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Post by thelivyjr » Thu May 28, 2020 1:40 p


"State assemblyman calls for Zucker's firing over virus directive"

By Yancey Roy @yanceyroy

Updated April 28, 2020 10:00 AM

ALBANY — A Long Island assemblyman on Monday said the state health commissioner should be fired for requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients.

Assemb. Mike LiPetri (R-South Farmingdale), who is running for Congress in a Republican primary, said the directive issued by Dr. Howard Zucker, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s health commissioner, has “very likely led to the deaths and/or infections of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.”

LiPetri referred to a March 25 directive that nursing homes cannot deny “readmission or admission solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”

He called it an “unconscionable directive.”

“This policy not only defies common sense, it (also) puts those most vulnerable in our society face-to-face with this deadly virus,” LiPetri said.

Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), LiPetri's opponent in the primary, also called on the state Assembly Health Committee to investigate and hold hearings on nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

The Cuomo administration has defended the directive, which required nursing homes to accept virus patients from hospitals after they were deemed medically stable, by noting nursing homes did not have to accept the patients if they could not care for them safely.

In response to LiPetri, Cuomo aide Rich Azzopardi said, “We’re fighting a pandemic and now is not the time for cheap personal attacks by cheap politicians looking for cheap press."

The policy was intended to free up hospital beds in case of an overflow amid the pandemic.

Nursing homes say it may have introduced the virus to facilities with a vulnerable population. although they can’t medically prove it led to a spike in cases.

Zucker has been one of Cuomo’s point persons in mapping out a state strategy to deal with the virus and has appeared at almost all the governor’s daily briefings.

Azzopardi cited Zucker’s extensive credentials, including serving as a federal Health and Human Services secretary and assistant director for the World Health Organization.

In the last week, Cuomo repeatedly has defended the directive.

He’s said if a nursing home lacked the space, equipment and staff to provide the required care for a COVID-19 patient, it could decline admission.

That would mean transferring an infected person to another nursing home.

At the same time, the governor has described nursing homes as possibly providing a “feeding frenzy” for the virus.

He said that view and the March 25 directive weren’t at odds.

“We have vacancies in nursing homes and facilities,’’ Cuomo said.

On Monday, Azzopardi said the directive was consistent with New Jersey, Connecticut and others, and added: “Let’s start with the facts."

"The order states that you can’t discriminate, but you need proper facilities and proper staffing with proper protective equipment."

"If a nursing home doesn’t meet this criteria, they can’t accept the patient.”

The head of the statewide nursing home advocacy group has said the March 25 directive “unnecessarily fanned the flames of this fire.”

Stephen Hanse, CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association, told Newsday nursing homes lacked the help Cuomo provided hospitals in obtaining masks and other safety equipment for patients and staff.

But Hanse also said it’s difficult to determine if the administration’s order triggered more COVID-19 cases in nursing homes.

To date, more than 3,000 nursing home patients have died from the virus.

By Yancey Roy @yanceyroy ... 1.44208329

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu May 28, 2020 1:40 p


"Questions about COVID-19 test accuracy raised across the testing spectrum"

Lauren Dunn and Linda Carroll and Patrick Martin and Akshay Syal

27 MAY 2020

For Sarah Bowen, it all started with a sore throat. Not the kind of searing pain she'd feel with strep, she said, but a throat irritation that just didn't feel right.

"By the end of the day, it just got a little worse and I didn't feel great."

"I felt like I might be coming down with something."

"And the next day, things got worse," Bowen, 31, of Portland, Oregon, said.

Bowen works at a doctor's office, where she was immediately able to get tested for COVID-19, on May 8.

It came back negative, and her doctor said the symptoms were most likely allergies or another virus.

But from there, things snowballed.

Bowen developed headaches, a stuffy nose, hot flash symptoms and constant headaches.

By day six, she felt like she was hit by a truck.

She had extreme fatigue and a burning sensation in her chest.

"I started getting shortness of breath if I went upstairs to get water or something," Bowen said.

"It got worse when I moved around."

Two days later, she took another test for COVID.

Again, it came back negative.

But despite her symptoms, her doctor didn't believe she had the virus, because there weren't many cases in the Portland suburb where she lives.

Frustrated, Bowen continued to isolate alone in the downstairs of her home.

She didn't want to take any chances.

"It's one thing to get sick and know it's a cold or the flu."

"But to get sick during a pandemic and to be kind of dismissed, makes you feel crazy," she said.

Bowen's diagnosis remains unclear, but her experience raises questions about the accuracy of diagnostic tests for the disease.

Indeed, as more and more people have access to testing, new data show that false negatives on COVID-19 tests may be more common than first realized.

And as the U.S. starts to reopen, accurate testing is one of the most important tools in states' arsenals to track — and stop — the spread of the coronavirus.

Accuracy issues

Since the pandemic started spreading across the United States in March, nearly 70 tests have received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Many of these tests were developed at a breakneck pace in an effort to get tests out to the American people.

But while no test is perfect, experts told NBC News that these particular tests — used to diagnose COVID-19 — may be missing up to 20 percent of positive cases.

One key reason behind these so-called false negatives may be how the testing samples are collected.

"The false negatives are mainly due to specimen acquisition, not the testing per se," said Dr. Alan Wells, medical director for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center clinical laboratories and a professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Most tests use a method called polymerase chain reaction or PCR.

It detects coronavirus genetic material that's present when the virus is active.

Clinicians typically collect a sample for testing from the back of a person's throat — where the virus is presumed to be — with a long nasopharyngeal swab.

But scientists say that collection method is ripe for error.

"You're sampling blindly."

"You're hoping you get the right spot."

"Then as the disease progresses, the virus might migrate down into your lungs," Wells said, adding that once it's in the lungs, that nasopharyngeal swab may not pick up any virus if it's already been cleared from the throat.

"You have to be at the right place at the right time," he said.

Another type of diagnostic test forgoes the uncomfortable swab altogether, and instead uses saliva collected in a test tube.

Once the sample arrives in the lab, it's tested the same way, with PCR.

But Wells said those tests could fare even worse.

"The reason for pharyngeal swabs is the virus preferentially infects and replicates starting way back in the inner cavities of the nose and not out in front," where it may come into contact with saliva, he said, adding that saliva tests could end up missing up to 50 percent of asymptomatic positive cases.

Making things even more complicated, a May 13 study in Annals of Internal Medicine, from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, found that test timing is also essential to getting an accurate result.

Lead study author Dr. Lauren Kucirka, a medical resident at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said testing too early after exposure to the virus substantially raises the risk of a false negative.

"If you have someone who has been exposed and they've started to develop symptoms, it probably makes sense to wait a few days before testing," Kucirka told NBC News.

Her study found that three days after the onset of symptoms is when the test is most likely valid.

But besides issues with how and when test samples are collected, questions are also being raised about the quality of the diagnostic tests themselves.

In other words, even if samples are collected perfectly, at the ideal time, the tests could turn up incorrect results.

A commentary published in April in Mayo Clinic Proceedings criticized the reliance on PCR tests, saying that even when tests are 90 percent accurate, that still leaves a substantial number of false test results.

The article's co-author, Dr. Priya Sampathkumar, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic, used California as an example in a statement: If the entire population of 40 million people were tested, there would be 2 million false negative results.

Even if only 1 percent of the population was tested, there would be 20,000 false negatives.

"The biggest problem with that is you create a false sense of security," Wells said.

Not just PCR problems

Another type of COVID-19 diagnostic test, Abbott Labs' popular ID NOW point-of-care test, has also come under fire in recent weeks, after the FDA issued an alert that it may not always be accurate.

The test, which uses a method different from PCR, called isothermal nucleic acid amplification, can deliver results in five to 13 minutes.

It's used by doctors across the country and touted by the White House as what's used to test President Donald Trump and other staffers.

One small study by NYU Langone Health found that the test returned false negatives for nearly 50 percent of certain samples that a rival test had found to be positive.

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

In response, Abbott last week released interim data on several of its own studies finding that accuracy was significantly better, in some cases nearly 100 percent, especially when performed in patients who were tested early after their onset of symptoms.

But anecdotal reports have also found issues with accuracy, leading some of the nation's largest medical centers to stop or never even start using it.

NBC News spoke with 10 medical centers and hospitals across the country; seven said they weren't using the Abbott test.

All seven cited issues with accuracy, including Jackson Memorial Hospital System in Miami, which said in a statement that they "identified some issues with the accuracy, which is to be expected when the medical science is so new and evolving so quickly around this virus."

"The best fit for Jackson was to transition to other testing platforms that have high-quality accuracy rates and quick turnaround times for results."

A Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokesman told NBC News that "No patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been tested via the Abbott ID NOW rapid test."

"Here, there were concerns about the sensitivity of that test."

Some hospitals continuing to use the Abbott test, such as Sutter Health Hospitals in California, said they often will confirm any negative results with another PCR test if there is clinical suspicion of COVID-19.

Abbott told NBC News in a statement that to date, the company has delivered more than 2 million tests to all 50 states.

"Our customers are telling us that they're seeing positivity rates from ID NOW testing at or above local community infection rates, which means that ID NOW is detecting the virus at the same level as lab-based testing," the statement said in part.

"If there were any systemic problem with ID NOW producing false negatives, that wouldn't be the case."

Catching up to science

The bigger issue may be that test manufacturers just haven't caught up to science.

It's not just COVID-19 tests that have issues with accuracy.

In fact, diagnostic tests for all sorts of common diseases are not even close to perfect.

Take rapid strep throat tests, for instance.

According to a Cochrane Review, those tests have a sensitivity of just 86 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says rapid flu tests are even worse, with a sensitivity ranging from 50 to 70 percent.

Rapid strep and rapid flu tests look for antigens — proteins made by the infectious pathogen — rather than genetic material.

The first antigen test for COVID-19 received an emergency use authorization from the FDA earlier this month, but questions have already been raised about its accuracy.

Taken together, it's why Dr. Ania Wajnberg, associate director of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said that diagnostic tests need to be put together with clinical suspicion.

"We still have a lot to learn, but testing itself is hugely important," Wajnberg said.

"If it's not perfect, it doesn't mean it's not useful."

Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook. ... &ocid=iehp

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu May 28, 2020 1:40 p

Syosset Jericho Tribune

"Should Dr. Howard Zucker Be Questioned?"

By Letters To The Editor

April 15, 2020


New Yorkers must question Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner, who previously served as the Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization.

Dr. Zucker had a previous New York State role as the first deputy commissioner. He worked on the State Department of Health’s preparedness and response initiatives for natural disasters and emergencies.

Zucker had previous experience as a “White House Fellow” during 9/11, under then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, so here is someone that had nearly 20 years to study disasters as they might effect the healthcare system.

Given Dr. Zucker’s extensive background, access to health experts, and previous experience at the World Health Organization, one must ask what he knew about coronavirus (COVID-19) during the months from December 2019 to February 2020?

Why did Dr. Zucker mention a surge of influenza cases in December of 2019 in a January 9, 2020 press release, but did little until March of that year?

Why did every single press release omit references to China and other countries until January 24?

Did he know what was happening in China and not tell Governor Andrew Cuomo at the time?

In the January 24 press release, Governor Cuomo said, “I want to assure New Yorkers that we are prepared.”

How exactly was New York State prepared for the surge in influenza or something worse, which turned out to be COVID-19?

What response initiatives were in place?

In the same January 24 press release, Dr. Zucker said, “This virus is being carefully monitored at federal, state and city levels to ensure the public’s health and safety, and while awareness is important, the current risk to New Yorkers is low.”

Really, a surge in influenza cases in December of 2019, and now the risk to New Yorkers is low?

As far back as January 3, the press release from the New York State Department of Health says, “The latest influenza surveillance report shows another sharp increase in flu cases and flu-associated hospitalizations."

"Lab-confirmed influenza up 34 percent from the previous week.”

Was the State’s Health Commissioner reaching out to hospitals to make sure they were prepared for this “surge”?

Were any records of phone calls or emails sent?

Was our state’s top health official informed and, if so, were any alarms sounded at our State level?

After President Donald Trump limited travel from China, did Dr. Zucker or Governor Cuomo discuss the situation and map out a plan of action?

In a February 2 press release, Dr. Zucker said that the “bottom line, as this public health response evolves, we continue to be prepared.”

On February 20, Dr. Zucker publicly recommended that “people should remain vigilant by getting vaccinated.”

This is followed by Governor Cuomo, in a press release on February 27, stating, “If you haven’t already been vaccinated it’s not too late."

"I urge you to get a vaccine.”

Within a week, in a March 1 statement, Governor Cuomo informed the public of the first case of the coronavirus in New York State, adding that “there is no reason for undue anxiety – the general risk remains low in New York.”

Wouldn’t Dr. Zucker have access to his former colleagues and a presumably long list of contacts of health experts around the world?

Did he discuss the situation with the CDC or anyone at the federal, state, or city level?

What exactly did he know and fail to disclose, either to Governor Cuomo or all New Yorkers?

If Dr. Zucker was negligent, he should be held accountable.

There are numerous questions that must be answered.

All New Yorkers deserve the truth. ... countable/

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:40 p


"Dead virus fragments are causing COVID-19 reinfection false positives"

By Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSN

May 4, 2020

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has ravaged across the globe, infecting a staggering 3.5 million people, and taking over 251,000 lives.

One of the most significant concerns in this global pandemic is the possibility of reinfection as previous reports in South Korea and Japan show people testing positive with the coronavirus again.

Now, a team of South Korean researchers has revealed that reports of recovered coronavirus patients testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection a second time round are due to testing errors and not actually reinfection.

Dead virus fragments

The country’s infectious disease experts said that dead-virus fragments were most likely cause positive results for SARS-CoV-2 infection among 260 people who have recovered from the disease.

The tests even showed the presence of these fragments even weeks after making full recoveries.

Oh Myoung-don, who spearheads the central clinical committee for emerging disease control in South Korea, said there was little reason to believe the cases had emerged from reactivation of the virus or reinfection.

“The tests detected the ribonucleic acid of the dead virus,” Dr. Oh, who is also a hospital doctor at the Seoul National University, explained.

The conventional test used to detect SARS-CoV-2 is the polymerase chain reaction test or PCR test.

However, there are technical limitations to the test.

It cannot distinguish whether the virus in the patient is alive or dead.

“PCR testing that amplifies genetics of the virus is used in Korea to test COVID-19, and relapse cases are due to technical limits of the PCR testing."

"The respiratory epithelial cell has a half-life of up to three months, and RNA virus in the cell can be detected with PCR testing one to two months after the elimination of the cell,” Dr. Oh explained.

So far, there were more than 260 people who tested positive again in South Korea.

These patients have recovered and were declared virus-free.

The new report confirmed a previous assessment of the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that patients who tested positive again had little or no contagiousness at all.

This means that they cannot transmit the virus to others, based on virus culture cells that all failed to find live viruses in recovered patients.

The resurgence of the virus

The reports of reinfection in the country have sparked panic, as South Korea has already flattened the curve after extensive mass testing and isolation of cases.

It is one of the countries that have controlled the spread of the virus without resorting to restrictions and lockdowns.

Though many measures have contributed to South Korea’s success in containing the virus spread, two measures were critical in its ability to flatten the curve – extensive testing and a national system for effectively tracking infected persons.

Being able to trace those who are positive with the virus, and their contacts can help isolate cases immediately before they even transmit the virus to others.

Virus resurgence is a problem not only in South Korea but also in other countries who had successfully flattened the curve.

In some countries, such as Japan, they see a sudden spike of new cases due to the premature lifting of restrictions.

Governments need to impose a “new normal” across industries to prevent a second wave of the outbreak.

In South Korea, health officials reported only ten new infections every day for the past 11 days.

During the initial stages of the pandemic, the country has been leading with high infection rates, until its health measures helped “flatten the curve.”

Its total case toll reached 10,801, with 252 deaths.

In comparison, many countries reported spikes of confirmed cases.

The United States has reported a whopping 1.18 million confirmed cases and more than 68,000 deaths.

Spain and Italy follow with more than 218,000 and 211,000 confirmed cases, respectively.

The United Kingdom has reported more than 191,000 cases and 28,809 deaths.

The UK has the second-highest death toll, next to Italy, with 29,079 deaths.

The death rate of Italy is 13.7 percent, the UK is 15.1 percent, while Spain has a fatality rate of 11.6 percent.


• The Korean Herald -

• COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)- ... 7b48e9ecf6 ... tives.aspx

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:40 p


"Empire State index shows stable conditions in June after two months of record declines"

By Greg Robb

Published: June 15, 2020 at 3:37 p.m. ET

By Greg Robb

The numbers:

Business activity steadied in New York State in June after two months of record contractions, according to the New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Monday.

The Empire State business conditions index rose 48 points to negative 0.2 in June.

A reading close to zero indicates steadying conditions.

However, the report is still well below levels at 50 or below that would indicate contraction.

Economists had expected a reading of negative 30, according to a survey by Econoday.

What happened:

Thirty-six percent of manufacturers reported that conditions were better in early June than in May, up from 15% in the prior survey.

The new orders index rose 42 points to a level close to zero, indicating that the quantity of orders was unchanged from last month.

Shipments climbed 42 points to 3.3, indicating a slight rise.

The index for employees was little changed at -3.5, the second month of slight employment declines.

Eighteen percent of firms said they were increasing employment levels.

Firms were optimistic that conditions would be better in six months, with the index for future conditions rising 27 points to 56.5, its highest level in more than a decade.

Big picture:

The Empire State index has climbed nearly 80 points over the past two months, as factory activity has stopped falling after the lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists emphasized that the ground lost in the past couple of months hasn’t been recovered only that manufacturing has stabilized.

What are they saying?

“Diffusion indexes like the factory surveys measure the direction of change in activity from one month to the next, not the level of activity."

"New York State was slow to reopen its economy last month, which meant that the Empire State survey was the weakest of all the regionals in ISM-weighted terms in May."

"With many factories emerging from lockdown in June, the month-to-month change seems likely to be positive even if total output remains far below pre-pandemic levels,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, who forecast a big rebound while most economists were predicting the index to remain well below break-even.

Market reaction:

U.S. equity benchmarks recovered after opening sharply lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 81 points and the S&P 500 index up 17 points in late afternoon trading. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:40 p



"The Need for a Tighter Particulate-Matter Air-Quality Standard"

Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel

June 10, 2020

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsb2011009

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (particles with a diameter of ≤2.5 μm [PM2.5]) — that is, levels not exceeding an annual average of 12 μg per cubic meter and a 24-hour average of 35 μg per cubic meter.1

The current NAAQS were set in 2012 on the basis of a scientific review that was largely completed in 2010.2

At that time, available epidemiologic evidence, supported by toxicologic evidence and a risk assessment conducted by EPA staff, indicated that annual exposure to PM2.5 caused premature death at ambient concentrations as low as 11 μg per cubic meter.

However, on the basis of more recent evidence, as described below, exposure to ambient PM2.5 at the levels of the current standards is estimated by the EPA to be responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year.

The Clean Air Act requires air-quality standards that are “requisite to protect the public health” with an “adequate margin of safety.”

Such standards “shall accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge” regarding “the kind and extent of all identifiable effects on public health.”

According to requirements of the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator “shall appoint an independent scientific review committee,” known as the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, to periodically “review” the standards.

We were members of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter (PM) Review Panel that was formed in 2015.

By law, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which we augmented, has seven members, including at least one physician.

However, seven members are not enough to provide breadth, depth, and diversity of expertise, experience, and perspective in the multiple scientific disciplines necessary for these reviews.

That is why, for four decades, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee has been augmented with panels of additional experts for the periodic review of each regulated air pollutant.

It has been common to have multiple experts in epidemiology, toxicology, and controlled human exposure studies on these panels, as well as experts in the measurement and modeling of air pollution, exposure and risk assessment, uncertainty analysis, and other areas.

In 2016, we advised the EPA administrator about the Integrated Review Plan for subsequent science and policy assessments.

Our PM Review Panel was dismissed by press release on October 10, 2018, just before the draft science assessment was released.

Shortly thereafter, we formed the nongovernmental Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel.

Our volunteer panel continued to review the science and develop advice for the EPA administrator and the public.

We reconvened, with support from the Union of Concerned Scientists and former EPA staff.

During a 2-day meeting of our nongovernmental panel, conducted under the ground rules for an official EPA federal advisory committee, we deliberated on the strengths and limitations of available scientific evidence.4

In the past two decades, over multiple review cycles, the EPA has used evidence- and risk-based approaches to assess the NAAQS.

The evidence-based approach takes into account empirical research on the health hazard posed by an air pollutant, as well as the ambient concentrations at which adverse effects are observed, and is based on a thoughtful and comprehensive synthesis of epidemiologic studies, controlled human exposure studies, and toxicologic studies in animals.3,4

The risk-based approach uses concentration–response relationships inferred from key epidemiologic studies to estimate the population risk under current and potential alternative standards.

Given uncertainties, the risk-based approach used by EPA staff provides useful qualitative insights regarding the magnitude of the risk and risk reduction.

Our panel gave more weight to the evidence-based approach, with the risk-based approach providing supporting information.

We delivered our findings in a report submitted to the administrator and the EPA docket on October 22, 2019.4

We concluded that the current PM2.5 standards are insufficient to protect public health, on the basis of a review of the scientific evidence from epidemiologic studies, toxicologic studies in animals, and controlled human exposure studies; this evidence is consistent within each discipline and coherent among the multiple disciplines in supporting a causal, biologically plausible relationship between ambient concentrations well below the current PM2.5 standards and adverse health effects, including premature death.

The epidemiologic evidence is consistent across studies with diverse designs, populations, pollutant mixtures, locations, and statistical approaches.

For example, new epidemiologic studies consider large populations and report effects below the current annual standard, either by restricting the cohort analyzed to persons living in areas with lower levels of ambient exposure or because the average cohort exposures are well below the annual standard.5-7

The populations in these studies are more than an order of magnitude larger than those in studies available for previous reviews, which has been made possible by scientific developments in quantification of spatial variability in ambient concentrations with the use of new modeling tools.

We found no evidence for an ambient concentration threshold for health effects at the lowest observed levels, either for annual or for 24-hour exposure periods.

Populations with preexisting health conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and obesity) or increased exposures (e.g., disadvantaged populations) represent a substantial portion of the U.S. population.

These populations are at increased risk for harm from particulate air pollution, owing to their location near emission sources or to demographic or clinical characteristics (e.g., age or disease status) that increase their susceptibility.

The results of the evidence-based review clearly call into question the adequacy of the existing standards.

Furthermore, the risk assessment conducted by the EPA shows that, in a sample of people 30 years of age or older living in 47 urban study areas, a large number of premature deaths are attributable to PM2.5 exposure under the current standard.3

The estimated all-cause mortality from long-term exposure to PM2.5, calculated on the basis of the 2015 air quality adjusted to just meet the existing standards, ranges from 13,500 to 52,100 deaths annually.

The actual air quality in the selected study areas is typically somewhat above the current standards and is adjusted downward, with the use of air-quality models, to enable quantification of what the risk would be if the current standards were met.

In addition, the estimated all-cause mortality from short-term exposure to PM2.5 ranges from 1200 to 3870 deaths annually.

For locations in which ambient PM2.5 concentrations would meet the annual standard but not the daily standard, the EPA estimates relative risk reductions of 21 to 27% by changing the standard from 12 μg per cubic meter to 9 μg per cubic meter.

Although there is uncertainty around the estimates, the risk assessment supports the conclusions based on the scientific evidence that at the levels of the current fine-particle standards, the risk of premature death is unacceptably high.

The EPA risk assessment focused on all-cause mortality, mortality due to ischemic heart disease, and mortality due to lung cancer.

Exposure to current levels of PM2.5 is also causally linked to numerous other adverse health outcomes, including long- and short-term cardiovascular events, respiratory illnesses, death from cancers other than lung cancer, and nervous system diseases (e.g., cognitive decrements and dementia).

Additional health concerns, such as adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, are associated with particulate air pollution, although the evidence of causality is weaker.

We unequivocally and unanimously concluded that the current PM2.5 standards do not adequately protect public health.

An annual standard between 10 μg per cubic meter and 8 μg per cubic meter would protect the general public and at-risk groups.

However, even at the lower end of the range, risk is not reduced to zero.

The margin of safety increases as the level of the standard is lowered within this range.

The choice of standard within this range is a policy judgment reserved for the EPA administrator.

In the interest of environmental justice, we advised the administrator that disparities in health risk borne by minority communities need to be taken into consideration in choosing a margin of safety.

In contrast to the recommendation of the EPA staff that the 24-hour PM2.5 standard also be retained, the current 24-hour standard does not provide an adequate level of public health protection in locations for which the 24-hour standard, and not the annual standard, would be violated.

On the basis of the scientific evidence, and with the acknowledgment that there is a continuum of adverse effects that decrease as the level of the standard decreases, the panel recommends that the 24-hour standard be set between 30 μg per cubic meter and 25 μg per cubic meter.

Between 2017 and 2018, all Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members were replaced.

The seven-member committee newly appointed by the EPA largely reached a different conclusion than we did. 8

The lone physician–scientist on the committee found that the weight of evidence, including recent epidemiologic studies, reasonably calls into question the adequacy of the current long-term standard.

However, the committee chair, an industry consultant, and some other members of the committee concluded that there is no evidence that calls into question the adequacy of the current standards.

Nonetheless, the committee noted the “exceptional nature” of the current review, including the dismissal of our panel, the accelerated timeline, and the production of a policy assessment before the science assessment was completed.

Although some committee members acknowledged our report, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee largely disregarded the advice from our panel.

There is no doubt that on promulgating a final rule, the EPA will be sued.

Federal courts have in the past given considerable deference to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee regarding its scientific advice.

Will the courts defer to a committee that has been arbitrarily and capriciously deprived of a particulate matter–specific expert panel?

Or will the courts look elsewhere, such as to public comments from experts and input from the dismissed panel?

The dismissal of our review panel is just one of numerous recent ad hoc changes to scientific review of the NAAQS since 2017 that undermine the quality, credibility, and integrity of the review process and its outcome.

Other changes include imposing nonscientific criteria for appointing the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members related to geographic diversity and affiliation with governments, replacing the entire membership of the chartered committee over a period of 1 year, banning nongovernmental recipients of EPA scientific research grants from committee membership while allowing membership for persons affiliated with regulated industries, ignoring statutory requirements for the need for a thorough and accurate scientific review of the NAAQS in setting a review schedule, disregarding key elements of the committee-approved Integrated Review Plan, reducing the number of drafts of a document for committee review irrespective of whether substantial revision of scientific content is needed, commingling science and policy issues, and creating an ad hoc “pool” of consultants that fails to address the deficiencies caused by dismissing the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee PM Review Panel.

The courts are already grappling with the ban on academic recipients of research grants.

Although our panel did not specifically assess other current EPA initiatives, there are at least two that are closely related to PM2.5.

One is the so-called Transparency in Regulatory Science proposed rule and supplement.

This rule could exclude from regulatory consideration studies for which data are not publicly available, irrespective of their scientific rigor.9

Such an exclusion could apply to studies based on data from human participants, including epidemiologic studies such as the seminal Harvard Six Cities and American Cancer Society studies, which were important in previous NAAQS reviews.

The other initiative is a change to the EPA benefit–cost assessment to exclude “cobenefits.”

As an example, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for power plants reduces mercury emissions but has the cobenefit of also reducing PM2.5 emissions.10

For this and other rules, PM2.5 cobenefits can be much larger than the direct benefits of reducing the pollutant specifically targeted by the rule.

The multiple EPA initiatives aimed at undermining the appropriate role of scientific and economic assessment of adverse effects from PM2.5 directly threaten health.

The 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule, which ends on June 29, 2020, is the last remaining opportunity for experts and stakeholders to provide input on a flawed rulemaking that ignores science and that will lead to avoidable premature deaths.

The members of the writing committee (H. Christopher Frey, Ph.D., Peter J. Adams, Ph.D., John L. Adgate, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., George A. Allen, B.S., John Balmes, M.D., Kevin Boyle, Ph.D., Judith C. Chow, Sc.D., Douglas W. Dockery, Sc.D., Henry D. Felton, M.S., Terry Gordon, Ph.D., Jack R. Harkema, D.V.M., Ph.D., Patrick Kinney, Sc.D., Michael T. Kleinman, Ph.D., Rob McConnell, M.D., Richard L. Poirot, B.A., Jeremy A. Sarnat, Sc.D., Lianne Sheppard, Ph.D., Barbara Turpin, Ph.D., and Ron Wyzga, Sc.D.) assume responsibility for the overall content and integrity of this article.

October 2019 meetings of the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel were hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Some panelists received travel reimbursement from UCS. Panelists did not accept honoraria or other compensation. This article reflects exclusively the deliberations of the panel.

This article was published on June 10, 2020, at

Author Affiliations

The affiliations of the members of the writing committee are as follows: North Carolina State University, Raleigh (H.C.F.), and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill (B.T.); Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (P.J.A.); Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora (J.L.A.); Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (G.A.A.), Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health (D.W.D.), and Boston University (P.K.) — all in Boston; Lung Biology Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco (J.B.), University of California, Irvine, Irvine (M.T.K.), University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles (R.M.), and retired, Palo Alto (R.W.) — all in California; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg (K.B.); Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV (J.C.C.); New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany (H.D.F.), and New York University Langone Health, New York (T.G.); Michigan State University, East Lansing (J.R.H.); independent consultant, Burlington, VT (R.L.P.); Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta (J.A.S.); and University of Washington, Seattle (L.S.).


1. Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency, April 30, 2020 ( ... ate-matter. opens in new tab).

2. Samet JM, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. Letter to Hon. Lisa P. Jackson, administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, re: CASAC review of Policy assessment for the review of the PM NAAQS — second external review draft (June 2010): EPA-CASAC-10-015. Washington, DC: September 10, 2010 ( ... signed.pdf. opens in new tab).

3. Policy assessment for the review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter: EPA-452/R-20-002. Research Triangle Park, NC: Environmental Protection Agency, January 2020.

4. Frey HC, Adams P, Adgate JL, et al. Advice from the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel (formerly EPA CASAC Particulate Matter Review Panel) on EPA’s policy assessment for the review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter (external review draft — September 2019), submitted to Hon. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, docket ID no. EPA–HQ–OAR–2015–0072, and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, DC: October 22, 2019 ( ... 191022.pdf. opens in new tab).

5. Di Q, Wang Y, Zanobetti A, et al. Air pollution and mortality in the Medicare population. N Engl J Med 2017;376:2513-2522.

6. Shi L, Zanobetti A, Kloog I, et al. Low-concentration PM2.5 and mortality: estimating acute and chronic effects in a population-based study. Environ Health Perspect 2016;124:46-52.

7. Pinault L, Tjepkema M, Crouse DM, et al. Risk estimates of mortality attributed to low concentrations of ambient fine particulate matter in the Canadian Community Health Survey cohort. Environ Health 2016;15:18-18.

8. Cox LA CASAC review of EPA’s policy assessment for the review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter (external review draft — September 2019): EPA-CASAC-20-001. Washington, DC: Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, Environmental Protection Agency, December 16, 2019.

9. Thorp HH, Skipper M, Kiermer V, Berenbaum M, Sweet D, Horton R. Joint statement on EPA proposed rule and public availability of data (2019). Science 2019;366(6470):eaba3197-eaba3197.

10. Aldy J, Kotchen M, Evans M, Fowlie M, Levinson A, Palmer K. Report on the proposed changes to the federal mercury and air toxics standards: report of the External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee. December 2019 ( ... r_2019.pdf. opens in new tab). ... article_23

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR June 16, 2020 at 9:05 pm

Paul Plante says :

As to New York state Democratic Socialist governor Andy “KING” Cuomo putting COVID into the nursing homes in New York, Cheryl, and Yvonne being dead on the money regardless of her spelling, let’s start with an Albany, New York Times Union story entitled “Cuomo on nursing homes’ response: ‘We can’t save every life'” by Brendan J. Lyons on May 18, 2020, where we have as follows on that subject, to wit:

ALBANY — Facing intensifying criticism of his administration’s handling of nursing homes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday said New York had a high number of fatalities in those facilities “not because we did anything wrong” but due — at least in part — to bad luck.

“From day one we said that this was going to be hard, and we said that we drew bad cards in this hand,” Cuomo said, noting that New York has had the nation’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, including more than 5,700 fatalities in nursing homes.

end quotes

Bad luck indeed, Cheryl, you know what I am saying?

“We drew bad cards!” says KING Cuomo!

Don’t go ’round tonight!

It’s bound to take your life!

There’s a bad moon on the rise!

According to Andy “KING” Cuomo, that is why those old people in those nursing homes are dead, and he and his health commissioner Howie “Dr. Death” Zucker are in no way responsible, which takes us back to that Times Union article, to wit:

Cuomo has repeatedly cautioned that that COVID-19 can spread “like fire through grass” in nursing homes.

But an executive order he issued in March requiring nursing homes to accept residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 — most of them returning to their assisted-living residences after being discharged from hospitals — has faced intense scrutiny.

end quotes

Which is exactly what Yvonne is saying above here!

Getting back to that article:

A delegation of federal lawmakers from New York, including U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, last week called for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to investigate the state’s safety and health guidance for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the pandemic.

On Saturday, Stefanik said she came under attack from Cuomo’s office for seeking a federal investigation, noting that a spokesperson for the governor had urged the congresswoman “to do something we understand is uncomfortable for her: stop political pandering and fear-mongering.”

A spokeswoman for the congresswoman called the remarks “shameful” and added: “Thousands of people across the state are devastated by the loss of their parents and grandparents due to contracting COVID-19 in a nursing home, and they need answers.”

end quotes

In a word, Cheryl, and I think Yvonne nails this in her post above here, Andy “KING” Cuomo is a tyrannical, dictatorial thug who thinks quite literally that he really is the KING of New York in the mold of Mussolini of Italy during WWII, and he has thugs who work for him that attack anyone who dares to question Andy Cuomo, as Congresswoman Elise Stefanick tried to do.

And that brings us to an editorial in the New York Post titled “Needed: Truly independent probe of coronavirus devastation in NY nursing homes” by Post Editorial Board on May 9, 2020, where we had more validation of what Yvonne was saying, to wit:

Calls are rising for an independent investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus crisis — and rightly so.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s own investigation, which he handpicked protégé Letitia James to lead, plainly won’t get to the bottom of many key issues: The gov and his team won’t even admit that forcing facilities to take in COVID-positive patients was a mistake.

end quotes

In New York state, even when Andy “KING” Cuomo is deadly wrong, in his own mind, which us older people in this state think is warped and twisted, he is never wrong, and with respect to these nursing home deaths he and “Dr. Death” Zucker caused, he is going to have his political lackey Tish James do a whitewash for him, which takes us back to the Post editorial, to wit:

Back on March 10, Cuomo bragged of how the state was protecting residents of New York’s 1,100 nursing homes and adult-care facilities.

But Cuomo didn’t protect them: Washington state has fewer than 1,000 coronavirus deaths total, while New York lost 5,000 lives in nursing and adult-care homes alone.

And, two weeks after Cuomo’s big brag, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered nursing homes to take in corona-positive patients.

Neither Zucker nor Cuomo explained that March 25 mandate.

The gov insists it’s in keeping with federal guidelines, yet they call for no such regulation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised nursing homes: “Keep COVID-19 from entering your facility.”

How did his team even think up the rule?

end quotes

There is an answer we are demanding of “KING” Cuomo, but will never get, which takes us back to the Albany Times Union to an article entitled “Churchill: Andrew Cuomo’s halo has lost its shine – The governor was depicted as an early hero of the pandemic, but his record is being reassessed” by Chris Churchill on May 25, 2020, to wit:

ALBANY — For a stretch, our governor was riding an incredible wave of praise.

Andrew Cuomo was the model of good governance, the hero with the firm hand during the coronavirus crisis.

His leadership made him a media darling and put him on the cover of Rolling Stone — “Andrew Cuomo Takes Charge” — amid suggestions he replace Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee.

He was the pandemic’s authoritative voice.

But a reassessment is underway.

The governor has been taking fire, as regular readers of this newspaper know, for a state directive mandating that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients.

As I wrote for a recent column, that was a tragic mistake, but that’s not the only part of Cuomo’s coronavirus response that’s being questioned.

Last week, the respected news outlet ProPublica released an exhaustively reported story asking why New York has suffered 10 times more COVID-19 deaths than California.

The piece portrays Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as bumbling egoists who let their longstanding personal rivalry prevent early action that would have saved lives.

Another story, in the New Yorker, made similar points as it compared Seattle’s virus response to New York’s.

In Seattle, officials listened to scientists, the article says, while de Blasio and Cuomo impeded an effective virus response with their bickering and their refusal to see the looming crisis as a serious threat.

An opinion piece in the liberal Guardian newspaper, out of London, took the argument further — too far, actually.

It claimed Cuomo “should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now” because “he’s to blame for New York’s coronavirus catastrophe.”

end quotes

For the record, I think the Guardian is right on the money calling for “KING” Cuomo to be one of the most loathed public officials in America right now, which takes us to Business Insider article entitled “An NYC nursing home forced to take coronavirus patients was also sent a supply of body bags for when they died” by Ashley Collman on April 24, 2020, to wit:

An executive at an unnamed Queens, New York nursing home told the New York Post on Thursday how officials sent them body bags when they were forced to admit coronavirus patients last month.

An executive at the unnamed Queens nursing home says that the facility was coronavirus-free until Gov. Andrew Cuomo forced facilities in the state to accept coronavirus patients on March 25.

This nursing home went on to see 30 people die of the coronavirus in the following weeks.

And every week they get five more body bags.

“Cuomo has blood on his hands.”

“He really does.”

“There’s no way to sugarcoat this,” the executive added.

“Why in the world would you be sending coronavirus patients to a nursing home, where the most vulnerable population to this disease resides?”

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, called the comment “disgusting” in a response to the Post, saying these facilities were “trying to deflect from their failures.”

end quotes

Rich Azzopardi, of course, for those who don’t know him, or of him, is the very same thuggish Rich Azzopardi who was the star of a 28 March 2019 New York Times story entitled “In Profane Rant, Cuomo Aide Calls 3 Female Lawmakers ‘Idiots’,” and a Splinter News article entitled “Cuomo Aides Not Big Fans of Young Female Legislators” by Samantha Grasso on 3/28/19, wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

If you thought New York Gov. Andrew was a piece of work, just look at his staff.

A senior adviser to the governor called three young female state lawmakers “f**king idiots” on Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The insult was in response to a press conference the women held criticizing Cuomo for reportedly hosting a $25,000-ticket fundraiser earlier this month during the state’s budget season, which wasn’t mentioned on Cuomo’s public schedule.

end quotes

So, yes, my goodness, isn’t it truly disgusting that these nursing home operators would dare to accuse Andy Cuomo of having blood on his hands, when it is both obvious and apparent that what they really are doing is “trying to deflect from their failures.”

Which takes us to a Newsday article entitled “State assemblyman calls for Zucker’s firing over virus directive” by Yancey Roy on April 28, 2020, to wit:

ALBANY — A Long Island assemblyman on Monday said the state health commissioner should be fired for requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients.

Assemb. Mike LiPetri (R-South Farmingdale), who is running for Congress in a Republican primary, said the directive issued by Dr. Howard Zucker, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s health commissioner, has “very likely led to the deaths and/or infections of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.”

LiPetri referred to a March 25 directive that nursing homes cannot deny “readmission or admission solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”

He called it an “unconscionable directive.”

“This policy not only defies common sense, it (also) puts those most vulnerable in our society face-to-face with this deadly virus,” LiPetri said.

Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), LiPetri’s opponent in the primary, also called on the state Assembly Health Committee to investigate and hold hearings on nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

The Cuomo administration has defended the directive, which required nursing homes to accept virus patients from hospitals after they were deemed medically stable, by noting nursing homes did not have to accept the patients if they could not care for them safely.

In response to LiPetri, Cuomo aide Rich Azzopardi said, “We’re fighting a pandemic and now is not the time for cheap personal attacks by cheap politicians looking for cheap press.”

end quotes

So as you can see, Cheryl, despite her spelling, Yvonne is dead on the money with her post above concerning Andy “KING” Cuomo putting COVID in the nursing homes.

Too bad it is all going to get covered over! ... ent-256481

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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:40 p

"Cuomo reflects on 111-day coronavirus battle: 'It was frightening and sad'"

Brendan J. Lyons, Albany, New York Times Union

June 19, 2020 | Updated: June 19, 2020 6:13 p.m.

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who at times endured criticism for New York's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, on Friday conducted his final task force briefing on the health crisis, reflecting on the effect it had on him and his family personally as the nation is continuing to battle an infectious disease that is expected to kill more than 200,000 people in the United States.

"We did act as one."

"It was extraordinary," Cuomo said, referring to the phrase "e pluribus unum" — out of many, one — that was added to the state seal during the height of the pandemic.

"I have never seen or felt anything like it."

Cuomo declared victory against the virus in New York, noting the state has the lowest rate of infection and is reopening its economy, even as other states are seeing surges in infections and hospitalizations from faster reopening strategies that the governor has criticized.

"Forty-two days up the mountain and 69 days down the other side," Cuomo said.

"Everyday hurt and was hard."

"It was frightening and sad."

"But I really believe we will be the better for it."

He said that his daughter Michaela, who graduated from college this spring, told him that she was "disappointed about missing the ceremony, but that she had learned a lot over these past three months" about herself, government and people.

"She's right, and after 62 years when I thought that I had seen it all, I got an education, too," he said.

"We didn't just put the words on our state seal, we made the words come true, we made the words come to life."

"... Why would it take a crisis to bring us together?"

"... Why can't it motivate us by love rather than hate."

"Why doesn't government urge us to realize we are members of the same community ... and we all benefit when we work together."

As the pandemic continues its grip on many states, the nation has also endured mass protests in recent weeks — and rioting and looting — by people lashing out against police tactics in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed.

"The only way forward is if I protect you and you protect me."

"I wear a mask for you and you wear a mask for me," Cuomo said.

Cuomo, whose briefings had normally been followed by questions-and-answer sessions with reporters, delivered his final task force remarks from the privacy of his Capitol office.

"No matter how dark the day, love brings the life."

"That is what I will take from the past 111 days," he said.

"It inspires me and energizes me and excites me."

"... this impossible task."

"... There is nothing that we can't do and we will be better and we will be stronger for what we have gone through."

"It shows us that we have great potential to do even more and we will." ... ion&stn=nf

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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:40 p

On March 31, 1817, the New York legislature ended two centuries of slavery within its borders, setting July 4, 1827 as the date of final emancipation and making New York the first state to pass a law for the total abolition of legal slavery.

When Emancipation Day finally arrived, the number of enslaved men and women freed was roughly 4,600 or 11% of the black population living in New York and the black community and its supporters held joyous celebrations and parades throughout the state.


June 17, 2020

Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Recognizing Juneteenth as a Holiday for State Employees

* Governor Will Advance Legislation to Make Juneteenth an Official State Holiday Next Year

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees, in recognition of the official emancipation of African Americans throughout the United States.

The Governor will also advance legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year.

"Friday is Juneteenth - a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States - and it's a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history," Governor Cuomo said.

"Although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and we have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities."

"I am going to issue an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees and I'll propose legislation next year to make it an official state holiday so New Yorkers can use this day to reflect on all the changes we still need to make to create a more fair, just and equal society."

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman said, "..When peace come they read the Emancipation law to the slaves people, they spent that night singin and shoutin."

"They wasn't slaves no more."

- Former Slave Pierce Harper, 1937 WPA Slave Narratives of Texas, speaking about hearing he was free two and half years after his given freedom in Texas, NY.

"Black Emancipation Day, June 19th, 1865 also known as Juneteenth is pivotal in the joy, congregation, and spiritual well being of black people in America."

"I am pleased that the work I have done to solidify Juneteenth as a holiday in the State of New York is coming to fruition."

"I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor to ensure black history and liberation stays at the forefront of progress."

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news of liberation came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

African Americans across the state were made aware of their right to freedom on this day when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418

New York City: (212) 681-4640

Contact us by email: ... -employees

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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:40 p


"Cuomo again defends Columbus amid renewed calls to remove statue"

By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

Jun 11, 2020

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo is standing by his man.

The governor again defended New York City’s Christopher Columbus statue on Thursday, calling it a point of pride for Italian Americans like himself, as similar tributes to the explorer have been removed or targeted by protesters in recent days.

“I understand the feelings about Christopher Columbus and some of his acts, which nobody would support, but the statue has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian American contribution to New York,” Cuomo said during a briefing in Albany.

“For that reason, I support it.”

Civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has boosted support for removing tributes to historical figures with problematic pasts such as Columbus and Confederate leaders in the South.

A group of Native American protesters pulled down a statue of the Italian icon in Saint Paul, Minn., and a likeness of Columbus was beheaded in Boston this week.

Another statue of the explorer was tossed into a lake in Richmond, Va., and a bronze effigy of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled in the wake of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she wants to see the names of Confederate leaders removed from American military bases and statues of them taken out of the U.S. Capitol.

"The American people know these names have to go."

"These names are white supremacists that said terrible things about our country,” she said.

“Some of these names were given to these bases."

"You listen to who they are and what they said and then you have the president make a case as to why a base should be named for them."

"He seems to be the only person left who doesn’t get it.”

President Trump openly opposes the removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public spaces and said Wednesday he would “not even consider” renaming Army bases.

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, bucked the president by adopting an amendment creating a commission charged with renaming bases honoring Confederate leaders who fought to uphold slavery.

In Albany, Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced Thursday that the state capital will be removing a statue of Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler because he was a slave owner.

“I have signed an Executive Order directing the removal of the statue honoring Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler — reportedly the largest owner of enslaved people in Albany during his time — from in front of Albany City Hall,” Sheehan tweeted.

Betty Lyons, a citizen of the upstate Onondaga Nation and president and executive director of the American Indian Law Alliance, said Cuomo is on the wrong side of the Columbus controversy, tying the troubled history of the 15th century explorer and his role in sparking colonial oppression and the slave trade directly to the current political climate.

“Until the larger society confronts those oppressions head-on, and realizes that the symbols of that oppression go far beyond the Confederate flag, peace will not come to the land," Lyons said.

“Until then, Cuomo, as does Trump, continues to have his knee on our necks.”

The governor has repeatedly maintained his support of Columbus despite opposition from both Native Americans and Latin American groups.

Last year, he dismissed calls to remove the statue, or rename Columbus Circle, as he marched in the Columbus Day parade in Manhattan.

“The Christopher Columbus statue was erected at a time when the Italian American community was being attacked,” he said at the time.

“The Christopher Columbus statue was more about solidarity with the Italian American community and respect for the Italian American community and that’s why the Italian American community was so offended that they could take down the Christopher Columbus statue.”

Columbus Day itself has become a point of contention with several cities and states, including Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., renaming the federal holiday Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

It’s also not Cuomo’s first statue standoff.

The governor’s longstanding rivalry with Mayor de Blasio bubbled over last year as he announced he would bypass the mayor and fund a statue of Mother Cabrini, an Italian immigrant and Roman Catholic Saint, with state money.

The decision, announced on Columbus Day, was made after the city excluded Cabrini from an initiative honoring women with statues around New York.

Denis Slattery covers New York State politics as the Daily News' Albany bureau chief. He began working at The News in 2012, covering breaking news and national politics. ... story.html

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