TBC Weekly Newsletter October 26, 2020

US Sees Highest Number Of New COVID-19 Cases In The Past Two Days


The US is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases that surpasses any records set so far in the spring and summer.


The End Of The Eviction Moratorium Comes With A New Set Of Problems


According to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia 1.3 million Americans will owe up to $7.2 billion in rent when the eviction moratorium comes to an end.  


Does Trump Have Business in China?


President Trump has a bank account in China, allegedly used for business purposes. He has paid more in taxes to the chinese government than to the government of the country he currently leads. 


Lawyers Can’t Find the Parents of 545 Migrant Children Separated by the Trump Administration


Lawyers have been unable to locate the parents of 545 migrant children, with ⅔ of them already being deported back to Central America.


The Pandemic Is Causing Women To Be More Likely to Want To Quit Their Jobs


80% of the million people who dropped out of the workforce in August and September were women. This is the first time in 6 years that research has shown a difference in the interest of men and women quitting.


Three Vaccine Trials Have Been Paused


We’ve seen headlines about vaccine trials being forced to pause. What does this mean and should we be worried?


TBC Weekly Newsletter October 19, 2020

Trump Refuses California’s Request For Fire Disaster Assistance


After $229 million in infrastructure damages caused by devastating wildfires, the Trump administration has rejected California’s request for a disaster declaration. 


The US Has The Highest COVID-19 Death Rate In The Developed World


A new study shows that the United States has the highest mortality rate for COVID-19 among developed countries. More than 100K less Americans would have died if our mortality rate was comparable to that of the Netherlands. 


The Mental Health Toll Of The Pandemic


Chronic stress caused by the pandemic is starting to manifest itself in tangible symptoms such as headaches, hair loss and stomach aches. 


75,000 More People Died From COVID Than Reported In The Spring And Summer


A new study found that the already jarring death count of 220K is underreported. The study found that roughly 75K more Americans died from COVID-19 during last spring and summer. 


California GOP Admits To Planting Fake Ballot Boxes


The California GOP has planted fake drop boxes across the state to attempt to illegally harvest ballots. After the Secretary of State issued a cease and desist to the California GOP, they’re still refusing to remove the boxes.


Trump’s Record of Harming Veterans

Trump’s brand of aggressive pseudo patriotism and the “America First” rally cry comes with the assumption that he’s an advocate and supporter of our troops.  His record shows otherwise.


Trump has a long history of disrespecting the military. His former lawyer testified that he made up an injury, bone spurs, to avoid serving in Vietnam. In a July 2015 interview he said in reference to war hero John McCain’s time as a Prisoner of War, “I like people who weren’t captured.”


As president, he has successfully blocked legislation intended to help veterans. This year he vetoed a bill designed to promote debt forgiveness for veterans who had been defrauded by predatory schools.  The budget cuts he and Republicans proposed in 2017 hurt veterans and their families. His continued attacks on Medicare and other social programs would defund services veterans and their families rely on to cover medical bills and put food on the table. 1.7 million veterans rely on Medicaid. 9.3 million veterans rely on Medicare. Almost 1.3 million veterans participate in SNAP.  And the proposed cuts to these programs aren’t designed to help with efficiency or to fund other programs that have a better impact–these cuts are designed to help offset tax breaks for the wealthy.


More recently, two huge scandals have dominated headlines.  First came the report that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops, something Trump was briefed on in late March.  The White House has yet to authorize any retaliatory or preventative steps.


The second scandal came earlier this month when the remarks from his canceled 2018 trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery became public.  The president claimed the trip was cancelled due to the inability of the secret service to get him there in the rain but is later quoted as saying to four senior staff members, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” On the same trip he also is later reported as referring to the 1,800 marines who died there as “suckers.”


Trump both looks at our men and women in the service with contempt, disrespecting them both through numerous comments and actions and through harmful budget cuts and legislation that directly impacts their lives.  The military and this country deserve a leader that respects and appreciates service to the nation and the sacrifice of its members.

COVID-19 Long Haulers and the Rise in Pre-Existing Conditions

The damage caused by COVID-19 is often quantified by the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. While those numbers are jarring, they don’t give a full picture of the fallout caused by this virus.


A study from JAMA Cardiology shows 78 out of 100 patients that recovered from COVID-19 had some form of heart abnormality. 60 out of the 100 had inflammation of the heart muscle, with none of the patients having these conditions prior to COVID-19. In addition to cardiovascular issues, the coronavirus makes you more likely to form clots, making you more likely to have a stroke. A study shows that even young people, often unafraid of the virus, are 7 times more likely to have a stroke from COVID-19 versus the regular seasonal flu.


The increased risk of blood clots is leading to an increase in amputations. One study shows that patients with leg ischemia, an obstruction of the arteries, were more likely to die if they had COVID-19. The stories speak for themselves. Most well-known was Broadway actor Nick Cordero who had his leg amputated and later died due to complications from COVID-19. This isn’t an isolated occurrence. A man in San Antonio had his fingers and toes amputated, another woman who contracted COVID-19, recovered and then ended up in the hospital with sepsis, resulting in a quadruple amputation.


The United States is not equipped to deal with the fallout of hundreds of thousands of people living with either pre-existing conditions or newfound disabilities. While the United States passed the Americans With Disabilities’ Act in 1990 to make daily life more accessible, there has been difficulty ensuring compliance with the act. The financial burden is going to be huge for both those with disabilities and looming health conditions. Prior to the pandemic, cardiovascular disease cost the US government more than $500 billion annually and that number is expected to skyrocket as millions of Americans live with the aftermath of COVID-19.


Other survivors of COVID-19 have continued to experience lingering symptoms. These people have become known as COVID-19 long haulers. Long haulers experience a range of symptoms such as fatigue, chills, body aches and brain fog. A study out of the UK estimates that 10% of people who have had COVID-19 experienced prolonged symptoms. Months after their initial diagnosis, some people aren’t getting better. Brain fog, one of the most mysterious symptoms long haulers experience, has left survivors disoriented and forgetful to a point where it impedes their ability to function.


The United States has had nearly 8 million cases of COVID-19 and there are likely hundreds of thousands of recovered COVID-19 patients suffering from prolonged symptoms and underlying conditions that we don’t know of yet.


It is during this time that the current administration is trying repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip coverage from millions (and counting) of Americans with pre-existing conditions. This cannot happen. Not only is it morally bankrupt, but it will be horribly damaging to the economy and severely impact working class American’s prospects.


The coronavirus is still relatively new–8 months into this pandemic and we’re still learning new information everyday about the virus and its long-term effects. As the science evolves, it is crucial to remember that the deaths are only a fraction of the consequence caused by contracting COVID-19 and that still 215,000 lives lost is 215,000 too many.

TBC Weekly Newsletter October 12, 2020

The Richest Americans Are Worth As Much As the 165 Million Poorest


US wealth data for the first half of 2020 shows the growing disparities by age, race and class in the US. The divide between rich and poor is growing.


A Study Out of Princeton Finds That Children Are Key Spreaders of COVID-19


A new study out of Princeton confirms what experts have been saying; while children are largely unaffected by the virus, they are still effective spreaders of COVID-19.


In the Spring, Trump Stopped Research On The Drug He Is Currently Taking


The drugs the President is using for his own treatment against COVID-19 was developed by a grant he revoked in April.


Evictions Continue Despite Moratorium


Loopholes in the national eviction moratorium mean people are still being evicted despite the order. The order puts the burden of pursuing its protection on the person being evicted–meaning that if they do not know about the moratorium, they can still be evicted.


Esteemed Medical Journal Urges Americans To Vote Out Trump


The New England Journal of Medicine has never before endorsed a candidate, but this year, they have come out to urge Americans to vote out Trump, saying that he and his administration “have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetant.”


The Second Presidential Debate Has Been Cancelled


Donald Trump refused to participate in the second presidential debate once it was announced that it would be virtual. The nonpartisan commission has officially canceled the debate and Joe Biden has scheduled a town hall with ABC News for that night.


Antibodies, originally thought to be our only form of immunity against the coronavirus have proven to be fleeting and unreliable. People who have contracted the coronavirus haven’t always tested positive for antibodies, and even if they do, the antibodies may only last a few months.

As faith in antibodies dwindle T-cells have become the new hope for lasting immunity to the coronavirus. So, what is aT-cell? T- cells are a type of white blood cell that help our bodies fight off viruses by memorizing information about the virus and using that to attack it. T- cells also inform other cells, known as B-cells, to create antibodies.

A new study from the journal of Science shows that 20%-50% of people have a “cross reactive T-cell memory”. Essentially, our bodies T-cells are using information they have memorized from similar viruses, like SARS, to fight the coronavirus. Another similar study found that 15 out of 18 patients hospitalized with COVID19 had T-cells that were able to target proteins in the coronavirus. This means that the T-cells are arming themselves with genetic information about the coronavirus so they can fight it if reinfection occurs. Having the information to fight off the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune to it or won’t get sick, a lot of the time a robust T-cell reaction just means you’ll suffer a less severe case of COVID-19 if you get reinfected.

While the research is promising, scientists are quick to warn this doesn’t mean the pandemic is ending anytime soon. The positive research results have been spun by Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, as the path to herd immunity in the absence of lasting antibodies. In August Atlas claimed the pandemic could be over byOctober due to T-cell immunity but scientists and public health experts said that was not correct and time has proven them right. A week into October and the pandemic is still ravaging through the country, the White House and is on an alarming upwards trend across many states, especially in the Midwest.

What Atlas’s evaluation fails to understand is that T-cells don’t necessarily provide immunity, but rather allow the body to fight the virus off more efficiently if infected. That means someone might have mild symptoms because their T-cells are attacking the virus. However, that person could potentially spread the virus to someone with a compromised immune system, and in the United States it is estimated that 37.6% of the population, or 92.6 million people, are over the age of 65 and/or have underlying conditions that would make COVID-19 potentially deadly.

Shane Crotty, an immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, warned against being overly optimistic over the T-cell findings saying “The most likely effect would be not a prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Instead, the cross-reactive T cell memory would reduce the disease severity, such that fewer people would become severely ill or die from COVID-19.”. So while the T-cells are not our path to herd immunity they still provide some level of protection against the virus.

The goal of herd immunity is to let a portion of the population become infected so they become immune to the virus, making it harder for the virus to spread. If we took this approach, the death count would increase drastically and unnecessarily. And even if it were possible to achieve herd immunity this way, the truth is that infection rates, case counts, and death counts fail to paint the bigger picture. COVID-19 has been found to cause lasting and serious complications, even after a patient has “recovered.”

A new study shows that COVID-19 patients, even if they suffered from a mild case, are having long term problems months after recovering. 78% of patients showed structural changes to the heart, 78% had a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack and 60% showed signs of inflammation. In addition, according to another study in Arizona, roughly half of asymptomatic adults who tested positive had significantly reduced lung capacity. While T-cells may allow us to fight off the virus and have milder symptoms, they provide no protections over the lasting implications of COVID-19, and as this is a novel virus we are still learning about, there could be side effects we are not yet aware of.

The notion that T-cells could provide us with herd immunity is a narrative being pushed by the current administration in an attempt to reopen the nation at the expense of American lives. Atlas denies that the administration is pushing a herd immunity approach but the rhetoric says otherwise. Atlas and the administration have advocated for states, schools and businesses to reopen before the virus has been properly contained or a safe and effective vaccine has been approved. President Trump himself asked Dr. Fauci on March 14thWhy don’t we let this wash over the country?“, insinuating that natural herd immunity and the unnecessary deaths that result from it as a viable strategy to tackle the pandemic.

Herd immunity is an inoperable strategy to take during a pandemic. The United States has already lost 210K lives to the virus. Herd immunity endangers the most vulnerable amongst us and quite simply doesn’t work. The T-cell research is promising, but it won’t end the pandemic, and the rhetoric suggesting that it will is dangerous and confusing to the American people.

Even if the data supported natural herd immunity, without a vaccine, over 200 million Americans would have to get infected before we reach this threshold. Put another way, even if the current pace of the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the United States, we wouldn’t reach herd immunity in 2021.

We need a safe and effective vaccine and measures put in place to contain the virus.  Some experts say that even with a vaccine, COVID-19 is here to stay, much like the seasonal flu.  Contained but not banished.  The sooner leadership in Washington DC adopts policies prioritizing the health of the nation, the sooner we can get to a semblance of normalcy and dig ourselves out of the pandemic inspired recession.  Unfortunately, such leadership has been lacking to the detriment of our economy and American lives.

What The Federal Government Didn’t Do

The Coronavirus is not the fault of one person or facet of government – but that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement on how we as a country handled the pandemic. Trump seems to think otherwise, when asked how he would grade his handling of the pandemic he boastfully graded himself an A+, saying he did “not just a good job, but a phenomenal job”. Does 200K lives lost really warrant an A+ mark?

Here are some reasons why Trump and his administration don’t deserve the glowing reviews they’re granting themselves.

The first failure of this administration in regard to COVID-19 came before the virus even arrived on American soil. Since Trump took office the CDC’s budget has been repeatedly slashed. In September the Trump administration cut a $200 million program called Predict which was an early warning program designed to track and alert the United States about possible pandemic threats.  The Predict program had successfully identified 160 coronaviruses that posed the threat of the pandemic, including the closest known relative to COVID-19.Had the program remained active, we would’ve had boots on the ground in China which would’ve allowed us to better prepare and deal with the pandemic.

The next failure stems from a delayed reaction. On January 22nd, President Trump made his first public comments about the Coronavirus saying, “we have it totally under control”. While that may have been true at that time, the situation was expected to escalate quickly, which it did. Trump’s earliest actions were on January 31st when he implemented a travel ban on China. The travel ban was described as an “emotional and political reaction” by r. Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. A travel ban is not enough to stop a pandemic. The travel ban didn’t stop US citizens and close relatives of US citizens from traveling between the countries. The month before the travel ban was instated, 300,000 people came from China to the United States, meaning the official travel ban addressed the problem too late. A travel ban is one piece of the puzzle, and without the other steps it’s practically void.

Those other steps include testing. Without adequate testing the virus becomes impossible to trace, therefore impossible to slow the spread. We lagged behind most developed countries to meet the adequate testing threshold. It took us 55 days to get 1 test per 1000 residents, placing us second to last on the list of 23 countries that met this threshold. Had the Trump administration ramped up testing when they were warned about the pandemic in January, we could’ve met the threshold before the Coronavirus started to spread in a serious way.

The solution to testing and PPE shortages could’ve been an easy fix; enact the Defense Production Act. The Trump administration waited until April 2nd to invoke the Defense Production Act and then didn’t enforce it. The DPA gives the executive branch authority to command industry to make necessary supplies to protect national security. States spent weeks and sometimes months fighting over supplies when the DPA could have streamlined the entire process.

Another shortcoming from the Trump administration is his unwillingness to bail out state and local governments. State and local governments have balanced budget requirements that don’t allow them run a deficit in the same way the federal government can. The CARES act provided $150 billion to state governments, but it wasn’t enough. With a massive decline in state revenue, ranging from an expected 6%-35% decline during this year alone, and an increase in costs due to COVID-19, states are running out of money. In order to keep their budgets balanced mass layoffs have occurred. State and local governments have been forced to cut the payroll for over 1 million employees, representing 5.2% of non federal government employment.  Leadership comes from the top, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. While state governments play a huge role in the handling of the pandemic, the federal government ultimately oversees the entire operation and has necessary powers that state governments do not possess.

As for Congress, it’s October and they have still been unable to come together to pass a crucial additional stimulus package that would speed the recovery of both our public health and our economy–both of which are intertwined and dependent on each other. Even now, as Democrats have put forward an updated version of the HEROES Act which passed in the House in May and includes additional stimulus checks, a total eviction moratorium and $600/week in additional unemployment aid, it looks unlikely to pass in the Senate.

No one’s blaming President Trump for the pandemic itself or for Congress’ actions, but to say the execution of the response was flawless, or even competent, simply isn’t true. The most desirable trait in a leader, especially the President, is humility. Trump has shown his inability to be “humble in victory and gracious in defeat”, even with the specter of over 210,000 American lives lost shadowing his mismanagement of the crisis. We need Congress to come together and do right by the American people and a president that puts the health of his country over their ego and party lines.

Hydroxychloroquine: Fact Check

Hydroxychloroquine has been at the center of extensive disinformation campaigns. It is a drug used to treat a number of medical conditions, most commonly malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. Since the pandemic, it has been relentlessly pushed by bots, trolls, bad faith actors and the current administration as an effective treatment for COVID-19. It is not.

On September 1, a study found that taking HCQ with azithromycin, a drug that Trump has also recommended to fight COVID-19, increased coronavirus mortality rates by 27%. Earlier studies of the drugs being used together also found that they increased the chance of heart attacks. In a tweet on March 21, Trump said: “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

In August 2020, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that 293 people had died from taking HCQ in 2020 and that over half of these people were taking the drug to combat COVID-19. In 2019, 75 people died from HCQ over the same period.

On April 24, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned against using HCQ outside of a hospital or clinical trial after finding that the drug was associated with serious heart rhythm problems that occasionally led to death in the patients. On June 15, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) for HCQ, after finding that “these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.”

None of this has stopped the trolls or the Trump administration from continuing to hawk it to people desperate for a cure and as a way to discredit the institutions working to protect the American people from false information and harmful treatments. It is worth noting that while President Trump has been hospitalized after his positive COVID-19 diagnosis, none of his treatments have included hydroxychloroquine.

Since March 1, there have been more than 8 million retweets of HCL disinformation, almost 5 million from bots.

Since June, more than 14 billion impressions have been generated by retweeted disinformation.

Disinformation is dangerous for many reasons, especially during a public health crisis. The campaign to promote hydroxychloroquine is only one example.  Don’t take/ingest anything without your doctor’s approval. Before believing information going viral on the internet, research the sources and the motivation behind what you’re being sold.


Yours in Strength,

The Take Back Control Team

TBC Weekly Newsletter October 5, 2020

Infected Trump Greets Supporters In Motorcade Outside Hospital


President Trump, still infected with the Coronavirus, did a drive by to greet his supporters outside of Walter Reed hospital, putting his secret service inside of the vehicle at risk.


President Trump Being Treated With The Steroid Dexamethasone


President Trump received a steroid, dexamethasone, to help treat his Coronavirus infection. The drug has been proven to help outcomes in severely ill patients but has shown no benefits for less ill patients.


The Updated HEROES Act–What We Know


The new Coronavirus relief bill includes $2.2 trillion in stimulus, including a ban on evictions and foreclosures that will last 12 months. This is a stronger measure than any of the previously enacted eviction moratoriums.


Republican Operatives Are Being Charged In A Voter Suppression Scheme


Two Republican operatives are being charged with felonies for running a robocall campaign aimed to dissuade minority urban voters from voting in the upcoming election. They are facing a maximum of 24 years in prison.


Latest Jobs Report Set To Show Slowing Recovery


The September jobs report saw the slowest recovery yet, signaling a long term stall of economic growth. Unemployment only fell by .2% compared to 1.8% the previous month.


19,000 of Amazon’s Employees Have Caught COVID-19


19,000 of Amazon’s employees have had or presumably had COVID-19. Employees are screened regularly to prevent large outbreaks.

TBC Weekly Newsletter September 28, 2020

Pentagon Used Money Allocated For COVID-19 On Jet Engine Parts And Body Armor


The pentagon used $1 billion meant to ramp up medical supplies for the Coronavirus for defense contracts to build jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms. 


Midwest States Have Alarming COVID-19 Numbers and Positivity Rates


States across the Midwest are seeing COVID-19 spikes with some states’ positivity test rates surpassing 25%. WHO considers anything above a 5% positivity rate to indicate serious community spread.


The CDC Deleted COVID-19 Guidance Based on Aerosol Transmission


The CDC suddenly deleted guidance saying that the coronavirus could be transmitted via aerosols, signaling possible capitulation to the White House. 


What We Know Now About How COVID-19 Spreads


At the beginning of the pandemic it was believed that surface transmission was a bigger driver of infection, now months into the pandemic the science shows the most likely way to get infected with COVID-19 are close range particles.


The United States Surpasses 200k Death Toll


200K Americans have lost their lives to the Coronavirus, marking a grim milestone for Americans.