‘We Never Agreed to This’: State Dept. Objects After Diplomats Given Anal Swab Covid Tests in China

The Biden State Department is crying foul after an unknown number of American diplomats were reportedly subjected to anal swab Covid tests in China.

“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a state department spokesperson told Vice News on Wednesday. ‘We Never Agreed to This.’

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After Defying COVID Groupthink, Big Tech Censors, DeSantis Hosts CPAC as Rising GOP Star for 2024

When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage to deliver a welcoming address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on his home field in Orlando Friday, it will be as a fast-rising force in the conservative movement and an increasingly plausible and popular contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

DeSantis will be followed in the spotlight on the first full day of CPAC 2021 by a succession of marquee GOP names vying to woo the party’s conservative base at the movement’s signature annual gathering of the tribes. Among them will be potential 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls and aspiring heirs to the leadership of their party’s populist conservative wing, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, respectively.

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Georgia Launches COVID Vaccine Registration Website

This week, Georgia rolled out a COVID-19 vaccination registration website, as the state gears up to begin vaccinating more residents. 

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to arrive in Georgia in extremely limited supply,” the site’s homepage says. “As we await additional vaccine supply from the Federal Government, we urge currently eligible Georgia residents to pre-register today.”

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Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines May Offer Less Protection Against South African Coronavirus Variant

Recent studies indicate that the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines may have reduced protection against the South African coronavirus strain, according to reports in the New England Journal of Medicine, raising concerns that they could be less effective against future mutations.

Though both vaccines appeared to generate enough antibodies to neutralize the mutant strain, they both produced fewer antibodies when compared to the original virus. But experts warned that it was unclear just how much protection was needed to neutralize the variant, which scientists believe is more contagious than the original strain.

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New Georgia Legislation Would Let Churches and Businesses Stay Open During Health Emergency

Georgia State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas) this week introduced legislation that he said supports a church and a business owner’s rights to keep their establishments open during a pandemic like COVID-19 or other health emergency. This, only if the business can abide by all of the mandated safety precautions that local and state governments issue, Anavitarte said.

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Commentary: The Cruelty of Our Ruling Class

The cruelty, Donald Trump’s foes often claimed, is the point.

Whether in response to a mean tweet or childish name-calling or the infamous “kids in cages” episode, the president’s critics collectively wailed in performative grief about Trump’s self-gratifying “cruelty” toward others.

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China Withheld COVID-19 Data from World Health Organization Team Investigating Virus Origins: Report

Chinese authorities refused to share raw data on 174 early cases of Covid-19 with a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the scientists on the team told The Wall Street Journal.

According to The Journal, government authorities provided summaries of the coronavirus cases to the WHO team, but withheld raw data that could provide clues about how the virus transmitted early on in the pandemi

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New COVID-19 Bill Waives Legal Liabilities, Angers Georgia Democrats

Members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus are displeased that their colleagues in the state house passed a bill that waives liability for employers if and when an employee contracts COVID-19. State house members passed the bill, HB 112, this week by a vote of 99 to 69.

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Michigan Woman Who Gave Viral Testimony During Voter Fraud Hearing Running for State Office

Melissa Carone, the Michigan woman whose testimony during an election fraud hearing went viral, plans to run for a seat in Michigan’s House of Representatives.

Carone claims about widespread voter fraud were spoofed by Saturday Night Live, and after her testimony, she clarified that she was not drunk while speaking. She filed to run in Michigan’s 46th House district in the outskirts of metro Detroit.

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After COVID-19, New Bill Pushes for Georgia to Produce Medical Devices

One year into COVID-19, Georgia State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans) has introduced a bill that she says will incentivize people to manufacture medical devices within state lines. Sponsors say that this legislation, if enacted into law, would limit Georgia’s need to compete with other states or foreign nations for critical supplies.

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Commentary: Teachers Unions’ Selfish, Unscientific COVID Response

Clarity and consensus among medical professionals has been hard to find on many issues related to COVID-19 policy, so it’s much appreciated when something appears to be clear-cut and universally agreed upon. In today’s sound-bite world, it can be dizzying trying to keep up. Thankfully, a consensus has emerged around one topic that is tremendously important to all Americans: school reopening. The verdict is coming in: time to get the kids back in the classroom.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, has been clear as a bell on this issue. During a recent briefing, she said, “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely.” She went on to definitively state that “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools.” These comments are completely in line with those from her colleague at the CDC, Dr. Margaret Honein, Ph.D., who was recently first author on an elegant viewpoint for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Honein wrote that data has shown “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

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Seattle Can’t Keep Up with All People They’re Charging, Criminals Being Left on the Streets

Increasing crime and COVID-19 restrictions have added to court backlogs in Seattle, allowing criminals to be released back on the streets as they await trial, Komo News reported Friday.

Law enforcement has continued to make arrests for minor and major crimes, even as arraignment has halted, which leaves the courts and prosecutors to decide who is jailed for safety reasons and who is released, Komo News reported. Over 500 out-of-custody cases have not been arraigned since the court stopped holding them in person due to COVID-19 restrictions in November, and several defendants were booked into jail and released on promises to appear in court.

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Minnesota Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Dentists to Distribute COVID Vaccines

In a 67-0 vote Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that will allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

SF 475 is a bill “amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 150A.055,” which gives dentists the ability to distribute influenza vaccines. The amendment broadens the original bill, extending to cover COVID-19 vaccinations, too. 

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Gavin Newsom Less Than 100k Signatures Away from Facing Recall Election

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom is less than 100,000 signatures away as of Thursday from being forced into a recall special election.

California state law stipulates that a sitting governor must face a recall special election if 12% of voters from the previous gubernatorial election, in this case 1.5 million California residents, sign a petition to recall the governor. At the time of publication, 1.4 million Californians have signed a petition to recall Newsom.

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Georgia Film Industry Faring Better than California’s Due to State’s COVID-19 Policies, Deputy Commissioner Says

The people who work for Georgia’s film and television studios are not only working again but working more frequently than their counterparts at competing studios in California and the United Kingdom. That’s because officials in Georgia’s state government have a more lenient COVID-19 policy. Those studios opened back up not long after the start of the pandemic.

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Report: Majority of U.S. Cities Unprepared for Financial Fallout from Statewide Shutdowns

The majority of U.S. cities were ill-prepared for any financial crisis last year, let alone the one brought about by their respective state shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report published by the nonprofit Truth in Accounting (TIA) concludes.

The annual assessment surveys the fiscal health of the 75 largest municipalities in the U.S. based on fiscal year 2019 data. TIA reviewed audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports filed by city halls across the country and concluded that even the fiscally healthiest cities are projected to lose millions of dollars in revenue as a result of state shutdowns on top of their previously existing poor fiscal health.

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Biden Restores Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, Expands Obamacare

President Joe Biden issued executive actions Thursday to direct U.S. tax dollars to promoting abortion here and abroad, and to expand Obamacare. 

The actions not only will mean federal funding for abortions in other countries, but could restore more federal funding to Planned Parenthood. 

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Democrats Push Massive Stimulus Package over Republican Objections

President Joe Biden’s administration and Democrats in Congress have vowed to press forward with the president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package amid Republican objections to the bill’s size, even if they do so without any GOP votes.

Biden has argued that the relief package is not only popular among a majority of Americans but is also necessary to combat the economic toll imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Though Biden campaigned on a message of unity and bipartisanship, his administration rejected a Republican pitch to split the plan into smaller pieces and has said that it must move quickly to pass the package even if it means doing so without Republicans’ help.

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Georgians Demand Answers from Department of Labor on Missed Payments

Georgians are circulating petitions demanding that the state government, particularly the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) begins responding to their requests for information. 

“This petition was started and organized by residents all throughout the State of Georgia that have filed claims with the Georgia Department of Labor,” says a Change.org petition started by Felicia Primus. “Many of Georgia Residents [sic] haven’t received any updates on claims or they’re missing payments from the Department of Labor. GDOL has not provided better Self-service [sic] options for its website or phone support to help with the increasing demand of unemployment claims, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Georgia State Rep Removed from Chamber for Refusing COVID Test

A member of the Georgia State House was removed from the Chamber Tuesday for refusing to take the state lawmakers’ mandated twice-weekly COVID-19 test. 

“House Speaker David Ralston interrupted Tuesday morning’s session to call out an unnamed house member for refusing to get the required twice a week COVID-19 test,” according to WSBTV. “While he didn’t mention the Gwinnett County lawmaker by name, Ralston ordered Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) out of the chamber.”

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EPA Approves Georgia’s Use of Technology That Kills Over 98 Percent of Airborne COVID-19 Particles

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow Georgia to use technology that reportedly kills over 98 percent of airborne COVID-19 particles. The emergency exemption request was approved under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The antiviral air treatment, Grignard Pure, is composed of Triethylene Glycol (TEG) vapor and nanoparticles that permeate and kill the COVID-19 virus particles by disrupting the protein and membrane structures. The EPA confirmed prior independent lab reports that the treatment kills over 98 percent of COVID-19 particles.

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Biden Administration Considering Allocating COVID-19 Funds to Climate Change Programs

The Biden administration is considering authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allocate COVID-19 funding for climate change projects, The New York Times reported Monday.

The plan would reallocate part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) overall disaster budget to projects designed to preemptively address damage from climate disasters, The Times reported. The agency wants to build seawalls and elevate or relocate homes in flood planes with the reallocated funds.

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Mexico President Says He’s Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that he tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Hill.

“I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19,” López Obrador tweeted, according to The Hill. “The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward.”

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Georgia Tech Awards Dr. Fauci ‘Social Courage’ Award

A state funded Georgia university has awarded Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has presided over the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an award for “social courage.” 

“Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, one of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts and a steadfast voice of science, facts, and medical best practice during one of the most significant public health challenges in U.S. history, is this year’s recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage,” Georgia Tech University said in a statement. 

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Commentary: The Social Media Purge Exposes Net Neutrality’s True Goal

For nearly two decades, Silicon Valley made net neutrality its highest policy priority. Under the banner of a “free and open” internet, Google, Facebook, and Twitter sought regulations to ensure the uninterrupted flow of information by treating every bit equally. Or so they said.

Beginning last Friday night, these firms and others executed an unprecedented digital purge of the social media and video accounts of their political rivals. After several years of accelerating suspensions and suppressions, this time YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter permanently banned a number of high-profile conservatives and deplatformed thousands of others, at least temporarily. Many of these accounts had nothing to do with last Wednesday’s heinous events at the Capitol. Yet their histories are erased.

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Brian Kemp Tells Georgia Legislators to Move Past 2020 and Focus on COVID-19 During State of State Address

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp delivered an optimistic State of the State address Thursday and proposed what he said were new ways for state officials to invest taxpayer money to counteract the effects of COVID-19. At one point in his speech, the governor apparently referred to the November 2020 elections and alleged voter fraud and other voter irregularities.

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Georgia Legislature Opens 2021 Session With COVID-19 Mitigation Measures, National Anthem Rendition

The Georgia General Assembly returned to session Monday for the first time since June 2020 with coronavirus measures in place.

Legislators were required to observe COVID-19 restrictions including wearing masks and social distancing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Legislators will be tested twice a week for COVID-19, said State Senator Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), the Republican Senate leader.

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Georgia House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Subcommittee Petitions Governor for Mandatory Shelter-in-Place, Mask Mandates, and Social Gathering Restrictions

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 requested that Governor Brian Kemp implement more emergency regulations to address the new COVID-19 strain. Subcommittee members are State Representatives Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale), Viola Davis, (D-Stone Mountain), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Kim Schofieeld (D-Atlanta). 

The letter requested that Kemp expand the emergency orders to require everyone to either shelter-in-place, or do a combination of the following: cease all in-person schooling; further limit gatherings in bars, clubs, and restaurants; impose a statewide mask mandate; and establish moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for all of this upcoming year.

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Dave Portnoy’s ‘Barstool Fund’ Raises $20M, Helps More Than 90 Small Businesses

The Barstool Fund, created by Dave Portnoy, has helped raise more than $20 million, helping nearly 100 small businesses hurt during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Portnoy started the Barstool Fund one month ago with his own $500,000 to help small businesses.

The fundraiser has raised $20,119,270 from more than 156,000 donors and has aided 92 small businesses across the country as of Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Portnoy announced his fundraising success on Twitter, but stressed that their mission is far from over.

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Senator Kelly Loeffler Compares Her Record, Including Passage of New PPP Funding, to Raphael Warnock’s Record

U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler on Friday highlighted the stark contrasts between her record in the successful PPP program and other COVID-19 assistance in the Senate versus her opponent Rev. Raphael Warnock’s PPP record.

Loeffler pointed out the differences in a tweet.

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Senators Loeffler, Perdue Send Letter to Acting U.S. Consul General on Behalf of Georgia Teen Jailed for Breaking Cayman Island Quarantine

Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) submitted a letter to the U.S. Embassy’s Acting Consul General requesting the release of Skylar Mack. The senators expressed concern for the welfare of Mack, an 18-year-old college student jailed for breaking the Cayman Islands’ quarantine rules. 

In their letter, Loeffler and Perdue acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 and the Cayman Islands’ authority to impose its pandemic-related regulations and sentencing. However, according to the two senators, Mack has reportedly received a substantial amount of death threats for the incident.

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Minimum Wage Hikes Set for 2021 Imperil Businesses Struggling Amid COVID Shutdowns

More than 80 states and local municipalities are slated to see minimum wage hikes in 2021, even as business owners continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Employment Policies Institute, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., that studies how public policy impacts employment growth, released a comprehensive list of the minimum wage increases that will go into effect next year and in subsequent years.

“Minimum wage increases are demonstrated to cause job losses even in times of economic health,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s managing director. “These states and local areas are increasing the cost of labor as businesses are dealing with forced closures or a drastic drop in revenue. Employers and employees will pay the price for these misguided good intentions.”

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Commentary: Teachable Union Moments

Lesson plans are a teacher’s daily guide for what students need to learn and how it will be taught. Because educators are always looking for new and interesting ways to engage kids, I have a few ideas that can be used to further student knowledge.

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New York Times Bungles Attempted Hit Piece on The Star News Network and The Georgia Star News

The New York Times bungled an attempted hit piece on The Star News Network and the Georgia Star News, and was forced to make several corrections within hours of the story’s publication on Tuesday.

The Times, however, failed to make all the factual corrections requested by Star News Digital Media, which owns and operates the Georgia Star News, part of its Star News Network.

“Misinformation ‘Superspreaders’ Target Georgia Senate Races,” said a hyperbolic headline in the once-serious “paper of record.”

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Coronavirus Vaccines Can Guard Against New, More Contagious UK Strain, Experts Say

The two coronavirus vaccines that have been approved for emergency use authorization in the U.S. will be able to combat a new, more contagious strain of the virus in the U.K., experts said Monday.

Vaccines made by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna will be effective against the new strain, which is “very similar” to previous strains at the genetic level, University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation affiliate assistant professor Vin Gupta told CNBC. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both vaccines for emergency use authorization after large-scale human trials showed efficacy of more than 90%.

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Pelosi Claims ‘Faith-Oriented’ Lawmakers Say They ‘Don’t Believe in Science’

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Monday that “faith-oriented” people in Congress have told her they “don’t believe in science.”

The California Democrat spoke Monday on the house floor where she discussed coronavirus relief and the recently approved vaccines, accusing the White House of spreading “quackery” notions of herd immunity.

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Tennessee Nurse Who Fainted After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Says It Was Due to Underlying Condition

The nurse who appeared to faint after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a viral video has recovered, according to a statement issued by her employer. Tiffany Dover, a nurse at CHI Memorial Hospital, reportedly came close to passing out due to a medical condition unrelated to the vaccination.

The hospital also cited information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which stated that fainting sometimes occurs after all types of vaccinations.

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David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler Blast Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for Holding Up COVID-19 Relief

U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) criticized U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “for holding COVID aid hostage for months.” The two U.S. senators from Georgia emailed a joint statement Monday.

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Commentary: Medical Ethicists Legitimize ‘Woke’ Science, Death Panels

Since March, the Left has proclaimed itself the guardian of science in dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic. Its champions are the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Fauci. All in the past have rendered valuable service to the public, and often life-saving aid.

Yet the mixture of COVID-19, the first national quarantine, and Trump Derangement Syndrome have combined to give us reason to question their judgment. These authorities variously have issued conflicting recommendations to wear, then not to wear, and finally to wear masks. Or they have both criticized and then advised travel bans.

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Mercer Student Jailed in Caymans for Breaking COVID Lockdown Rules

A student at Mercer University in Macon has been ordered to spend four months in jail in Cayman Islands for breaking the British territory’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to several reports. 

“Skylar Mack and her boyfriend, Cayman Islands-based competitive Jet Skier Vanjae Ramgeet were jailed immediately after their sentences were handed down on Tuesday,” Fox News said last week. 

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Pandemic Restrictions Cause a Rash of Closures in Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Over 25 area restaurants closed their doors for good – several that have been in business for decades – due to the impact of Health Department stay-at-home orders and restrictions on business operations that began in March 2020 with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order further restricting restaurant operations. The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) published a statement shortly after.

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New Jersey Gym Owner Fined $1.2 Million for Defying COVID-19 Lockdowns Vows Not to Pay

A New Jersey gym owner who repeatedly defied coronavirus lockdowns and was fined roughly $1.2 million told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he doesn’t plan to pay a cent.

Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym, has incurred roughly 60 citations and is charged nearly $15,500 per day that he remains open in defiance of Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 closures, he told Fox News. Smith alongside Frank Trumbetti, another owner of the fitness facility, were arrested in late July after the pair refused to close their business following a weeks-long fight with state, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

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US Wants to Double COVID-19 Vaccine Order from Pfizer

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on CNN Monday that the U.S. is seeking to double its COVID-19 vaccine order.

“So far, we have an agreement with the U.S. Government to provide them 100 million doses and this is a fixed order and we will provide those 100 million doses starting from now by the end of the first quarter and we will honor this commitment,” Bourla told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on “New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.”

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Survey: Mental Health Continues to Plummet Amid Pandemic, Hits 20-Year Low

Americans’ mental health has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures remain in effect across the country, according to a survey published Monday.

Mental health is worse than any other point in the last two decades, Gallup reported on Monday. A survey conducted by Gallup showed 76% of Americans reported their mental health as either excellent or good, a decline from past surveys in which more than 80% of Americans reported positive mental health.

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Sheriff Slams California COVID-19 Orders, Says He Won’t Restrict ‘Civil Liberties’

A California Sheriff criticized recent coronavirus regulations and vowed that his department would not be used as “muscle” to enforce the orders on the residents of his county in a Friday announcement.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco spoke out in a video against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent COVID-19 mandate that restricts businesses and requires residents to stay home if intensive care unit capacity drops below 15% in certain areas. The sheriff also lambasted state authorities who threatened to withhold state funding from counties that defied virus regulations in early September.

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