Orange County Beach Cities File Restraining Orders on California Governor Gavin Newsom's Beach Closure Orders


Huntington Beach and Dana Point city councils voted Thursday to challenge Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders to temporarily close all Orange County beaches beginning Friday
Huntington Beach city council plans to file an injunction challenging the constitutionality of the governor’s order to close the beaches. Dana Point City Council also joined in voting to seek a temporary restraining order to stop the state. 

In a statement on Thursday, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said his intention “is to not take enforcement action on this order.

County Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Supervisor Don Wagner and State Senator John Moorlach strongly condemning his “hard close.”

Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda also called on Newsom to rethink the move.

According to the City Attorney, there is no foreseeable end date for the closures.

Hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Orange County beaches to close, the Huntington Beach City Council voted Thursday evening to challenge the State order.
After meeting in closed session to discuss the measure, the council voted 5-2 to “take any legal action to challenge the governor’s executive order,” City Attorney Michael Gates said. The two dissenting votes came from council members Barbara Delgleize and Kim Carr.
Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta said the city hopes to get an injunction soon, but it will close its beaches in the meantime.

“We’re very concerned about if we happen to be the only Orange County beach open at that point,” she said. “That would be very difficult on our marine safety officers.”
Huntington Beach leaders aren’t the only ones in Orange County at odds with the governor’s decision.
The Newport Beach City Council — which voted Tuesday to keep its beaches open — plans to meet this weekend to discuss a similar challenge to the directive.
Newsom’s order also met sharp criticism from county supervisors, with one calling the move an “abuse of power.”
The comments came during a news briefing on the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was held just hours after Newsom announced the temporary closure of all local and states beaches in O.C.
Earlier in the week, the governor had criticized beachgoers who crowded O.C. shores amid a heatwave over the weekend, defying the state’s stay-at-home order meant to curb spread of the novel coronavirus.
O.C. Supervisor Michelle Steel called the governor’s actions “arbitrary” and said it was an act of retribution against the county.
“We should be rewarding our communities for practicing safe social distancing, not punishing them by closing down only Orange County beaches and this is not acceptable,” she said. “I will be looking into the right response to the governor’s overreaction and abuse of power.”
Semeta shared a similar sentiment, saying she was shocked Newsom issued the directive without warning — especially because she felt the city “did a really good job, in terms of all the measures we put in place to try to make social distancing happen.”
Steel praised local police departments for ensuring that social distancing was being followed at the beaches.
“The major point of contention that has lead to this situation are a few misleading pictures… taken at the particular angle which made it look as if beachgoers were crowding,” Steel said.
Supervisor Don Wagner echoed Steel’s statement, saying that the “telephoto lens distorted what was going on on the beach.”
“It is clear to us that the governor… is basing the decision to single out Orange County on a couple of press photos,” Supervisor Don Wagner said.
After a media question that mentioned there were also videos of the crowded beaches, Wagner rolled back, saying, “We are not saying there is 100% compliance…” The few violations don’t mean that all beaches have to be shut down, he added.
When asked whether the county would try to sue Newsom or the state, Wagner said, “I don’t foresee legal action but ultimately we are going to be guided by counsel … We want to work with the governor.”
O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes said while he hasn’t seen the actual order, he doesn’t plan to take enforcement action.
“My intent … is to seek voluntary compliance,” Barnes said. “I have no desire to enforce … through arrest.”
The governor’s office issued a letter to the O.C. Board of Supervisors hours later, saying the closures would go into effect Friday.
“Our State Department of Parks and Recreation is shifting to full closure of all Orange County State Beaches on a temporary basis,” the letter states. “Additionally, beaches operated by local governments in Orange County are directed to institute full closure.”

Open letter to Gavin Newsom's failured Covid-19 response


5 days later Gavin Newsom says we "Based on data, its' safe to begin opening California again."





New Study: Children Don’t Pass the Coronavirus on to Adults

According to a new study children don’t pass the Coronavirus on to adults. If true, given the fact that the mortality rate for kids from this virus is near zero.
Among the study's findings are: 
  • A China/World Health Organization joint commission couldn’t find a single case of a child passing the virus to an adult. 
  • Low case rates among children may be due more to higher numbers remaining asymptomatic, rather than a lower infection rate. 
  • Analysis of Chinese data in confirmed and suspected cases showed that 32% of affected children aged 6-10 years were asymptomatic. 
  • Precise details regarding
  • To date, only a handful of coronavirus deaths have been reported in children.
  • Very few newborns or infants contract Covid-19 and generally they do well in overcoming the virus.
The study is contained in a hard to read on mobile PDF so I added most of the text below. 

In order to help facilitate the best possible care for children with COVID-19, we sought to aggregate and rapidly review all of the original research being produced pertinent to children, making it available to everyone. Speed has been essential, and in order to keep pace with the rapid production of new evidence, we have proceeded with informal, rapid, evidence synthesis. There have been a handful of studies which were obtained and deemed not suitable for inclusion, due to poor quality or patient overlap. A list of studies not included is available. 

Our evidence summaries have undergone internal peer review, as well as being open to external review from our readers. We would like to highlight that due to the speed with which the evidence has been produced, much is of low quality. Many studies include few patients. There are 3 other significant issues:
  1. Heterogeneous denominators. There is a significant amount of heterogeneity in the way cohorts or cases have been collected, and many of these are not directly comparable.
  2. Overlap. Much of the current evidence has come from a few regions in China. We have tried to identify where cases series were at risk of including the same patients multiple times, but this remains a risk. 
  3. Non-peer reviewed evidence. Many included papers have come from pre-print servers. Whilst they appear of sufficient quality to be useful, they require caution when interpreting. 
We hope this evidence review proves useful in helping manage children with COVID-19
Contributors: The project was coordinated by Alasdair Munro. Reviews were conducted by Alasdair Munro, Alison Boast, Henry Goldstein, Dani Hall, and Grace Leo. Digital/technical support was provided by Tessa Davis.

Epidemiology

Following the initial epidemiological data released from China, it appeared children were significantly less affected by infection with SARS-CoV-2 than their adult counterparts. This was reflected both in total case numbers, but also severity, with very few cases in young children and no deaths in children under 10yrs in the initial report. This finding has been reproduced in subsequent data from other countries, most notably Italy, which showed much lower rates of infection in children and no deaths in those under 30 years of age. Low numbers of childhood cases have been seen in the rest of Europe, as well as the USA, where 1/3 of childhood cases are in late adolescence. Some concerns exist that low case rates reflect selective testing of only the most unwell, however data from South Korea and subsequently Iceland which have undertaken widespread community testing, have also demonstrated significantly lower case numbers in children. This has also been seen in the Italian town of Vo, which screening 70% of its population and found 0 children <10 years positive, despite a 2.6% positive rate in the general population.

More detailed information has emerged from China into childhood severity of COVID-19. A large number of children appear asymptomatic. Critical illness was very rare (0.6%) and concentrated in the youngest infants. It should be noted that large numbers of “suspected” cases in this group leave room for a significant number of illnesses to have been caused by other, familiar respiratory viruses. In the USA CDC data, infants appear most likely to be hospitalised, although rates of PICU admission do not appear to be significantly different as yet. To date, deaths remain extremely rare in children from COVID-19, with only a handful of reported cases.

Transmission

Precise details regarding paediatric transmission remain unclear. Low case numbers in children suggest a more limited role than was initially feared. Contact tracing data from Shenzen in China demonstrated an equivalent attack rate in children as adults, however this has been contradicted by subsequent data in Japan which showed a significantly lower attack rate in children. This, coupled with low case numbers would suggest at least that children are less likely to acquire the disease. The role of children in passing the disease to others is unknown, in particular given large numbers of asymptomatic cases. Notably, the China/WHO joint commission could not recall episodes during contact tracing where transmission occurred from a child to an adult. A recent modelling study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (pre-print, not peer reviewed) however has suggested the most plausible explanation for low case rates was that children are more likely to be asymptomatic, rather than less likely to acquire the disease. Studies of multiple family clusters have revealed children were unlikely to be the index case, in Guanzhou, China, and internationally A SARS-CoV2 positive child in a cluster in the French alps did not transmit to anyone else, despite exposure to over 100 people.

Several studies have now shown that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected by PCR in the stool of affected infants for several weeks after symptoms have resolved. This has raised the possibility of faecal-oral transmission. Research from Germany failed to find any live, culturable virus in stool despite viral RNA being detectable, suggesting this represents viral debris rather than active virus. Further studies will be needed to shed further light on this.

Clinical Features

A significant proportion of children with COVID-19 do not appear to develop any symptoms, or have subclinical symptoms. In the absence of widespread community or serological testing, it is uncertain what this proportion is. The most detailed paediatric population data from China showed 13% of confirmed cases had no symptoms (cases detected by contact tracing). Considering both confirmed and suspected cases, 32% of children aged 6-10yrs were asymptomatic.

Clinical features in symptomatic children are somewhat different to adults. Children tend to have more mild illness. The most common presenting features are cough and fever, occurring in over half of symptomatic patients. Upper respiratory tract symptoms such as rhinorrhoea and sore throat are also relatively common, occurring in 30-40% of patients. It is not uncommon for children to have diarrhoea and/or vomiting (around 10% of cases), even in some cases as their sole presenting features.

Blood tests also show slightly different features to adults. Lymphocytopaenia is relatively rare in children, with the majority having normal or sometimes raised lymphocyte counts. Inflammatory markers such as CRP and Procalcitonin are often raised but only very mildly. Slight elevations in liver transaminases appears common.

Radiographic features in children are also somewhat different to their adult counterparts. Chest X-rays are often normal, and many CT chest scans are also normal. When present abnormalities are often less severe, however a reasonable number of children have bilateral pneumonia. Changes may be found on CT even in asymptomatic children. Common features in abnormal CT scans include mild, bilateral ground glass opacities, but with less peripheral predominance than is reportedly found in adults.

There appears to be little in the way of clinical signs in children to differentiate COVID-19 from other childhood respiratory virus infections.

Read more details on the report here

Study: Outdoor Virus Transmission Rates Near 0%

How Many Colleges & Schools Will Soon Go Bankrupt?

Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ about Education (WSJ.com) Forecast declines in enrollment and revenue trigger spending cuts and salary freezes; ‘the world order has changed’.  Currently, most Universities have turned to online courses during the coronavirus pandemic.

From schools already on the brink to the loftiest institutions, the pandemic is changing higher education in America with stunning speed.

Schools sent students home when the coronavirus began to spread, and no one knows if they will be back on campus come fall. Some colleges say large lecture classes and shared living and dining spaces may not return. Athletics are suspended, and there is no sense of when, or if, packed stadiums, and their lucrative revenue streams, will return.

Every source of funding is in doubt. Schools face tuition shortfalls because of unpredictable enrollment and market-driven endowment losses. Public institutions are digesting steep budget cuts, while families are questioning whether it’s worth paying for a private school if students will have to take classes online, from home.

“The world order has changed,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management at Northeastern University, where 18% of students are international and may not be able or willing to travel to the U.S. come fall. “When we build models, we don’t have a variable called virus.”

Last year, 60% of schools missed their fall enrollment targets, according to a survey by the Council of Independent Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities and Chronicle of Higher Education. This year, about half of colleges that used the Common Application reported a drop in applications.

Back in 2018, Professor Clayton Christensen, from Harvard Business School, forecast that half of american colleges will be bankrupt by 2030. That is around 2000 colleges. Online education will become a more cost-effective way for students to receive an education, effectively undermining the business models of traditional institutions and running them out of business.  Maybe this prediction has accelerated as a result of the virus.

MacMurray College survived the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars, but not the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, the private liberal-arts school in central Illinois announced recently it will shut its doors for good in May, after 174 years.

Can We Really Develop a Safe, Effective Coronavirus Vaccine?

We don’t know for sure, but if we can, it probably won’t be easy, cheap or fast

In the event of any infectious disease outbreak, our minds turn to vaccines and they do so for good reason. They can safe in most cases, relatively expensive and have worked pretty well for diseases including smallpox, polio, yellow fever, and, most recently, Ebola.

Scientists suggest the Coronavirus has already mutated into 30+ strains.  Drug and vaccine development, while urgent, need to take the impact of these accumulating mutations into account to avoid potential pitfalls.  Researchers said the findings show the true diversity of the viral strains is still largely underappreciated.

Also, many scientists think this might make it difficult for a vaccine that’s created in a year from now.  It might not be the vaccine that’s effective because it won’t be targeting the right molecule, and it’s targeting could change a little bit.

The CDC used to cite that the flu vaccine was 70-90% effective from 2004-2016. I was quite surprised to see this chart below when I looked at the CDC web site showing 10-60% effectiveness. Clinical Infectious Disease Flu Vaccine
Real-time tracking of pathogen evolution. Nextstrain is an open-source project to harness the scientific and public health potential of pathogen genome data. We provide a continually-updated view of publicly available data alongside powerful analytic and visualization tools for use by the community. Our goal is to aid epidemiological understanding and improve outbreak response.

Will a vaccine come as easily for the novel coronavirus? The answer is maybe yes, maybe not. The “maybe yes” comes from the observation that in animal studies, coronaviruses stimulate strong immune responses, which seem capable of knocking out the virus. Recovery from COVID-19 may be in large part due to effective immune response. The “maybe not” comes from evidence just as strong, at least with earlier SARS and MERS viruses, that natural immunity to these viruses is short-lived. In fact, some animals can be reinfected with the very same strain that caused infection in the first place.

This raises more crucial questions with equally ambiguous answers. If a vaccine does prove to be effective, would it be effective for long?  How long will it take to develop a vaccine in the first place?  Will herd immunity be more effective?  Did Sweden get it right with regards to public policy?

Here is an Example of How the Flu Virus Can Change: “Drift” and “Shift” from CDC.  Influenza viruses are constantly changing. They can change in two different ways and thus why flu vaccines are not always effective.

One way influenza viruses change is called “antigenic drift.”  The small changes that occur from antigenic drift usually produce viruses that are closely related to one another, which can be illustrated by their location close together on a phylogenetic tree. Influenza viruses that are closely related to each other usually have similar antigenic properties. This means that antibodies your immune system creates against one influenza virus will likely recognize and respond to antigenically similar influenza viruses (this is called “cross-protection”).

However, the small changes associated with antigenic drift can accumulate over time and result in viruses that are antigenically different (further away on the phylogenetic tree). It is also possible for a single (or small) change in a particularly important location on the HA to result in antigenic drift. When antigenic drift occurs, the body’s immune system may not recognize and prevent sickness caused by the newer influenza viruses. As a result, a person becomes susceptible to flu infection again, as antigenic drift has changed the virus enough that a person’s existing antibodies won’t recognize and neutralize the newer influenza viruses.

Antigenic drift is the main reason why people can get the flu more than one time, and it’s also a primary reason why the flu vaccine composition must be reviewed and updated each year (as needed) to keep up with evolving influenza viruses.

The other type of change is called “antigenic shift.” Antigenic shift is an abrupt, major change in an influenza A virus, resulting in new HA and/or new HA and NA proteins in influenza viruses that infect humans. Shift can result in a new influenza A subtype in humans. One way shift can happen is when an influenza virus from an animal population gains the ability to infect humans. Such animal-origin viruses can contain an HA or HA/NA combination that is so different from the same subtype in humans that most people do not have immunity to the new (e.g., novel) virus. Such a “shift” occurred in the spring of 2009, when an H1N1 virus with genes from North American Swine, Eurasian Swine, humans and birds emerged to infect people and quickly spread, causing a pandemic. When shift happens, most people have little or no immunity against the new virus.

While influenza viruses change all the time due to antigenic drift, antigenic shift happens less frequently. Influenza pandemics occur very rarely; there have been four pandemics in the past 100 years. For more information, see pandemic flu. Type A viruses undergo both antigenic drift and shift and are the only influenza viruses known to cause pandemics, while influenza type B viruses change only by the more gradual process of antigenic drift.

The history of vaccines also shows that Government policies based around mandating vaccines are political

You might also enjoy this article: Why We Need a Placebo Covid-19 Vaccine

Why Are Banks Taking 1% to 5% in Fees to Process No Risk Loans?

Some of the public companies, listed in order of their market value, who have received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program set up to help small businesses

For every Government backed loan transaction made, banks took in 1% to 5% in fees, depending on the amount of the loan, according to government figures. Loans worth less than $350,000 brought in 5% in fees while loans worth anywhere from $2 million to $10 million brought in 1% in fees.  Are there any ethical banks that are processing loans for free and waiving fees?

For example, on April 7, RCSH Operations LLC, the parent company of Ruth's Chris Steak House, received a loan of $10 million. JPMorgan Chase & Co., acting as the lender, took a $100,000 fee on the one-time transaction for which it assumed no risk and could pass through with fewer requirements than for a regular loan.

Banks handling the government's $834 billion loan program for small businesses made more than $10 billion in fees — even as tens of thousands of small businesses were shut out of the program, according to an analysis of financial records by NPR.

Loans are then funneled up to the SBA Administration to process. The banks took in the fees while processing loans that required less vetting than regular bank loans and had little risk for the banks, the records show. Taxpayers provided the money for the loans, which were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

One law firm, the Stalwart Law Group, filed five class action lawsuits this week — four in California and one in New York — alleging that banks processed clients with larger loans first because they stood to generate more money in fees. By the time the banks tried to process loans from their smaller clients, the lawsuit alleges, the program had run dry.

Banks dispute these allegations. JPMorgan said it handled the applications fairly.  Banks stood by the fees, telling NPR that the program had “significant vetting requirements” such as “collecting, personally examining, and storing data” that’s needed for the applications.

Some banks might now be waiving fees as this bad loan fee publicity has made its way through the media.  Do a page search for "fees" on this Bankrate page for more details on what each bank is doing.   There are 5 banks listed on this page that are waiving fees.

Are Hospitals Listing Patients as COVID-19 Positive for More Money?

Recent legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment. Are hospitals getting $13,000 per patient if they write that on the diagnosis is COVID19 on the patient’s chart, and $35,000 for each patient if they are on ventilators in the ICU?  From FactCheck.org

Are hospitals classifying patients with flu and pneumonia to receive more money or do they have to validate with a positive Covid-19 test?  Some of these chart below might suggest that is what might be happening.  Here is another article suggesting this might be happening: Are U.S. Hospitals Abusing a Financial Loophole During the Pandemic? and another Are CDC Guidelines for Reporting COVID-19 Deaths Artificially Inflating Numbers?

I raised this question because the news does not seem to be writing about it and my 80 year old father was in the hospital with pneumonia at the beginning of this crisis with pneumonia and tested negative twice for Covid-19.  He was also put on a respirator for several days.  I can't imagine there is any possible way for the Government to validate patient records with Covid-19 tests.  However, I hope I am wrong.

Funeral Directors in COVID-19 Epicenter Doubt Legitimacy of Deaths Attributed to Pandemic, Fear Numbers are 'Padded'

Do hospitals have financial motives to classify more patients as positive because of COVID-19 as their trauma and other ICU needs dwindle with empty beds?  Are hospitals were being paid three times more for patients needing ventilators?  Are administrators, putting pressure on medical staff to record COVID - related deaths - so that hospitals get more money from Medicare?  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have classified COVID-19 cases with existing groups for respiratory infections and inflammations. A CMS spokesperson have said exact payments vary, depending on a patient’s principal diagnosis and severity, as well as treatments and procedures. There are also geographic variations.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation looked at average Medicare payments for hospital admissions for the existing diagnosis-related groups and noted that the “average Medicare payment for respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017 … was $13,297. For more severe hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for a respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support for greater than 96 hours, which was $40,218.”

Here are several more charts below which raise the question if honest reporting is being done or is the system being gamed for financial benefit costing tax payers more money.  
Click on graph to launch interactive tool
Source CDC

Here is another chart of flu by year compared which seems no a lot worse than a normal season.


Here is a chart comparing last year's flu & pneumonia stats.
Here is a link to the source on @EthicalSkeptic

This chart below, based on CDC official data also seems to support contention that Covid19 is no worse than typical pneumonia and influenza deaths. In fact there are 31% fewer deaths from Covid19 than from pneumonia and influenza through April 28.  Or is this just another reporting snafu?  Red bar is pneumonia and flu and blue bar is all Covid deaths.

Haven't validated this source but looks credible at first glance Twitter

This chart derived from CDC numbers. Their ratio of covid/pneumonia are way off the charts compared to the rest of the country.  Why are NYC, NY, NJ so high?  Another reporting problem or are hospitals taking advantage of the system.

Haven't validated this source but looks credible at first glance Twitter

Email Blackmail Alert - "Pay Up or We’ll Infect Your Family"


The NYPD is on alert over a twisted coronavirus blackmail scheme by cybercriminals looking to defraud the pubic off of people’s anxiety.  The alert is over an insane COVID-19 blackmail scheme where vulnerable people are targeted by email from scammers who threaten to infect their families with the coronavirus if they refuse to pay the fraudsters money or cryptocurrency.
According to a sensitive law enforcement document reviewed by The Daily Beast—headlined ‘Scams and Fraud Campaigns Exploiting COVID 19 Likely to Continue,’ and dated April 20—“the pandemic has created an environment ripe for fraudulent activity with threat actors leveraging fears of the virus to perpetrate a variety of malicious and criminal exploitation.”The confidential NYPD briefing document goes on to state that “threat actors around the world have flooded the internet with COVID-19 themed phishing scams in attempts to capitalize on fears of the virus for financial gain.”
“The blackmail scam has been less successful because... it is a little more far-fetched but it’s playing on people’s fears,” Miller added. “The bad guys buy the names and passwords in bulk from the dark web, so if you send out 300,000 of these emails you only need a few people to fall for it to make a nice profit for very little investment.”
The COVID-19 scam that has concerned police is based on a “porn-extortion” fraud from 2019. In that scam, which law enforcement sources say was very successful, potential victims were sent an email with their username and password. The sender would write, “now that I have your attention I need to tell you I have access to all your accounts and your passwords, as well as the kind of material you’ve been looking at.”

“The email goes on to imply that the target has been caught looking at all kinds of porn sites and other disgusting material and that the writer of the email has been able to access the users WebCam and record video from the camera as well as screen and now has split screen recordings of the material,” the NYPD official told The Daily Beast.

As it turns out, it’s all a bluff!  Fraudsters never have access to the victim’s WebCam, iPad or computer but why the scam is such a success is the victim has no way of knowing for sure they have not been compromised, and the fact the conman has their email and password gives the scammer credibility in the mind of the victim.

The COVID-19 fraud the NYPD now has on its radar is a new twist on the “porn-extortion” scam and the intelligence document states, “based on the researched dataset, this type of fraud has had limited success.” It’s unclear how the criminals would be able to carry out their callous threats.

"The reason to talk about it is so that people will recognize it if they get one of these," Miller said referring to emails from scam artists. "They also need to know this person has not hacked their computer, hasn’t had access to all their information, and that the fraud depends on people believing that those claims are true”

Scammers typically gain a person’s email and password from websites that have been hacked such as the Capital One data breach and where user credentials from the site were posted on the Internet. Criminals, legitimate security researchers, and others can access those password dumps on hacking forums, illicit dark web markets, or file-sharing sites.

As far as this COVID-19 blackmail scam goes, the simple advice for anyone who is targeted. “The only correct thing to do is delete it. There’s no value in interacting with the sender. You should delete it and reset your passwords.

Top 10 Coronavirus Scams

Be on the lookout for and be wary of potential COVID-19 scams and abuses. Any information, complaints, or concerns can be reported to a public regulatory agency.  Its hard to determine which one but here are few FTC, FBI, Dept of Justice, US Attorney's Office, Homeland Security.  Not sure how all of these agencies or coalitions work together but someone they get the bad guys.  

Top 10 most common scams and frauds include: 
  • Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus Check):  Scammers pretend to be government officials offering false economic impact payments (stimulus checks) in order to obtain personal identifying information including social security and bank account numbers.
  • Diagnosis Testing Scams: Scammers offer fake COVID-19 testing kits, particularly door-to-door.
  • Treatment/Cure Scams: Scammers offer fake or unproven treatment regimens that are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to do more harm than good.
  • Charity Scams: Virtually every time there is a disaster or emergency, scammers set up fake charities to solicit donations that they then spend on themselves.
  • Overinflated prices: The Coalition will use every tool available to hold sellers accountable who unlawfully use the COVID-19 pandemic to unreasonably inflate prices.
  • Investment Scams: Scammers make false claims about tests, cures and other matters related to COVID-19 in order to entice victims to make investment decisions based on those false claims that allow the scammer to steal money and assets from Delawareans.
  • Email Scams: Scammers send victims emails related to COVID-19 that appear to be from the victims’ banks, health care providers, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others for the purpose of obtaining the victims’ personal identifying information and exploiting it for the scammers’ own benefit.
  • App Scams: Scammers are creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
  • Insurance, Workers’ Compensation and Medicaid Fraud: Businesses and government agencies are not immune to scams. They should also be vigilant to ensure scammers do not take advantage of their businesses or customers during this pandemic.
  • Scams specifically targeted at seniors: Seniors are more vulnerable than ever to common scams like the Grandparent Scam and Government Imposter Scams.  Consumers receiving a call or any contact claiming that loved ones are in danger or hurt, that they owe money and failure to pay will result in their arrest or other harm, or that their benefits are in jeopardy, do not act. Contact your loved ones or the purported agency using known, trusted contact information not sourced from the suspicious communication.

FBI Has Stopped Hundreds of Online Scams


The bureau has reviewed more than 3,600 complaints related to COVID-19 ploys that tout fake vaccines, cures and charity drives, among other things.

For example, the cooperative effort has disrupted:
  • An illicit website pretending to solicit and collect donations to the American Red Cross for COVID-19 relief efforts. 
  • Fraudulent websites that spoofed government programs and organizations to trick American citizens into entering personally identifiable information, including banking details. 
  • Websites of legitimate companies and services that were used to facilitate the distribution or control of malicious software.
Multiple federal agencies have worked to analyze the complaints, investigate ongoing fraud, phishing, or malware schemes, and assemble vetted referrals. Agencies have sent hundreds of these referrals to the private-sector companies managing or hosting the domains. Many of those companies, in turn, have taken down the domains after concluding that they violated their abuse policies and terms of service, without requiring legal process. Domain registrars and registries have advised the department that they have established teams to review their domains for COVID-19 related fraud and malicious activity. Cybersecurity researchers have also made important contributions by developing sophisticated tools to identify malicious domains and refer them for mitigation. Law enforcement is actively reviewing leads, including those referred by private firms, to verify unlawful activity and quickly pursue methods for disruption.

As a further example, shortly after the IRS notified the public of web links to apply for the COVID-19 related stimulus payments, the FBI identified a number of look-alike IRS stimulus payment domains. These look-alike domains are often indicative of future phishing schemes and in order to minimize the potential fraudulent use of the these domains, the FBI alerted numerous domain registries and registrars to the existence of these look-alike URLs.

“The department will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement and private sector partners to combat online COVID-19 related crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “We commend the responsible internet companies that are taking swift action to prevent their resources from being used to exploit this pandemic.”

The Justice Department is also working to provide COVID-19 related training and technical assistance in other countries through the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program. In one Justice Department-supported action, a state prosecutor in Brazil took down a fake site purporting to belong to a leading Brazilian brewery. The website publicized the distribution of free sanitizer, but in fact was infecting the computer systems of numerous Brazilian consumers with malware. The ICHIP-mentored prosecutor further requested that the site’s U.S.-based registrar suspend it and preserve any account and transactional data linked to the site. The investigation is ongoing, and the ICHIP continues to mentor the prosecutor remotely on this case and on best practices for engaging with U.S. registrars and providers. Similar activities are planned in other regions with ICHIP attorneys. Learn more about the Criminal Division’s ICHIP Program, jointly administered by the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, here.

Numerous Justice Department components are working to combat COVID-19 related crime nationwide. For a list of department efforts, visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/news.

Scams Are So Bad The FTC Made A Bingo Card

Things have gotten so bad that the FTC has experimented with other ways to get people to pay attention: like a scam bingo card.  So far in 2020, the FTC has seen 7,800 Coronavirus complaints as of April 1, 2020.  As soon as Government restrictions were put into place the scam complaints were coming in at several thousand per week.
Most of the country in quarantine advised to practice social distancing measures, the risk of scams has spiked. Already, Coronavirus related robocalls have gotten worse as scammers have pivoted to use fear and isolation to their advantage.

The FTC has already slapped companies on the wrist for misrepresenting products with false claims about how they can treat coronavirus. It has also warned nine internet phone companies (VoIP) to stop “assisting and facilitating” illegal coronavirus telemarketing.

 However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of robocalls and malware — two of the most critical vectors for scammers and fraudsters targeting individuals, according to the ID Theft Center.

The FTC’s current data say that total losses are around $4.77 million, with a reported median loss of $598.

Aristides Pereira, a spokesperson for the District of Columbia, told Yahoo Finance, that the District’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking has found 14 cases of fraudulent financial activity related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people – especially older Americans, who are more likely to be scammed – don’t report fraud because they’re embarrassed they got duped. So these numbers are likely to be far higher.

There are all sorts of frauds from “banks,” “governments,” and more. It’s even more complicated because some municipalities use robocalls to get information to their residents, like school closings. But there are a few things to know when it comes to money-related things.

Here are some tips:
  • No bank will ever call you or email you for information.
  • Don’t send money to someone else if someone sends you money and asks you to pass it on.
  • Don’t be a victim to “urgent” requests.  Evaluate & think before you act 
  • Only transact with businesses you trust.
  • Report fraud.

Doctors Censored For An Opposing View on Shelter In Place


Why were these two doctors were censored for telling the truth?
  • First 6 minutes is worth watching on full video! 
  • 19 min mark - best explanation of herd immunity on full video.  
  • 30 min - how they are being forced to make every death COVID
YouTube cites “Terms of Service” violation in pulling down viral video of two outspoken California doctors who advocated for loosening of shelter in place restrictions.

Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, co-owners of Bakersfield, California-based Accelerated Urgent Care, held a press conference last week to share their experiences in their clinics and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic.

A video of the briefing went viral on YouTube, racking up over 5 million views in a couple of days. However YouTube abruptly pulled down the video, citing a breach of it’s “Terms of Service.”

The virality was most likely due to the controversial position the doctors took, questioning whether continuing the lockdown was in everyone’s best interests.

They detailed their interpretation of the publicly-available COVID-19 statistics and expressed concerns that the secondary effects of forced lockdowns and economic uncertainty were leading to increases in domestic violence, child molestation, depression, suicide, drug & alcohol abuse, and other social problems.

Why Coronavirus News Media "Fear-Mongering" Is Like Living in a Communist Society




Small Business Lending Fraud


With roughly 26 million Americans filing jobless claims over the last two weeks, and millions of small businesses seeking government aid to stay afloat, the need for the government to immediately push out money to Americans and into the staggering economy could hinder efforts to filter out efforts from potential fraudsters to seek relief funds.

How can 3,500 SBA employees possibly handle 20+ million small business loans?  The SBA just wasn't setup for this administrating disaster relief loans of millions.  
“Everybody’s acceptance of some or a lot of fraud is going to have to be high, because it’s going to happen,” said Earl Devaney, who served as the top watchdog of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which tracked the stimulus spending following the Great Recession in the late 2000s. Read article
This mentality that fraud will be accepted is just wrong. Though the legislation mandates multiple oversight bodies, if even a small percentage of the funds are misused, it could mean fraud on the scale of potentially millions, if not billions, before there are any efforts to recoup losses, according to experts.

They see the $834 billion in funding earmarked for small businesses in the form of forgivable loans as particularly susceptible to abuse. Millions of small business owners began applying to banks for the loans on Friday, though many applicants and lenders experienced problems with the program's rollout.

Other veteran investigators are concerned that the review process, which leaves it up to banks to vet potential borrowers and applicants to attest to their eligibility, doesn’t give authorities enough time to effectively weed out potential fraud.

The $2.2 trillion, 880-page CARES ACT approved by Congress last week included oversight provisions, modeled after some of the safeguards implemented to track the financial system bailout and stimulus money after the Great Recession.

Lawmakers and coronavirus stimulus watchdogs won’t just have this historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus package to police. Conversations have already started on Capitol Hill around a fourth phase of relief funding, including more money for small businesses.

The SBA's directives could create a more equitable distribution of lending power across the industry and get more loans in the hands of businesses, though it's likely that applicants will still struggle to secure them.

The changes mean that the biggest banks may not be able to dominate lending through the PPP, creating an opening for smaller banks. During the first round of PPP fund distribution, more than 25% of the total funding went to fewer than 2% of firms that got relief, in part because banks prioritized existing customers and larger loan applications to yield higher fees — both of which triggered lawsuits — even though the program was supposed to operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

The SBA's new directives mean that some big banks are likely nearing their lending capacity, which could lead some applicants to turn to smaller banks instead, relieving some pressure on application pipelines. And pacing applications could prevent big banks from flooding the SBA with applications, making it less likely that any one lender will receive a disproportionate amount of the available funds. Smaller banks can therefore take advantage of this opportunity to establish relationships with small businesses that were shut out of PPP loans elsewhere.  Read More

Coronavirus Payments Are Vulnerable To Fraud

The IRS system for sending out Coronavirus relief payments is vulnerable to fraud, especially with regard to some of the nation's poorest people, according to tax and cybersecurity experts.  Brian Krebs, editor of Krebsonsecurity.com, was among the first to notice that fraudsters could potentially steal these Coronavirus payments with only a few pieces of identifying information.

"I was a little shocked to see that," Krebs told NPR. "There were a number of things that they requested, but very few things that were required. And the only thing that I could tell that were required were name, date of birth, social security number, address — and then you had to have a phone number... That was pretty scary to me."
"There were 390,000 cases that the IRS inspector general found of fraudulent access to that system," Chapple says. "So now fast forward five years and we're using an even weaker system to control access, not just to information, but to payments."  Read the full article here

List of Companies & Products Receiving FDA Warning Letters


The FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing warning letters to firms for selling fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We are actively monitoring for any firms marketing products with fraudulent COVID-19 prevention and treatment claims. The FDA is exercising its authority to protect consumers from firms selling unapproved products and making false or misleading claims, including, by pursuing warning letters, seizures, or injunctions against products and firms or individuals that violate the law.

See the full list here

Firm Name Product Name and Image1
Santiste Labs LLC “DefendTM Patch”
Hopewell Essential Oils Essential oils and herbal products
Prefense LLC Prefense Hand Sanitizers
Copper Touch, LLC "Sani-Bar GK95External Link Disclaimer” and “Sani-Disc GK95DExternal Link Disclaimer”
Nova Botanix LTD DBA CanaBD CBD products
The Art Of Cure Homeopathic drug products
Earth Angel Oils Essential oil productsExternal Link Disclaimer
Gaia Arise Farms Apothecary “True Viral Defense,” also referred to as “Viral Defense Tincture”
The GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd Ayurvedic products (“Alpha 11” and “Alpha 21”)
Herbs of Kedem Herbal products
Free Speech Systems LLC d.b.a. Infowars.com “Superblue Silver Immune GargleExternal Link Disclaimer,” “SuperSilver Whitening ToothpasteExternal Link Disclaimer,” “SuperSilver Wound Dressing Gel” and “Superblue Fluoride Free ToothpasteExternal Link Disclaimer”
Earthley Wellness dba Modern Alternative Mama LLC Herbal tinctures and herbal remedy products
Genesis 2 Church Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) (chlorine dioxide)External Link Disclaimer
NRP Organics Ltd "Fortify Humic Beverage ConcentrateExternal Link Disclaimer” and “Electrify Fulvic Beverage ConcentrateExternal Link Disclaimer”
CBD Online Store Cannabidiol (CBD) products
Savvy Holistic Health dba Holistic Healthy Pet "China Oral Nosode,” also called “China Corona   Nosode," and the “CV Respiratory Kit,” under the description “AN330 – CORONA VIRAL IMMUNE SUPPORT AND/OR ACTIVE RESPIRATORY INFECTION FOR ALL AGES”
Ananda, LLC DBA Ananda Apothecary Essential oil products
Alternative Health Experts LLC DBA Immunization Alternatives Homeopathic drugs and dietary supplement products
Cathay Natural, LLC Herbal products including "CoronaDefender Herbal Sachet-S"
Native Roots Hemp Cannabidiol (CBD) products
Indigo Naturals Cannabidiol (CBD) products
Homeomart Indibuy Homeopathic drugs
Gaia's Whole Healing Essentials, LLC Colloidal silver products
Health Mastery Systems DBA Pure Plant Essentials Essential oil products
Neuro XPF Cannabidiol (CBD) products
Halosense Inc. Salt therapy products
JRB Enterprise Group Inc. DBA Anti Aging Bed Colloidal silver products
Bioactive C60/FullerLifeC60 LLC "FullerLifeC60External Link Disclaimer"
Corona-cure.com Corona-Cure Coronavirus Infection Prevention Nasal Spray
Carahealth Herbal products, including "Carahealth Immune" also referred to as "Immune Tonic"
Xephyr LLC dba N-ergetics Colloidal silver products, including Colloidal Silver 1100 PPMExternal Link Disclaimer
GuruNanda, LLC Essential oil products
Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd Essential oil products
Vivify Holistic Clinic Formula #1External Link Disclaimer, Formula #2External Link Disclaimer, Formula #3External Link Disclaimer, and Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)External Link Disclaimer
Colloidal Vitality LLC Products labeled to contain silver
The Jim Bakker Show Silver Sol LiquidExternal Link Disclaimer and products labeled to contain silver
Herbal Amy Inc. Coronavirus ProtocolExternal Link Disclaimer (Coronavirus Boneset Tea, Coronavirus Cell Protection, Coronavirus Core tincture, Coronavirus Immune System, and Elderberry Tincture)

Report a website that you think is illegally selling human drugs, animal drugs, medical devices, biological products, foods, dietary supplements or cosmetics.

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