.

The worst may be yet to come

As for the health of the economy, after much seesawing in its projections, which swung between 0.3% as recently as September 27 and as high as 2.7% just a couple of weeks earlier, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow estimate was finalized at a sharply rebounding 2.3% for Q3, earlier in the week.

Rod Von Lipsey, Managing Director, UBS Private Wealth Management was optimistic and stated,

…looking for a stronger fourth quarter, and traditionally, the fourth quarter is a good part of the year for stocks.

As I reported in a piece last week, a crucial consideration that has been brought up many a time is the unknown around policy lags.

Cathie Wood, Ark Invest CEO and CIO noted that the Fed has increased rates an incredible 13-fold in a span of just a few months, which is in stark contrast to the rate doubling engineered by Governor Volcker over the span of a decade.

Pedro da Costa, a veteran Fed reporter and previously a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, emphasized that once the Fed tightens policy, there is no way to know when this may be fully transmitted to the economy, which could lie anywhere between 6 to 18 months.

The JOLTs report reflects August data while the Fed has continued to tighten. This raises the probability that the Fed may have already done too much, and the environment may be primed to send the jobs market into a tailspin.

Several recent indicators suggest that the labour market is getting ready for a significant deceleration.

For instance, new orders contracted aggressively to 47.1. Although still expansionary, ISM manufacturing data fell sharply to 50.9 global, factory employment plummeted to 48.7, global PMI receded into contractionary territory at 49.8, its lowest level since June 2020 while durable goods declined 0.2%.

Moreover, transpacific shipping rates, a leading indicator absolutely crashed, falling 75% Y-o-Y on weaker demand and overbought inventories.

Steven van Metre, a certified financial planner and frequent collaborator at Eurodollar University, argued

“…the next thing to go is the job market.“

A recent study by KPMG which collated opinions of over 400 CEOs and business leaders at top US companies, found that a startling 91% of respondents expect a recession within the next 12 months. Only 34% of these think that it would be “mild and short.”

More than half of the CEOs interviewed are looking to slash jobs and cut headcount.

Similarly, a report by Marcum LLP in collaboration with Hofstra University found that 90% of surveyed CEOs were fearful of a recession in the near future.

It also found that over a quarter of company heads had already begun layoffs or planned to do so in the next twelve months.

Simply put, American enterprises are not buying the Fed’s soft-landing plans.

A slew of mass layoffs amid overwhelming inventories and a weak consumer impulse will result in a rapid decline in price pressures, exacerbating the threat of too much tightening.

Upcoming data

On Friday, the markets will be focused on the BLS’s non-farm payrolls data. Economists anticipate a comparatively small addition of jobs, likely to be near 250,000, which would mark the smallest monthly increase this year.

In a world where interest rates are still rising, demand is giving way, the prevailing sentiment is weak and companies are burdened by excessive inventories, can job cuts be far behind?

The post JOLTs jolted: Did the Fed break the labour market? appeared first on Invezz.

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International

Trade Deficit decreased to $67.4 Billion in August

From the Department of Commerce reported:The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that the goods and services deficit was $67.4 billion in August, down $3.1 billion from $70.5 billion in July, revised.August exp…

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From the Department of Commerce reported:
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that the goods and services deficit was $67.4 billion in August, down $3.1 billion from $70.5 billion in July, revised.

August exports were $258.9 billion, $0.7 billion less than July exports. August imports were $326.3 billion, $3.7 billion less than July imports.
emphasis added
Click on graph for larger image.

Exports increased and imports decreased in August.

Exports are up 20% year-over-year; imports are up 14% year-over-year.

Both imports and exports decreased sharply due to COVID-19 and have now bounced back.

The second graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum.

U.S. Trade Deficit The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products.

Note that net, imports and exports of petroleum products are close to zero.

The trade deficit with China increased to $37.4 billion in August, from $21.7 billion a year ago.

The trade deficit was slightly lower than the consensus forecast.

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