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Trump: ‘I don’t think I am contagious at all’

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President Trump told Fox Business News’s Maria Bartiromo, on 8 October, “I don’t think I am contagious at all.” The most contagious period of an infection with the COVID-19 or coronavirus-19 virus is the pre-symptomatic phase and the entire earliest symptomatic period; and, consequently, what Trump said might be true, since he is beyond that period. He might even have already become cured of the disease. We don’t know. And he might no longer be in the phase of the disease during which a person is exhaling the virus. His immune system, and medical treatments, might have overcome the virus so that he is no longer dangerous to people nearby.

But that’s unknown. The US government’s own Centers for Disease Control ignores the question on its web page Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19 and is concerned there only with how long a person “may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19.” Their presumption is that everyone is concerned only about their own safety — not at all about the safety of others. Trump’s Government is providing no information — much less guidance — on that.

One US TV station’s reporter tried to get information on this and could get none from the US government but found that Korea’s government said that an infected person could continue to be spreading the disease for up to three months after having tested positive, but noted: “In that study out of South Korea, researchers contacted 790 people who had been in contact with those who tested positive, and only three new cases emerged.” 

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Trump asserted (at 3:50 in the video with Bartiromo) “I feel perfect. There is nothing wrong. I had a case. I got it knocked out. I think it was Regeneron that was responsible for it. … It was like a gift from heaven.” Then, he said (at 6:00 in the video) “I don’t think I am contagious at all.” He is acting that way. After all, even his own CDC isn’t advising otherwise. Even the CDC’s web page How to Protect Yourself & Others ignores the “& Others” part. They just don’t care about it, at all; they just assume that everyone’s a psychopath.

By contrast, the European Union says “In general, quarantine is mandatory and is mainly at home, duration is minimum 14 days. … Quarantine refers to the separation and restriction of movement of people who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19, but who are currently healthy and do not show symptoms.” So, that advice would apply to Trump (if he cared — which he obviously doesn’t).

Regeneron (named to regenerate health, not to rejuvenate youth) is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which is a company in Tarrytown, N.Y., that was founded in 1988 and soon started focusing on, as Wikipedia’s article about the firm notes, “both cytokine and tyrosine kinase receptors.” The main killer-phase of the coronavirus-19 is a cytokine storm developing in the patient’s lungs and bringing rapid death. The anti-coronavirus drug that is in the experimental stage at Regeneron, and is named “Regn-COV2.” Here is what Wikipedia says about that drug:

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Experimental treatment for COVID-19

On February 4, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services, which already worked with Regeneron, announced that Regeneron would pursue monoclonal antibodies to fight COVID-19.

In July 2020, under Operation Warp Speed, Regeneron was awarded a $450 million government contract to manufacture and supply its experimental treatment REGN-COV2, an artificial "antibody cocktail" which was then undergoing clinical trials for its potential both to treat people with COVID-19 and to prevent SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.[12][13][14] The $450 million came from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the DoD Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense, and Army Contracting Command. Regeneron expected to produce 70,000–300,000 treatment doses or 420,000–1,300,000 prevention doses. "By funding this manufacturing effort, the federal government will own the doses expected to result from the demonstration project," the government said in its July 7 news release.[15] Regeneron similarly said in its own news release that same day that "the government has committed to making doses from these lots available to the American people at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution," noting that this depended on the government granting emergency use authorization or product approval.[16]

In October 2020 when US President Donald Trump was infected with the COVID-19 virus and taken to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he was administered REGN-COV2. His doctors obtained it from Regeneron via a compassionate use request (as clinical trials had not yet been completed and the drug had not yet received FDA approval).[17] On 7 October, Trump posted a five-minute video to Twitter reasserting that this drug should be "free."[18] That same day, Regeneron filed with the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. In the filing, it specified that it currently had 50,000 doses and that it expected to reach a total of 300,000 doses "within the next few months."[19]

America’s President received an experimental drug, not a drug which is in production. On September 29th, Regeneron announced REGENERON'S REGN-COV2 ANTIBODY COCKTAIL REDUCED VIRAL LEVELS AND IMPROVED SYMPTOMS IN NON-HOSPITALIZED COVID-19 PATIENTS, and reported the first data from a descriptive analysis of a seamless Phase 1/2/3 trial of its investigational antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 showing it reduced viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19. REGN-COV2 also showed positive trends in reducing medical visits. The ongoing, randomized, double-blind trial measures the effect of adding REGN-COV2 to usual standard-of-care, compared to adding placebo to standard-of-care.

An ordinary patient would not have received Regn-COV2. Trump was just lucky to be the president.

At 12:35 in the video, he blamed China for the entire problem of COVID-19, and promised retaliation against China if he wins a second term:

“China did this terrible thing to us that I will not be forgetting about that. China did this. This was all done by China, and we shouldn’t be hurting our workers, because China put the curse on, because this is a horrible scourge, a horrible thing that they did."

His phrase “that I will not be forgetting about that” suggests that if Trump becomes re-elected, then he will take some sort of action against China — retaliate against China’s “curse.”

Whereas Joe Biden wants to take action against Russia more than against China, Trump wants to take action more against China than against Russia, and also wants to take action against Iran, Venezuela, Syria and Yemen — and against any nation which violates the economic embargoes, or sanctions, that Congress passed against those countries, and others, and which were signed into law by Trump, and by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

For America, the Cold War never really ended, and permanent warfare is bipartisan U.S. Government policy, though the targets of war do change, depending upon which Party is in the White House. Trump’s infection, with what he calls “the China virus,” seems to have increased his desire to make China a particular target for regime-change, but there are others. Each recent U.S. President has had a generally similar “Axis of Evil” but with different priorities as to which countries will be invaded or otherwise “regime changed,” and in what order or sequence. Though the President is the Commander-in-Chief, Congress generally goes along with whatever his priorities in that regard happen to be.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Climate Action: EU-China joint press communiqué on the fight against climate change ahead of COP26

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Following their second high-level environment and climate dialogue on 27 September 2021, Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Han Zheng reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and a successful outcome of the COP26 in Glasgow. In a joint press release, they stressed the urgency to act immediately, notably in the light of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They also confirmed that that the high-level environment and climate dialogue will continue to be a key platform between the EU and China to enhance actions and bilateral cooperation on environment and in the fight against climate change. During their last meeting, they discussed various aspects of the global climate and biodiversity crises, with a focus on the forthcoming UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow and on COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming. More details on the discussion are available here

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China lodges stern representations with Australia on Taiwan comments

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The Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday (11 October) that China has lodged stern representations with Australia over "inappropriate" comments by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Taiwan, write Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo, Reuters.

Abbott last week visited Taiwan, which is claimed by China, in a personal capacity, met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and told a security forum that China may lash out with its economy slowing and finances "creaking". Read more.

"The relevant words and actions by the Australian politician go against the One China Principle and send a seriously wrong signal," Zhao Lijian, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, told a regular media briefing. "China is firmly opposed to this. We have made stern representations to Australia."

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Corruption in China’s chamber of justice

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The CCP’s former justice minister Fu Zhenghua is now under probe for serious disciplinary violations - he had previously launched a politically motivated prosecution against prominent dissident Guo Wengui AKA Miles Kwok, writes Louis Auge.

In recent days the Chinese Communist Party has signalled its intention to pursue its anti-corruption efforts even amidst the higher echelons of the ruling party’s legal and judicial spheres. The campaign, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2018 with the slogan "Saohei chu'e," meaning "sweep away black and eliminate evil", has targeted a staggering number of purportedly corrupt state actors over the course of the past three years.

China's legislature has hailed the campaign as a huge success – having exposed almost 40,000 alleged criminal cells and corrupt companies, and more than 50,000 Communist Party and government officials having been punished for allegedly abetting them, according to official statistics. And Beijing is showing no signs of slowing down its pursuit of individuals they perceive to have fallen foul of the system – even at the top.

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In what is being perceived as the latest show of China's iron fist against corruption in the political and legal system, over the weekend it was announced that Fu Zhenghua, the deputy director of the social and legal affairs committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) - China's top political advisory body - is under disciplinary and supervisory investigation for suspected violations of CCP protocol.

Before taking up his post at the CPPCC, Mr. Fu had served as justice minister and deputy police chief for the Beijing municipal police department, where he was praised by the CCP hierarchy for cracking down on the city's sex industry, earning himself a promotion to executive vice minister for public security.

He was also known for cracking down on prominent and successful families. In 2014, Mr. Fu a conducted what many critics perceived to be politically motivated prosecution against Guo Wengui AKA Miles Kwok, a high profile CCP dissident now living in exile in the United States. Mr. Kwok subsequently revealed that Mr. Fu had ordered an investigation into the family finances of Wang Qishan, the country’s current Vice President, causing rumours to swirl about Mr. Fu’s political future.

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The allegations against him failed to stick however – with Mr. Fu going on to be promoted to the position of Minister of Justice – but his path up the CCP power ranks now appears to have run out of road. He is not the only high ranking official to feel the wrath of Beijing recently. News of the investigation came just days after the CCP announced it was expelling former vice minister of public security Sun Lijun, having accusing him of "forming cliques and cabals to take over a key department," and of keeping a private collection of confidential documents.

Regarding Mr. Fu, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) - the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog - announced simply that he is under investigation for "serious violations of party discipline and law." The one-sentence statement did not offer any further details into the indictment.

According to CNN, the announcement was welcomed by a wide range of figures online, from rank-and-file police officers and prison guards to investigative journalists, human rights lawyers and intellectuals. No doubt outspoken CCP critics such as Mr. Kwok will also have felt vindicated by the development, to say the least.

In recent months President Xi has stepped up his party’s clamp down on rising political stars and overly powerful officials. However what is unusual about the fate of Mr. Fu's is how loudly and widely – in other words, unanimously – it is being celebrated, both by people working for the regime, and by those who have been subject to its repression.

Following news of his downfall, several veteran investigative journalists said on social media they had been targeted by Mr. Fu for their hard-hitting reports, on topics ranging from illegal detention of petitioners to local government corruption.

"The targets of Fu Zhenghua's crackdown are people at the core of China's civil society. Therefore, the country's whole intellectual sector and the wider public are all thrilled by (his fall from grace)," said Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing. "His rise to power represented the aggressive iron-fist approach that has shaped China's governance over the past decade."

Mr. Fu's aggressive approach was also applied to police officers and prison guards, many of whom have been celebrating his downfall on social media. Comments make reference to Mr. Fu’s imposition of draconian working conditions for entry-level officers, such as not allowing prison guards to take breaks during night shifts.

Some analysts have suggested that this series of recent purges demonstrate declining trust from the Chinese leadership in the country's domestic security agencies. In the words of Wu Qiang, “It is very difficult for Beijing to have political trust. This is the biggest crisis in its governance". For critics such as Miles Kwok, it is also a sign of that the fractures within the centre of the ruling party are beginning to widen. Whether it is chasm that can be bridged is anyone’s guess.

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