A Chinese dissident has condemned the World Health Organization’s findings on the source of the pandemic as a “farce,” adding that the Chinese regime is likely to leverage them to deflect responsibility for causing the global crisis.
According to Yuan Hongbing, a Chinese academic and vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) living in Australia, the WHO investigation in Wuhan was akin to “a farce staged by the Chinese regime.”
“We could have predicted that this so-called investigation would come to this,” he said in an interview.
Some Gulf States See Daily Cases Back up Near 2020 Highs
Several Gulf Arab states have seen daily CCP virus cases climb back towards the highs recorded last year, prompting authorities to re-impose restrictions on travel and gatherings as they roll out vaccination campaigns.
Bahrain on Tuesday registered 759 new daily infections, slightly above a record hit in September. In Kuwait, daily cases rose above 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May after having fallen below 300 in December.
New Heineken CEO to Cut 8,000 Jobs
Heineken NV plans to cut about 8,000 jobs, the Dutch beer group said on Wednesday, seeking to restore operating margins to pre-pandemic levels after a sharp decline in profit because of the government’s CCP virus restrictions.
The world’s second-largest brewer, which makes Europe’s top-selling lager Heineken as well as Tiger and Sol, said it would save 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) over the next three years to 2023 under CEO Dolf van den Brink’s “EverGreen” plan.
House Democrats Unveil $1.9 Trillion Relief Package
Proposed funding includes $7.5 billion for the CDC to prepare, promote, administer, monitor, and track vaccines against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus. Lawmakers also want to give $46 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor COVID-19 infections, and other work-related to trying to mitigate the spread of the illness from China.
Another $7.6 billion would go to the department to establish a public health workforce including people tracing contacts of those infected by COVID-19. And a $6 billion chunk would fund tribal health programs.
World’s Second-Oldest Person Survives at Age 116
A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person has survived COVID-19 and is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.
French media report that Sister André tested positive for the virus in mid-January in the southern French city of Toulon. But just three weeks later, the nun is considered recovered. “I didn’t even realize I had it,” she told French newspaper Var-Matin.
Double Masks Block More Particles: CDC
A new government study finds that wearing two masks can be better than one in protecting against the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported the results of a lab experiment. The researchers found that particles were blocked twice as much when two masks were worn.
One-Third of US Adults Skeptical of Vaccine, Poll Shows
About 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the CCP virus vaccine, according to a new poll.
The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that while 67 percent of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already done so, 15 percent are certain they won’t and 17 percent say probably not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
Lockdowns Weigh on German Beer Sales
Bars have been closed for more than three months, Carnival celebrations are canceled, and it’s not clear when things will get better in Germany.
Official data released last week showed beer sales in Germany dropped 5.5 percent last year to 8.7 billion liters (2.3 billion gallons), a decline fostered by lengthy shutdowns. German bars and restaurants were closed from March until May, and have been shut again since the beginning of November.
Dementia Sufferers Twice as Likely to Get Infected
People with dementia are twice as likely to catch the CCP virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, a study has suggested.
The study found that patients with dementia had a significantly increased risk of contracting COVID-19, compared to patients without dementia. A large number of those patients also have additional chronic health conditions, which are also factors that increase the risk of infection.
Union Approves Deal With Chicago Schools to Return to Class
The Chicago Teachers Union has approved a deal with the nation’s third-largest school district to get students back to class during the CCP virus pandemic, union officials announced early Wednesday.
The union said 13,681 members voted to approve the agreement and 6,585 voted against it. In a statement, the union described the agreement as the “absolute limit to which CPS was willing to go at the bargaining table to guarantee a minimum number of guardrails for any semblance of safety in schools.”
Patients With Gum Disease 9 Times More Likely to Die: Study
A new study has found that people with gum disease who contracted COVID-19 were at least three times more likely to have severe complications from the disease, including a higher risk of hospitalization and death.
A team of international researchers published their peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology earlier this month. They evaluated 568 patients, of whom 45 percent had gum disease. The research team found that COVID-19 patients with gum disease were 3.54 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, 4.57 times more likely to need a ventilator, and 8.81 times more likely to die from the virus, as compared to those who had contracted the CCP virus but did not have periodontitis.
UK Identifies 2 More Variants With Antibody-Resistant Mutation
British health authorities have identified two more COVID-19 variants with a mutation that makes them resistant to antibodies.
Two variants identified by the UK’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) contain the E484K spike protein mutation, which has been found to result in weaker neutralization by antibodies in laboratory experiments.
Eva Fu, Tom Ozimek, Zachary Stieber, Alexander Zhang, Lorenz Duchamps, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.