Daily Archives: September 23, 2020

The Nation in Brief – Arkansas Online

Posted: September 23, 2020 at 7:32 pm

Accused ricin mailer appears in court

WASHINGTON -- A Canadian woman accused of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House included a threatening letter in which she told President Donald Trump to "give up and remove your application for this election," according to court papers filed Tuesday.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Pascale Ferrier of Quebec was arrested Sunday at the U.S.-Canada border and made her first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y. She faces a charge of threatening the president.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail sorting facility Friday. The package, postmarked from Canada, included a letter in which she referred to Trump as "The Ugly Tyrant Clown," according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

"So I made a 'special gift' for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter," she wrote, according to the affidavit. "If it doesn't work, I'll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I'll be able to come. Enjoy! FREE REBEL SPIRIT."

Ferrier appeared in court briefly Tuesday, and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered an innocent plea on her behalf.

Darknet drug case leads to 179 arrests

WASHINGTON -- Law enforcement officials arrested 179 people and seized more than $6.5 million in a worldwide crackdown on opioid trafficking on the darknet, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

The operation, which mainly occurred in the U.S. and in Europe, comes more than a year after officials took down the "Wall Street Market," which was believed to be one of the largest illegal online marketplaces on the darknet.

The darknet is a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, most notably the Tor Browser.

As part of the initiative, law enforcement officials seized more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currency, in addition to 500 kilograms of drugs, the Justice Department said. About 275 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and other opioids, had been seized in the U.S.

The arrests include 121 made in the U.S., two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia and one in Sweden. The Justice Department said its investigation was ongoing, and investigators were still working to identify other individuals behind darknet accounts.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the takedown showed "there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace."

CDC issues guidance on holiday visits

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the coming holiday season warns that hosts and attendees at holiday celebrations will need to take steps to limit the risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus.

Virtual gatherings or those that involve one's immediate household are low-risk, the agency said in a posting Monday. If people do gather in person for Christmas and other holidays, the CDC recommends doing so outdoors, keeping groups small, using measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, and considering local virus conditions as well as where attendees are coming from.

Traditional celebrations like Halloween trick-or-treating, large indoor Dia de los Muertos gatherings, crowded Thanksgiving parades and Black Friday shopping sprees could spread the virus and should be avoided, according to the guidance. The CDC recommends alternatives such as virtual Halloween costume contests, holding a small dinner for household members and shopping online.

City readies for Taylor findings unrest

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Officials in Kentucky's largest city were preparing Tuesday for more protests and possible unrest as the public nervously awaits the state attorney general's announcement about whether he will charge officers in Breonna Taylor's shooting death.

Photo bySouth Florida Sun-SentinelKyle Welp plays tuesday with his dog Ryder at the freshwater dog swim area of Snyder park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP/south Florida sun-sentinel/Joe Cavaretta)

With timing of the announcement still uncertain, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency because of the potential for civil unrest, hours after police said they would restrict access in the city's downtown. The mayor and police said they were planning ahead of time to protect demonstrators, and the people who live and work there.

But some involved in protests seeking justice for Taylor questioned why the police were going to such "overkill" lengths when the city has been the site of peaceful protests for months.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has declined to set a deadline for his decision. Earlier this month, he remarked that "an investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a certain timeline."

Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said officials from Cameron's office have promised to give authorities a heads-up.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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The use of facial recognition to fight crime: Japan case – Geospatial World

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Facial recognition is a technology that can recognize and verify an individual from a digital image or a video frame. Facial Recognition system identifies your face based on skin tone, facial hair, and other biometric information. It then compares the data to a database of stored faces and finds a match.

Law Enforcement agencies all around the world have been using the latest technologies that help track down criminals. The latest in this long list of technologies is the Facial Recognition System.

Of course, there are other methods to distinguish individuals from each other and identify them, such as:

But facial recognition continues to be the perfect biometric benchmark. And the reason for this is that it is easy to deploy, and there is no need for physical interaction by the end-user. Tracking down criminals using facial recognition is faster and more efficient.

Japanese Police Force has also joined the long list of law enforcement agencies around the globe that use facial recognition. A system can compare photographs of people previously arrested with images obtained from surveillance cameras and social media.

Police have used facial recognition technology across the nation since March. Its a more efficient and reliable way to locate criminal suspects. Critics warn that the system could transform the country into a surveillance society unless it runs under strict regulations.

According to a senior National Police Agency official, that shouldnt be a problem: We are using the system only for criminal investigations and within the scope of the law. We discard facial images that are found to be unrelated to cases.

The Japanese National Police Agency also follows strict rules laid down by the National Public Safety Commission to handle and use facial images, the same way they do fingerprints and DNA evidence.

The agencys database currently holds 10 million facial images of criminal suspects. Some of those have not yet been arrested.

The implications of facial recognition are far-reaching. It can help law enforcement agencies track down criminal suspects. But governments can use the same technology to monitor and control their citizens, like Chinas government does to Uighur Muslims. More than a million of them are in detention camps, and the Chinese government uses surveillance technologies like facial recognition to control and discipline them.

In 2013 American coder Edward Snowden made key revelations about how the National Security Agency was breaching the general publics privacy in the name of security and surveillance. Snowdens revelations raised huge concerns about public privacy, and a huge overload of privacy advocacy was seen. It was now clear that governments can go to anylengths to control and discipline their citizens.

Concerns about the possible breaches of privacy, facial recognition being one of them, are present among the Japanese masses. The only way governments can use facial recognition to track down criminals is by monitoring everyone. That is the biggest issue that privacy advocates have against facial recognition.

Many government agencies could even access the webcams of internet users in the name of public safety and surveillance. And most of the time, users are not even aware of such an intense breach in their privacy. Thats why many start covering their webcams, muting their microphones, and using various privacy tools, such as a VPN or Tor browser.

Privacy in the age of the web is one of the most common issues that we face today. Almost everyone can track you or keep tabs on your personal information.

Internet users may fall victim to a data breach and lose their sensitive data. Or worse their data might end up in malicious hands. If you are anonymous online, then your chances of falling victim to a data breach are almost zero. But its virtually impossible to stay truly anonymous.

Location-based services are on the rise as almost everyone uses a smartphone these days. These services access your location and provide you information about nearby places such as the nearest restaurant, information about indoor positioning, speed, altitude, etc. But the privacy concern about this location-sharing is that these services may be collecting more data on the users than they need to.

Going online may feel like the equivalent of having zero privacy. Almost 40% of internet users worldwide feel that they dont have control over their data. Advertisement agencies and social media sites collaborate to bring you better ads but only at the cost of your privacy. Your personal data is handed over to these third-party sites all the time.

The Japanese government and marketplaces gather data about people to use it according to their needs. Nobuo Komiya, a criminology professor at Rissho University, said, It is natural for the police to adopt advanced technology.

Nowadays, many governments are more concerned about their control over citizens and less about their privacy. They often overlook data breaches in the name of security. So everyone should take their privacy into their own hands.

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COVID-19 Daily Update 9-23-2020 – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Posted: at 7:30 pm

TheWest Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 10:00 a.m., September 23,2020, there have been 525,236 total confirmatorylaboratory results received for COVID-19, with 14,504 totalcases and 319 deaths.

DHHR has confirmed the deaths of a 91-year old female from KanawhaCounty and an 80-yearold male from Kanawha County. The continued loss of West Virginia livesweighs heavily on all of us, with the greatest sadness borne by family andfriends, said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

CASESPER COUNTY: Barbour(48), Berkeley (952), Boone (203), Braxton (13), Brooke (111), Cabell (741),Calhoun (25), Clay (36), Doddridge (18), Fayette (580), Gilmer (33), Grant(152), Greenbrier (124), Hampshire (103), Hancock (142), Hardy (82), Harrison(344), Jackson (252), Jefferson (425), Kanawha (2,415), Lewis (38), Lincoln(157), Logan (588), Marion (259), Marshall (163), Mason (138), McDowell (80),Mercer (404), Mineral (171), Mingo (367), Monongalia (1,948), Monroe (147),Morgan (53), Nicholas (96), Ohio (359), Pendleton (52), Pleasants (16),Pocahontas (59), Preston (150), Putnam (522), Raleigh (487), Randolph (237),Ritchie (11), Roane (49), Summers (46), Taylor (120), Tucker (17), Tyler (15),Upshur (63), Wayne (367), Webster (7), Wetzel (50), Wirt (12), Wood (354),Wyoming (103).

Pleasenote that delays may be experienced with the reporting of information from thelocal health department to DHHR. As case surveillance continues at the localhealth department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain countymay not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual inquestion may have crossed the state border to be tested.Suchis the case of Brooke and Hancock counties in this report.

Pleasevisit the dashboard located at http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.

Free COVID-19 testing locations areavailable today in Boone, Logan, Mingo, Monongalia, Putnam and Wayne counties:

Boone County, September23, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Whitesville Fire Department, 1190 Raleigh Street,Whitesville, WV

Logan County, September23, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Old 84 Lumber Building, 100 Recovery Road, Peach Creek,WV

Mingo County, September23, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Larry Joe Harless Center, 202 Larry Joe Harless Drive,Gilbert, WV

Monongalia County,September 23, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, West Virginia University, Student RecreationCenter, 2001 Rec Center Drive, Morgantown, WV

Putnam County, September23, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Winfield High School, 3022 Winfield Road, Winfield, WV

Wayne County, September23, 9:00 AM 1:00 PM, Wayne County Health Department, 217 Kenova Avenue,Wayne, WV

Testingis available to everyone, including asymptomatic individuals. Upcoming testingevents will be held this week in Cabell, Jackson, Marion, Summers, and Wyomingcounties. For more testing locations, pleasevisit https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx.

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Fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccine trial begins in the United States – National Institutes of Health

Posted: at 7:30 pm

News Release

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Trial evaluating investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

A fourth Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun enrolling adult volunteers. The trial is designed to evaluate if the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (JNJ-78436725) can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after a single dose regimen. Up to 60,000 volunteers will be enrolled in the trial at up to nearly 215 clinical research sites in the United States and internationally.

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnsondeveloped the investigational vaccine (also known as Ad.26.COV2.S) and is leading the clinical trial as regulatory sponsor. Janssen, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, are funding the trial.

U.S. and international trial sites part of the NIAID-supported COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) will participate in the trial. The CoVPN is composed of existing NIAID-supported clinical research networks with infectious disease expertise and designed for rapid and thorough evaluation of vaccine candidates and monoclonal antibodiesfor the prevention of COVID-19.

Four COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in Phase 3 clinical testing in the United States just over eight months after SARS-CoV-2 was identified. This is an unprecedented feat for the scientific community made possible by decades of progress in vaccine technology and a coordinated, strategic approach across government, industry and academia, said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. It is likely that multiple COVID-19 vaccine regimens will be required to meet the global need. The Janssen candidate has showed promise in early-stage testing and may be especially useful in controlling the pandemic if shown to be protective after a single dose.

The Janssen vaccine candidate is a recombinant vector vaccine that uses a human adenovirus to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in cells. Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that cause the common cold. However, the adenovirus vector used in the vaccine candidate has been modified so that it can no longer replicate in humans and cause disease. Janssen uses the same vector in the first dose of its prime-boost vaccine regimen against Ebola virus disease (Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo) that was recently granted marketing authorization by the European Commission.

Preclinical findings published in Nature show that the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine induced neutralizing antibody responses in rhesus macaques and provided complete or near-complete protection against virus infection in the lungs and nose following SARS-CoV-2 challenge. The safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the investigational vaccine are being evaluated in a Phase 1/2a trial in the United States and Belgium enrolling adult volunteers. Positive interim results from the Phase 1/2a clinical study demonstrated that the safety profile and immunogenicity after a single vaccination were supportive of further development.

Scientific partners from government, industry and academia are working hand-in-hand to develop safe, effective vaccines to put this pandemic in our rear-view mirror, said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. While administrative steps are being streamlined to speed the process, safety and effectiveness measures are just as rigorous than ever.

The Phase 3 trial is being conducted in collaboration with Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a multi-agency collaboration overseen by HHS and the Department of Defense that aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of medical countermeasures for COVID-19. OWS and CoVPN also are assisting with additional COVID-19 preventive candidate vaccines, including mRNA-1273, an investigational vaccine co-developed by NIAID and the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., and AZD1222, a vaccine candidate being developed by United Kingdom-based biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

To have just one candidate vaccine in Phase 3 trials less than a year after a virus was first reported would be a remarkable accomplishment; to have four candidates at that stage is extraordinary, said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. By building a portfolio of candidate vaccines, Operation Warp Speed is maximizing the chances that we will have substantial supplies of a safe and effective vaccineand maybe multiple vaccine optionsby January 2021.

The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public-private partnership helped to ensure the protocols of all NIH- and OWS-supported Phase 3 trials of investigational vaccines use the same assays and are designed to evaluate the same primary objective: whether the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19. This approach enables transparent evaluation of the relative performance of each vaccine approach across trials.

Paul A. Goepfert, M.D., director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic at the University of Alabama in Birmingham; Beatriz Grinsztejn, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Clinical Research on HIV/AIDS at the Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases-Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Glenda E. Gray, M.B.B.Ch., president and chief executive officer of the South African Medical Research Council and co-principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), will serve as principal investigators for the Phase 3 trial of the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Volunteers must provide informed consent to participate in the trial. After providing a baseline nasopharyngeal and blood sample, participants will be assigned at random to receive either a single dose of the investigational vaccine or a saline placebo. The trial is blinded, meaning neither investigators nor participants will know who is receiving the investigational vaccine. Participants will be followed closely for safety and will be asked to provide additional blood samples at specified time points after the injection and over two years. Scientists will analyze the blood samples to detect and quantify immune responses to COVID-19. Of note, specialized assays will be used that can distinguish between immunity as a result of natural infection and vaccine-induced immunity.

The trial is designed primarily to determine if the investigational vaccine can prevent moderate to severe COVID-19 after a single dose. It also aims to understand if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 requiring medical intervention and if the vaccine can prevent milder cases of COVID-19 and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will provide oversight to ensure the safe and ethical conduct of the study. All Phase 3 clinical trials of candidate vaccines supported through Operation Warp Speed are overseen by a common DSMB developed in consultation with ACTIV.

Adults who are interested in joining this study can visit Coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org or ClinicalTrials.gov and search identifier NCT04505722.

About the COVID-19 Prevention Network: The COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) was formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health to respond to the global pandemic. Through the CoVPN, NIAID is leveraging the infectious disease expertise of its existing research networks and global partners to address the pressing need for vaccines and antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. CoVPN will work to develop and conduct studies to ensure rapid and thorough evaluation of vaccines and antibodies for the prevention of COVID-19. The CoVPN is headquartered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For more information about the CoVPN, visit: coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org.

About HHS, ASPR, and BARDA: HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of ASPR is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats. To date, BARDA-supported products have achieved 55 FDA approvals, licensures or clearances. To learn more about federal support for the nationwide COVID-19 response, visit http://www.coronavirus.gov.

About Operation Warp Speed:OWS is a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, engaging with private firms and other federal agencies, and coordinating among existing HHS-wide efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

About the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:NIAID conducts and supports research at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on theNIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIHTurning Discovery Into Health

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COVID-19 pandemic: countries urged to take stronger action to stop spread of harmful information – World Health Organization

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WHO, the UN, UNICEF, UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Global Pulse initiative and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), together with the governments of Indonesia, Thailand and Uruguay held a webinar on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly to draw attention to the harm being done by the spread of misinformation and disinformation, the latter being deliberate misinformation to advance an agenda.

As soon as the virus spread across the globe, inaccurate and even dangerous messages proliferated wildly over social media, leaving people confused, misled and ill-advised, said UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres. Our initiative, called Verified, is fighting misinformation with truth. We work with media partners, individuals, influencers and social media platforms to spread content that promotes science, offers solutions and inspires solidarity. This will be especially critical as we work to build public confidence in the safety and efficacy of future COVID-19 vaccines. We need a peoples vaccine that is affordable and available to all.

Misinformation and disinformation put health and lives at risk, and undermine trust in science, in institutions and in health systems, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. To fight the pandemic we need trust and solidarity and when there is mistrust, there is much less solidarity. False information is hindering the response to the pandemic so we must join forces to fight it and to promote science-based public health advice. The same principles that apply to responding to COVID-19 apply to managing the infodemic. We need to prevent, detect and respond to it, together and in solidarity.

On top of the immediate impact on pandemic responses, disinformation is undermining public trust in democratic processes and institutions and exacerbating social divides, said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. Its one of the most concerning governance challenges of our time. UNDP is actively collaborating with Member States, fellow UN agencies, and other partners to find holistic responses which respect human rights.

Misinformation is one of the fastest growing challenges facing children today, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. It takes advantage of the cracks in trust in societies and institutions and deepens them further, undermines confidence in science and medicine, and divides communities. In its most pernicious forms, such as when it convinces parents not to vaccinate their children, it can even be fatal. Because misinformation is more a symptom than a sickness, countering it requires more than just providing truth. It also requires trust between leaders, communities and individuals.

We can beat COVID-19 only with facts, science and community solidarity, said Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima. Misinformation is perpetuating stigma and discrimination and must not come in the way of ensuring that human rights are protected and people at risk and those marginalized have access to health and social protection services.

Since the start of the pandemic, UNESCO has mobilised its international networks of media partners, journalists, fact-checkers, community radio stations, and experts, to give citizens the means to fight against false information and rumours phenomena that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, said Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General. Collective mobilisation to promote quality and reliable information, while strictly ensuring respect for freedom of expression, is essential. A free, independent and pluralistic press is more necessary than ever.

Trust is a cornerstone of our digital world, said Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union. Building on the long-standing WHO-ITU BeHe@lthy BeMobile initiative, ITU has been working with national ministries of telecommunications and health and mobile network operators since the beginning of this crisis to text people who may not have access to the internet, providing them with science- and evidence-based COVID-19 health advice directly on their mobile phones.

WHO and partners urged countries to engage and listen to their communities as they develop their national action plans, and to empower communities to build trust and resilience against false information.

Engaging communities on how they perceive the disease and response is critical to building trust and ending outbreaks, said Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General. If our response does not reflect the communities concerns and perceptions, we will not be seen as relevant or trusted by affected populations, and the epidemic response risks failure. More than ever, local responders are at the forefront of this crisis. We need to recognize the incredible role they play in understanding and acting on local knowledge and community feedback.

The co-hosts also called on the media, social media platforms, civil society leaders and influencers to strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Access to accurate information and the free exchange of ideas online and offline are key to enabling effective and credible public health responses.

"UN Global Pulse was set up a decade ago inside the UN System to pioneer the use of real-time and predictive insights to protect vulnerable communities in times of crisis, said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse, the United Nations Secretary-Generals initiative on big data and artificial intelligence (AI). During this pandemic we have seen a tremendous increase in requests for advanced analytics from across the UN System and Member States. We will continue to work with WHO and other partners to help identify and combat mis- and disinformation.

Note to Editors

WHO defines an infodemic as an overabundance of information, both online and offline. It includes accurate information as well as mis- and disinformation.

In May 2020, WHO Member States passed Resolution WHA73.1 on the COVID-19 response at the World Health Assembly. The Resolution recognises that managing the infodemic is a critical part of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic: it calls on Member States to provide reliable COVID-19 content, take measures to counter mis- and disinformation and leverage digital technologies across the response. The Resolution also called on international organisations to address mis- and disinformation in the digital sphere, work to prevent harmful cyber activities undermining the health response and support the provision of science-based data to the public.

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Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation – World Health…

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The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected.At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic.

An infodemic is an overabundance of information, both online and offline. It includes deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information to undermine the public health response and advance alternative agendas of groups or individuals. Mis- and disinformation can be harmful to peoples physical and mental health; increase stigmatization; threaten precious health gains; and lead to poor observance of public health measures, thus reducing their effectiveness and endangering countries ability to stop the pandemic.

Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive.

Furthermore, disinformation is polarizing public debate on topics related to COVID-19; amplifying hate speech; heightening the risk of conflict, violence and human rights violations; and threatening long-terms prospects for advancing democracy, human rights and social cohesion.

In this context, the UN Secretary- General launched the United Nations Communications Response initiative to combat the spread of mis- and disinformation in April 2020. The UN also issued a Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech (11 May 2020).

At the World Health Assembly in May 2020, WHO Member States passed Resolution WHA73.1 on the COVID-19 response. The Resolution recognizes that managing the infodemic is a critical part of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic: it calls on Member States to provide reliable COVID-19 content, take measures to counter mis- and disinformation and leverage digital technologies across the response. The Resolution also calls on international organizations to address mis- and disinformation in the digital sphere, work to prevent harmful cyber activities undermining the health response and support the provision of science-based data to the public.

The UN system and civil society organizations are using their collective expertise and knowledge to respond to the infodemic. At the same time, as the pandemic continues to create uncertainty and anxiety, there is an urgent need for stronger action to manage the infodemic, and for a coordinated approach among states, multi-lateral organizations, civil society and all other actors who have a clear role and responsibility in combatting mis- and disinformation.

We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.

We urge Member States to engage and listen to their communities as they develop their national action plans, and to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against mis- and disinformation.

We further call on all other stakeholders - including the media and social media platforms through which mis- and disinformation are disseminated, researchers and technologists who can design and build effective strategies and tools to respond to the infodemic, civil society leaders and influencers - to collaborate with the UN system, with Member States and with each other, and to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.

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Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation - World Health...

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COVID-19 Daily Update 9-22-2020 – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

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TheWest Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 10:00 a.m., September 22,2020, there have been 522,329 total confirmatorylaboratory results received for COVID-19, with 14,384 totalcases and 317 deaths.

DHHR has confirmed the deaths of an 89-year old male from HarrisonCounty, a 50-yearold female from Fayette County, a 66-year old male from Mercer County, an 82-yearold female from Kanawha County, and a 72-year old male from Kanawha County. Wemourn with all families suffering the loss of loved ones during this horriblepandemic, said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

CASESPER COUNTY: Barbour(48), Berkeley (948), Boone (200), Braxton (10), Brooke (112), Cabell (737),Calhoun (24), Clay (35), Doddridge (18), Fayette (577), Gilmer (32), Grant(152), Greenbrier (120), Hampshire (102), Hancock (144), Hardy (82), Harrison(342), Jackson (252), Jefferson (422), Kanawha (2,377), Lewis (38), Lincoln(156), Logan (585), Marion (258), Marshall (160), Mason (138), McDowell (80),Mercer (404), Mineral (165), Mingo (366), Monongalia (1,936), Monroe (147),Morgan (53), Nicholas (92), Ohio (358), Pendleton (52), Pleasants (16),Pocahontas (59), Preston (149), Putnam (521), Raleigh (479), Randolph (237),Ritchie (10), Roane (48), Summers (46), Taylor (119), Tucker (17), Tyler (15),Upshur (61), Wayne (361), Webster (7), Wetzel (50), Wirt (12), Wood (352),Wyoming (103).

Pleasenote that delays may be experienced with the reporting of information from thelocal health department to DHHR. As case surveillance continues at the localhealth department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain countymay not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual inquestion may have crossed the state border to be tested.Suchis the case of Monroe and Pleasants counties in this report.

Pleasevisit the dashboard located at http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.

Free COVID-19 testing locations areavailable today in Cabell, Fayette, Kanawha, and Putnam counties:

Cabell County, September22, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM, YMCA Kennedy Center, 5800 Ohio River Road, Huntington,WV

Fayette County, September22, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, J.W. and Hazel Ruby WV Welcome Center, 55 Hazel RubyLane, Mt. Hope, WV

Fayette County, September22, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Midland Trail High School, 26719 Midland Trail, Hico,WV

Kanawha County, September22, 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM, A More Excellent Way Life Center Church, 504 VirginiaStreet West, Charleston, WV (flu shots offered)

Putnam County, September22, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Teays Valley Baptist Church, 3926 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane,WV

Testing is available to everyone, including asymptomatic individuals. Upcoming testing events will be held this week in Boone, Cabell, Jackson, Logan, Marion, Mingo, Monongalia, Putnam, Summers, Wayne, and Wyoming counties. For more testing locations, please visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx.

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COVID-19 Daily Update 9-22-2020 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice tested live on-air as Aggressive Testing program continues to ramp up; all West Virginia counties out of Red status -…

Posted: at 7:30 pm

AGGRESSIVE TESTING EFFORTS CONTINUE TO RAMP UPDuring Wednesdays briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he will provide additional CARES Act funding to the West Virginia National Guard and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in support of their efforts, working alongside local health departments, to continue ramping up the Governors Aggressive Testing program across the state.

We need to make provide the resources that our people need to be able to do all this testing, which is why I was happy to push this additional funding through, Gov. Justice said. Were already ramping up our testing significantly. But someway, somehow weve got to do even more.

Earlier this week, the Governor announced that any time a county moves to Red or Orange status, free COVID-19 testing sites will be set up in that county within 24 hours. Testing in these counties will be offered on a continual basis until their numbers improve.

Any time a county moves to Gold status, at least one free testing event per week will be held in that county until their numbers improve.

I urge everyone to take advantage of the free testing opportunities all over our state, Gov. Justice said. As we keep testing and testing, we might identify a few people who didnt know they had it and stop it from spreading. But more often than not were going to get good results. Youll see the numbers in your county go down and well begin to move in a way to where our kids can go to school, play sports, and do all kinds of other things safely.

For instance, in Kanawha County, our positivity rate is down to 5.6 percent, Gov. Justice continued. If we can get you down below 5 percent, youd be Gold. You see how close that is? We need to get you there. You have got to go get tested.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice tested live on-air as Aggressive Testing program continues to ramp up; all West Virginia counties out of Red status -...

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COVID-19 Daily Update 9-21-2020 – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Posted: at 7:30 pm

TheWest Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 10:00 a.m., September 21,2020, there have been 519,175 total confirmatorylaboratory results received for COVID-19, with 14,171 totalcases and 312 deaths.

DHHR has confirmed the deaths of an80-year old female from Kanawha County and a 75-year old male from KanawhaCounty. We send our sympathy to these families and urge all WestVirginians to continue to protect our residents, saidBill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

CASESPER COUNTY: Barbour(46), Berkeley (947), Boone (198), Braxton (10), Brooke (107), Cabell (724),Calhoun (24), Clay (34), Doddridge (18), Fayette (569), Gilmer (29), Grant(152), Greenbrier (120), Hampshire (100), Hancock (141), Hardy (82), Harrison(341), Jackson (247), Jefferson (419), Kanawha (2,317), Lewis (38), Lincoln(156), Logan (582), Marion (255), Marshall (159), Mason (136), McDowell (80),Mercer (401), Mineral (164), Mingo (356), Monongalia (1,902), Monroe (148),Morgan (52), Nicholas (88), Ohio (356), Pendleton (52), Pleasants (17),Pocahontas (59), Preston (149), Putnam (509), Raleigh (473), Randolph (236),Ritchie (10), Roane (49), Summers (42), Taylor (116), Tucker (15), Tyler (15),Upshur (60), Wayne (356), Webster (7), Wetzel (49), Wirt (10), Wood (348),Wyoming (101).

Pleasenote that delays may be experienced with the reporting of information from thelocal health department to DHHR. As case surveillance continues at the localhealth department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain countymay not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual inquestion may have crossed the state border to be tested.Suchis the case of Clay and Taylor counties in this report.

Pleasevisit the dashboard located at http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.

Free COVID-19 testing locations areavailable today in Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mingo and Ohio counties:

Boone County, September21, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Boone County Health Department, 213 Kenmore Drive, Danville,WV

Kanawha County, September21, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Nitro High School, 1300 Park Avenue, Nitro, WV (flushots offered)

Lincoln County, September21, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM, Lincoln County Health Department, 8008 Court Avenue,Hamlin, WV

Mingo County, September21, 2020, 1:00 PM 4:00 PM, Parking lot across from Giovannis Pizza, US 52, Kermit,WV

Ohio County, September21, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, The Highlands (Power Center - lower parking lot), 565Cabela Drive, Triadelphia, WV

Testing is available to everyone,including asymptomatic individuals. Formore testing locations this week, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx.

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COVID-19 Daily Update 9-21-2020 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

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Missouri governor and his wife test positive for Covid-19 – CNN

Posted: at 7:30 pm

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Missouri governor and his wife test positive for Covid-19 - CNN

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