Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Offers New Online Course on COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Press Release:
July 27, 2020
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Offers New Online Course for Public Health Program Managers and Developers on Maximizing Effectiveness of COVID-19 Contact Tracing


As COVID-19 continues to spread around the country, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with Bloomberg Philanthropies, today announced a free new online course to help public health officials implement strong contact tracing programs to break the chain of novel coronavirus transmission.

The new course, “Measuring and Maximizing Impact of COVID-19 Contact Tracing,” will teach managers and developers of contact tracing programs how to use performance indicators using an interactive tool for estimating the impact of their program on transmission and for strategizing performance improvements. In addition, decision-makers can learn more about how SARS-CoV-2 transmission impacts the performance of such programs. Faculty experts from the Bloomberg School of Public Health will teach the course.

The course takes approximately 3–4 hours to complete and is available for registration on the Coursera platform starting today. It builds on a highly successful introductory contact tracing course that the Bloomberg School has been offering in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and New York State, with the goal of training an army of contact tracers. More than 200,000 people have completed that initial course.

Contact tracing is a public health tool that identifies infected people and their contacts, who may also be infected, and asks them to abstain from contact with others for a limited amount of time to prevent further spread of the virus. It has proved successful in stopping transmission of other infectious diseases, including measles, Ebola, and tuberculosis, and has been a key component of pandemic responses in countries that have been able to control COVID-19 spread.

“Our first course focused on the frontline workers who do contact tracing in the field,” said Justin Lessler, associate professor in Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and one of the course instructors. “But to defeat COVID-19, we also need to help the people who manage contact tracing programs measure their effectiveness, understand which factors are most impacting performance, and use that information to make improvements. That’s what this new course is about.”

Developed through a partnership between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the course has three sections or “modules,” covering:
Measuring the impact of contact tracing, including performance metrics and completeness and timing of surveillance, contact tracing, and quarantine
Estimating the impact in contact tracing through use of an interactive tool, ConTESSA, available here.
Strategies for increasing the impact of contact tracing

“Our hope is that this interactive application will support hardworking contact tracing teams by showing them the impact they’re making now, and providing a vision for how to reach a new level of excellence,” said Emily S. Gurley, lead instructor for the course and an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Bloomberg School. “Large-scale and timely testing and contact tracing is essential to our nation’s recovery. We are honored to bring our collective expertise to bear on this critical public health practice.”

As part of this effort, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has also launched a centralized collection of publicly available COVID-19 resources for public health agencies and other organizations. The COVID-19 Resources for Practitioners website includes free online courses, training material, and tools developed under the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Training Initiative as well as resources produced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nongovernmental health organizations, and academic institutions.

Media contacts: Carly Kempler at and Jon Eichberger at

For more information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Expert Insights site

The National Center For Public Policy Research Blasts Google For Censorship of Conservatives

From the National Center For Public Policy Research:


Over three dozen conservative leaders – including National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof, Esq. – have sent a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that he explain why conservatives appear to be routinely censored by the company’s Google search engine.
Nothing that Pichai is scheduled to testify before Congress on July 29, the signers issue a stunning challenge in their letter:
Google deliberately censors conservatives. We dare you to deny that under oath.
Noting that the testimony is to be before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, the letter further proclaims:
It’s time for the federal government to consider antitrust solutions for companies like Google and the rest of the Big Tech industry that have grown too powerful and too irresponsible.
On July 21, it was discovered that many popular conservative websites were inaccessible from the Google search engine. The company blamed the problem on a “technical glitch,” which a former Google employee suggested could reveal an anti-conservative blacklist.
Signers to the letter say this incident is just the latest in a pattern of abuses that approach a level of censorship:
It’s the same old game. Censor conservatives, wait for someone else to call you out on it, then blame the algorithms or another technical problem for the censorship. Somehow you never manage to discover your own glitch. It’s always your victims who do.
And Google’s “approach to this scandal” shows “an utter lack of transparency” that is now “second nature to you and your organization.” The letter goes on to ask Pichai four relevant questions:
  • Who at Google was responsible for this latest instance of deliberate censorship against conservatives?
  • Why did they do it?
  • What are you doing about your employees who did this and who are trying to undermine our democratic process?
  • What information are you going to provide to both Congress and those impacted to show what actually happened?
And it puts forward one rhetorical question:
How many more times will Google censor conservatives, and then lie about it before Congress has to take action against your company?
Besides Justin and Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell – who spearheaded the letter – other signers include conservative media executives including Will Chamberlain of Human Events, Craig Strazzeri of PragerU, Steven Ertelt of, Floyd Brown of The Western Journal, R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. of The American Spectator and Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily as well as other conservative leaders.
Big Tech’s current exemption from scrutiny as a publisher of content, its obvious abuse of this benefit bestowed on it by the Communications Decency Act and a recent Trump Administration executive order challenging the exemption are addressed in the latest edition of National Center President David Ridenour’s “ScoopTV.”
To read the coalition’s letter to Alphabet’s Pichai in its entirety, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is Sued in New Jersey Superior Court For Allegedly Running A Sex Ring From His NJ Beach House

Theodore McCarrick
Priests, Bishops, ex-Cardinals, (or whatever title a person of the Church has), if they abuse kids must be held accountable for their actions. It's that simple.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick accused of running sex ring from NJ beach house

Lia Eustachewich, NY POST, July 23, 2020
Disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick allegedly ran a sex ring out of his New Jersey beach house — where one victim claims he was molested by him and three other priests, according to a new lawsuit.

The victim — “Doe 14” — says the alleged abuse began when he was 14 during overnight stays at McCarrick’s Sea Girt home in 1982.
“In the night, with the assistance of others, McCarrick would creep into this kid’s bed and engage in criminal sexual assault of him, whispering, ‘It is OK,'” Jeff Anderson, the attorney for the now-53-year-old victim, said at a virtual press conference Wednesday.
Other priests allegedly served as part of a “crew” of procurers of young boys for then-Bishop McCarrick, who “assigned sleeping arrangements, choosing his victims from the boys, seminarians, and clerics present at the beach house,” the suit says.
Some of the other boys who were allegedly brought to McCarrick’s home were “assigned to different rooms and paired with adult clerics,” according to the complaint.
The victim claims he was also abused at the beach house by priests Gerald Ruane, Michael Walters, and John Laferrera. The three men were among a list of 188 clergy members in New Jersey accused of sexual misconduct, reported. Ruane is dead, while the other two were listed as “permanently removed from ministry.”

The suit was filed Tuesday night in New Jersey Superior Court in Middlesex County against the Diocese of Metuchen, the Archdiocese of Newark — where McCarrick served as bishop and archbishop, respectively — and several New Jersey schools the victim attended.
The victim is described as having been raised in a devout Roman Catholic family and a former student at St. Francis Xavier in Newark and Essex Catholic in East Orange.
He also claims he was sexually abused as an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Francis Xavier by the Rev. Anthony Nardino, who was employed at the school, and later molested by Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt at Essex Catholic, where he was principal.
Hewitt died in 2002, according to an online obituary. Nardino, who has not been publicly accused before, has left the ministry, according to
Anderson said decades of alleged sexual abuse have been covered up by the Catholic Church.
“All of it cloaked in papal power,” he said.
Last year, Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, after a church investigation found he sexually abused minors and adult seminarians.
Sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick have been leveled before, including by James Grein, the first child he baptized. Grein said McCarrick — known as Uncle Ted — began molesting him at age 11.
The Archdiocese of Newark didn’t immediately comment.
Its spokeswoman, Maria Margiotta, told, “It would be inappropriate to discuss or comment on matters in litigation. The Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims.”
McCarrick’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a message.
Anthony Kearns III, spokesperson and chancellor for the Diocese of Metuchen, said the diocese was committed to preventing future sexual abuse.
“While we have not yet received the complaint, our prayers are with all survivors of abuse, today and always, and we stand with them in their journey toward healing and hope,” he said. “With God’s grace, all survivors of abuse, particularly those wounded by members of the Church, will continue to heal and move forward.”
Vincent Barone, NY POST, December 27, 2019
Disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds to Catholic leaders as he faced mounting sexual abuse allegations, according to a report.
McCarrick since 2001 sent $600,000 in checks to high-ranking church officials — including several directly in charge of assessing claims against him — all while the Catholic church faced criticism for failing to act on McCarrick’s alleged misbehavior, an investigation by the Washington Post found.
As McCarrick doled out the vast sums of cash, he rose to prominence, becoming entrenched at the highest levels of the U.S Catholic Church despite accusations dating back to 2000.
While serving as archbishop, McCarrick pulled money from an account at the Archdiocese of Washington. Recipients of McCarrick’s generosity included Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who received $90,00 and $291,000, respectively, according to the report.
McCarrick was defrocked in February after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and of “sins” with both minors and adults. He was the first cardinal to have been defrocked.
He had previously served as a major fundraiser for the Vatican and acted as a spokesman for US bishops when they undertook a no-tolerance policy for sexually abusive priests in 2002.
The decision made McCarrick the highest-ranking Catholic clergyman to be pushed out of the priesthood through the church’s sex-abuse scandals.
Clerics denied to the Washington Post that the money had any impact on the church’s decision-making, describing the funs as “customary gifts among Catholic leaders” during Christmas time or as a “gesture of appreciation.”
A spokesman for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who received $6,500 from McCarrick, told the paper that the gifts “never had any effect on the Cardinal’s decision-making as an official of the Holy See.”  The Vatican declined comment.
An attorney for McCarrick, Barry Coburn, declined to comment on the findings of the Washington Post investigation. In the past, McCarrick has denied wrongdoing.
McCarrick was ordained as a priest in New York in 1958 and served as parochial vicar for Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manhattan until 1981.
James Grein, 61, at his house in Sterling, Va., holds a Florida postcard sent to him when he
was 15 years old by now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Bari Weiss Resigns From the New York Times Citing Unlawful Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, and Constructive Discharge

Bari Weiss
Good for you, Bari! You are courageous and strong, and did the right thing.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Following is the text of the letter sent to the publisher of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, from Bari Weiss, resigning from her column and editing duties on the papers opinion pages. Ms. Weiss had previously worked on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. She’d started as a reporter of The New York Sun.

Dear A.G.,
It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.
I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those, I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election — lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society — have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still, other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned, and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm — language — is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.
Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do — the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

NY State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker Tries To Clear His Boss Gov. Cuomo For the Nursing Homes' Deaths...He Fails

Firemen don personal protective equipment as they enter the Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home, one of the worst hit residences by the pandemic in Kings County. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Dr. Howard Zucker

The conclusion, below, of Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner, that the numerous deaths which led to the "nursing homes scandal" can actually be pinned on staff members, is a joke. A sad one. 

We have posted what happened:

Michael Goodwin: Cuomo’s Nursing Home Reversal is Too Little, Too Late For Those Now Dead

Zucker's motive, it seems to me, is to divert blame away from his boss, Governor Andrew Cuomo in the numerous deaths. Good luck with that!

We aren't buying this incredible claim and blame. Governor Cuomo ordered that patients testing positive for COVID-19 must be returned to their residences at the nursing homes. That was his mistake.

By Brooklyn Paper, July 7, 2020

Months before science and experience revealed the devastating spread and dangerous nature of COVID-19, staff members, and visitors at New York’s nursing homes unknowingly exposed their patients to the highly infectious and deadly disease.

That was the primary conclusion of the state Health Department’s report on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state nursing homes released Monday. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker outlined the details of the report, which sought to dispel widely-spread falsehoods about the state’s handling of the health crisis, during a July 6 press conference in Manhattan.

Critics of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the crisis have blamed him for the high number of nursing home deaths in New York during the height of the pandemic. They’ve pointed to a March 25 directive on admission policy for patients hospitalized and later discharged for COVID-19 as evidence of the alleged mismanagement.

But Dr. Zucker said Monday that the facts simply do not support such a conclusion.

Nursing home patients who wound up in the hospital with COVID-19 were no longer contagious upon their return and therefore did not introduce COVID-19 to the facility.

If anything, Zucker said, the COVID-19 virus was in the facility long before any patient wound up becoming infected.

The report concluded that nursing home staff members likely contracted COVID-19 as early as mid-February and wound up spreading it to patients while asymptomatic. Though the first official New York state COVID-19 case was detected on March 1, a study by the Mount Sinai Health Care System of blood samples collected in February found COVID-19 antibodies in the samples as early as the week of Feb. 23.

That means that a number of New Yorkers, including health care workers, likely had the coronavirus in February and didn’t realize it. At that point in the global pandemic, there were suspected COVID-19 cases in New York, and the only tests available to the state were based out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta.

“I want to be clear… this is not to place the blame on nursing home staff,” Zucker said Monday. “We’re here to look at the signs and try to figure out the data. We need to look at this from that moment in time.”

The report found that nearly a third of all nursing home workers in New York state contracted COVID-19, likely picking the virus up through community spread. They then unknowingly brought the disease to work with them, infecting nursing home patients.

Visitors to nursing homes likely also exposed nursing home patients to COVID-19 before the pandemic took hold in New York state, Zucker added.

The peak in nursing home fatalities, on April 8, occurred six days before the peak of nursing home admissions following COVID-19 infection, April 14, Zucker added. There was also a direct correlation between nursing home staff infections and the number of nursing home deaths.

“COVID-19 was already in the nursing homes,” he said. “From innumerable conversations [with nursing home administrators], the vast majority of residents who went to the hospital had respiratory issues, invariably caused by COVID. The admissions and readmissions did not introduce COVID to the nursing homes.”

While that explains the spread of the infection, the commissioner went into the reasons for such high numbers of nursing home deaths. He suggested that the frailty of most under care at nursing homes contributed to their demise from COVID-19.

“It goes without saying that most nursing home residents are frail,” Zucker said. “Their bodies have weathered the test of time. The slightest challenge to their physiology can be catastrophic. Any disruption to their life pattern can have adverse effects on the elderly.”

He also dispelled the notion that lower-quality nursing homes had higher rates of death from COVID-19, noting that five-star rated facilities had a 12% higher mortality rate.

If there’s a scapegoat for the horrors suffered in New York’s nursing homes, the commissioner concluded, it’s the virus itself.

“If you’re going to place blame, I would blame the coronavirus,” Zucker told reporters. “We didn’t know [then], no one knew the virus was here when it was here. … The data from the antibody studies confirmed that. They (nursing home staff) worked diligently to care for those in the nursing homes.”

Read the full report on the state Health Department’s website,

This story first appeared on