Paris police use tear gas against protesters inspired by Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’

Protesters demonstrate against COVID-19 vaccine mandates

By Adam Shaw | Fox News


Fox News Flash top headlines for February 12

Police in Paris used tear gas Saturday against protesters inspired by the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” who were demonstrating against COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the Champs-Élysées avenue 

French police set up checkpoints on roads into Paris, stopping more than 500 vehicles from heading to the protest, but dozens were able to get through. Tear gas was fired, and several protesters were detained as some demonstrators climbed on their vehicles in the middle of the road.


A man walks through tear gas on the Place Charles De Gaulle in Paris Feb. 12, 2022, as convoys of protesters, "Convoi de la Liberte," arrived in the French capital. 

A man walks through tear gas on the Place Charles De Gaulle in Paris Feb. 12, 2022, as convoys of protesters, “Convoi de la Liberte,” arrived in the French capital.  (Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP via Getty Images)

The chaos was a response to the vaccination pass required by the French government for people to enter many indoor public venues, including restaurants. As in Canada, those restrictions have seen significant backlash from those claiming they are unnecessary and overly restrictive.

The Parisian protesters honked at onlookers, waved French flags and shouted “Freedom,” The Associated Press reported.

Protests have been going on for months in France, often resulting in clashes with police, but had been waning recently. Protesters were given a boost from the convoy in Canada, where truckers have snarled traffic at three border crossings over the Canadian government’s strict vaccine mandates.

Protesters hold placards at a demonstration in Paris. 

Protesters hold placards at a demonstration in Paris.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Police moved in on demonstrators on the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan, though some have vowed to keep up the protests. Some demonstrators remained on the bridge overnight despite an emergency order demanding they reopen the bridge and allow traffic to pass. Others exited the bridge, obeying law enforcement’s demand that they move their vehicles.

Similar protests are expected in the coming days in multiple U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, prompting concern among U.S. government officials. President Biden recently spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the protests in Canada, which have slowed supply chains and transportation routes between the two countries.


The Department of Homeland Security warned U.S. law enforcement and public safety officials this week that a trucker convoy protesting vaccine mandates could begin Feb. 13, the same day as Super Bowl LVI, and could create significant traffic jams and supply disruptions.


The White House has said DHS forces are working with California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department, state and local authorities, as well as “extensive air and maritime security resources” to counter any protests. 

A demonstrator kicks at a tear gas grenade during a protest on the Champs-Élysées avenue, Saturday, Feb.12, 2022, in Paris. 

A demonstrator kicks at a tear gas grenade during a protest on the Champs-Élysées avenue, Saturday, Feb.12, 2022, in Paris.  (AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant)


Inspired protests have also been seen in New Zealand and the Netherlands, where dozens of trucks and vehicles blocked an entrance to The Hague, with some carrying a banner that said, “Love & Freedom, no dictatorship” in Dutch.

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Caitlin McFall, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trucker protests: Ontario calls state of emergency

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Protestors and supporters attend a blockade at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, sealing off the flow of commercial traffic over the bridge into Canada from Detroit

Ontario has declared a state of emergency in response to two weeks of protests against Covid restrictions.

The order came as demonstrations continue to shut down parts of Ottawa and the Ambassador Bridge, a vital US-Canada trade link.

Blocking crucial infrastructure would be made “illegal” under the order, said Premier Doug Ford.

Protesters could face up to a year in jail and C$100,000 ($79,000; £58,000) in fines.

Mr Ford said the order would apply to anyone impeding the movement of goods, people and services along international border crossings, airports, ports and major highways.

The Canadian province will also provide additional authority so that the personal and commercial licences of protesters who do not comply may be cancelled.

“There will be consequences, and they will be severe,” Mr Ford said on Friday morning.

“To those who have attempted to disrupt our way of life by targeting our lifeline for food, fuel and goods across our borders, to those trying to force a political agenda through disruption, intimidation and chaos, my message to you is this,” Mr Ford said.


“Your right to make a political statement does not outweigh the right of hundreds of thousands of workers to earn their living.”

The country-wide protests against Covid-19 vaccine mandates are poised to enter their third weekend.

A so-called “Freedom Convoy” was organised last month in response to the introduction of a new rule that all truckers must be vaccinated to cross the US-Canada border, or quarantine upon their return. The protest has since grown into a broader challenge to all Covid health restrictions.

The vast majority of Canadian truckers are vaccinated and trucking associations have distanced themselves from the protests, noting most drivers are still working.

Thousands of demonstrators have congregated in central Ottawa, others have blocked the Ambassador Bridge and a handful of other border crossings.

Authorities have warned members of the public to avoid Emerson, a small border town in Manitoba, where trucks and farm equipment are currently clogging the US border.

The trade disruption has been estimated to cost some C$380m ($300m; £221m) each day.

Smaller protests have been held in Toronto and Quebec City, as well as near provincial legislatures in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia.

The mayors of Ontario’s biggest cities issued a joint statement on Monday, condemning the “irresponsible and damaging” actions of the protesters, calling for all governments to bring the demonstrations to a peaceful end.

US officials have urged Canada’s government to use its federal powers to end the blockade – especially of the Ambassador Bridge – which has already hit the automobile industry either side of the border.

The White House said this week that US officials had been engaged with their Canadian counterparts to help resume trade along the border.

Premier Ford’s Friday announcement marks the first state of emergency in the province since April, when Ontario implemented its third emergency order over Covid-19 transmission.

In recent days Mr Ford had faced criticism for not doing more to stop the convoy blockade in Ottawa.

And while he repeatedly the denounced the weeks-long demonstration on Friday, he also indicated the province would be moving to lift existing Covid-19 restrictions, including the vaccine “passport” system which requires proof of vaccination to enter indoor public settings like gyms and restaurants.

There’s a Covid-19 epidemic in deer. It could come back to haunt us.

A deer with its ears up standing in a meadow looking over its shoulder at the camera.
White-tailed deer can get the coronavirus. What’s unknown if they can spread it back to humans, or other animals.

Cats, dogs, and ferrets have been infected by the coronavirus. But outbreaks in deer are different.By Brian  Feb 3, 2022, 9:00am EST

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In November 2020, Covid-19 cases in Iowa surged to 32,081 cases in a single week — at the time, a record high. And that was only among the humans. As scientists would learn, an epidemic was also beginning to rage among the state’s many white-tailed deer.

A shockingly high number of deer — 80 out of 97 — tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in a seven-week survey that followed the Iowa surge. “We were gobsmacked, completely bowled over,” says Vivek Kapur, a Penn State veterinary microbiologist who recently, with co-authors, published an analysis of the shadow deer epidemic in PNAS. “We had no clue.”

It’s not just in Iowa. Evidence is mounting that deer infections have been widespread across the country. A separate study in Nature found infections in a third of deer surveyed in Ohio, and the USDA has reported coronavirus antibodies in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania deer. Tens of millions of deer live across the United States. It’s unknown how many total have been infected, but these studies suggest the numbers are high.

The deer themselves don’t appear to get very sick from the virus — lab studies show them developing asymptomatic infections when exposed — but that’s not the top concern here. Veterinary infectious disease experts are describing these outbreaks in deer as a possible Pandora’s box — and now that it’s open, there’s a small but real chance it could lead to future variants that infect humans, or spread to other wildlife that could get sick.

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Before starting the study, Kapur and his colleagues thought that deer would be highly unlikely to test positive for Covid-19. “We thought it would be a long shot,” Kapur says, to find even one positive test in a survey of deer that were killed by hunters or road accidents.

There’s only a limited window of time when a deer’s infection would show up on a PCR test before it clears their system. That’s what made the results so shocking: “Our studies suggest that there were more deer, in terms of percentage of their population, than humans infected with this virus.”

Despite the potential risks to animals and humans, the future of the coronavirus in animals may be largely outside of our control. “We can’t even control it in people,” Sarah Olson, an epidemiologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, says. “There’s hardly a chance we’re going to be able to control it in the wild. It creates a hugely chaotic space. And we don’t have a lot of eyes on that space.”

How the virus spreads among wildlife is a black box that scientists try to peer into through the tiniest of pinpricks. But what they do know is that when the coronavirus establishes itself in wildlife, it creates for itself a sort of insurance policy. We may be able to get the pandemic among humans under control, but the virus is likely to lurk in other species, making it that much harder to monitor and defeat.

The spread of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife is not the most pressing issue of the pandemic right now. Humans are still catching the virus from each other and dying from it. Still, these wildlife risks, if they are realized, could have serious consequences. Scientists want to be vigilant about dangers that could emerge from the wilderness.

Covid-19 may be pretty widespread among deer

The fact that SARS-CoV-2 can infect animals is not new. The virus probably originated in an animal species and then jumped to humans, a process that scientists call spillover. Since the pandemic began, there have been documented cases of many animals getting the virus, with various degrees of illness.

Infections have turned up in cats, dogs, lions, tigers, pumas, ferrets, mink, certain rodents, snow leopards, and others. The CDC even has guidelines to protect pets from Covid-19. When a virus jumps from animals to humans and then back to animals, scientists call that spillback.

Most of these infections in animals appeared to be self-contained. An infected house cat presumably stays in the house when infected — it doesn’t start a chain of transmission. “They were all isolated cases,” Suresh Kuchipudi, a Penn State infectious disease researcher who collaborated with Kapur, says of known cases in animals.

The deer infections were different. “This is first time that a completely free-living animal species in the wild has been found to be infected, and that infection is widespread,” Kuchipudi says.

How the deer got infected in the first place remains a mystery, but researchers believe the outbreak came from humans. The virus circulating in the deer had similar genetic sequences to the virus circulating in humans at the time that they got it.

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“I don’t believe that there’s much direct human-to-deer interaction,” says Andrew Bowman, a professor of veterinary preventive medicine at the Ohio State University. He co-authored a separate study of infections in deer in Ohio, which also found widespread infection. It’s not like deer and people are hanging out in bars and restaurants together. Instead, Bowman suspects the deer might be picking it up from some source of environmental contamination, like garbage or sewage.

Whatever happened to start the deer outbreaks, it appears to have happened many times. The genetic analysis in the PNAS paper finds evidence of several separate jumps from humans into animals. Further research needs to be done to identify the exact pathway, and hopefully to prevent the next leap.

Once the virus jumps into the deer, they are also spreading it to each other, the studies find. “There was not just human-to-deer spillover, but there was also deer-to-deer transmission, as evidenced by genomic changes that would confirm that,” Kuchipudi says.

A white-tailed deer buck and doe stand in a snowy field in southern Minnesota. 

Viruses can mutate in animals, just as they do in people

There are two main reasons to be concerned about deer that spread the virus among themselves.

1. Viruses are always evolving

As viruses copy themselves in the human body, they slowly acquire genetic changes, which can lead to variants such as alpha and delta. Now imagine that “a similar parallel trajectory was also happening in some animal populations,” Kuchipudi says. When the virus becomes established in a new species, “the evolution of the virus becomes twice as complicated.”

This is the virus’s so-called insurance policy. In theory, it’s possible that long after the pandemic dies down in humans — maybe even 10 years from now — deer could reinfect humans with a new variant that our immune system isn’t as good at fighting off. (There’s even some speculation that the omicron variant emerged from an animal population.)

“Then it comes back, and we’re fighting a whole new battle,” Olson says.

So far, the scientists don’t have any indication that a new dangerous variant is brewing within deer. Also reassuring: “Right now, we don’t have any evidence that any of these animals are transmitting back to people,” says Angela Bosco-Lauth, who studies infectious disease and veterinary medicine​ at Colorado State University. “I don’t really see that as much of a threat.”

But if a person were to catch the virus from an animal, it would be hard to prove it, Bosco-Lauth says. Scientists have only tested several hundred of the roughly 25 million deer in the United States, and many other species haven’t been studied.

“If you had a group of animals that all had the same virus, that had the same genetic sequence, and then you found people downstream from that who had interacted with those animals and had the same sequence as the animal, that, to me, would be pretty solid proof that that’s where it came from,” she says. But that solid proof would be really hard to get. Scientists just don’t do a lot of testing in animals.

2. There are a lot of animals out there

The next concern is that the outbreak may not stop at the deer. Olson says the deer could potentially spread the virus to other animals.

Let’s say a deer infected with the coronavirus comes into contact with other mammals — for example, a predator like a mountain lion that kills a deer, or a scavenger like an ermine that nibbles away at a deer’s carcass. Olson says she’s not aware of any documented cases of SARS-CoV-2 spreading from one species’ remains to a new species. But she says it’s “plausible.”

If those other species pick up the virus and start an outbreak among their kind, many different species could perhaps end up with Covid-19. “Then you can think about almost like a complex network of animals passing the virus back and forth, right?” Kuchipudi says. “What is unsettling is that we have absolutely no clue if it’s happening or not.”

All of this is hypothetical. But if it were to happen, we wouldn’t necessarily find out. Contact tracing is hard enough in humans — it’s even more daunting when you consider the size and scope of the animal kingdom. “We have to approach this with humility,” Kuchipudi says.

While researchers don’t have evidence that Covid-19 is killing deer, it can be lethal for mustelids — think measles, mink, and ferrets — and endangered snow leopards. Considering how much the coronavirus has evolved in people, it could potentially evolve in a way that hurts some animals. “There’s conservation threats there,” Olson says.

What can we do about it?

The pandemic in humans is much more urgent than Covid-19 in animals. All of the scientists I spoke to agreed about that. The coronavirus is still killing thousands of people every day, and that’s the problem that should get the bulk of our attention and resources.

“Humans are doing such a great job at spreading Covid between each other,” Bosco-Lauth says. “I don’t particularly worry about any animals maintaining this pandemic — I think we’re going to do that just fine on our own.”

On the other hand, the scientists say they want more visibility into what’s happening in the animal world. “We need wildlife surveillance,” Olson says, meaning more testing of animals for coronavirus antibodies — a sign they have been exposed — or active infections. “We just don’t have the tools to begin to understand the system, to even start mapping what’s going to happen here, because our ability to see it is so opaque right now.”

Scientists still have a lot to learn about how viruses jump between species, Olson says, and what factors make these jumps more or less likely.

Could scientists vaccinate deer or other wildlife? Not really. “There’s nothing to be done,” Olson says. While some vaccines are formulated for animals and routinely administered to pets, we don’t know enough about the immune system of the deer to know how it would respond to vaccines made for humans. Then come the logistical problems: Inoculations would need to be mixed with bait somehow, delivered via dart, or administered directly to captured animals. To top it off, one dose might not be enough.

“How are you going to capture the same animal four times?” Olson says. “There’s just no toolbox for this.”

For all these reasons, Covid-19 outbreaks in animals are not situations we can plausibly control. Rather, they’re something to monitor in case they start to look like pressing problems.

“We have been focusing predominantly on humans because there is a global pandemic going,” Kuchipudi says. “But at the same time, we can’t be ignoring this problem. The danger is then if we don’t address it, we could be completely blindsided and caught by surprise when a new variant emerges.”

The course of the pandemic continues to be impossible to predict, even in humans. The addition of it spreading in wildlife just makes it even harder. If there’s a lesson here, it’s this: “This virus never ceases to surprise us,” Kapur says.

Omicron’s New Subvariant: A More Infectious, More Puzzling COVID Strain

Experts have been hard-pressed with evaluating the risk of the BA.2 subvariant, stumped by why it has become dominant in some countries while failing to take off in othersShare in FacebookShare in TwitterSend in e-mailSend in e-mailSaveSave article to reading listZen ReadPrint article

News coverage you can trust


People wear protective face masks in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

People wear protective face masks in Tel Aviv on Sunday.Credit: Hadas ParushIdo EfratiGet email notification for articles from Ido EfratiFollowFeb. 1, 2022 2:46 AM

The number of infections caused by the BA.2 subvariant of the BA.1 omicron coronavirus has surged in the past two weeks, and now accounts for 11 percent of cases among travelers entering Israel. The figure jumped from 7 percent following the entry of a group of Nepalese workers infected with the new subvariant into the country.

According to the Health Ministry, 350 infections with the BA.2 subvariant have been verified. “At present we know that the subvariant is more infectious, but does not cause more severe illness than the BA.1 variant,” a ministry spokesman said.


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■ Omicron is milder? Israel not sure about that

COVID-19 chief Prof. Salman Zarka said Monday that the Health Ministry is keeping a close eye on the new BA.2 subvariant, “which according to data from Europe has the potential to be more infectious than omicron, and in some European countries has slowed down the decline in the omicron wave, while in others, such as Denmark, it has sparked a new wave.- Advertisment -Ads by Brightcom

“There is almost no delta morbidity and most of the current morbidity is from the omicron BA.1 variant and the BA.2 subvariant. We are still in the midst of a wave with very high [infectiousness],” Zarka said, “a wave which we have not seen the likes of previously and which unfortunately is yet to end.”

The Health Ministry is still unable to ascertain the new subvariant’s potential impact on the current wave of infections sweeping the country, or whether it is likely to replace the omicron variant and to set new record case numbers.

The U.K. Health Security Agency reported last Friday that there was an increased growth rate of BA.2 compared with BA.1 in all regions of Britain where there were enough cases to compare, and that “the apparent growth [difference] is currently substantial.”- Advertisment –

Experts say the BA.2 subvariant is a relative of omicron, and while similar to BA.1 in many respects, it also appears to diverge from its parent variant across a number of traits.

“They developed from the same evolutionary branch and it operates in the same way as omicron,” said a senior laboratory virologist. “It behaves differently in different countries. In some countries we have seen it spread rapidly along with a decline in omicron, and in others it has spread slowly where omicron was at a peak. But it appears that this depends on other parameters such as the level of vaccination of the population, so it is difficult to analyze and make predictions.”

According to Dr. Yotam Shenhar, head of laboratoris at Leumit Health Services, “At this stage we do not have well-founded data. What we know at the moment is that on the one hand it is similar to omicron and may replace it, and on the other that there is no evidence of broad infection with both strains, so it is unlikely to lead to a new wave after the omicron wave.”- Advertisment –

The subvariant’s similarity to omicron is a relief insofar as the relatively mild symptoms it causes, but another trait is nevertheless causing concern among experts: BA.2 is even more infectious than omicron. “A number of studies show that it is more infectious than omicron,” said Prof. Cyrille Cohen, head of the immunotherapy lab at Bar-Ilan University.

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According to a report by the U.K. health services, it is 1.3 times more infectious than omicron, while a study in Denmark found it to be 1.5 times more infectious. There are signs that vaccinations offer greater protection against BA.2 compared to BA.1, at a level of 70 percent protection against symptomatic illness two weeks after administration of the vaccine for BA.1, compared to 63 percent for omicron. “This counters the claim that vaccines could encourage the emergence of new variants. In general, we see that what contributes to new variants is the pace of infection, not whether the population is vaccinated or not,” said Cohen.

On the possibility of re-infection with the BA.2 subvariant among people who have already been infected with omicron, Cohen said there are initial signs of re-infection, but it is not yet possible to draw hard conclusions. “It’s probably rare and at this stage we cannot talk of a significant process of re-infection. However, more data is required, and we cannot say unequivocally. The encouraging part of this is that it appears the severity of the subvariant is no different to that of omicron.”

Amid the omicron wave, scientists and health officials have been hard-pressed with evaluating the risk of the new subvariant. “It’s hard to know why the BA.2 subvariant has become dominant is some places like Denmark and the Philippines, while in others it hasn’t,” said Cohen.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tests positive for Covid


The Associated Press

SHAREShare Article via FacebookShare Article via TwitterShare Article via LinkedInShare Article via EmailKEY POINTS

  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he has tested positive for Covid-19, but is “feeling fine″ and will continue working remotely.
  • Trudeau said on Thursday that he was going into isolation for five days after finding out the previous evening he had been in contact with someone who tested positive. He told The Canadian Press on Friday that person was one of his three children.
  • Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of vaccination against the coronavirus
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about Canada's military support for Ukraine, during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 26, 2022.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about Canada’s military support for Ukraine, during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 26, 2022.Blair Gable | Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he has tested positive for Covid-19, but is “feeling fine″ and will continue working remotely.

The announcement came in a tweet in which he urged everyone to “please get vaccinated and get boosted.”

Trudeau said on Thursday that he was going into isolation for five days after finding out the previous evening he had been in contact with someone who tested positive. He told The Canadian Press on Friday that person was one of his three children.

Trudeau previously isolated at home in the early months of the pandemic after his wife tested positive.

Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of vaccination against the coronavirus — shots which are primarily designed to keep those who become infected from falling seriously ill.

The announcement followed a weekend of protests in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, against vaccine mandates, masks and lockdowns. Some demonstrators traveled in truck convoys and parked on the streets around Parliament Hill, blocking traffic.

Upstate man removed from organ transplant list after declining to get COVID-19 vaccine

Jason Wilson has had kidney failure since he was 10 years old

WYFF 4Updated: 11:10 AM EST Jan 31, 2022Infinite Scroll EnabledTaggart Houck ReporterPlay Video SHOW TRANSCRIPT


The latest breaking updates, delivered straight to your email inbox.Your Email AddressSUBMITPrivacy NoticeGREENVILLE, S.C. —

An Upstate man has been declared inactive on a kidney transplant list after he said he has no plans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jason Wilson, of Easley, has had kidney failure since he was 10 years old.

For a while, his condition improved, he said.

But about two years ago, he began dialysis and was placed on MUSC Health’s list for a kidney transplant.

It was on Nov. 1 that he got a letter from the health system that said he would be moved to inactive status if he didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 1, 2022.

“If you do not wish to be vaccinated, we will move you to inactive status until we are able to verify proof of completed vaccination,” it read, in part.

Wilson said there was an effort to get him on board.

“Right before they moved me to inactive, I got a phone call from a manager down there at MUSC and she had asked me what it was going to take, what could they do to make me get the shot? And I said, at this time there’s nothing you can say,” Wilson said.

A spokesperson shared a statement with WYFF News 4 on the policy.

“MUSC Health is part of a growing number of transplant centers who are making this same requirement, due to the overwhelming evidence of improving patient outcomes post-transplant for those who are vaccinated.

Before declining transplant candidacy, every effort is being made to understand the rationale behind individual vaccine refusal and to reduce barriers or misinformation related to vaccine acceptance.

As part of the transplant process, we require many vaccinations and wellness exams to be completed (colonoscopy, mammograms, pap smears, etc), in addition to COVID-19 vaccines. All of these requirements are to assure a safe and successful post-transplant outcome,” said Heather Woolwine who serves as the Director of Public Affairs, Media Relations and Presidential Communications for MUSC.

Wilson said doctors told him he has about 5 to 7 years on dialysis.

He’s now in year 2.

“I know for me right now, I got a little bit of working room to kind of hold up to see what happens in the future,” he said.

“I see it as so unethical, I see it as inhumane and I do believe that it’s unconstitutional,” said State Rep. Ashley Trantham, who represents the Pelzer area of Greenville County.

Trantham heard about Jason’s story and after unsuccessful attempts to get him back on the list, turned toward a different direction.

“The only other thing that I can think of doing for him was to file legislation that says that any hospital system cannot deny somebody the opportunity for that life-saving procedure based on their COVID vaccination status,” she said.

She said the bill also addresses insurance companies to ensure that they can’t deny coverage.

Trantham said she’s hopeful lawmakers will move forward with the bill.

In the meantime, Wilson said he’s hoping a COVID vaccination requirement will ease over time.

“Maybe they can kind of back up on the shot and just leave it as highly recommended like the flu shot,” he said.

Anti-vax WA state trooper dies of COVID after telling the Governor to “k*$$ my *$$”

TheCriticalMindCommunity (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)Saturday January 29, 2022 · 3:36 PM PST 333231 Comments 231 New




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On August 9, 2021, Washington governor, Jay Insley, signed a proclamation mandating all state employees be fully vaccinated against COVID by October 18. The order survived legal challenges. And vaccination became a condition for state employment.

Two days before the proclamation went into effect, State Trooper Robert LaMay, resigned after 22 years as a cop. LaMay was an anti-vaxxer who refused to save his job by getting a vaccination that could save his life. On Friday, he died from COVID-19.


I am sure that when he signed off for the final time, sitting in the driver’s seat of his patrol car, speaking into the cop radio, and demanding Governor Jay Inslee “kiss my ass”, he felt the self-satisfaction of a man who has done the right thing by his lights. And put his life on the line to stick to a sacred principle. I wonder if he was thinking the same thing as he died of COVID.

Days after his resignation, LaMay was, predictably, interviewed on Fox News because anti-vaxxers do not seem to appreciate the irony of doing interviews on a cable channel that requires all its employees to be vaccinated. He had this to say,

“When we started off this program, [the vaccine mandate] there was several hundred that were willing to get fired. Well, then they started looking at their finances. They looked at what they can do and they decided to take the vaccination.”

One side-effect these vaccine vacillators suffered was not dying. By compromising their stand, they did more than keep their jobs – they kept living. I’m not exactly sure what the downside to getting vaccinated is. John Stockton’s claim that 100+ professional athletes have died on the field from bad vaccine reactions seems tragic. Except he’s keeping the evidence for his proposition to himself. And no one else can find it.

Which is SOP for anti-vaxxers. For all their hyperbole, they have presented no scientific evidence showing any significant side effects from the COVID vaccines. And while there have been a small number of minor side effects, they have been, in every case, far less harmful to people than getting the disease.

I want an anti-vaxxer to produce, just once, a story where someone, who received a COVID vaccine, is lying on their deathbed desperately unhappy that they got vaccinated. But all I can find are the non-vaccinated crushed by the stupidity of their decision not to get a simple, safe, life-saving medicine.

Let us bring LaMay’s tragic tale to an end. Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said of the trooper’s death.

‘This agency’s prayers and remembrances are with his family and loved ones. Rob served honorably for over two decades, and we were disappointed to see him leave the agency this past October. His service to this state and agency will be long remembered and appreciated. Let us now remember our old friend.”

This points to one final irony. The people who knew him will remember him. But among the people who didn’t know him, the ones who will forget him the fastest are the anti-vaxxers. Because his death does their narrative no favors. And you will not hear it mentioned on any of the anti-science sites because the truth is to an anti-vaxxer what garlic is to a vampire.

Unvaccinated Sarah Palin tests positive for Covid, delays New York Times defamation trial

PUBLISHED MON, JAN 24 202210:29 AM ESTUPDATED MON, JAN 24 20227:14 PM ESTDan Mangan@_DANMANGANSHAREShare Article via FacebookShare Article via TwitterShare Article via LinkedInShare Article via EmailKEY POINTS

  • Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin tested positive for Covid, and is unvaccinated, a federal judge told a courtroom.
  • The positive coronavirus test by the one-time Alaska governor led to the postponement of the scheduled start of a trial for Palin’s civil defamation lawsuit against The New York Times.
  • Palin in March disclosed that she had been diagnosed then with the coronavirus, and recently said that she will get a Covid-19 vaccine “over my dead body.”
  • She sued the Times and its former editorial page editor for allegedly damaging her reputation with a 2017 editorial linking her PAC’s ad to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords.

In this article

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks while campaigning for U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore at the Historic Union Station Train Shed in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., September 21, 2017.

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks while campaigning for U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore at the Historic Union Station Train Shed in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., September 21, 2017.Tammi Chappel | Reuters

Unvaccinated former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin tested positive for Covid, a federal judge told a courtroom before he postponed the scheduled start Monday of a defamation trial involving the one-time Alaska governor and The New York Times that was set to begin.

Palin’s civil suit against the Times now will be heard by a jury in Manhattan federal court on Feb. 3 as a result of her Covid-19 status.

The Times reported later Monday that Palin dined indoors on Saturday night at Elio’s, an Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that, like all New York City restaurants, is required under city regulations to confirm guests are vaccinated for Covid.

The newspaper quoted Elio’s manager as saying “we just made a mistake,” and that the restaurant checks vaccination cards only for first-time guests, and not for longtime guests, one of whom Palin was eating with.

A City Hall spokesman said, “The Key to NYC rules were put in place to protect all New Yorkers – including the small businesses that power our city’s economy.”

“Ms. Palin needs to respect small business workers and follow the rules just like everyone else,” the spokesman said.

Palin disclosed in March that she had been diagnosed then with the coronavirus.

Last month, Palin said that she will get a Covid-19 vaccine “over my dead body.”

Judge Jed Rakoff announced in court Monday that he learned Sunday evening that the 57-year-old Palin was again positive for the virus.

“She is of course unvaccinated,” Rakoff said.

After a second test confirmed Palin was positive for Covid, Rakoff postponed the trial start date to February.

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Palin sued the Times and its former editorial page editor for allegedly damaging her reputation with a 2017 editorial that suggested an image produced by Palin’s political action committee incited the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona.

Palin was not well known to the American public when GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain picked her to be his running mate in 2008.

The McCain-Palin ticket lost to President Barack Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, who is now president.

U.S. airlines scrap hundreds of Christmas Day flights due to Omicron

By Humeyra Pamuk and Joel Schectman

3 minute read

Travelers form lines during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Travelers are seen at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Travelers form lines during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage


Travelers are seen at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

WASHINGTON, Dec 25 (Reuters) – U.S. airlines canceled more than 900 flights on Saturday, the second straight day of massive cancellations as surging COVID-19 infections have sidelined some pilots and other crew members, upending plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers over the Christmas weekend.

Large mink fur farms threaten our COVID-19 health efforts

By Jan HajekAlastair McAlpine & Victor Leung | Opinion | December 16th 2021

Mink are naturally wild animals native to Canada. Like cats, they are excellent hunters and purr when content. They are also very susceptible to COVID-19 and influenza — respiratory viruses with pandemic potential. Photo by TheAnimalDay.orgListen to article

To what extent is it acceptable for a private business to put public health at risk? What level of risk can an individual or a private business impose on others from a public health perspective?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to grapple with such questions, balancing the need to protect public health while avoiding interference with personal activities and business. Important considerations have ranged from setting limits on store occupancy and social gatherings to mandating masks on planes and buses, all the way to fur farming — especially mink farming.

Mink are naturally wild animals, native to Canada. Like cats, they are excellent hunters and purr when content. They are also very susceptible to COVID-19 and influenza — respiratory viruses with pandemic potential.


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Outbreaks of COVID-19 on large private mink farms in British Columbia (which continued despite implementation of additional biosecurity measures and the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines for employees) have brought international attention.

A key concern is that SARS-CoV-2 can spread like wildfire among the thousands of minks crowded next to each other on fur farms. With increased transmission, SARS-CoV-2 can develop new and potentially dangerous mutations, which can then be transmitted back to people — something that has already happened in Europe.

Genomic studies of mink on fur farms in B.C. documented the emergence of a critical mutation (Y453F) associated with partial resistance to antibody-mediated immunity. Additional studies in Europe have shown that COVID-19 can persist for months on a fur farm and even after infection and developing antibodies, mink can be re-infected.

In November, after documentation that SARS-CoV-2 virus was circulating for more than two months among 25,000 animals on a mink farm in the Fraser Valley, and an order by the provincial health officer affirming “mink farming is a health hazard as it is an activity which endangers or is likely to endanger public health,” the province announced it wants to phase out mink fur farms.

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As well as infectious diseases specialists, First Nations leaders and animal welfare groups have been vocal in their opposition to fur farming and have called for an end to this practice. Public opinion polls have also documented that the vast majority of Canadian residents oppose the practice of fur farming and feel that standard practices, like intensive confinement and using anal electrocution to kill foxes, are no longer acceptable.

This is a time-sensitive matter

The risks associated with continuing industrial mink farming outweigh the limited societal benefits. Photo by Dzivnieku briviba / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This past month, there were still more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 20 deaths per day across Canada. The emergence of the Omicron variant has renewed concerns. Deer have been identified as susceptible to COVID-19. The ongoing presence of large mink fur farms risks development of animal reservoirs and novel variants that threaten to undermine our COVID-19 vaccination program and public health efforts.

Opinion: The risks associated with continuing industrial mink farming outweigh the limited societal benefits, write Jan Hajek @ahoysvet, Alastair McAlpine @AlastairMcA30 and Victor Leung @VicLeungIDdoc. #COVID19

Vaccinating mink may help reduce the risks and slow the emergence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, publicly funded vaccination programs for minks, as initiated in Nova Scotia, will not eliminate these risks and will require ongoing enforcement and surveillance.

According to standard practices, approximately 80 per cent of minks are expected to be killed in November and December, and, if breeding is permitted in 2022, the remaining minks will be subject to breeding in the following months; each female giving birth to an average of five babies, dramatically increasing the number of mink in Canada.

The chances that a novel variant will emerge on a mink farm in Canada and significantly alter the course of the pandemic, or establish a permanent reservoir in other animals, are low, but the consequences if this happened could be catastrophic.

The risks associated with continuing industrial mink farming outweigh the limited societal benefits. Investing more public resources and providing more financial support to make up for declining fur farming revenues is no longer justifiable.

The ban on mink fur farms and transition support for fur farm operators in B.C. were positive steps. But COVID-19 does not respect borders and we need to have a positive and proactive plan to support the remaining mink-breeding operations in Canada to close safely and permanently. Mink fur farming needs to stop.