PUBLISHED: 16:56 EDT, 5 May 2022 | UPDATED: 17:04 EDT, 5 May 2022
After a weekend of exclusive parties in Washington, DC and New York City for much of the media sphere, Donald Trump held his own red carpet event at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday night.
The former president’s Florida retreat hosted the premiere of conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s new film 2,000 Mules that pushes baseless theories that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump.
Among the guests pictured at the event was Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who was ruled to be not guilty after killing two people at an anti-police protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
Greene shared a photo on Instagram of herself at Mar-a-Lago along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King.
It’s not clear if Greene and Boebert spoke at the event, after it was reported last week that they had an argument so explosive that it had to be broken up by another House GOP colleague.
Former Trump administration senior aide Kellyanne Conway and ex-deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley were also in attendance.
Gidley had previously attended the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington on Saturday night, after which a number of journalists and officials have already tested positive for COVID-19.
Pro-Trump celebrities like Kevin Sorbo and Kristy Swanson were also pictured at the premiere, as was the ex-president’s former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis.
A video of Trump arriving at the elaborate event was posted on Instagram by conservative activist David Harris Jr.
‘This man – not only is he a fighter, not only does he never back down, but he’s smart,’ a woman’s voice can be heard saying as the room focuses on the former president.
‘He warned us about Biden being a Trojan Horse for the left. He warned us about the border, he warned us about foreign policy, and he warned us about voter fraud and he warned us about mail-in ballots.’
She continued, ‘He has always been right. Please join me in welcoming the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.’
The room erupted into applause and chants of ‘USA’ as Trump approached the stage.
Another clip, this time of Trump speaking in front of an enthusiastic and formally-dressed crowd, shows the former president rehashing his same complaints about the previous election.
‘We have to do something that’s very important. We have to go to voter ID immediately,’ Trump said as the room applauded approvingly.
‘They don’t want voter ID. There’s only one reason not to want voter ID – it’s because you want to cheat.’
He continued, ‘You know, when you went to the Democrat National Convention, you had a voter ID that was the size of most people’s chests. Large people. Large, large people. The thing was like, hung around — they needed the chain.’
Trump gestured around his neck. It’s not clear what he was referring to.
‘You walk in, it had your picture, it had fingerprints, it had your everything. It probably had your social security number on it even though you’re not supposed to have that,’ he continued.
‘But you know what, it was the greatest voter ID I’ve ever seen. But when it comes to voting in the election, they don’t want that, because they wanna cheat. And you know what? I said it, and I’ve been saying it a lot lately, I don’t believe they’re a 50-50 party. I think they cheat in elections.’
The former president then accused Democrats of being ‘against oil, guns and god.’
It’s not clear if any of the former president’s children attended the red carpet event, though his son Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle was pictured chatting with other guests.
Trump Jr. had reportedly testified in front of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack earlier that same day.
He spoke with the Democrat-led panel remotely and was reportedly at least somewhat cooperative.
The committee’s investigation has been rapidly honing in on the former president’s role in fomenting the insurrection last year and his and his allies’ attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Another video from the event also posted by Harris appears to be selling right-wing novelty products from his site — featuring ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
‘I love this, where can I get a deck of these?’ Flynn says holding up playing cards.
The Joker card is superimposed with an image of President Joe Biden’s face.
‘You got the name wrong, it’s Brandon,’ Flynn quipped in reference to the ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ phrase adopted by the right wing to mock Biden.
Another Joker card features Dr. Anthony Fauci with ‘five masks,’ according to the person recording the video.
‘This is Brandon minus. This is the cousin – the lesser cousin of Brandon,’ Flynn said.
On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Analytic Services Institute for Homeland Security, and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter” that simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was constructed to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to bring about actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.
On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies , in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) , the Analytic Services (ANSER) Institute for Homeland Security , and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism , held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter,” which simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of ANSER were the principal designers, authors, and controllers of the Dark Winter exercise. John Hamre of CSIS initiated and conceived of an exercise in which senior former officials would respond to a national security crisis caused by use of a biological weapon. Sue Reingold of CSIS managed administrative and logistical arrangements for the exercise. General Dennis Reimer of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism provided substantial funding for exercise.
The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was undertaken to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to catalyze actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.
Of all potential biological weapons, smallpox is historically the most ominous and feared [5–7]. It is a disfiguring, communicable disease with a case-fatality rate of 30% [8, 9]. There is no effective medical treatment . The World Health Assembly officially declared smallpox eradicated worldwide in 1980 . Since its eradication, smallpox vaccination programs and vaccine production have ceased around the world . The United States stopped its mandatory vaccination program in 1972. Thus, residents of the United States—and indeed, the global population—are now highly susceptible to an inadvertent or deliberate release of smallpox.
It has been argued that the smallpox virus is the organism least accessible to potential bioterrorists. Since its eradication, the only officially existing stocks of the smallpox virus have been stored in 2 World Health Organization reference laboratories located in the United States and Russia . Many experts believe, however, that the smallpox virus is not confined to these 2 official repositories and may be in the possession of states or subnational groups pursuing active biological weapons programs . Of particular importance and concern is the legacy of the former Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. It is widely known that the former Soviet Union maintained a stockpile of 20 tons of smallpox virus in its biological weapons arsenal throughout the 1970s, and that, by 1990, they had a plant capable of producing 80–100 tons of smallpox per year .
The 12 participants in Dark Winter portrayed members of the National Security Council (NSC). Each is an accomplished individual who serves or has served in high-level government or military positions. Among these, the Honorable Sam Nunn, former US Senator from Georgia, played the President of the United States, and the Honorable Frank Keating, the governor of Oklahoma, portrayed himself. Five senior journalists who currently work for major networks or news organizations observed the deliberations of the simulated NSC and participated in a mock press conference during the exercise (table 1). In addition, ∼50 people with current or former policy or operational responsibilities related to biological weapons preparedness observed the exercise.
Roles of key participants in the Dark Winter exercise.
Dark Winter was a “tabletop” exercise. Decision makers were presented with a fictional scenario and asked to react to the facts and context of the scenario, establish strategies, and make policy decisions. To the extent possible, the decisions made were incorporated into the evolving exercise, so that key decisions affected the evolution and outcomes of the scenario.
Dark Winter was divided into 3 segments and simulated a time span of ∼2 weeks. Each segment portrayed an NSC meeting, which were set several days apart in the story: on 9, 15, and 22 December 2002. The participants began segments 2 and 3 with a review of all events that had taken place in the intervening period since the last meeting. In an effort to mirror the process of NSC meetings, exercise participants received information through a variety of sources. Exercise controllers played the roles of deputies or special assistants, providing briefings of facts and policy options to participants throughout the meetings as needed. Participants were also presented with newspaper summaries and video clips of television news coverage of the epidemic. In addition, specific individuals were given memoranda during the exercise on issues or events that would normally fall within the purview of that individual’s position or agency. Thus, for example, the Director of Central Intelligence was given memos that provided updated intelligence data during the course of the meetings.
Exercise Planning Assumptions
In designing Dark Winter, the authors of the exercise analyzed plausible delivery methods for bioterrorist attacks as well as available scientific and historical data from smallpox outbreaks in the past [14–18]. Numerous factors influence whether a pathogen will successfully invade a host community and how that pathogen will spread once established in that community [19, 20]. Two key assumptions were made that had a direct effect on the scope of the epidemic portrayed in the exercise: the number of people infected in the initial attack and the transmission rate (i.e., the number of people subsequently infected by each person with a case of smallpox). These assumptions were not intended to be definitive mathematical predictors or models and should not be interpreted as such. However, these assumptions were derived from available data and the current understanding of the smallpox virus and, therefore, serve as a foundation for the Dark Winter scenario. These assumptions are further articulated below.
The quantity of available smallpox vaccine also significantly affected the options and outcome of the exercise. The authors posited that the quantity of undiluted vaccine available during the exercise equaled the amount in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stockpile at that time: ∼15.4 million doses of vaccine.
Number of persons infected by the initial attack. In the Dark Winter scenario, 3000 people were infected with the smallpox virus during 3 simultaneous attacks in 3 separate shopping malls in Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. It has been estimated that only a few virions are required to cause human smallpox infection, and thus the total quantity of virus necessary to cause 3000 infections in humans is small . For example, William Patrick, a senior scientist in the US offensive biological weapons program before its termination in 1969, has stated that 1 g of weaponized smallpox would be sufficient to infect 100 people via an aerosol attack . Accordingly, as little as 30 g of smallpox could cause 3000 infections, the number of infections resulting from the initial attack in this exercise. Given the small infectious dose required to cause disease, and considering that the former Soviet Union was able to produce smallpox by the ton, an attack resulting in 3000 infections is scientifically plausible.
Smallpox transmission rate. The transmission rate for smallpox is not a static characteristic of the smallpox virus that can be readily determined, but a complex, dynamic, fluctuating phenomenon contingent on multiple biological (both host and microbial), social, demographic, political, and economic factors [17, 19]. As such, the smallpox transmission rate within any given population is highly context dependent. Therefore, any effort to estimate how smallpox might spread through contemporary societies must account for contextual differences, to the extent possible.
Dark Winter was designed to investigate the challenges following a covert attack with the smallpox virus. As described in the scenario above, the first recognition of a covert attack with smallpox virus will likely occur when people infected in the initial attack begin showing signs of infection and start appearing in emergency departments and doctors’ offices . At this point, those people will have become capable of transmitting smallpox to others. Thus, by the time a covert attack is discovered, the disease will already be spreading to the next generation of cases, known as “second-generation” cases. Given that very few doctors currently practicing medicine have ever seen a case of smallpox, and given that there is currently no widely available, rapid diagnostic test for smallpox, it is likely that the diagnosis of initial smallpox cases will be delayed, further promoting spread of disease. These factors are crucial in estimating the transmission rate in this exercise.
Another important factor in such estimations is the level of national and global susceptibility to smallpox virus infection. Human beings are considered universally susceptible to smallpox virus, unless they have been vaccinated or have been infected previously with an orthopox virus . Given the absence of endemic smallpox in the world and the absence of vaccination programs since the 1970s, the global susceptibility to smallpox virus is higher than it has ever been in modern history . Data from the 2000 US Census indicate that ∼42% of the US population is aged <30 years and, therefore, has never been vaccinated against smallpox . For those who have been vaccinated, the susceptibility to smallpox infection is uncertain, because acquired immunity is known to wane over time. Exactly how long and to what extent smallpox immunity endures is unknown. Epidemiologic data offer some information and insights into the expected duration of immunity and the benefits of past revaccination: “an increased level of protection against smallpox persists for ⩽5 years after primary vaccination and substantial but waning immunity can persist for ⩾10 years….antibody levels after revaccination can remain high longer, conferring a greater period of immunity than occurs after primary vaccination alone” (, pp. 3–4).
These findings suggest that those who were vaccinated in the United States before vaccination programs ceased 30 years ago would have waning immunity, although those who were vaccinated ⩾2 times may have maintained higher levels of immunity. A rough estimate of the level of total population herd immunity to smallpox in the United States is 20% (D. A. Henderson, personal communication), a number that will continue to decrease over time. A recent analogous estimate for the United Kingdom is 18% . Thus, an estimated 228 million US citizens would be expected to be highly susceptible to smallpox infection. Some experts have recently argued that immunologic memory in response to vaccination against smallpox may last considerably longer than hypothesized  and, consequently, that the level of herd immunity may be higher. However, for now, that remains a matter of conjecture.
The authors of the exercise used a 1 : 10 ratio for the transmission rate of smallpox in Dark Winter, which was based on an analysis of 34 instances of smallpox importation into Europe between 1958 and 1973 [14, 17]. These smallpox importations were instances in which a person contracted smallpox in a country where the disease still occurred naturally and then unknowingly brought the virus back to a country that no longer had endemic smallpox. Ten of those importations occurred in the months June–November, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal low. These importations were not included in further analysis, because the smallpox attack simulated in Dark Winter took place in December, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal high. Of the remaining 24 imported cases that occurred during the seasonal high for smallpox transmission (December–May), most were quickly diagnosed and contained [14, 17].
The authors of this exercise determined that 6 of these 24 importations most closely paralleled the conditions and context of the Dark Winter exercise, as well as what should be anticipated and planned for in the event of a smallpox attack on the modern United States. In those 6 importations, health care practitioners were slow to diagnose initial smallpox cases, and infected people had considerable interaction with other people before appropriate infection-control measures were initiated . The number of second-generation cases in those 6 outbreaks ranged from 10 to 19 cases, with an average of 13.3 secondary cases per initial case (95% CI, 9.3–17.3). Gani and Leach  have recently analyzed these smallpox importations and have estimated that the transmissibility of smallpox in those outbreaks was 10–12 new infections per infectious person. This estimate may be toward the low error bound, because it does not account for seasonal differences in transmission rates (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).
Of the smallpox importations analyzed, the importation into Yugoslavia in 1972 is particularly instructive because that outbreak encompassed many of the attributes that would be expected if a smallpox outbreak occurred today (e.g., a large number of susceptible people, delayed diagnosis, both hospital and community transmission, wide geographic dispersion of cases, difficulty in contact tracing) . In that outbreak, a man on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina became infected with smallpox virus while in Iraq and subsequently brought the disease back to Yugoslavia. His infection with smallpox virus went undiagnosed, and he unknowingly infected 11 others, whose infections also went undiagnosed. The smallpox outbreak was not recognized and control measures were not initiated until the advent of the second generation of cases, which comprised 140 new cases (transmission ratio, 1 : 13). Ultimately, a single index case caused 175 cases of smallpox and 35 deaths before the outbreak was brought to an end. Gani and Leach  estimated the transmissibility of smallpox in the 1972 Yugoslavia outbreak to be 10.8 new infections per infectious person.
Given the low level of herd immunity to smallpox and the high likelihood of delayed diagnosis and public health intervention, the authors of this exercise used a 1 : 10 transmission rate for Dark Winter and judged that an exercise that used a lower rate of transmission would be unreasonably optimistic, might result in false planning assumptions, and, therefore, would be irresponsible. The authors of this exercise believe that a 1 : 10 transmission rate for a smallpox outbreak prior to public-health intervention may, in fact, be a conservative estimate, given that factors that continue to precipitate the emergence and reemergence of naturally occurring infectious diseases (e.g., the globalization of travel and trade, urban crowding, and deteriorating public health infrastructure) [26, 27] can be expected to exacerbate the transmission rate for smallpox in a bioterrorism event.
Meltzer et al.  have reviewed data from a selected series of past smallpox outbreaks and determined that “the average rate of transmission is <2 persons infected per infectious person” (, p. v). However, they also conclude that “data suggest that one person can infect many others,” that a “large percentage of the population in the United States is now susceptible” to smallpox, and that “the average transmission rate following a deliberate release of smallpox might be µ2 [persons infected per infectious person]” (, p. v). The authors of this article believe that the average past transmission rate calculated by Meltzer et al. [28, 29] does not have significant application to planning for a smallpox attack on the contemporary United States. Their analysis does not adequately account for confounding factors, such as poor herd immunity , seasonality, and likelihood of delayed or inadequate vaccination or other public health interventions and, therefore, significantly underestimates the transmission rate that should be anticipated if a smallpox attack occurred today. Gani and Leach , on the other hand, incorporated a number of these confounding factors in their mathematical analysis and predicted that the rate of transmission of smallpox in contemporary industrialized societies is 4–6 new infections per infected person, and possibly as high as 10–12 new infections per infected person in the absence of appropriate hospital infection-control procedures.
During Dark Winter, participants were told that the rate of transmission beyond the first-generation to second-generation cases (i.e., to third and fourth generations of cases) would be highly dependent on additional variables (e.g., vaccination and isolation). The Dark Winter exercise ended in the middle of the second generation of cases. However, exercise participants repeatedly requested worst-case scenario predictions for the spread of disease beyond the second generation of cases to guide their key policy decisions. Accordingly, participants were given estimates of the projected number of smallpox cases and deaths, on the assumption that no additional vaccine would become available and no systematic, coordinated isolation procedures could be broadly and effectively enacted—in other words, the worst-case scenario. In these worst-case scenario conditions, it was determined that the transmission rate would continue to be 1 : 10, on average. Therefore, it was estimated that the third generation of cases would comprise 300,000 cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could encompass as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and result in as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It was emphasized to participants that these numbers were worst-case projections and could be substantially diminished by institution of large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures.
Available doses of smallpox vaccine. The United States, through the CDC, maintains a stockpile of 15.4 million doses of smallpox vaccine . Exercise participants were asked to assume that only 12 million doses of vaccine would be available. This estimation was based on practical experience obtained during the smallpox eradication program in the 1960s and 1970s. During the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication campaign, it was common to lose ∼20% of the available doses of vaccine from any given vial because of unavoidable inefficiencies and waste (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).
The year is 2002 . The Unites States economy is strong. Tensions between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China are high. A suspected lieutenant of Osama bin Laden has recently been arrested in Russia in a sting operation while attempting to purchase 50 kg of plutonium and biological pathogens that had been weaponized by the former Soviet Union. The United Nation’s sanctions against Iraq are no longer in effect, and Iraq is suspected of reconstituting its biological weapons program. In the past 48 h, Iraqi forces have moved into offensive positions along the Kuwaiti border. In response, the United States is moving an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf.
NSC Meeting 1
Information presented to NSC members, 9 December 2002. The 12 members of the NSC gather for what initially was to be a meeting to address the developing situation in southwest Asia but are given the news that a smallpox outbreak is occurring in the United States. In Oklahoma, 20 cases have been confirmed by the CDC, with 14 more suspected. There are also reports of suspect cases in Georgia and Pennsylvania. These cases are not yet confirmed. The initial exposure is presumed to have occurred on or about 1 December, given the 9–17-day incubation period for smallpox (figure 1).
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 50) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 1 (9 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
The governor of Oklahoma, who is in Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech, agrees to participate in the NSC meeting to clearly articulate the priorities and needs of his state before rushing home to manage the growing crisis. NSC members are briefed on the status of the outbreak and on smallpox. It is explained that smallpox produces no symptoms at the time of exposure and that fever, malaise, and rash will develop 9–17 days after exposure; that, although vaccination before exposure or up to ∼4–5 days after exposure may prevent or ameliorate disease manifestations, there is no effective treatment once the disease has developed; that the case-fatality rate for smallpox is ∼30%; that smallpox virus is communicable from person to person and is spread at close range by respiratory droplets or, in some instances, at longer range by aerosols (i.e., droplet nuclei) ; that although the transmission rate for smallpox virus is a complex dynamic that is dependent on multiple factors, epidemiologic evidence indicates that a single infected person in a highly susceptible population can be expected to infect 10–19 others; and that the US stockpile of smallpox vaccine is 15.4 million doses, but it is estimated that this amount translates to ∼12 million usable doses [8, 9].
The Deputies Committee advises the NSC members on possible disease-containment strategies, including isolation of patients, identification and vaccination of patient contacts, and minimization of public gatherings (e.g., closing schools in affected states). In addition, the Deputies Committee provides the NSC members with 3 vaccine distribution policy options. Policy option 1 is a ring vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states to vaccinate patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the Department of Defense (DoD). Policy option 2 is a combination ring/mass vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, as well as patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD. Policy option 3 is a combination ring/mass distribution policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD, and the remaining 47 unaffected states would immediately receive 125,000 doses of vaccine each, to use as they see fit.
Critical debate issues and decisions. The NSC confronts an array of important questions and decisions. With only 12 million doses of vaccine available, what is the best strategy to contain the outbreak? Should there be a national or a state vaccination policy? Is ring vaccination or mass immunization the best policy? How much vaccine, if any, should be held for the DoD? Should health care workers, public safety officials, and elected officials be given priority for vaccination? What about their families? Should vaccine be distributed to all of the states now, or as new cases emerge? What should the size be of the aliquots of vaccine given to each state? Should there be a mandatory or voluntary immunization policy? What is the federal role in emergency response? What are the state roles in emergency response? How are the 2 responses coordinated? Should the National Guard be activated? How best can the Guard be used (under state or under federal control)? What should be done about the developing situation in southwest Asia? What should the public be told? What should our allies be told? Was this a deliberate attack on the United States? If so, who is responsible? Is the nation at war?
The NSC members agree that the public should be fully informed as quickly as possible to maximize public confidence and adherence to disease-containment measures and to minimize the possibility that disease-containment measures would need to be forcibly imposed. NSC members decide to use vaccine distribution policy option 1, which is the ring vaccination policy intended to focus and limit vaccination efforts to those at highest risk of contracting smallpox (e.g., patient contacts and health care and public safety personnel in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania) while preserving as much vaccine as possible for use as the epidemic unfolds. NSC members decide that the same directed vaccination strategy will be followed if additional new cases emerge in other cities or states. In addition, NSC members decide to set aside sufficient doses of vaccine for the DoD to meet its immediate needs, with the expectation that this will be ∼1 million doses and with direction to the DoD to determine those needs. NSC members decide to proceed with the deployment of the additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf but defer other decisions regarding deployments, pending further developments. NSC officials hope that the people of the United States will view these policy decisions as rational and equitable. The meeting closes as the NSC prepares a presidential statement for the press, detailing their decisions and actions.
NSC Meeting 2
Information presented to NSC members, 15 December 2002 (6 days into the epidemic). A total of 2000 smallpox cases have been reported in 15 states, with 300 deaths (figures 2 and 3). The epidemic is now international, with isolated cases in Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Both Canada and Mexico request that the United States provide them with vaccine. All of the cases appear to be related to the 3 initial outbreaks in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. The public health investigation points to 3 shopping malls as the initial sites of exposure. Only 1.25 million doses of vaccine remain, and public unrest grows as the vaccine supply dwindles. Vaccine distribution efforts vary from state to state, are often chaotic, and lead to violence in some areas. In affected states, the epidemic has overwhelmed the health care systems, and care suffers. The DoD expresses concern about diverting its critical supplies and personnel to the civilian health care system, given the evolving crisis in the Persian Gulf.
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 2000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Several international borders are closed to US trade and travelers. Food shortages emerge in affected states as a result of travel problems and store closings. Sporadic violence has been reported against minorities who appear to be of Arab descent. There are no solid leads regarding who may have perpetrated this attack. The government response to the epidemic has been criticized. The media continues its 24-h news coverage of the crisis. Misinformation regarding the smallpox outbreak begins to appear on the Internet and in the media, including false reports of cures for smallpox. Schools are closed nationwide. Public gatherings are limited in affected states. Some states limit travel and nonessential gatherings. The Department of Health and Human Services establishes a National Information Center. Three US drug companies agree to produce new vaccine at the rate of 6 million doses per month, with first deliveries in 5 weeks. Russia offers to provide 4 million doses of vaccine.
Critical debate issues and decisions. NSC officials confront a growing set of challenges and decisions. Given the shortage of vaccine, how can the spread of smallpox be halted? Should patients with smallpox be confined to facilities dedicated to care for them? Should contacts of patients be forced to remain at home or in dedicated facilities until they are proven to be free of smallpox? Should national travel restrictions be imposed? How can disease containment best be balanced against economic disruption and the protection of civil liberties? To what extent can and should the government infringe upon civil liberties? Under what conditions can those powers be exercised? What federal actions can and should be taken to care for the sick? Should the National Guard be federalized (i.e., put under federal control)? What additional assistance can the federal government provide to the states? Should troops continue to deploy overseas to southwest Asia? What should the President tell the people of the United States? Who orchestrated this attack and why? Is the nation at war?
NSC members make a series of important policy decisions. Members decide to leave control of the National Guard as well as decisions on quarantine and isolation in the hands of state officials. Members decide to pursue a crash production program for new smallpox vaccine, despite unresolved liability issues. They also decide to accept smallpox vaccine offered by Russia, provided it passes safety evaluations. In addition, a statement is produced for the President to deliver in a press conference. In the press conference, the President provides an assessment of the gravity of the situation and discusses the government’s response. He appeals to the people of the United States to work together to confront the crisis and to follow the guidance of their elected officials and their public health professionals regarding necessary disease-containment measures.
NSC Meeting 3
Information presented to NSC members, 22 December 2002 (13 days into the epidemic). A total of 16,000 smallpox cases have been reported in 25 states (14,000 within the past 24 h) (figures 4 and 5). One thousand people have died. Ten other countries report cases of smallpox believed to have been caused by international travelers from the United States. It is uncertain whether new smallpox cases have been transmitted by unidentified contacts of initial victims, by contacts who were not vaccinated in time, or by people who received ineffective vaccine, or are due to new smallpox attacks, or some combination of these. Vaccine supplies are depleted, and new vaccine will not be ready for at least 4 weeks. States have restricted nonessential travel. Food shortages are growing in some places, and the national economy is suffering. Residents have fled and are fleeing cities where new cases emerge. Canada and Mexico have closed their borders to the United States. The public demands mandatory isolation of smallpox victims and their contacts, but identifying contacts has become logistically impossible.
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 16,000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Although speculative, the predictions are extremely grim: an additional 17,000 cases of smallpox are expected to emerge during the next 12 days, bringing the total number of second-generation cases to 30,000. Of these infected persons, approximately one-third, or 10,000, are expected to die. NSC members are advised that administration of new vaccine combined with isolation measures are likely to stem the expansion of the epidemic. NSC members ask for worst-case projections. They are advised that in worst-case conditions, the third generation of cases could comprise 300,000 new cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could conceivably comprise as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and lead to as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It is again emphasized to participants that these numbers are worst-case projections and can be substantially diminished by large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures (figure 6).
Smallpox epidemic projections, worst-case scenario (in the absence of disease-containment measures or new vaccine delivery), reported to the National Security Council meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise. Gen, generation of cases; K, thousand.
No solid leads as to who masterminded the attack have emerged. A prominent Iraqi defector claims that Iraq is behind the biological attack. Although the defector cannot offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the intelligence community deems his information highly credible. Polls of US citizens show overwhelming support for retribution when the attacker is identified.
The scenario ends when it is announced that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today have each received an anonymous letter demanding the removal of all US forces from Saudi Arabia and all warships from the Persian Gulf within 1 week. The letters threaten that failure to comply with the demands will result in new smallpox attacks on the US homeland as well as other attacks with anthrax and plague. To prove the veracity of these claims and the seriousness of their threats, each letter contains a genetic fingerprint that matches the fingerprint of the smallpox strain causing the current epidemic, demonstrating that the author of these letters has access to the smallpox strain.
Critical debate issues. With no vaccine remaining and new vaccine not expected for at least 4 weeks, how can the rapidly expanding epidemic be contained? What measures should the federal and state governments take to stop the epidemic, given the scope of the crisis, the lack of remaining vaccine, and rising stakes? Should the United States pull its forces out of the Gulf in response to the anonymous letters? With no conclusive evidence as to who orchestrated the attack, how and should the United States respond? If the United States discovers who is behind the attack, what is the proper response? Would the American people call for response with nuclear weapons?
Lessons of Dark Winter
The authors of this article have drawn a series of lessons from the Dark Winter exercise. These lessons are based on an analysis of comments and decisions made by exercise participants during the exercise, subsequent Congressional testimony by exercise participants, and public interviews given by participants in the months after the exercise . The lessons learned reflect the analysis and conclusions of the authors from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the exercise participants or collaborating organizations.
In this section, these lessons are listed, each accompanied by a short explanatory note and quotations from participants in the exercise to illustrate it. The Dark Winter event did not permit attribution of comments without permission from individual participants. Where comments are ascribed to a particular person, permission has been obtained.
Leaders are unfamiliar with the character of bioterrorist attacks, available policy options, and their consequences. The senior decision makers in Dark Winter were largely unfamiliar with the sequence of events that would follow a bioterrorist attack. Important decisions and their implications were dependent on public health strategies and possible mechanisms to care for large numbers of sick people—issues that the national security and defense communities have not typically analyzed in the past.
“We are used to thinking about health problems as naturally occurring problems outside the framework of a malicious actor….If you’re going against someone who is using a tool that you’re not used to having him use—disease—and using it toward—quite rationally and craftily—…an entirely unreasonable and god-awful end—we are in a world we haven’t ever really been in before” (James Woolsey).
“This was very revealing to me—that there is something out there that can cause havoc in my state that I know nothing about—and, for that matter, the federal family doesn’t know a whole lot [about] either” (Frank Keating).
“My feeling here was the biggest deficiency was, how do I think about this? This is not a standard problem that I’m presented in the national security arena. I know how to think about that, I’ve been trained to think about that…a certain amount of what I think went [on] around this table was, ‘I don’t get it. I’m not in gear in terms of how to think about this problem as a decision-maker.’ So then I get very tentative in terms of what to do” (John White).
“This was unique…[you know] that you’re in for a long term problem, and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse” (Sam Nunn).
After a bioterrorist attack, leaders’ decisions would depend on data and expertise from the medical and public health sectors. In Dark Winter, even after the smallpox attack was recognized, decision makers were confronted with many uncertainties and wanted information that was not immediately available. (In fact, they were given more information on locations and numbers of infected people than would likely be available in reality.)
For example, it was difficult to quickly identify the locations of the original attacks; to immediately predict the likely size of the epidemic on the basis of initial cases; to know how many people were exposed; to find out how many were hospitalized and where; or to keep track of how many had been vaccinated. This lack of information, critical for leaders’ situational awareness in Dark Winter, reflects the fact that few systems exist that can provide a rapid flow of the medical and public health information needed in a public health emergency.
“What’s the worst case? To make decisions on how much risk to take…whether to use vaccines, whether to isolate people, whether to quarantine people….I’ve got to know what the worst case is” (Sam Nunn).
“You can’t respond and make decisions unless you have the crispest, most current, and the best information. And that’s what strikes me as a civil leader…that is…clearly missing” (Frank Keating).
The lack of sufficient vaccine or drugs to prevent the spread of disease severely limited management options. In Dark Winter, smallpox vaccine shortages significantly affected the response available to contain the epidemic, as well as the ability of political leaders to offer reassurance to the American people. The increasing scarcity of smallpox vaccine led to great public anxiety and flight by people desperate to get vaccinated, and it had a significant effect on the decisions taken by political leaders.
“We can’t ration….Who do you choose and who do you not choose to get vaccinated?…People are going to go where the vaccine is. And if they know that you’re going to provide the vaccine to my people, they’ll stay to get vaccinated. I think they’ll run if they think the vaccine is somewhere else” (Frank Keating).
“If we had had adequate vaccine supplies…we would have had more strategies to help deal with this thing and help control the epidemic” (Margaret Hamburg).
The US health care system lacks the surge capacity to deal with mass casualties. In Dark Winter, hospital systems across the country were flooded with demands for patient care. The demand was highest in the cities and states directly attacked, but by the time many victims became symptomatic, they were geographically dispersed, with some having traveled far from the original site of attack. The numbers of people flooding into hospitals across the country included people with common illnesses who feared they had smallpox and people who were well but worried. The challenges of distinguishing the sick from the well and rationing scarce resources, combined with shortages of health care staff, who were themselves worried about becoming infected or bringing infection home to their families, imposed a huge burden on the health care system.
“We think an enemy of the United States could attack us with smallpox or with anthrax—whatever—and we really don’t prepare for it, we have no vaccines for it—that’s astonishing. That’s like, for me, in Oklahoma, where we do have tornadoes, to be assiduously studying hurricanes, or not studying tornadoes” (Frank Keating).
“It isn’t just [a matter of] buying more vaccine. It’s a question of how we integrate these [public health and national security communities] in ways that allow us to deal with various facets of the problem” (James Woolsey).
To end a disease outbreak after a bioterrorist attack, decision makers will require ongoing expert advice from senior public health and medical leaders. The leaders in Dark Winter were confronted with rapidly diminishing supply of smallpox vaccine and an expanding smallpox epidemic. Some members advised the imposition of geographic quarantines around affected areas, but the implications of these measures (e.g., interruption of the normal flow of medicines, food and energy supplies, and other critical needs) were not clearly understood at first. In the end, it is not clear whether such draconian measures would have led to a more effective interruption of disease spread.
“A complete quarantine would isolate people so that they would not be able to be fed, and they would not have medical [care]….So we can’t have a complete quarantine. We are, in effect, asking the governors to restrict travel from their states that would be nonessential. We can’t slam down the entire society” (Sam Nunn).
Federal and state priorities may be unclear, differ, or conflict; authorities may be uncertain; and constitutional issues may arise. In Dark Winter, tensions rapidly developed between state and federal authorities in several contexts. State leaders wanted control of decisions regarding the imposition of disease-containment measures (e.g., mandatory vs. voluntary isolation and vaccination), the closure of state borders to all traffic and transportation, and when or whether to close airports. Federal officials argued that such issues were best decided on a national basis to ensure consistency and to give the President maximum control of military and public-safety assets. Leaders in states most affected by smallpox wanted immediate access to smallpox vaccine for all citizens of their states, but the federal government had to balance these requests against military and other national priorities. State leaders were opposed to federalizing the National Guard, which they were relying on to support logistical and public supply needs. A number of federal leaders argued that the National Guard should be federalized.
“My fellow governors are not going to permit you to make our states leper colonies. We’ll determine the nature and extent of the isolation of our citizens….You’re going to say that people can’t gather. That’s not your [the federal government’s] function. That’s the function, if it’s the function of anybody, of state and local officials” (Frank Keating).
“Mr. President, this question got settled at Appomattox. You need to federalize the National Guard” (George Terwilliger).
“We’re going to have absolute chaos if we start having war between the federal government and the state government” (Sam Nunn).
The individual actions of US citizens will be critical to ending the spread of contagious disease; leaders must gain the trust and sustained cooperation of the American people. Dark Winter participants worried that it would not be possible to forcibly impose vaccination or travel restrictions on large groups of the population without their general cooperation. To gain that cooperation, the President and other leaders in Dark Winter recognized the importance of persuading their constituents that there was fairness in the distribution of vaccine and other scarce resources, that the disease-containment measures were for the general good of society, that all possible measures were being taken to prevent the further spread of the disease, and that the government remained firmly in control despite the expanding epidemic.
“The federal government has to have the cooperation from the American people. There is no federal force out there that can require 300,000,000 people to take steps they don’t want to take” (Sam Nunn).
In conducting the Dark Winter exercise, the intention was to inform the debate on the threat posed by biological weapons and to provoke a deeper understanding of the numerous challenges that a covert act of bioterrorism with a contagious agent would present to senior level policy makers and elected officials. Since the Dark Winter exercise, the country has endured the horrific events of 11 September, as well as anthrax attacks through the US postal system. Bioterrorism is no longer just the subject of war games and the source of “futuristic and disturbing topics for…[Congressional] committee meetings” (, p. 2454). Many of the challenges and difficulties faced by the Dark Winter participants, unfortunately, have been paralleled in the response to the recent anthrax attacks. The Dark Winter exercise offers instructive insights and lessons for those with responsibility for bioterrorism preparedness in the medical, public health, policy, and national security communities and, accordingly, helps shine light on possible paths forward.
Fauci has shielded himself from criticism by claiming that he is not beholden to politicians and that his recommendations are solely based on the ‘science.’
During Trump’s presidency, Fauci consistently contradicted Trump, including when Trump was attempting to get the US past Covid-19 so that authoritarian lockdowns could be lifted.
It turns out that Fauci, like other government bureaucrats who claim to be apolitical, is willing to tweak his messaging when he is pressured by Democratic politicians and liberal activists.
Last week, Fauci said that the United States was ‘out of the pandemic phase’ and that infections and deaths were at a low level.
“We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci said. “Namely we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.”
“So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are. What we hope to do, I don’t believe, and I have spoken about this widely, we’re not going to eradicate this virus,” he said. “If we can keep that level very low, and intermittently vaccinate people — and I don’t know how often that would have to be.”
Then, the White House contradicted him, saying that the pandemic ‘isn’t over. Biden clearly intends to milk the pandemic for all its worth with midterms coming up and isn’t willing to let ‘science’ get in the way.
Presumably, Fauci got a private dressing down from the Biden White House after they were forced to contradict him. Yesterday, he walked back his comments and claimed that he only intended to say that the ‘acute’ phase of the pandemic is over.
“I want to clarify one thing,” Fauci told NPR on Wednesday. “I probably should have said the acute component of the pandemic phase, and I understand how that can lead to some misinterpretation.”
It’s great to know that we are basing the science on what a man who can’t even string a coherent sentencetogether wants it to be.
Biden’s DHS Confirms Plans to Siphon Healthcare Services Away from Veterans to Illegal Aliens at Border
This is lower than low. Just look at the smug look on that scumbag’s face. He needs to locked up NOW!!
President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has seemingly confirmed plans to siphon healthcare services away from American veterans treated at Veterans Affairs (VA) to illegal aliens arriving at the United States-Mexico border.
During a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed to Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) that the Biden administration is in talks with VA officials to potentially transfer doctors and nurses to the southern border to treat illegal aliens arriving every day in record-breaking numbers.
“Is the department planning to reallocate resources, doctors and nurses, from our VA system intended to care for our veterans to illegal immigrants at our southern border?” Hinson asked.
Mayorkas responded, stating that “the resources that the medical personnel from the Veterans Administration would allocate to this effort is under the judgment of the secretary of Veterans Affairs, who prioritizes the interests of veterans above all others for very noble and correct.”
When Hinson asked if Mayorkas had any conversations about the plan, he responded, “I have not personally, but of course, our teams, our personnel have. and I’d be very pleased to follow up with you.”
The remarks come as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) had sought clarification on reports that the Biden administration was looking to siphon doctors and nurses away from the VA toward illegal aliens at the border.
“In the words of one [Customs and Border Protection] official, ‘We’re going to take medical services away from people that really deserve that, who went to combat … to give free medical attention to illegal migrants,’” Hawley wrote in a letter to Mayorkas.
Already, Americans are forced to subsidize medical care for illegal aliens to the tune of $18.5 billion annually. Last year alone, Americans footed the bill for more than $316 million in medical care for border crossers and illegal aliens who were detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News.
Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
Durham Files: 04/25/22; Pages of explicit communications from Fusion GPS to reporters.
Lawsuits for all Americans have been defamed and deplatformed by the media and big tech. The vast Russiagate hoax was one of the largest conspiracies ever to occur in our Democracy. The corrupt corporate media is complicit.
Special Counsel John Durham is investigating ajoin-venture conspiracy.We are documenting his work and making it readily available to you. As he builds his case, we will see in real time how vital it is to our democracy to hold the media accountable.
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Several US life insurance companies have recently revealed an overwhelming unexplained increase (40%) in “all-cause deaths” amongst 18 to 49-year-olds.
Three physician “whistle-blowers” have just released real data from the DoD, drawn from the clinical diagnosis codes. The increases found are from 2021, compared to the five year average from 2016 to 2020.
The $800 million package includes cannons, radars, armored vehicles and helicopters.
Washington is expanding the range of weapons deliveries to Ukraine to include artillery, armored vehicles and helicopters, the Pentagon revealed on Wednesday. US President Joe Biden credited the $2.6 billion in weapons he has supplied to Kiev since February with defeating what he called the Russian plan to “conquer and control” Ukraine.
“The steady supply of weapons the United States and its allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion. It has helped ensure that Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine. We cannot rest now,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House, after his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In addition to more of the “highly effective” Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft rockets, the US will now send “new capabilities tailored to the wider assault” it expects Russian forces to launch in eastern Ukraine, Biden said.
The Pentagon on Wednesday afternoon provided some details about the new aid, which is valued at $800 million – about $50 million more than estimated in leaks to the media on Tuesday.
After Dr. Ardis’ bombshell interview with Stew Peters, everyone wants to know—is he crazy, a heroic whistleblower, or just a humble man trying to share the COVID science he uncovered? Is there any truth to the claims that snake venom and COVID are linked? Today, Seth gives you the chance to ask Dr. Ardis your questions for yourself. Join us for a live Q&A
The corrupt Genocide CDC, Plandemic-Pusher’s, are at it again… as always… using any excuse they can, whether it makes sense or whether science agrees or not have come to another nefarious conclusion about masks mandates.
Here’s the kicker… their heinous excuse this time is to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.
Can someone please explain this to me?
Here’s the article:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to extend the federal transportation mask mandate for another 15 days to early May, according to a Biden administration official familiar with the decision.
The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon from the CDC. The mandate is now set to expire on May 3.The Associated Press was first to report the extension.
The administration official familiar with the decision told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.
“Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the US. In order to assess the potential impact,the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, CDC is recommending that TSAextend the security directive to enforce mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” the official told CNN.
The official added, “This will give additional time for the CDC to learn more about BA.2 and make a best-informed decision.”
The US is now averaging 38,345 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Cases are trending up in more than half of states — including all but one state in the Northeast, Delaware. But the daily rate is still one of the lowest since mid-July.
According to the latest estimates from the CDC, BA.2 caused 86% of new Covid-19 cases nationwide last week.
The mandate , which requires masks on public transportation such as planes, trains, buses — as well as in hubs like airports and bus terminals — had been set to expire on April 18. White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN on Monday that the CDC planned to share a scientific framework this week for the federal transportation mask mandate.
This is a breaking story and will be updated. Source: (CNN)
Now that we have the masks thing cleared up go the next two weeks at least let me take this to another level.
if you’re one of those who’s thinking hasn’t quite caught up with some of your relatives, friends or coworkers or the rest of us, I would really like you to consider adjusting your thinking “outside the box” a little bit for a moment because you deserve to know and understand the truth like the rest of us. If society as a whole doesn’t start to grasp the entire truth of what has been happening and has happened, things are not going to turn out very well for any of us. This much I am convinced.
In case you missed it!
Just in case you missed the “venomous” conclusion regarding the origin of the coronavirus you might want to hear the latest findings. I was blown away! Videos discussion’s centered around the research findings of Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com), the real origin of the virus, the goal of this Plandemic, and who is behind it!
The plandemic continues, but its origins are still a nefarious mystery. How did the world get sick, how did Covid really spread, and did the Satanic elite tell the world about this bioweapon ahead of time? Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com) has unveiled a shocking connection between this pandemic and the eternal battle of good and evil which began in the Garden of Eden.
Here’s a couple of recommended watches for you. Be sure you’re sitting down! I literally watched one of them 3 times last night because I couldn’t believe my ears!
In this Stew Peters Network exclusive, Director Stew Peters, award winning filmmaker Nicholas Stumphauzer and Executive Producer Lauren Witzke bring to light a truth satan himself has fought to suppress.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the new BA.2 variant of COVID will cause an “uptick” of cases which might cause a return to requirements for wearing masks indoors.
Fauci said, “Obviously, there is concern that we are seeing an uptick in cases, as I mentioned over the last couple of weeks, that this is not unexpected, that you’re going to see an uptick when you pull back on the mitigation methods. If you look at the CDC calculation with their new metrics, it’s clear that most of the country, even though we’re seeing an uptick, is still in that green zone, which means that masking is not recommended in the sense of not required on indoor settings.”
He continued, “But as people pull back when you have a highly transmissible virus like the BA.2 variant, and you have pulling back on mitigation methods at the same time there’s waning immunity, we’re going to see an uptick.”
Fauci added, “What we’re hoping happens, and I believe it will, is that you won’t see a concomitant comparable increase in severity In the sense of people requiring hospitalizations and deaths. But the idea that we’re going to see an uptick, I think people need to appreciate that’s the case and follow the CDC guidelines because, remember, when the metrics were put forth, the new metrics looking at the guidance of masking, it was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors. Right now, we’re watching it very, very carefully, and there is concern that it’s going up, but hopefully, we’re not going to see increased severity.”
A new curriculum in New Jersey’s public schools will include lessons related to gender identity and climate change this fall.
Starting this fall, first and second graders in New Jersey’s public schools will be taught about gender identity and climate change according to the curriculum provided to parents in the Westfield school district.
New sex education guidelines were handed out to New Jersey parents at a meeting in February
A 30-minute lesson called ‘Pink, Blue and Purple’ teaches the students to define ‘gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes’
The curriculum also includes instructions for teachers to tell students that their gender identity is up to them
Part of the lesson plan states, ‘You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ”girl” parts’
The materials were reportedly distributed to parents at a Feb. 22 meeting of the Westfield Board of Education
Former Gov. Chris Christie, and other Republican officials, slammed New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy for New Jersey schools planning to teach gender identity to children
The new state sex education guidelines go into effect in September
First-graders in New Jersey will be learning about gender identity with new sex education curriculum which includes a lesson that teaches children they can have ‘boy parts’ but ‘feel like’ a girl.
The new lessons, which are part of a broader, K-12 health and sex education curriculum adopted by the New Jersey Board of Education, are alarming some parents, Asbury Park Press first reported.
One of the 30-minute lesson plans, called ‘Pink, Blue and Purple,’ teaches the students to define ‘gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes.’
Another lesson plan, this one for second-graders called ‘Understanding Our Bodies,’ tells teachers to instruct students that ‘being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts, there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have.’
‘Most people have a vulva and a vagina or a penis and testicles, but some people’s bodies can be different,’ the plan states. ‘Your body is exactly what is right for you.’
The new state sex education guidelines, which go into effect in September, were handed out to parents at the Westfield Board of Education meeting in February, and included instructions for teachers to tell students that their gender identity is up to them.
‘You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ”girl” parts,’ the lesson plan states.
‘You might feel like you’re a girl even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ”boy” parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal!’
Many New Jersey parents are outraged over the new lesson plans, with some weighing the decision to remove their child from the public school system.
Dailymail.com has reached out to the Board of Education for comment.
New lesson plans in NJ instruct teachers to tell students their gender identity is up to them and that ‘being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts’
Pink, Blue and Purple By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:1. Define gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes. 2. Name at least two things they’ve been taught about gender role stereotypes, and how those things may limit people of all genders.Sample lesson: Tell students they are to decide whether what’s in the picture is something that only boys should play with, only girls should play with or that anyone can play with. Discussion Sometimes, when a boy does something that’s not on the ‘boy’ list, or when a girl does something that’s not on the ‘girl’ list, they’ll get teased or even bullied. For example, a boy who cries in front of his friends or likes to play dress up, or a girl who likes to climb or play with rockets.Explain that it is never okay to tease or bully someone else and it’s never okay for someone to tease or bully you.Understanding Our Bodies By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:1. Correctly identify at least four body parts of the female genitals. 2. Correctly identify at least four body parts of the male genitals. 3. Describe why it is important for them to know the correct names for the genitals. This lesson refers to ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ when identifying body parts. The use of a binary construct of gender as well as using gender (boys and girls) rather than the more accurate biological sex (male and female) is purposeful given the developmental stage of students.This lesson does, however, acknowledge that there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have. Being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts, but for most people this is how their bodies are. And, ‘Most people have a vulva and a vagina or a penis and testicles but some people’s bodies can be different. Your body is exactly what is right for you.’Tell students: ‘There are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have.’ ‘These body parts, which are usually covered by clothing or a bathing suit, are sometimes called private parts or genitals and today we want to make sure everyone knows the correct names for these parts and who has what body part.’ Display male body and female body on PowerPoint slides to go over which body parts are different and which ones are the same. Have the class label body parts on male and on female. By asking the class which body parts only girls have, only boys have and both have, the teacher can assess the knowledge of the class.An alternative assessment strategy is for the teacher to ask, ‘Who has a vulva? Girls, boys or both? Who has a penis?’ etc. and have the class respond. By asking students why it might be important to know the correct names for these body parts, the teacher can gauge student understanding by their responses.Source: Lesson plans from Rights, Respect, Responsibility: A K-12 Curriculum
As the addiction and overdose crisis that has gripped the U.S. for two decades turns even deadlier, state governments are scrambling for ways to stem the destruction wrought by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
In statehouses across the country, lawmakers have been considering and adopting laws on two fronts:reducing the risk to users and increasing the penalties for dealing fentanyl or mixing it with other drugs. Meanwhile, Republican state attorneys general are calling for more federal action, while some GOP governors are deploying National Guard units with a mission that includes stopping the flow of fentanyl from Mexico.
“It’s a fine line to help people and try to get people clean, and at the same time incarcerate and get the drug dealers off the streets,” said Nathan Manning, a Republican state senator in Ohio who is sponsoring legislation to make it clear that materials used to test drugs for fentanyl are legal.
The recent case of five West Point cadets who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine during spring break in Florida put the dangers and pervasiveness of the fentanyl crisis back in the spotlight.
The chemical precursors to the drugs are being shipped largely from China to Mexico, where much of the illicit fentanyl supply is produced in labs before being smuggled into the U.S.
While users sometimes seek out fentanyl specifically, it and other synthetics with similar properties are often mixed with other drugs or formed into counterfeit pills so users often don’t know they’re taking it.
Advocates say test strips can help prevent accidental overdoses of drugs laced with fentanyl. The strips are given out at needle exchanges and sometimes at concerts or other events where drugs are expected to be sold or used.
Thomas Stuber, chief legislative officer at The LCADA Way, a drug treatment organization in Ohio that serves Lorain County and nearby areas, has been pushing for the test strip legislation. It also would ease access to naloxone, a drug that can be used to revive people when they’re having opioid overdoses.
“This is a harm-reduction approach that has received a lot of acceptance,” he said. “We cannot treat somebody if they’re dead.”
Since last year, at least a half-dozen states have enacted similar laws and at least a dozen others have considered them, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In West Virginia, the state hardest hit by opioids per capita, lawmakers passed a bill this month to legalize the testing strips. It now heads to the governor.
The measure was sponsored by Republican lawmakers. But state Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat whose district includes central Charleston, has also been pushing for more access to fentanyl strips. He said the situation got worse last year when a state law tightened regulations on needle exchanges, causing some of them to close.
Pushkin, who also is in long-term addiction recovery, is pleased with the passage of the testing strip bill but upset with another measure passed this month that would increase the penalties for trafficking fentanyl. That bill also would create a new crime of adding fentanyl to another drug.
“Their initial reaction is, ‘We have to do something,’” he said. “It’s not just about doing something, it’s about doing the right thing that actually has results.”
But for many lawmakers, making sure that tough criminal penalties apply to fentanyl is a priority.
California Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, a Republican, introduced a measure that would make penalties for dealing fentanyl just as harsh as those for selling cocaine or heroin. The Republican represents Orange County, where there were more than 600 reported fentanyl-related deaths last year.
“This is sending messages to those who aren’t afraid of selling these drugs that there’s a longer, bigger penalty than you might think,” said Nguyen, whose bill failed to advance from her chamber’s public safety committee in a 5-2 vote last week. She said after the bill failed that she was considering trying again.
She said committee members stressed compassion for drug users, something she said she agrees with.
The same day her measure failed to advance, a Democratic lawmaker in California announced a different bill to increase fentanyl-dealing penalties.
The National Conference of State Legislatures found 12 states with fentanyl-specific drug trafficking or possession laws as of last year. Similar measures have been introduced or considered since the start of 2021 in at least 19 states, the Associated Press found in an analysis of bills compiled by LegiScan. That does not include measures to add more synthetic opioids to controlled substance lists to mirror federal law; those have been adopted in many states, with bipartisan support.
Fentanyl has been in the spotlight in Colorado since February, when five people were found dead in a suburban Denver apartment from overdoses of fentanyl mixed with cocaine.
Under state law, possession with intent to distribute less than 14 grams of fentanyl is an offense normally punishable by two to four years in prison. But fentanyl is so potent that 14 grams can represent up to 700 lethal doses, under a calculation used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week unveiled a bill also backed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that would increase penalties for dealers with smaller amounts of fentanyl and in cases where the drug leads to a death. The legislation also would increase the accessibility of naloxone and test strips while steering people who possess fentanyl into education and treatment programs.
Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for harm-reduction measures, is skeptical of the legislation that would increase criminal penalties.
“We have the largest incarceration rate in the entire world and we’re also setting records in terms of overdose deaths,” she said.
Democratic governors are focusing primarily on harm reduction methods. Among them is Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker, who released a broad overdose action plan last month.
Several Republican governors and attorneys general have responded to the rising death toll with administrative enforcement efforts and by pushing for more federal intervention.
Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for states to help secure the border with Mexico. Along with trying to keep people from entering the U.S., stopping the flow of fentanyl was cited as a reason. Several other Republican governors have sent contingents of state troopers or National Guard units.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed about 2,700 cases involving crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs, up nearly tenfold from 2017. Even so, Republican state officials are critical of federal efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the country.
In January, 16 GOP state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to exert more pressure on China and Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl. Those are steps that Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of National Drug Control Policy, said are already being taken.
In March, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for more enforcement on fentanyl trafficking and harsher penalties.
“Fentanyl is killing Americans of all walks of life in unprecedented numbers,” Morrisey said in a statement emailed to the AP, “and the federal government must respond with full force, across the board, using every tool available to stem the tide of death.”
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God Says Ministries the House of Fire is a one man ministry and was founded in 2009, when I had a radical experience in the Presence of God. Bringing the Prophetic Word in Season and out of Season. God Says Miniseries the House of Fire, is also a Evangelist ministry to the Nations where ever God calls me.
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Florida state Rep. Randy Fine said that he plans to push legislation to make it felony chid abuse to give kids drugs or surgeries for gender reassignment.
“I’ve had enough of this nonsense. Next session, I will help shepherd legislation to make it illegal to provide drugs or surgery to a minor for the purpose of alleged ‘gender assignment.’ The legislation will make it felony child abuse punishable by prison and loss of medical license. This legislation would not affect mental counseling,” Fine, a Republican, declared on social media.
While many Floridians would likely support such legislation to protect kids, some state Democrats have already decried the proposal.
“If an adult wants to self-mutilate their body in pursuit of the fiction that they can defy both G-d and science, more power to them — so long as they don’t expect me to pay for it. But no child should be put in the position of making fundamentally life-altering decisions before they are of the age of majority,” he noted. “I can call myself a porcupine, but that doesn’t make it so. It is time for us to dispense with this fantasy — one that is turning our women’s sports into a joke and our schools into a cesspool.”
Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said that Fine’s proposal ought to “shock the conscience.”
“Florida Republicans are on a dangerous course, retaliating against any person or business who expresses support for the LGBTQ+ community,” Smith declared. “This latest threat to criminalize parents and doctors who provide life-saving care for LGBTQ youth should shock the conscience of all Floridians.”
Democratic state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani called Fine’s plan “dangerous” and said it would hurt “marginalized kids.”
While many Floridians would likely support such legislation to protect kids, some state Democrats have already decried the proposal.
Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said that Fine’s proposal ought to “shock the conscience.”
“Florida Republicans are on a dangerous course, retaliating against any person or business who expresses support for the LGBTQ+ community,” Smith declared. “This latest threat to criminalize parents and doctors who provide life-saving care for LGBTQ youth should shock the conscience of all Floridians.”
Democratic state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani called Fine’s plan “dangerous” and said it would hurt “marginalized kids.”
In the wake of fierce criticism of the so-called “don’t say gay” bill, GOP state Rep. Randy Fine says he will sponsor a bill aimed at preventing parents and doctors from providing gender assignment treatment to transgender children.
Fine, R-Palm Bay, said Monday the bill he plans to file next year would make providing drugs or surgery to a minor for gender assignment a felony child abuse crime punishable by prison and/or loss of a medical license. He said the bill would not affect “mental counseling” for minors.
Over 700 people have been arrested in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021. This website provides current information about each one, including relevant news articles, an arrest map, and list of those currently incarcerated. We also provide ways for you to contact those in prison, and to help cover their legal and living expenses. If you would like to provide corrections, updates, or requests, please please contact us.
Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence
The could possibly be the rabbit hole from Hell… Some of it seems like it could make sense but that’s how the work. I wonder what one would find if they dug deep – real deep and followed the money Trail on this subject???
Anthropogenic land use changes drive a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and modify the transmission of endemic infections. These drivers include agricultural encroachment, deforestation, road construction, dam building, irrigation, wetland modification, mining, the concentration or expansion of urban environments, coastal zone degradation, and other activities. These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, disease introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. The Working Group on Land Use Change and Disease Emergence grew out of a special colloquium that convened international experts in infectious diseases, ecology, and environmental health to assess the current state of knowledge and to develop recommendations for addressing these environmental health challenges.
The group established a systems model approach and priority lists of infectious diseases affected by ecologic degradation. Policy-relevant levels of the model include:
specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels.
a) to provide information to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health;
b) to facilitate fully interdisciplinary research from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences and train professionals who can conduct interdisciplinary research; and
c) to engage in science-based communication and assessment for policy making toward sustainable health and ecosystems.
Human-induced land use changes are the primary drivers of a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and also modifiers of the transmission of endemic infections (Patz et al. 2000).
These land use changes include:
coastal zone degradation
the concentration or expansion of urban environments
and other activities.
These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, pathogen introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. These are important and complex issues that are understood only for a few diseases. For example, recent research has shown that forest fragmentation, urban sprawl, and biodiversity loss are linked to increased risk for Lyme disease in the northeastern United States (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001). Expansion and changes in agricultural practices are intimately associated with the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia (Chua et al. 1999; Lam and Chua 2002), cryptosporidiosis in Europe and North America, and a range of food-borne illnesses globally (Rose et al. 2001). Road building is linked to the expansion of bushmeat consumption that may have played a key role in the early emergence of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (Wolfe et al. 2000), and simian foamy virus has been found in bushmeat hunters (Wolfe et al. 2004).
In recognition of the complexity of land use change and the risks and benefits to human health that it entails, a special colloquium titled “Unhealthy Landscapes: How Land Use Change Affects Health” was convened at the 2002 biennial meeting of the International Society for Ecosystem Health (6–11 June 2002, Washington, DC) to address this issue. The invited experts worked to establish consensus on the current state of science and identify key knowledge gaps underlying this issue. This article condenses the working group’s report and presents a new research and policy agenda for understanding land use change and its effects on human health. Specifically, we discuss land-use drivers or human activities that exacerbate infectious diseases; the land–water interface, common to many infectious disease life cycles; and conclusions and recommendations for research and training from the working group.
Land-Use Drivers of Infectious Disease Emergence
The emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) resulting from land use change can be entirely new to a specific location or host species. This may occur either from “spillover” or cross-species transmission or simply by extension of geographic range into new or changed habitats. More than 75% of human diseases are zoonotic and have a link to wildlife and domestic animals (Taylor et al. 2001).
The working group developed an extensive list of processes by which land use affects human health (specifically, infectious disease occurrence) and of other factors that contribute to this relationship: agricultural development, urbanization, deforestation, population movement, increasing population, introduction of novel species/pathogens, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss, habit fragmentation, road building, macro and micro climate changes, hydrological alteration, decline in public health infrastructure, animal-intensive systems, eutrophication, military conflict, monocropping, and erosion (ranked from highest to lowest public health impact by meeting participants). The four mechanisms that were felt to have the greatest impact on public health were changes to the physical environment; movement of populations, pathogens, and trade; agriculture; and urbanization. War and civil unrest were also mentioned as a potentially acute and cross-cutting driver. Infectious disease agents with the strongest documented or suspected links to land use change are listed in Table 1.
Changes to the biophysical environment.
Rates of deforestation have grown exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by rapidly increasing human population numbers, large swaths of species-rich tropical and temperate forests, as well as prairies, grasslands, and wetlands, have been converted to species-poor agricultural and ranching areas. The global rate of tropical deforestation continues at staggering levels, with nearly 2–3% of forests lost globally each year. Parallel with this habitat destruction is an exponential growth in human–wildlife interaction and conflict. This has resulted in exposure to new pathogens for humans, livestock, and wildlife (Wolfe et al. 2000). Deforestation and the processes that lead to it have many consequences for ecosystems. Deforestation decreases the overall habitat available for wildlife species. It also modifies the structure of environments, for example, by fragmenting habitats into smaller patches separated by agricultural activities or human populations. Increased “edge effect” (from a patchwork of varied land uses) can further promote interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts. This edge effect has been well documented for Lyme disease (Glass et al. 1995). Similarly, increased activity in forest habitats (through behavior or occupation) appears to be a major risk factor for leishmaniasis (Weigle et al. 1993). Evidence is mounting that deforestation and ecosystem changes have implications for the distribution of many other microorganisms and the health of human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations.
One example of the effects of land use on human health is particularly noteworthy. Deforestation, with subsequent changes in land use and human settlement patterns, has coincided with an upsurge of malaria and/or its vectors in Africa (Coluzzi 1984, 1994; Coluzzi et al. 1979), in Asia (Bunnag et al. 1979), and in Latin America (Tadei et al. 1998). When tropical forests are cleared for human activities, they are typically converted into agricultural or grazing lands. This process is usually exacerbated by construction of roads, causing erosion and allowing previously inaccessible areas to become colonized by people (Kalliola and Flores Paitán 1998). Cleared lands and culverts that collect rainwater are in some areas far more suitable for larvae of malaria-transmitting anopheline mosquitoes than are intact forests (Charlwood and Alecrim 1989; Jones 1951; Marques 1987).
Another example of the effects of land use on human health involves deforestation and noninfectious disease: the contamination of rivers with mercury. Soil erosion after deforestation adds significant mercury loads, which are found naturally in rainforest soils, to rivers. This has led to fish in the Amazon becoming hazardous to eat (Fostier et al. 2000; Veiga et al. 1994).
This alters the composition of host species in an environment and can change the fundamental ecology of microorganisms. Because of the nature of food webs within ecosystems, organisms at higher trophic levels exist at a lower population density and are often quite sensitive to changes in food availability. The smaller patches left after fragmentation often do not have sufficient prey for top predators, resulting in local extinction of predator species and a subsequent increase in the density of their prey species. Logging and road building in Latin America have increased the incidence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2001), which in some areas has resulted from an increase in the number of fox reservoirs and sandfly vectors that have adapted to the peridomestic environment (Patz et al. 2000). Foxes, however, are not very important reservoirs for leishmaniasis in Latin America (Courtenay et al. 2002), and a more important factor in the transmission cycle includes domestic dogs.
Ostfeld and Keesing (2000) have demonstrated that smaller fragments in North American forests have fewer small mammal predators. Results suggest that the probability that a tick will become infected depends on not only the density of white-footed mice but also the density of mice relative to that of other hosts in the community. Under this scenario, the density effect of white-footed mice, which are efficient reservoirs for Lyme disease, can be “diluted” by an increasing density of alternative hosts, which are less efficient at transmitting Lyme disease. These results suggest that increasing host diversity (species richness) may decrease the risk of disease through a “dilution effect” (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001).
Gold mining is an extractive industry that damages local and regional environments and has adverse human health effects, because mercury is used to extract gold from riverbeds in the tropical forests. Not only does mercury accumulate in local fish populations, making them toxic to eat (Lebel et al. 1996, 1998), but mercury also suppresses the human immune system. Also, in gold-mining areas, more mosquito-breeding sites and increased malaria risk result from digging gem pits in the forest and from craters resulting from logging; broader disease spread occurs as populations disperse throughout the region (Silbergeld et al. 2002).
Movement of populations, pathogens, and trade.
The movement of humans, domestic animals, wildlife populations, and agricultural products through travel, trade, and translocations is a driver of infectious disease emergence globally. These sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate movements of infectious disease and vectors (e.g., the introduction of smallpox and measles to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors) will continue to rise via continually expanding global travel and by development of Third World populations. Human introduction of pathogens, hosts, or materials into new areas has been termed “pathogen pollution” (Daszak et al. 2000).
Land use changes drive some of these introductions and migrations and also increase the vulnerability of habitats and populations to these introductions. Human migrations also drive land use changes that in turn drive infectious disease emergence. For example, in China’s Yunnan Province, an increase in livestock populations and migration has led to an increase in the incidence of schistosomiasis (Jiang et al. 1997). In Malaysia, a combination of deforestation, drought, and wildfires has led to alterations in the population movements and densities of flying foxes, large fruit bats known to be the reservoir for the newly emergent zoonosis Nipah virus (Chua et al. 1999). It is believed that the increased opportunity for contact between infected bats and pigs produced the outbreak of the disease in pigs, which then was transmitted to people in contact with infected pigs (Aziz et al. 2002).
Another example of human-induced animal movement on a much larger scale is the international pet trade. This movement of animals involves many countries and allows for the introduction of novel pathogens, such as monkeypox, with the potential to damage ecosystems and threaten human and animal health. Monkeypox was originally associated with bushmeat hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius); after a localized epidemic emerged in humans, monkeypox persisted for four generations via human-to-human contact (Jezek et al. 1986).
Human movement also has significant implications for public health. Not only are travelers (tourists, businesspeople, and other workers) at risk of contracting communicable diseases when visiting tropical countries, but they also can act as vectors for delivering infectious diseases to another region or, in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), potentially around the world. Refugees account for a significant number of human migrants, carrying diseases such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis and various parasites (Loutan et al. 1997). Because of their status, refugees become impoverished and are more exposed to a wide range of health risks. This is caused by the disruption of basic health services, inadequate food and medical care, and lack of clean water and sanitation (Toole and Waldman 1997). People who cross international boundaries, such as travelers, immigrants, and refugees, may be at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, especially those who have no immunity because the disease agents are uncommon in their native countries. Immigrants may come from nations where diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, and refugees may come from situations where crowding and malnutrition create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases such as cholera, shigellosis, malaria, and measles [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1998].
The importance of zoonotic diseases should be emphasized. Zoonotic pathogens are the most significant cause of EIDs affecting humans, both in the proportion of EIDs that they cause and in the impact that they have. Some 1,415 species of infectious organisms are known to be pathogenic to people, with 61% of them being zoonotic. Of the emerging pathogens, 75% are zoonotic, and zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than are nonzoonotic pathogens (Taylor et al. 2001). More important, zoonotic pathogens cause a series of EIDs with high case fatality rates and no reliable cure, vaccine, or therapy (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Nipah virus disease, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome). Zoonotic pathogens also cause diseases that have some of the highest incidence rates globally [e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)]. AIDS is a special case, because it is caused by a pathogen that jumped host from nonhuman primates and then evolved into a new virus. Thus, it is in origin a zoonotic organism (Hahn et al. 2000).
Because of the important role of zoonoses in current public health threats, wildlife and domestic animals play a key role in the process by providing a “zoonotic pool” from which previously unknown pathogens may emerge (Daszak et al. 2001). The influenza virus is an example, causing pandemics in humans after periodic exchange of genes among the viruses of wild and domestic birds, pigs, and humans. Fruit bats are involved in a high-profile group of EIDs that includes rabies and other lyssaviruses, Hendra virus and Menangle virus (Australia), and Nipah virus (Malaysia and Singapore), which has implications for further zoonotic disease emergence. A number of species are endemic to both remote oceanic islands and more populous suburban and rural human settlements; these may harbor enzootic and potentially zoonotic pathogens with an unknown potential for spillover (Daszak et al. 2000).
Thus, some of the current major infectious threats to human health are EIDs and reemerging infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on zoonotic pathogens transferring hosts from wildlife and domestic animals. A common, defining theme for most EIDs (of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and plants) is that they are driven to emerge by anthropogenic changes to the environment. Because threats to wildlife habitat are so extensive and pervading, many of the currently important human EIDs (e.g., AIDS, Nipah virus disease) are driven partly by human-induced changes to wildlife habitat such as encroachment and deforestation. This is essentially a process of natural selection in which anthropogenic environmental changes perturb the host–parasite dynamic equilibrium, leading to the expansion of those strains suited to the new environmental conditions and facilitating expansion of others into new host species (Daszak et al. 2001).
Crop irrigation and breeding sites.
Agriculture occupies about half of the world’s land and uses more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water (Horrigan et al. 2002). Agricultural development in many parts of the world has increased the need for crop irrigation, which reduces water availability for other uses and increases breeding sites for disease vectors. An increase in soil moisture associated with irrigation development in the southern Nile Delta after the construction of the Aswan High Dam has caused a rapid rise in the mosquito Culex pipiens and consequential increase in the arthropod-borne disease Bancroftian filariasis (Harb et al. 1993; Thompson et al. 1996). Onchocerciasis and trypanosomiasis are further examples of vector-borne parasitic diseases that may be triggered by changing land-use and water management patterns. In addition, large-scale use of pesticides has had deleterious effects on farm workers, including hormone disruption and immune suppression (Straube et al. 1999).
Once agricultural development has expanded and produced food sufficient to meet local need, the food products are exported to other nations, where they can pose a risk to human health. The increase in imported foods has resulted in a rise in food-borne illness in the United States. Strawberries from Mexico, raspberries from Guatemala, carrots from Peru, and coconut milk from Thailand have caused recent outbreaks. Food safety is an important factor in human health, because food-borne disease accounts for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year (CDC 2003). Other dangers include antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as Cyclospora, EscherichiacoliO157:H7, and other pathogenic E. coli strains associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome in children (Dols et al. 2001).
Agricultural secondary effects need to be minimized, such as the emerging microbial resistance from antibiotics in animal waste that is included in farm runoff and the introduction of microdams for irrigation in Ethiopia that resulted in a 7-fold increase in malaria (Ghebreyesus et al. 1999).
On a global basis, the proportion of people living in urban centers will increase to an unprecedented 65% by the year 2030 (Population Reference Bureau 1998). The 2000 census shows that 80% of the U.S. population now lives in metropolitan areas, with 30% living in cities of 5 million or more. The environmental issues posed by such large population centers have profound impacts on public health beyond the city limits (Knowlton 2001).
Alterations of ecosystems and natural resources contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious disease agents. Human encroachment of wildlife habitat has broadened the interface between wildlife and humans, increasing opportunities for both the emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife and their transmission to people. Rabies is an example of a zoonotic disease carried by animals that has become habituated to urban environments. Bats colonize buildings, skunks and raccoons scavenge human refuse, and in many countries feral dogs in the streets are common and the major source of human infection (Singh et al. 2001).
Infectious diseases can also pass from people to wildlife. Nonhuman primates have acquired measles from ecotourists (Wallis and Lee 1999). Also, drug resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria of wild baboons living with limited human contact is significantly less common than in baboons living with human contact near urban or semiurban human settlements (Rolland et al. 1985).
The Land–Water Interface
Another major driver of infectious disease emergence results from the land–water interface. Land use changes often involve water projects or coastal marine systems in which nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algal blooms.
Currently the seventh Cholera pandemic is spreading across Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1992, a new serogroup (Vibrio cholerae O139) appeared and has been responsible for epidemics in Asia (Colwell 1996). The seasonality of cholera epidemics may be linked to the seasonality of plankton (algal blooms) and the marine food chain. Studies using remote-sensing data of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton have shown a correlation between cholera cases and sea surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal. Interannual variability in cholera incidence in Bangladesh is also linked to the El Niño southern oscillation and regional temperature anomalies (Lobitz et al. 2000), and cholera prevalence has been associated with progressively stronger El Niño events spanning a 70-year period (Rodo et al. 2002). This observation on cholera incidence may represent an early health indicator of global climate change (Patz 2002).
Infectious diseases in marine mammals and sea turtles could serve as sentinels for human disease risk. Sea turtles worldwide are affected by fibropapillomatosis, a disease probably caused by one or several viruses and characterized by multiple epithelial tumors. Field studies support the observation that prevalence of this disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae (Aguirre and Lutz, in press). This represents the breakdown of the land–water interface, to the point that several pathogens typical of terrestrial ecosystems have become established in the oceans. Toxoplasmosis in the endangered sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents an example of pathogen pollution. Massive mortalities in pinnipeds and cetaceans reaching epidemics of tens of thousands are caused by four morbilliviruses evolving from the canine distemper virus (Aguirre et al. 2002). Additionally, overfishing has myriad ramifications for marine ecosystems and sustainable protein food sources for human populations.
Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that completes its life cycle within the intestine of mammals, sheds high numbers of infectious oocysts that are dispersed in feces. A recent study found that 13% of finished treated water still contained Cryptosporidium oocysts, indicating some passage of microorganisms from source to treated drinking water (LeChevallier and Norton 1995). The protozoan is highly prevalent in ruminants and is readily transmitted to humans. Thus, management of livestock contamination of watersheds is an important public health issue.
One example of how overexploitation of a natural water resource led to infectious disease is that of Lake Malawi in Africa. Overfishing in the lake reduced the population of snail-eating fish to such a level that snail populations erupted. Subsequently, schistosomiasis incidence and prevalence markedly rose after this ecologic imbalance (Madsen et al. 2001).
Recommendations from the Working Group
Conceptual model: bringing land use into public health policy.
The recommendations stemming from the international colloquium are highly relevant to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a broad multiagency/foundation-sponsored scientific assessment of degraded ecosystem effects on human well-being. A conceptual framework of the MEA already provides an approach to optimize the contribution of ecosystems to human health (MEA 2003). This framework offers a mechanism to a) identify options that can better achieve human development and sustainable goals, b) better understand the trade-offs involved in environment-related decisions, and c) align response options at all scales, from the local to the global, where they can be most effective. This conceptual framework focuses on human well-being while also recognizing associated intrinsic values. Similar to the MEA, focus is particularly on the linkages between ecosystem services and human health. Workshop participants developed a conceptual model (Figure 1). Like the MEA, it assumes a dynamic interaction between humans and ecosystems that warrants a multiscale assessment (spatial and temporal).
By using this framework, policy makers may approach development and health at various levels. These levels include specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels. For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlinkage between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).
As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost. In rich and temperate-climate communities, the infectious disease shifts tend to be more disease specific, for example, in the case of Lyme disease and habitat fragmentation.
Research on deforestation and infectious disease.
Considering the deforestation that usually accompanies agricultural development, new conservation-oriented agriculture should be pursued. As discussed above, water project development and modern livestock management present major health disease risks. However, often the secondary unintended consequences can also wreak havoc; for example, a leaking dam may present greater risks than the reservoir itself. A distressingly large number of development projects not only have adverse effects on human health but also fail to attain their primary economic purposes in a sustainable manner.
Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by forest destruction, desertification, or land-use conversion, affects human and wildlife health and ecosystem processes. There is already much research undertaken by landscape ecologists on the consequences of habitat fragmentation for wildlife, especially larger animals. It would be important to study the effects of landscape fragmentation on public health hazards. Such research could entail three components. The first component consists of gathering baseline data, including using historical data where possible and beginning monitoring programs where necessary. Key data include identifying and quantifying the relevant pathogen load of wildlife, livestock, and human communities in fragmented landscapes. The goals of this data collection are, first, to identify key infectious diseases, both chronic and emergent or reemergent and, second, to document the consequences of fragmentation on relative abundance of wildlife and subsequent pathogen load. For example, the loss of large predators in fragmented habitats in the northeastern United States has led to a superabundance of rodent vectors for Lyme disease.
The second component of the research program would involve health impact modeling, primarily in three areas: a) estimating changes in the relative abundance of organisms, including infectious disease vectors, pathogens, and hosts; b) projecting potential vector or transmission shifts (e.g., should the Nipah virus shift to pulmonary as well as neurologic expression in humans as in swine); and c) projecting the impact of infectious diseases in a region on different geographic scales.
The results of these analyses, if successful, could support the third component of research: development of decision-support tools. Improved decisions on land-use policy could be made from a better understanding of costs and benefits to health and environmental decision makers. In all probability, however, they will be very location specific. For example, to construct an irrigation scheme in India would likely invite a malaria epidemic, whereas the same activity in sub-Saharan Africa may have little effect on malaria transmission. It is worth mentioning that costs and benefits could depend on the time course over which they are assessed. For example, some land-use changes can lead to short-term increases in transmission followed by longer-term decreases (e.g., irrigation and malaria in Sri Lanka) or vice versa (e.g., deforestation and cutaneous leishmaniasis in Latin America).
Policies to reduce microbial traffic/pathogen pollution.
In today’s interconnected world, it becomes very important to invest in the worldwide control of infectious diseases in developing countries, for example. It is also necessary to control transport to stem the flow from one place to the next.
Improved monitoring of trade is warranted in order to target infectious disease introductions. In the attempt to prevent the invasion of a pathogen (and drug-resistant organisms) into the vulnerable areas subject to land use changes, we need to pay greater attention to controls at the sources. We need to document and map these trades and investigate the vectors, the infectious diseases they harbor, and the populations they threaten. Risk assessment should guide surveillance and the development of test kits, targeting point-of-origin intervention to preempt these processes. Assessments must further include nonmarket costs (usually to the detriment of the environment and long-term sustainable health). We should communicate to both the exporters and consumers the need to make their trades clean, economically viable, and certified “clean and green” by an independent scientific agency at the source and/or destination. Additionally, strategies for screening travelers for pathogens that may be introduced to a region should be improved.
Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training.
One approach to developing the issues to which this article draws attention is the creation of a system of regional- or subregional-based interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training. Based at regional universities and/or research institutes but with very close links to the surrounding communities, these centers would have the following objectives:
Providing information based on good science to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health, including the factors that contribute to specific infectious disease outbreaks. The new research agenda must gather information on household and community perspectives about proposals for the use of their land. These perspectives are key to assessing the cost/benefit of a proposed project. Training local professionals in environmental, agricultural, and health science issues, with a particular focus on granting degrees in a new “trans”-discipline linking health and the environment, would be emphasized.
Acting as centers of integrated analysis of infectious disease emergence, incorporating perspectives and expertise from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences. Research activities would range from taxonomy of pathogens and vectors to identifying best practices for influencing changes in human behavior to reduce ecosystem and health risks.
Incorporating a “health impact assessment” as an important cross-sectorial decision-making tool in overall development planning (parallel to an environmental impact assessment), along with the need for doing more research.
Equipping professionals with the ability to recommend policy toward maintaining ecosystem function and promoting sustainable public health for future generations. For example, the link between forest fragmentation and Lyme disease risk could lead to preserving more intact tracts of forest habitat by planning “cluster” housing schemes.
Implementing research and policy programs.
In selecting areas for research and the placement of centers of excellence, it is important to choose geographically representative, highly diverse areas around the world. In addition, research projects should take place in regions or landscapes that have both well characterized and less characterized patterns of infectious disease emergence or transmission for comparison purposes. Local health and environment professionals, who are in the best position to understand local priorities, should make the choices within each region for initial research areas and sites.
Addressing trade-offs among environment, health, and development.
There are some inherent trade-offs when considering land-use change and health. They are ethical values, environmental versus health choices, and disparities in knowledge and economic class. Trade-offs are between short-term benefit and long-term damage. For example, draining swamps may reduce vector-borne disease hazards but also destroy the wetland ecosystem and its inherent services (e.g., water storage, water filtration, biologic productivity, and habitats for fish and wildlife). Research can help decision making by identifying and assessing trade-offs in different land-use-change scenarios. Balancing the diverse needs of people, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem will always be a prominent feature.
When considering issues of land use and infectious disease emergence, the public needs to be attentive to entire ecosystems rather than simply their local environs. Although we may not live within a certain environment, its health may indirectly affect our own. For example, intact forests support complex ecosystems and provide essential habitats for species that are specialized to those flora and that may be relevant to our health. If these complex relationships are disrupted, there may be unforeseen impacts on human health, as the above examples clearly demonstrate.
Three new initiatives are rising to the challenges presented above. The first initiative, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), was formed recently to address these health challenges at the interface of ecology, wildlife health, and public health (Figure 2). At its core, conservation medicine champions the integration of techniques and partnering of scientists from diverse disciplines, particularly veterinary medicine, conservation biology, and public health. Through the consortium, therefore, these experts work with educators, policy makers, and conservation program managers to devise approaches that improve the health of both species and humans simultaneously [more information is available from the CCM website (CCM 2004)].
The second initiative, the new international journal EcoHealth, focuses on the integration of knowledge at the intersection of ecologic and health sciences. The journal provides a gathering place for research and reviews that integrate the diverse knowledge of ecology, health, and sustainability, whether scientific, medical, local, or traditional. The journal will encourage development and innovation in methods and practice that link ecology and health, and it will ensure clear and concise presentation to facilitate practical and policy application [more information is available from the EcoHealth website (EcoHealth 2004)].
The third initiative, the MEA, is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human health and well-being and for options in responding to those changes. This assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and will help to meet the assessment needs of international environmental forums, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as the needs of other users in the private sector and civil society [more information is available from the Millennium Assessment Working Groups website (Millennium Assessment Working Groups 2004)].
As this working group of researchers continues to work on these topics, we face three challenges. First, strong trans-disciplinary research partnerships need to be forged to approach the research with the degree of creative thinking and comprehensiveness required by the nature of the problems. Second, if the work is to influence policy, the choice of questions and the research must be undertaken collaboratively with the local community and also through discussion with decision makers in government, industry, civil society, and other sectors. Third, investigators must consider how they can integrate their findings into the social, economic, and political dialogue on both the environment and health, globally and locally. As links between land use and health are elucidated, an informed public will more readily use such discoveries to better generate political will for effective change.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services re-interpreted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The move will force hospitals to give transgender people ‘gender-affirming’ healthcare if they receive federal funding.
This week, the HHS followed up with a threatening letter to states that pass laws contradicting the edict and doctors that refuse to comply. The letter says that anyone who is not given proper care for ‘gender dysphoria’ or ‘perception of gender dysphoria,’ a supposed medical condition where someone doubts their gender identity, can get recoursse through legal action.
After the HHS mandate last year, America First Legal sued the Department of Health and Human Services for its unconstitutional and far-reaching order.
President Joe Biden, in a widely expected but nevertheless highly disappointing to many anti-illegal immigration activists move, decided to end Title 42, an immigration law implemented by the Trump Administration that gave immigration authorities the ability to more easily and quickly get rid of illegal immigrants. Just the News, reporting on that move, notes that:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday the end of enforcement of Title 42, a decades-old federal law impose by the Trump administration to limit immigration to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
The announcement was widely expected and will be effective May 23, a date that was also expected.
The CDC, the agency technically responsible for the law because it related to public health and the pandemic, announced the end of Title 42 by saying in a statement that:
“In consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this termination will be implemented on May 23, 2022, to enable DHS time to implement appropriate COVID-19 mitigation protocols, such as scaling up a program to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to migrants and prepare for resumption of regular migration under Title 8.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary.“
Team Biden, for its part, argued that ending the measure would not mean that illegal immigrants would be able to stay in the US, arguing in a press conference conducted by Kate Beddingfield that:
“To be clear, most individuals who crossed the border without legal authorization will be promptly placed into removal proceedings and if they are unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, they’ll be expeditiously removed.
“As a reminder, economic need and flight from generalized violence is not a basis for asylum, but rather asylum is for those with a well-founded fear of persecution on a protected ground.”
Biden’s lackey can claim whatever she wants, but illegal immigrants themselves don’t seem to believe her. They, supposedly in desperate need of help but still somehow able to stay up to date on changes to US policy, have been massing around the border in expectation of Title 42 being done away with. As I reported a few days ago:
[A]ccording to Axios, there are not only perhaps 170,000 migrants waiting to head to the border once Title 42 ends, but there are also perhaps 25,000 migrants waiting along the US-Mexico border to cross once it’ll be harder to deport them.
So, while Team Biden claims that getting rid of a major tool for removing illegals won’t prove deleterious to the anti-illegal immigration mission, a tool Yahoo reports has been used about 1.7 million times in the Biden presidency, the illegal immigrants who are risking the border crossing seem to think otherwise. That means, at the very least, that the Border Patrol officer bravely manning the border despite Biden’s bumbling could soon have an even larger problem to deal with.
A new study into 2020 election discrepancies in six battleground states claims that there were at least 250,000 “excess votes” for Joe Biden, and potentially many more.
The claim is made in a forthcoming peer-reviewed study conducted by economist and gun expert John Lott Jr. for the journal Public Choice. The study awaits final approval but it says that many as 368,000 excess votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin may have tipped the election to Joe Biden, according to Lott, who reported his findings at Real Clear Politics.
“Biden only carried these states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – by a total of 313,253 votes. Excluding Michigan, the gap was 159,065.”
Lott insists that the point of his work “isn’t to contest the 2020 election,” but rather to point out “that we have a real problem that needs to be dealt with.”
“Americans must have confidence in future elections,” he says.
Lott also blames some Trump allies, like Sidney Powell, for discrediting valid concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election by promising to “Release the Kraken” and then providing no evidence.
Lott, however, argues that he has the receipts. He reviewed voter registration rolls, in-person vote counts, absentee voting, and provisional ballots in various counties where fraud allegedly took place and compared them to like counties where these metrics should have been similar. Instead, he found statistically improbable differences, suggesting that fraud may have occurred.
“In 2016, there was no unexplained gap in absentee ballot counts. But 2020 was a different story,” Lott explained. “Just in Fulton County, Georgia, my test yielded an unexplained 17,000 votes – 32% more than Biden’s margin over Trump in the entire state.”
Lott ran similar comparisons in counties in other states and found similar discrepancies.
“Republican-leaning swing state counties had higher turnouts relative to the 2016 election. Democratic-leaning counties had lower turnouts, except for the Democratic counties with alleged vote fraud, which had very high turnouts.”
Lott believes that his estimates actually “understate” the “true amount of fraud,” as he did not attempt to identify potential in-person fraud. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that it’s too late to resolve what happened in 2020, and that we need to look toward fixing the problems that make our elections susceptible to fraud.
“Vote fraud erodes trust in elections, and makes people less motivated to vote,” Lott said. “Compared to Europe and other developed countries, America is unique in its lax approach to vote fraud.”
“When all demographic and political groups in the U.S. support voter photo IDs and even 46% of Democrats believe that mail-in voting leads to cheating, ignoring Americans’ concerns won’t make the problem go away,” Lott said.