Things That Matter

Chile Is Testing Out Immunity Cards For People Who Have Been Cured Of The Virus

Chile is asking itself the same question that many of us are asking ourselves: when is “this” going to end, when will we be able to return to the life we knew before the pandemic, or at least how to begin to recover what used to be normal life.

For governments, the priority seems to be jump starting their economies amid a global pandemic. Some states in the U.S. are already reopening non-essential businesses (like gyms and beaches…really?!) while countries like Mexico are allowing most businesses to stay open so long as they practice social distancing measures.

Chile – which was in the throes of a nationwide lockdown – has decided to take a different approach. The government there plans to allow those in low risk groups and those who have already been infected with the virus and have recovered to return to near normal activities. But at what cost?

Chile plans to issue the world’s first Coronavirus immunity cards.

The country’s health officials confirmed plans to be the first country to issue coronavirus “immunity passports,” which would allow individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to go back to work. Health Ministry Undersecretary Paula Daza said that 4,600 people have recovered from the deadly virus. According to officials, those citizens can “help the community enormously” by getting back to work. Chile has tested more people for the coronavirus than any other country in Latin America.

In principle, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for 14 days or more will be eligible for antibody testing. Chile has a population over more than 19 million people, so the roughly 4,600 people who would receive these ‘immunity cards’ make up a very small segment of the population.

If the strategy works, the ID cards could – little by little – help Chile reopen its economy and get its population back to work. But the strategy isn’t without risks.

From a flourishing black market to several unknowns related to the Coronavirus – the government’s plan has many risks.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

If there is an ID card that would enable to you to take to the streets, get back to work, and return to a somewhat normal life – you would want it right? And so will many others – including those who have not yet developed any anti-bodies to the virus and are still at-risk. That’s what has many officials worried about Chile’s ID plan. It could create a black market for fake immunity cards.

Not only does this pose a threat of at-risk populations getting fake immunity cards – but since they’ll likely be available at a cost most Chileans can’t afford, this leaves only the privileged able to get them.

Chile says they will certify immunity, but does it even exist?

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The idea that a person who recovers from COVID-19 can be immune to the virus has its foundations in the way the human body reacts to thousands of other viruses that we live with in our daily lives.

Since there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 at this time, the goal is to keep the patient as stable as possible while his or her immune system copes with the virus. To this extent, it is understood that those who manage to recover have developed the necessary antibodies to do so. Some recovered patients are having their antibodies ‘harvested’ to inject into other patients still battling the disease.

However, the World Health Organization has explicitly discouraged the issuance of immunity cards because the presence of antibodies simply indicates that the body has reacted to the virus, not necessarily proof of immunity.

So far, Chile has had a well-planned response to the pandemic and has escaped much of the turmoil of other countries in South America.

Local governments have instituted rolling quarantine orders in different locations based upon number of new cases, access to medical care, and the percentage of elderly residents. They also instituted complete lockdowns, closed the borders to all travel, and instituted overnight curfews to limit people’s movements. The measures seem to be working.

Chile has seen roughly 12,000 confirmed cases of the virus but less than 200 deaths. The country has also initiated widespread testing, which is why the government is so confident in its plan to issue these immunity cards.

“We are doing well, so far, but it’s too soon to declare victory,” said Paula Bedregal, a public health expert and professor at the medical school of Universidad Catolica de Chile. “We aren’t in winter yet, when things can get more complicated, and the virus is starting to appear more among more vulnerable groups.”

Bedregal added that real information is lacking in some of the poorest areas, making it harder to know if the system in place will continue to succeed.

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

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After four long years, we finally know why Trump didn’t want to release his tax returns: abominably, he thought his terrible haircuts and adult age children were worthy of write-offs. Oh yeah… and the year he was elected he only paid $750.00.

Long before his 2016 presidential election bid, Trump dodged calls to reveal his tax returns. At the time of his bid, however, he refused to take part in a 40-year tradition carried out by presidential nominees to release tax returns to the public. During his initial run, Trump falsely claimed that he was unable to release his returns publicly while they were under audit, and throughout his presidency, he has avoided sharing them despite grand jury subpoenas. Fortunately, thanks to a piece published by The New York Times, they’re finally getting a chance to see the light of day.

On Sunday, The New York Times published the first of several reports examining Trump’s tax information.

In 2016, Trump became the first president since 1976 to not release his tax records. The decision promptly roused dismay and questions about whether the records carried “undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions.”

According to NYT’s latest exposé, Trump (a man who has long boasted about his wealth and has also claimed a net worth of billions of which he has also declared to be self-acquired) paid a mere total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

While the Times report did not cover 2018 and 2019 tax filings, the newspaper looked into 18 years of Trump’s tax returns. They also looked into his business dealings as far back as 2000 and found that in 10 of those years, the president of the United States failed to pay any income taxes “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

The Times also revealed that Trump “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes” despite millions in income and property. In a statement for the piece, Alan Garten an attorney for the Trump Organization claimed to the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts, appear to be inaccurate.” NoteL the Times underlined that Garten appeared to be “conflating income taxes with other federal taxes.”

According to the article, beginning in 2010, Trump had been given a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS.

The Times article explains in detail how Trump has managed to handle his business and categorize his wealth. The paper found that most often, Trump claimed his expenses as deductions from his tax bill chalking them up to business expenses. These include nearly $70,000 in hairstyling costs for his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice” over $300,000 for landscaping of the Mar-a-Lago Club and $95,000 written off for hair and makeup done for his daughter Ivanka. That’s right, the president wrote off his own adult children.

Addressing the report, the Times noted that they would not include the actual tax documents in its coverage to avoid outing its sources.

“We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in an editor’s note. “Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.”

In response to the reports, Trump called the story “fake news” during a White House press conference on Sunday.

Speaking about the piece, Trump bemoaned that the IRS “does not treat me well.” “It’s totally fake news. Made-up, fake,” he continued. “We went through the same stories, people you could’ve asked me the same questions four years ago. I had to litigate this and talk about it. Totally fake news… Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns — it’s under audit,” Trump went onto explain. “They’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well. … They don’t treat me well; they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS, they treat me very, very badly…But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you, but that’s just fake news.”

It’s important to note that even an audit could not prevent Trump from releasing his tax records to the public.

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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