It is claimed that U.S. antitrust enforcers are crafting a complaint against Google (and its parent company, Alphabet). This week, the Justice Department and a broad group of state attorneys general are meeting and could file suit very soon. While it would allegedly concentrate on the dominance of Google in online advertisement and search, the lawsuit may cover many other aspects of the actions of Google, including its dominance in mobile operating systems and web browsers. After the DOJ's 1998 suit against Microsoft, this suit has the potential to be the most important antitrust case against a technology firm in over 20 years.
In other words, almost all Internet users have a stake in the results of this case, all users of Google Apps, and anyone who watches Google-brokered ads. That's why it has to be performed correctly. It should cover more than just advertisement markets and also concentrate on the consumer strength of Google's search, browser, and smartphone OS. And the antitrust authorities should seek intelligent solutions that go beyond money harm, including breakups and interoperability with competing goods, all while being vigilant in protecting the interests of free expression and privacy of consumers that will eventually be caught up in the mix. Like many, we worry that it might not go well if everything is hurried, so we advise the enforcers to take the time they need to do it right while understanding that there is continual harm.
The Significance of a “Big Case” Antitrust
U.S. government antitrust cases have an important place in the history of innovation, and there is a fair argument to be made that they provided breathing space for innovation even though they did not conclude with a court order to break up a company. The DOJ's case against IBM started in 1969, went to trial in 1975, and was withdrawn in 1982, for "monopolizing or threatening to monopolize the general-purpose market for electronic digital computer systems." While the case did not end with a court-ordered remedy, as it had squashed other rivals for decades, a decade-plus of a public investigation into IBM's business practices arguably stopped the company from squashing nascent rivals like Microsoft. That outcome probably helped start the 1980s personal computer revolution, fuelled by various companies' ideas beyond "Big Blue."
The government's suit against AT&T, which had for much of the twentieth century maintained a legally recognized monopoly on telephone service in the U.S., almost ended the same way as the IBM suit. US v. AT&T was filed in 1974 and by 1982 it had not reached a verdict. "But years of scrutiny, coupled with the emergence of potential rivals who were itching to enter telecommunications service and related markets, led the leadership of AT&T to consent to a split, allowing the" Baby Bells "and technology-focused spinoffs to innovate in data communications and Internet growth in ways that" Ma Bell "could not. With a monolithic AT&T still controlling who could link to telephone networks and what devices they could use, it is difficult to foresee the Internet entering mainstream use in the 1990s. Even though the AT&T heirs finally re-assembled themselves, we still have the creativity unleashed by the split.
Also, a boon to creativity was the 1998 lawsuit against Microsoft over its exclusion of rival Web browser applications from PCs. At the time, Microsoft's AT&T-style merger, perhaps breaking its operating system and software application divisions into different businesses, was a distinct possibility. The trial court actually ordered exactly that. D.C. On appeal, Instead, Circuit opposed a split and directed Microsoft to comply with existing restrictions on its conduct against rival software vendors and PC producers. Again, this appeared to be anything less than a shining accomplishment. But Microsoft shelved plans to smash a little-known search firm called Google in the face of ongoing surveillance of its actions against competitors.
Google grew into so many Internet-related markets two decades later that its place in many of them remains unassailable. Google has been able to buy out or push out almost any company that dares to compete in a number of markets with it. Once again, the engine of disruptive innovation has broken down, and a brave, thoughtful federal and state enforcers' antitrust challenge could be just the thing to help restart it.
Look at the entire Alphabet, not just advertisements
Look at the whole alphabet, not just ads. News reports indicate that Google's litigation will concentrate on the domination of web advertising by the corporation, which is alleged to depress publishers' ad revenues. The suit may also discuss the behavior of Google against rivals in search markets, such as travel and search for goods. In order to see how it contributed to the acquisition of monopoly control in different markets, it should also look at Google's history of mergers and acquisitions, such as the 2007 purchase of advertising company DoubleClick.
Antitrust enforcers will go high on the reach of the complaint. Consumers will not benefit much from a suit that questions Google's actions in the advertisement markets alone. Although the vast collection of Google data on the browsing habits and preferences of users, extracted from its ad networks, causes great harm to customers, it is not yet clear if hundreds of smaller rivals in the ad-tech market, some of which are extremely shady, would be better user privacy stewards. The response here includes both antitrust and much-needed new regulations on privacy. That's going to assist customers around the board.
Google's leveraging of its current market dominance in search, Web browsing (Chrome), and mobile operating systems (Android) should also be questioned by the DOJ and states to keep out competition. The lawsuit should also question whether the collection and control of user data by Google through so many applications and computers, plus data from millions of websites linked to Google's advertisement networks, gives it an advantage that causes anti-trust scrutiny in other markets. These are, in part, novel and challenging antitrust law arguments. Yet enforcers are expected to target hard. Success in keeping Google responsible for its use of monopoly power can help the courts and probably Congress adjust antitrust law for the digital era, even if it does not succeed entirely. It can also help create a bulwark against the Internet's further centralization. And as history indicates, even a suit that eventually does not lead to a split will help make room for creativity outside the walls of today's tech giant from different outlets.
Have a large remedies toolbox: interoperability, innovation follow-on, laws of conduct, and breakups
By now, it is clear that antitrust law enforcers ought to seek solutions beyond money damages. Without altering their actions drastically, Google and Alphabet are big enough to treat almost every fine as a cost of doing business. As part of the litigation, a court-ordered breakup of Alphabet could also be seriously considered, perhaps an order to separate parts of Google's advertising company or to unravel Google's most controversial acquisitions.
In the government's quiver of solutions, however, breakups should not be the only bolt. Asking Google to allow its rivals to create interoperable goods would strike at the root of Google's monopoly issue and could be an easier lift. As we've seen across several examples, building products that can link to current, dominant products, without permission from the incumbent vendor, can be a powerful antimonopoly tool. It can help bring users back into power.
That may mean ordering Google not to interfere with products that block Google-distributed advertising and monitoring in Google's case. Allowing ad- and tracker-blocking technology to thrive will allow consumers to shape the ad-tech industry by supporting businesses that obtain less user information and are more accountable for the information they have. It could also promote innovation in that market (note: one of those innovations is the Privacy Badger of the EFF, but this could benefit several services). Google will have to fight for users' views and clicks in that case by protecting their privacy.
Interoperability requirements implemented as an antitrust remedy or as part of a settlement mitigate many of the concerns that come with more generalized mandates for technology because orders can be crafted to accommodate the technologies and procedures of a particular organization. To ensure enforcement, it may require constant monitoring and help prevent security concerns or other problems that may occur from a one-size-fits-all approach.
A perfect chance to start solving the issues of the monopoly control of Big Tech is the pending litigation against Google. If enforcers act boldly, they will set new precedents for antitrust that will stimulate competition across high-tech markets. As a spur to progress and a monopoly solution, they should also use this opportunity to advance interoperability.
Who are Google's Lawyers?
Google has had a handful of familiar outside lawyers since the companies have dealt with several antitrust court appearances over the past few years.
In a pending private antitrust lawsuit accusing the search giant of monopolizing the online search advertising market, Google has turned to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. When the department questioned the company's search activities, Wilson Sonsini also helped Google fight off the FTC back in 2011. Without penalizing Google, the FTC closed the case in 2013.
Google is also a client of Paul Weiss, who, during the DOJ's antitrust trial, represented Microsoft for Bill Gates' empire.
For most foreign investigations, including the EU's nearly $ 3 billion antitrust fine accusing the corporation of rigging its search results to benefit its own goods, Google has relied on Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. In his almost 13-year antitrust case brought by the DOJ, Cleary also represented IBM Corp. In 1982, the government finally dismissed the lawsuit.
My 20-year-old son attends Villanova University. It is a fine school, but this year it costs $70,000 a year for room, board and tuition—for online classes. This fall most colleges are charging full tuition to families like mine to have kids on campus without real classrooms. This is like going to a restaurant and never getting served, but still getting handed the bill.
My son decided to take a pass, and a full-time job instead. He’ll learn some valuable life skills from that experience, and he’ll likely go back when classes are back open. But millions of young people are back on campus this fall. In many college towns, crowded dorms, fraternities, sororities, and bars are open.
According to one report, college students represent 19 of the 25 hottest coronavirus outbreaks in the country with some 40,000 positive cases recorded in September, so administrators are suspending or even expelling students for irresponsible behaviors like going to crowded parties. But what did college presidents expect when they invited students back?
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey next week to testify on allegations the company is stifling conservative viewpoints. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the fight. He says Twitter blocked him from sharing a New York Post article about Hunter Biden.
The article alleged Hunter Biden introduced his dad, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden, to Ukrainian officials. But Cruz says no one could share it on social media. “Suddenly Jack Dorsey and a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires are deciding that no criticism, no allegations, no evidence of corruption concerning Joe Biden are permissible,” Cruz said. “That is blatant election interference.”
“Facebook and Twitter have policies to not spread things that are utterly unreliable,” Coons said.
Jack Dorsey CEO announced Twitter changed its policy Friday morning said in a tweet, “Straight blocking of URLs was wrong.” This was likely pressure for lawsuits threatened.
White House Chief Of Staff Warns Of Potential Lawsuit Against Tech Giants. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday suggested that the Trump administration would bring a lawsuit against the social media companies that have recently restricted and blocked news reports about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday suggested that the Trump administration would bring a lawsuit against the social media companies that have recently restricted and blocked news reports about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Meadows said that the online platforms try to censor conservatives and suggested that if the story about Joe and Hunter Biden was about President Donald Trump and his family, tech companies would have not blocked the story.
The Chief of Staff’s comments come in the wake of a report by the New York Post alleging to have obtained emails from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden. Many Democrats have claimed the story is an effort to discredit Joe Biden and an attempt by Russia to help elect Trump. So far, neither of the Bidens have denied the authenticity of the emails.
The threat of a lawsuit was also prompted by the actions Twitter took to lock Trump’s reelection campaign account last Thursday for trying to share the New York Post story.
Meadows said he has not received any intelligence suggesting that the Russians were involved in the emails being extracted from Hunter Biden’s laptop as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has alleged.
NEW — U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has formally requested @Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and @Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in a coming hearing titled "Digital Platforms and Election Interference.” pic.twitter.com/VlXBo17bX0— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) October 15, 2020
Up to now, the Democrats’ presidential nominee has gotten away with the fiction that he never talked to his son Hunter about Hunter’s suspect business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. The repeated claim was never credible, especially when it was revealed that Hunter flew on Air Force Two with his father to Beijing and came home with a $1.5 billion commitment from a Chinese bank for a new investment firm.
A must watch... pic.twitter.com/j1eWX5layf— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) October 16, 2020
Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg had enough of being dragged in front of Congress and hectored by a gang of senior citizens, and listening to the ACLU leader slam his business as a vessel for violent hate speech. Since Facebook has done a full 180 on its stance on speech, especially sensitive political speech, over the past few months. Apparently, Zuckerberg was shaken by his non-interventionist stance by declaring that during the last week of the campaign, FB would not allow new political advertising, and only yesterday by declaring that Facebook would clamp down on its site on holocaust deniers.
Salvos against QAnon and electoral disinformation have also been launched by the organization, thus taking an active approach to political advertisements and political material in general.
And as global authorities try to persuade the public that, despite the expedited approval process, a potential COVID-19 vaccine would be safe to take, Facebook has agreed to give them a hand by deleting all material that allows users to refuse to take a vaccine. In a blog post published Tuesday, it set out the latest global agenda.
Facebook would draw the line and enable users who argue against "mandatory vaccination," a valid political stance the company said was (not a claim made in "poor faith" as some on the left insist), and post as usual. They quoted an instance of a Virginia state lawmaker who posted "STOP FORCED CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS."
Although the above advertising will be permissible under the new legislation, it will forbid advertisements that directly prevent people from taking vaccines by presenting the vaccines as ineffective or dangerous.
"If a vaccine is specifically prevented by an ad that advocates for/against legislation or government policy, it will be refused," a CNBC spokesperson wrote. "That includes presenting vaccines as useless, ineffective, dangerous or unhealthy, describing vaccines for diseases as harmless, or as harmful or deadly ingredients in vaccines."
Facebook also plans to push recommendations on how and when to get the flu vaccine for all individuals.
There is no coincidence with the timing. Analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote in a recent research note that confidence in the vaccine may be a significant obstacle to its eventual eradication. "We agree that the greatest obstacle will be to persuade the broad population to take the vaccine to effectively minimize the burden of disease and virus circulation to very low levels. Our basic case assumes such large acceptance, but this will probably entail a safe and very efficient vaccine, faith in the mechanism of approval and rollout, no out-of-pocket costs, and efficient public and community campaigns."
And news about JNJ 's recent halt was definitely not encouraging, especially because the public was still not aware of what was going on in the US with the halted AstraZeneca-Oxford trials.
As we have noted, the decision of Facebook comes as Bill Gates challenges Trump's FDA's authority, and Kamala Harris tells the American people that she "will not take" a vaccine approved by Trump.
Throughout Africa, a host of other terribly paralyzing and debilitating diseases have been reported in vaccines developed by Gates but never tested on humans until used in Africa.
This is India's medical study addressing the paralysis arising from the vaccinations of Gates, affecting 450,000 children and babies for life. This is why Gates was sued for his Crimes Against Humanity by India. The last page summarizes the damage sustained by 1/2 million young Indians. The remainder of the study is a very technical, accurate, and horrible medical report.
Because of his Crimes Against Humanity carried out with his vaccines around the world, India, Russia and China have barred Gates from entering or using his vaccines for life.
District State Public School Enrollment Last verified District reopening plan Start date
New York City NY 960,484 9/21/2020 Remote learning only 9/21/2020
Los Angeles Unified CA 495,255 8/18/2020 Remote learning only 8/18/2020
City of Chicago (SD 299) IL 359,476 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Miami-Dade FL 350,434 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Clark County NV 330,225 8/24/2020 Remote learning only 8/24/2020
Puerto Rico Department Of Education PR 307,282 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Broward FL 270,978 8/19/2020 Remote learning only 8/19/2020
Hillsborough FL 220,252 8/24/2020 Remote learning only 8/24/2020
Houston ISD TX 209,772 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Orange FL 208,203 8/10/2020 Remote learning only 8/10/2020
Palm Beach FL 192,533 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Fairfax County VA 187,797 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Hawaii Department of Education HI 181,278 8/17/2020 Hybrid/Partial 8/17/2020
Gwinnett County GA 179,758 8/12/2020 Remote learning only 8/12/2020
Montgomery County MD 162,680 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Wake County NC 161,784 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Dallas ISD TX 155,119 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC 147,638 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Prince George's County Public Schools MD 132,657 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Philadelphia City PA 132,520 9/2/2020 Remote learning only 9/2/2020
Duval FL 130,229 8/20/2020 Hybrid/Partial 8/20/2020
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD TX 116,512 9/8/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 9/8/2020
Baltimore County Public Schools MD 113,814 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Shelby County TN 112,125 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Cobb County GA 111,854 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Northside ISD TX 106,501 8/24/2020 Remote learning only 8/24/2020
San Diego Unified CA 103,194 8/31/2020 Remote learning only 8/31/2020
Polk FL 101,408 8/24/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 8/24/2020
Pinellas FL 100,948 8/24/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 8/24/2020
DeKalb County GA 99,166 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Jefferson County KY 97,936 8/25/2020 Remote learning only 8/25/2020
Fulton County GA 94,491 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Lee FL 94,410 8/31/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 8/31/2020
Denver CO 92,039 8/24/2020 Remote learning only 8/24/2020
Prince William County VA 90,843 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Albuquerque NM 89,788 8/12/2020 Remote learning only 8/12/2020
Davidson County (Metro Nashville) TN 84,667 8/4/2020 Remote learning only 8/4/2020
Jefferson County School District NO. R-1 CO 84,646 8/24/2020 Remote learning only 8/24/2020
Fort Worth ISD TX 84,510 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Anne Arundel County Public Schools MD 83,300 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Loudoun Co Pblc Schs VA 81,906 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Alpine UT 81,715 8/18/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 8/18/2020
Austin ISD TX 80,032 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Katy ISD TX 79,913 8/19/2020 Remote learning only 8/19/2020
Baltimore City Public Schools MD 79,297 9/8/2020 Remote learning only 9/8/2020
Greenville, 01 SC 76,158 8/24/2020 Hybrid/Partial 8/24/2020
Fort Bend ISD TX 76,122 8/17/2020 Remote learning only 8/17/2020
Milwaukee WI 75,431 9/1/2020 Remote learning only 9/1/2020
Pasco County Schools FL 75,048 8/24/2020 Full in-person reopening available for all students 8/24/2020
Davis UT 74,289 8/25/2020 Hybrid/Partial 8/25/2020
- No order (Yellow) - In-person instruction decisions are currently being made on a local level, with states only providing guidelines or recommendations.
- Full closure (Dark Red) - In-person instruction is not allowed.
- Ordered open (Blue) - In-person instruction must be available to all students, either full- or part-time.
- Partial closure (Light Red) – Full-time in-person instruction is either not allowed in certain regions of the state or is only available for certain age groups. Hybrid instruction may be allowed.
State Public School Enrollment Information on state orders or recommendations
Alabama 739,716 Districts will make the decision on whether to open school buildings. The state board of education encourages that all schools provide, at a minimum, access to both traditional and remote learning throughout the 2020-21 school year.
Alaska 130,963 Each school district will decide when and if to reopen buildings. The state departments of education and health created a framework and guidance to help districts as they decide how to provide instruction.
Arizona 1,141,511 School districts, in conjunction with their local health departments, must consider benchmarks on new cases, diagnostic test percent positivity, and COVID-19 related hospitalizations to determine when in-person classes can begin again. Starting Aug. 17, districts are required to provide “free on-site learning opportunities” and support services for students who need access to a computer or a supervised place to be during the day, even if the school system has opted for full-time distance learning.
Arkansas 495,291 Education Secretary Johnny Key issued guidance Aug. 5 that requires districts to offer in-person instruction five days a week when classes resume. Districts were required to open their schools as soon as Aug. 24 and as late as Aug. 26. Decisions on whether to close a school is being made in collaboration with the Arkansas departments of health and education.
California 6,272,734 Each local district will decide when to reopen, but in order to offer any face-to-face instruction, they must abide by metrics that Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled on Aug. 28. According to the state’s new four-tiered framework, districts may allow students into school buildings only if their counties meet key local metrics on coronavirus spread for two weeks.
Colorado 911,536 Reopening plans are made locally. The reopening guidance for schools put out by the state recommends that districts have a variety of plans in place in addition to in-person classes, including teaching students in small groups and through distance learning.
Connecticut 526,634 Districts were asked to plan for all students to return to school for full-time, in-person instruction this fall as long as public health conditions support face-to-face teaching.
Delaware 138,405 On Sept. 3, Gov. John Carney formally extended Delaware’s state of emergency for another 30 days, restricting in-person gatherings. Schools have started to reopen with a mix of in-person and remote instruction, based on “minimal to moderate” viral spread among communities. The state provides free COVID-19 testing for school staff and students, but health officials said the state could not require staff to be tested before returning to school. The state also released guidance for low-, medium-, and high-risk youth sports programs, requiring both facial masks and physical distancing.
District of Columbia 93,741 The District of Columbia Public Schools will continue with distance learning for at least the first term of the 2020-21 school year, from Aug. 31 through Nov. 6, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced.
Florida 2,846,444 A state court judge on Aug. 24 issued a temporary injunction blocking a state emergency order requiring all brick-and-mortar schools to open at least five days a week by Aug. 31. However, a Florida state appeals court on Aug. 28 issued a stay of the trial court judge’s injunction, putting the state’s emergency order back in place. The appellate court is considering an expedited appeal on the merits of the dispute.
Georgia 1,767,202 Districts will decide whether to open school buildings, open them on a limited basis as part of a staggered schedule, or use an all-remote schedule. Those decisions should be informed by whether students and/or staff have been directly exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.
Hawaii 181,278 As a statewide district, Hawaii schools reopened on Aug. 17. In some areas, schools may offer a blend of in-person and remote learning, but in others, due to rising coronavirus rates, they are allowed to teach only remotely.
Idaho 310,522 Schools were expected to welcome students for in-person instruction this fall while adhering to public health guidelines and maintaining options for blended learning for students who don't return and in case of a return to full-time remote learning. On Oct. 4, a White House Coronavirus Task Force report said that school openings may be the cause of rising coronavirus cases in a number of Idaho counties and recommended that schools in these counties move to a remote-only learning model. The Center for Public Integrity reported that this "appears to be the first time the task force has explicitly recommended closing schools".
Illinois 1,982,327 Districts can decide whether to open school buildings, following health and safety guidance from the state. However, the Illinois State Board of Education has "strongly encouraged" a return to full, in-person instruction in the fall, as long as the regions are in Phase 4 of reopening.
Indiana 1,055,706 Districts set their own academic calendars and can make individual decisions about when or if students return to in-person classes. State health officials have created a color-coded map that indicates the level of community spread in each county, which Health Commissioner Kristina Box has said schools should use as guidance when making decisions about in-person instruction.
Iowa 514,833 On July 17, Gov. Reynolds, overriding local decisions, ordered every student to spend at least half of their schooling inside classrooms. Districts must also provide online classes for parents who demand it. Temporary/continuous remote learning for an entire school or district can only be requested if the COVID-19 positivity rate averages 15 percent to 20 percent countywide over the past 14 days, and 10 percent absenteeism is expected for in-person instruction.
Kansas 497,733 The Kansas Board of Education voted July 22 to reject an order by Gov. Laura Kelly that would have delayed the start of school until Sept. 8. The vote put the decision on when to reopen back in the hands of local school districts.
Kentucky 677,821 Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that schools should not begin in-person classes before Sept. 28. State officials have created a color-coded framework that they recommend schools use to make decisions about in-person instruction based on community spread.
Louisiana 711,783 While school districts can choose when to reopen, the state's board of education has dictated a series of standards districts must meet before they reopen.
Maine 180,461 The state has approved all schools to offer in-person instruction this fall with required health and safety measures, but individual districts will make their own decisions.
Maryland 896,827 The state allows districts to make plans for in-person classes, as long as they follow state and federal health recommendations.
Massachusetts 962,297 Each school district and all but two charter schools have submitted their return-to-school plans to the state education department; approximately 70 percent of school systems are opting for either in-person or hybrid learning.
Michigan 1,504,194 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in-person learning can only occur in a region that's in at least phase four of her reopening plan. The state legislature passed a measure that says districts must reconfirm their plans on how to deliver instruction every 30 days. Districts that reopen for in-person instruction must prioritize K-5 students.
Minnesota 889,304 Districts can determine whether to start the school year remotely, fully in-person, or in a hybrid model based on the number of new coronavirus cases in their county. The state developed suggested thresholds for when school buildings can reopen, and districts can adjust their learning models throughout the school year if needed.
Mississippi 471,298 Districts may choose to open school buildings, but they must modify schedules, restrict gatherings, and observe social distancing in accordance with state and federal recommendations.
Missouri 913,441 Districts were required to open by Aug. 24 but could receive a waiver from the state's department of education to open later.
Montana 148,844 The state department of education issued July guidance on four possible reopening scenarios, including for "near full capacity of attendance and operations in a traditional setting, with remote learning for students not onsite." Under this scenario, there is no limit on group sizes in schools, but social distancing should be observed, and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 should still take place, the guidance says.
Nebraska 326,392 Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has given districts discretion to set their own reopening plans using guidance from the state’s education department. That guidance advises remote or hybrid learning plans in communities with the significant or moderate spread.
Nevada 498,614 Guidance from the Nevada education department says school districts and charters must develop distance learning plans "even if a district/school has sufficient space to open for full-time in-person instruction" under the second phase of the state's reopening guidelines. However, schools must also develop plans that cover in-person learning, under a directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak.
New Hampshire 178,515 Local districts will decide whether they open for full-time, in-person teaching, continue with remote instruction, or employ a combination of the two as part of hybrid models.
New Jersey 1,400,069 Districts develop their own reopening plans that must meet core health and safety standards in the state’s school-reopening guidance. While state guidance released June 26 prioritized a return to in-person classes, on Aug. 12, Gov. Phil Murphy announced an executive order that schools could open as remote-only if they cannot meet health and safety standards for live instruction. However, districts must lay out how they intend to address the health and safety challenges to move to in-person instruction.
New Mexico 333,537 School buildings serving grades K-5 and K-6 can open under a hybrid schedule so long as they are in counties that have demonstrated low enough rates of COVID-19 spread and the New Mexico Public Education Department has approved the school's reopening plans.
New York 2,700,833 School districts across the state can reopen in-person in the fall, though that may be revised on a regional basis if COVID-19 infection rates increase. School systems will have to follow state guidelines, but the specifics of the plans--including whether teaching will be delivered in-person or via a hybrid model-- will be up to the districts.
North Carolina 1,552,497 Starting Oct. 5, districts will be able to open their elementary schools to full-time instruction if they choose Gov. Roy Cooper announced Sept. 17. The districts that do so must still require mask-wearing, symptom screening, and social distancing, but elementary schools will not be required to reduce the number of children in classrooms. For now, middle and high schools must still operate on either a hybrid or fully-remote schedule, and districts must still offer a fully-remote option for elementary families who want it.
North Dakota 113,845 Gov. Doug Burgum said July 14 that school districts could reopen for in-person instruction in consultation with local health officials.
Ohio 1,695,762 Districts will decide whether to open school buildings, but the state department of education has said that they should only do so if they can follow the state's health and safety guidance. All students attending school in person will be required to wear masks, with some medical exemptions.
Oklahoma 698,891 The state has advised districts in its reopening guidance to prepare alternate school calendars for potential school closures. Individual school districts will determine when to start school this fall.
Oregon 609,507 The state department of education outlines state and county COVID-19 metrics that determine whether districts can open buildings part-time, full-time, or not at all. Schools in areas that have seen three weeks of positivity rates and COVID-19 caseloads below public health benchmarks can begin reopening for in-person instruction. Schools in areas that don't meet those benchmarks are barred from reopening buildings unless they receive allowances from the state. As of Sept. 10, 17 of the state's 36 districts are permitted to at least partially reopen school buildings.
Pennsylvania 1,730,757 State guidance allows school districts to decide whether they will use in-person or remote instruction or a mix of both.
Puerto Rico 307,282 On Sept. 14, a new executive order from Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced required public school educators to continue with distance learning until further notice, according to an advisory from Secretary of Education Eligio Hernández Pérez.
Rhode Island 143,436 Most schools have resumed classes. Districts that began the school year with hybrid or remote learning plans have until Oct. 13 to resume full in-person instruction.
South Carolina 780,882 State Superintendent Molly Spearman sent a letter to the district leaders Sept. 16 urging them to prioritize a return to traditional face-to-face education "for students who need it the most," including elementary students, students with disabilities, English-language learners, and children with poor Internet service. Reported high rates of COVID-19 spread in some counties should not be used to make all operational decisions, Spearman said. At the time of her letter, most school districts in the state were engaged in hybrid or fully-remote learning.
South Dakota 138,975 South Dakota's state education department issued guidance that gives discretion to local districts to set restart plans in consultation with local health officials. It recommends flexible plans that prioritize face-to-face instruction.
Tennessee 1,007,624 Districts will decide whether to open school buildings. The state department of education's guidance also provides a framework that districts can use to assess risk and decide when it would be safe to reopen.
Texas 5,433,471 Texas requires school districts to provide daily, on-campus learning for any family who wants it in order to not lose state funding due to declines in enrollment.
Utah 677,031 The Utah state board of education released a set of minimum requirements for local school districts to meet before reopening schools for in-person instruction. Districts created plans for resuming in-person learning that addresses schedules, hygiene, and safety, monitoring schools, "containing potential outbreaks" and (if necessary) temporarily closing schools again, among other areas.
Vermont 87,359 Schools reopened across the state on Sept. 8, with districts offering in-person, hybrid, and all-remote options for students. The state’s education agency and the health department had recommended full-time in-person learning “as soon as practical,” especially for students in Pre-K through Grade 5. However, local districts currently make the decision on how to reopen.
Virginia 1,289,367 Schools across the state are open in various forms, depending on public health conditions. As of Sept. 22, 68 of the state’s 132 school districts are operating in fully remote learning mode.
Washington 1,123,736 State officials announced Aug. 6 that they recommend schools in areas with high rates of new COVID-19 cases reopen with full-time distance learning for nearly all students. Schools in areas with moderate rates of virus transmission should consider opening buildings only for elementary students, officials said, and districts in areas with low transmission should begin hybrid instruction for middle and high school students. The state's education department earlier this summer urged all schools to reopen for some in-person learning, but the persistence of new COVID-19 cases forced a more cautious set of recommendations for local decisions, Gov. Jay Inslee said.
West Virginia 267,976 Each Saturday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources evaluates COVID-19 transmission rates to determine the instructional options allowed in each county. Currently, some regions of the state are not allowed to open for in-person instruction.
Wisconsin 859,333 Districts decided whether to offer full in-person instruction, stick to remote learning, or go with a hybrid model. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has provided guidance as districts develop their plans based on infection rates in their area.
Wyoming 94,313 The state's department of education asked each district to send a detailed plan on how they will reopen their schools.
Orange County, Fla., has 8,000 missing students. The Miami-Dade County public schools have 16,000 fewer than last year. Los Angeles Unified — the nation's second-largest school system — is down nearly 11,000. Charlotte-Mecklenburg in North Carolina has 5,000 missing. Utah, Virginia and Washington are reporting declines statewide.
Comprehensive national information is not yet available, but research by NPR and our affiliate stations, along with country-wide media coverage, indicates decreases in enrollment in hundreds of school districts across 20 states. The decline is a departure from recent patterns in each of these districts: big and small, rich and poor, urban and rural. Data from the U.S. over the past 15 years. The Department of Education reveals that the rule has been small and consistent annual rises in public school enrollment.
These fall enrollment declines come six months after schools across the nation shut their doors in the midst of coronavirus lockdowns, as schools have been scrambling to expand remote learning offers and implement safety measures to allow buildings to open for in-person classes, often only a few days a week. The start of the year has been marked in many parts of the world by numerous changes in plans, widespread uncertainty between teachers and families, deep security issues, and concerns about unequal access to technology.
The enrollment declines are particularly evident in kindergarten and pre-K in many countries. We reached out to more than 100 districts for our coverage and heard back from more than 60. The average decrease in kindergarten enrollment in our sample was 16 percent.
And school districts stand to lose money as well.
Public schools are generally funded by states on a per-pupil basis. The first week of October marks the first of two "count days" in many states — a day in the fall, right at the start of the new fiscal year, where school districts must submit an official enrollment count to determine their funding for the subsequent year.
A study conducted in the United States in July found that when they compared 154 “case-patients,” who tested positive for COVID-19, to a control group of 160 participants from the same health care facility who were symptomatic but tested negative, over 70 percent of the case-patients were contaminated with the virus and fell ill despite “always” wearing a mask.
“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public,” the report stated.
In addition, over 14 percent of the case-patients said they “often” wore a face covering and were still infected with the virus. The study also demonstrates that under 4 percent of the case-patients became sick with the virus even though they “never” wore a mask or face covering.
Despite over 70 percent of the case-patient participants’ efforts to follow CDC recommendations by committing to always wearing face coverings at “gatherings with ≤10 or >10 persons in a home; shopping; dining at a restaurant; going to an office setting, salon, gym, bar/coffee shop, or church/religious gathering; or using public transportation,” they still contracted the virus.
While the study notes that some of these people may have contracted the virus from the few moments that they removed their mask to eat or drink at “places that offer on-site eating or drinking,” the CDC concedes that there is no successful way to evaluate if that was the exact moment someone became exposed and contracted the virus.
“Characterization of community exposures can be difficult to assess when the widespread transmission is occurring, especially from asymptomatic persons within inherently interconnected communities,” the report states.
In fact, the report suggests that “direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance.”
Despite this new scientific information, the CDC, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, and many political authorities are still encouraging people to wear masks. Many states and cities have even mandated masks, citing them as one of the main tools to “slow the spread” of coronavirus and keep case numbers in their area down.
Data show that compulsory lockdowns have had a high cost, with a questionable impact on transmission.
In 1932, Justice Louis Brandeis of the Supreme Court famously referred to the states as "democracy laboratories." Different states can test different policies and can learn from each other. In 2020, that proved valid. Governors in various states react to the COVID-19 pandemic at different times and in different ways. Sweeping shutdowns were ordered by some states, such as California. A more targeted approach was taken by others, such as Florida. Others, such as South Dakota, transmitted data but had no lockdowns at all.
A world-renowned Harvard nanoscientist under federal indictment for allegedly failing to disclose financial ties to the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents Program and for cheating on his federal taxes now wants the university to pay his legal bills.
In a lawsuit and affidavit filed in Middlesex Superior Court, Charles M. Lieber, former chair of Harvard’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, said the university is obligated under its contract with its professors to indemnify him in advance for legal bills linked to his university work.
According to federal investigators, a professor at a Chinese university approached Lieber in 2011, leading Lieber to travel to China’s Wuhan University of Technology where he signed an agreement paying him $50,000 a month and $158,000 in living expenses. He also allegedly received $1.5 million to set up a research lab at the Chinese university.
Lieber allegedly failed to disclose the information to both Harvard and the federal government and also allegedly failed to comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations on overseas payments. Lieber has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on a $1 million bond.
Why is This Important?
Lieber, who is known for engineering new nanomaterials and developing their applications in medicine and biology, was arrested on 28 January. The research lab the good professor had helped set up? It’s located at the Wuhan University of Technology. Wuhan China is ground zero to the potential global pandemic known as the “Coronavirus” which is both spreading rapidly and killing people.
Was Charles Lieber Arrested for Selling the COVID-19 Coronavirus to China?
Lieber faces charges of trading knowledge for money and lying about it. Prosecutors allege he set up a lab in China in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the Chinese government and then denied knowledge of those payments to U.S. investigators.
The criminal complaint against Lieber alleges that he lied to both the government and Harvard about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan. According to the complaint, Lieber was involved with the program from at least 2012 to 2017. His contract called for a salary as high as $50,000 a month, along with about $150,000 per year for living expenses and $1.5 million to establish a lab at the Wuhan University of Technology.
What is Nanoscience related to Coronaviruses?
The world-altering coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic is thought to be just 60 nanometres to 120 nanometres in size. This is so mind-bogglingly small that you could fit more than 400 of these virus particles into the width of a single hair on your head. In fact, coronaviruses are so small that we can’t see them with normal microscopes and require much fancier electron microscopes to study them. How can we battle a foe so minuscule that we cannot see it?
Nanotechnology also has an impressive record against viruses and has been used since the late 1880s to separate and identify them. More recently, nanomedicine has been used to develop treatments for flu, Zika, and HIV. And now it’s joining the fight against the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.
Why Is the Media Trying to Spin the Story to be about Illegal Financial Arrangements and Not About Illegal Viral Science?
Despite massive fake news efforts to debunk this COVID-19 wasn't created in a lab. There are lots of articles describing the scenario of this Coronavirus being manmade. This news media wants to spin this as some financial arrangement fraud and nothing to do with science. I am not buying it because it implicates a top University and the United States and contributing trade secretes to China that ultimately might have released the virus in Wuhan by accident or on purpose. We may never know the real facts!
DeSantis Drops Statewide COVID Bans, Allows full capacity football. At the moment, SEC football is played in reduced-capacity stadiums. However, one program now has the green light from the state to modify it.
I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been linked to mental health issues related to disease-induced morbidity and mortality and prevention practices, including the effect of physical distance and stay-at-home orders. Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased dramatically in the United States. 40.9 percent of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9 percent), symptoms of a pandemic-related trauma and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) (26.3 percent), and have begun or increased opioid and alchohol use to deal with COVID-19-related stress or emotions (13.33 percent). Read more about the mental health report here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are really drinking more. New research shows that during pandemic shutdowns, alcohol consumption in the United States rose 14 percent.
In women, described as four or more drinks within two hours, the most drastic rise was in heavy drinking episodes. In the spring of 2020, women recorded a 41% rise in episodes of heavy drinking relative to their drinking level in the spring of 2019.
"We've had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic," Michael Pollard, lead author of the study and a sociologist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, said in a statement. Pollard and his colleagues reported their findings Sept. 29 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The data came from a nationally representative sample of 1,540 Americans who were queried about their drinking habits between May and June in the long-running RAND American Life Sample. The answers were then compared to survey data obtained at the same time last year from the same individuals.
The comparison showed that the level of alcohol consumption rose from 5.48 drinking days per month on average in 2019 to 6.22 drinking days per month on average in 2020. For women, whose number of days of alcohol consumption increased 17 percent, from 4.58 days, on average, to 5.36 days, the increase was highest. Overall, about 3 out of 4 Americans each month increased their days of drinking by one day.
The comparison shows that the level of alcohol consumption rose from an average of 5.48 per month drinking days in 2019 to an average of 6.22 per month drinking days in 2020. For women, whose number of days of alcohol consumption increased 17 percent, from 4.58 days on average to 5.36 days, the rise was highest. Overall, about 3 out of 4 Americans increased their days of drinking per month by one day.
"In addition to a range of negative physical health associations, excessive alcohol use may lead to or worsen existing mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, which may themselves be increasing during COVID-19," the authors noted.
Everyone I know who has contracted the COVID-19 Coronavirus has had the flu shot. Trump makes the 6th person that I know who has had the flu shot an also got COVID. There have been lots of unpopular articles written about the flu shot and it has not been covered in the mainstream media and a few scientists have spoken out. Could elements of the flu shot be causing people to test positive? The mainstream media and social media will call this a conspiracy theory because it is largely an unpopular view.
Trump was skeptical of his flu shot and felt obligated to get one earlier this year. Dr. Fauci of the CDC has been promoting the safety and benefits of the flu shot despite a 10-40% annual effectiveness rate. Big pharma is the largest TV advertiser and is doing a great job of spreading fear and conditioning the American public that they must medicate everything.
President Donald Trump cast doubt on the effectiveness of influenza vaccinations, claiming that since he was needed to be president, he never had the seasonal flu and just got a flu shot. "I'm not sure if I should have. Oh, who knows?
During an interview with the Washington Examiner on May 14, Trump's comment on flu shots came up.
Trump, May 14: I never lost anybody to the flu. Look, I’ve had people having the flu. I said, “Hey, how are you doing with the flu?” They had the flu. I never had the flu. You know, the first thing they did, they want to give me a flu shot. I never had the flu. And I come to the White House, “Sir, we have to give you a flu shot.” I said, “Why?” And I took it. I don’t know if I should have. Who knows? Three times now. I’ve taken three flu shots, but anyway. …
“All my life I see — I was lucky; I never had the flu,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall on May 3. “Then I came here; they want to give a flu shot. And I said, ‘I don’t want a flu shot,’ but they have to give it.”
Back in 2015 before President Donald Trump had announced his intentions to run for the highest elected office in the country, he announced an intention of a different sort.
On Sirius XM’s “Opie and Anthony” show, he stated that he would not be getting a flu vaccination that year, using some fairly strong verbiage in the process.
Here is, in part, what Trump said in response to a query about whether or not he would be getting a flu shot himself in 2015:
“I’ve never had one… I don’t like the idea of injecting bad stuff into [my] body. I have friends that religiously get the flu shot and then they get the flu… I’ve seen a lot of reports that the last flu shot is virtually totally ineffective.” He went on to add, “I’ve passed on it, but that doesn’t mean [other] people should.”
At the time, Donald Trump’s opinion on flu vaccinations was seen as nothing more than the opinion of a celebrity. Now that he is President of the United States, however, his opinion carries more weight and it is this fact that has raised concerns across the country.
Thanks in large part to conflicting information—online and elsewhere—on the flu vaccine, each year there is a fairly significant portion of the population that chooses not to receive the influenza vaccine, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that almost all individuals over the age of 6 months receive the shot each year.
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