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Akey SARS-Cov-2 expert acknowledged this week that a mainstay of the global coronavirus response — the use of cloth masks — does little to stop the spread of the virus.

Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and an adviser on President Joe Biden’s transitional COVID-19 advisory board, made the stunning claim on CNN this week amid escalating worldwide fears and concerns over the “Delta variant” of COVID-19.

“We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” Osterholm said during the interview. 

“We need to talk about better masking,” he said. “We need to talk about N-95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected.”

Osterholm told Just the News he was unavailable for comment regarding his remarks. 

The apparent admission comes after well over a year of public health officials insisting that cloth masks are among the most vital and lifesaving tools in the fight against SARS-Cov-2. 

Osterholm himself acknowledged last year that the effectiveness of cloth masks was likely to be “limited,” though he himself unequivocally affirmed his support for wearing them in public spaces.

Robert Cook, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of South Florida, admitted that he was “not up to date with the latest, most specific data on cloth masks vs. other types of masks,” but he argued that it “makes common sense to me that someone wearing a cloth mask would block larger respiratory particles and these in turn would block at least some of the smaller viral particles.”

“I would be very surprised if they did ‘little’ to stop the amount of virus in the air around someone,” he continued. “Even if they reduce the number of virus particles by 10%, it could have a significant impact at the community level compared to nothing.”

Other health officials, meanwhile, have been emphatic about the alleged benefits of cloth masking. 

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins wrote last August that “even if a community universally adopted a crude cloth covering that’s far less than 100 percent protective against the virus, this measure alone could significantly help to reduce deaths.”

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, meanwhile, argued last July that “cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus.”

A model developed by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, meanwhile, projected last July that wearing cloth masks could save as many as nearly 30,000 lives in less than three months

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Election

Arizona lawmakers approve bill vetting voters for citizenship before they can vote

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Arizona lawmakers approved new voter restrictions that supporters said ensure only U.S. citizens can cast ballots but opponents said will wipe countless voters off the state’s rolls.

A unanimous Republican caucus approved House Bill 2492 on Wednesday in the Senate, sending the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration.

While Arizona is one of the few states that already require proof of citizenship before registering to vote, residents can bypass that by registering for a federal-only ballot under the National Voter Registration Act and can vote on federal contests.

HB 2492 would require counties to check those individuals for citizenship against multiple databases. Counties must reject any federal applications if they find the individual is not a U.S. citizen. Any official knowingly ignoring the requirement could be charged with a Class 6 felony.

Democrats accused Republicans of seeking to purge the voter rolls as revenge for the 2020 general election, where President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump.

“This is absurd, illogical and discriminatory,” Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson, said.

Constitutional analysts told GOP lawmakers in another hearing the bill presents some issues that could face a legal challenge. Opponents were quick to note that in debate.

“We are voting on a bill that is unconstitutional and has a tremendous impact on the voters of the state of Arizona,” Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix, said. “There are many provisions in this bill that are offensive, and that will have a negative impact on some communities more than others.”

Republicans said their legislation simply ensures U.S. citizens are the only ones voting in U.S. elections.

“The issue is making sure the citizens of this country are voting,” Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said. “If you’re not a citizen of this country, you’re not allowed to vote. We have over 35,000 people registered to vote where we are not certain whether they’re citizens or not.”

The bill passed along partisan lines. Democrats gathered in Phoenix on Thursday to pressure Ducey to veto the legislation.

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Congress

US Senators Question Motives of AT&T For Refusing To Renew OAN Contract…Cite AT&T Board Chairman’s Ties To Dominion Voting Machines

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Two U.S. Senators, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have written an official letter to AT&T inquiring into its politically-motivated decision to cut One America News Network (OANN) from DirectTV. Cruz and Lee both press the AT&T Board of Directors for answers regarding the “personal financial” influences that may have swayed the company’s decision.

The decision to not renew its contract with OANN was announced by DirecTV in mid-January. DirecTV, which is primarily run by AT&T, has a contract with OANN that is set to expire in early April.

In response to this major decision, President Trump spoke out at an Arizona rally, saying, “This is horrible. This is a great network. These are great people. I watch it all the time and you really get the truth. And they want to cancel them now because of politics – for purely political reasons. It’s a disgrace what’s going on.”

“I don’t think that people are gonna stand for it,” added Trump.”Maybe what we should do is not use AT&T.”

On Tuesday, Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz submitted a letter to the members of the AT&T Board of Directors, expressing “grave concern for the future of journalism and political discourse in America.”

They then listed six specific facts/concerns regarding the issue:

  1. One American News Network (“OAN”) is being sued for alleged defamation by Dominion Voting Systems.
  2. Dominion Voting Systems is owned by Staple Street Capital.
  3. William Kennard is on the executive board of Staple Street Capital
  4. William Kennard is also the Chairman of AT&T’s board of directors
  5. AT&T owns 70% of DirecTV, and controls two seats on DirecTV’s board of directors
  6. DirecTV has decided not to renew its contract with OANN.

The main concern pointed out by Lee and Cruz is that William Kennard, the Chairman of AT&T’s board of directors and executive board member of Staple Street Capital, is pushing to end its contract with OANN to benefit his personal financial interests.

The Senators then request a response to the following question within 10 business days: “Did any employee or agent of AT&T at any time convey or suggest to any employee or agent of DirecTV an instruction or request not to renew OANN?”

Read the full letter below:

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Election

VoterGA Reveals Georgia Ballot Harvesting Scheme – Raffensperger Facilitated Ballot Harvesting

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