Things That Matter

The White House Is Keeping How Bad the Coronavirus Crisis Is Getting From Americans

Coronavirus cases continue to pillage communities, hospitals, and counties across the United States but the Trump administration is tapping out their best efforts to make sure Americans don’t know it.

In their latest move to ensure concealing information about the coronavirus spread, the Trump administration has recently ordered hospitals to stop sending reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and instead reroute them to the Department of Health and Human Services. According to reports from the New York Times, Public health experts say the decision, would make the information unavailable to the public.

The HHS announced the changes last week in a published document.

According to the HHS “hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site.” The site is operated by the CDC and the data works up to round up “hospital and ICU bed occupancy, PPE supply, COVID-19 hospitalizations, and other information that’s key to tracking the pandemic’s strain on the nation’s hospitals.”

While the CDC has referred to NHSN as “the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection tracking system,” the Trump administration has worked overtime to undermine them.

Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has criticized the organization for its response to the coronavirus incessantly. Michael Caputo, a Trump administration officials, and HHS spokesperson recently told The New York Times that “the CDC still has at least a week lag in reporting hospital data. The new, faster, and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus, and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response. They will simply no longer control it.”

Dr. Nicole Lurie, a former health official from the Obama administration has been quick to lambast the decision ridiculing the organization for spreading disinformation and distrust.

“Centralizing control of all data under the umbrella of an inherently political apparatus is dangerous and breeds distrust,” Lurie explained. “It appears to cut off the ability of agencies like CDC to do its basic job.”

The decision to take the CDC out of the equation was reportedly helmed by Dr. Deborah Birx. As a member of the White House coronavirus task force, Birx reportedly ridiculed hospital executives for failing to report data adequately. According to the Times, these criticisms took place several weeks ago in a conference call.

Instead of reporting to CDC and using its system, the White House will now send new information to TeleTracking, a private Pittsburgh-based firm.

As Vice recently reported, TeleTracking was awarded a $10.2 million no-bid contract back in April “to provide the Department of Health and Human Services with COVID-19 rapid deployment plan for real-time healthcare system capacity reporting.”

Iowa state auditor Rob Sand released findings earlier this week that pointed out that the state Department of Public Health was the fourth entity in a chain to receive coronavirus test results and criticized the White House for the decision to keep Americans in the dark about how coronavirus continues to spread saying “We’ve asked the question: ‘Why can’t it be reported directly? Why are you routing it this way?’ And we’ve received no answer to it, which suggests to us that there is no legitimate point to do it that way.”

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In Cuba, Where Food Is Unreliable, Savvy Cooks Have Turned to Facebook to Share Recipes

Culture

In Cuba, Where Food Is Unreliable, Savvy Cooks Have Turned to Facebook to Share Recipes

Photo via Getty Images

COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for Cubans. Not only have Cubans been physically affected by the virus like the rest of the world, but the drop in the island’s gross domestic product has stymied local economic productivity. The island can no longer look to tourism to add to their GDP.

Because of this drop in GDP, food shortages on the island have become more severe than in recent memory. And Cuban cooks are feeling the effects.

Cubans must stand in line for hours at markets with no guarantees that the ingredients that they want will be available.

This way of living is especially hard for Cuban cooks, like 39-year-old Yuliet Colón. For Colón, cooking is both a creative expression and a stress reliever. “The kitchen is my happy place, where I am calmer and I feel better,” she recently revealed to the Associated Press.

Yuliet Colón is one of the creators of a Facebook page called Recetas del Corazón that has changed the cooking game for thousands of Cubans.

Now, thanks to Colón and other curious and generous Cuban cooks like her, Recipes from the Heart is now 12,000 members strong.

The goal of the page is to help struggling Cuban cooks cope with food shortages. Members of the page share creative recipes, tips, and food substitutions. Launched in June of 2020, the page was an instant success. Its success proves that Cubans have been desperate to find ways to adapt their cooking to the post-COVID-era.

To AP News, Yuliet Colón laments about the lack of rice, beans, cheese, fruit, and, most of all, eggs. “What I like the most is making desserts, but now it’s hard to get eggs, milk or flour,” she revealed.

The brightside is, however, that Cuban cooks are finally able to share food-related tips and tricks with each other on a much larger scale than they were before the internet became more widespread in the country.

Now that many Cubans have access to communication apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, they can now connect with one another and make the most of what they have–however little that may be.

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Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

Entertainment

Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

Sony Pictures

No doubt, as the Latina Queen of Hollywood, Jennifer Lopez has played the better half of quite a few relationships and not just on-screen. From Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, to Casper Smart Lopez has been The Strong Woman behind some pretty well-known men.

Her exes Marc Anthony (whom J.L o shares twins Emme and Max, 13 with) and Ben Affleck know it, and in a recent interview, they opened up about what they really think of her.

For her recent May cover of InStyle magazine, Lopez’s feature story included insights from her former loves Anthony and Affleck on everything from her drive to her ageless beauty.

In honor of the singer and actor’s 30-year run in the entertainment industry, the magazine featured her and her most prolific exes. For the interview, both Anthony and Affleck commented on Lopez’s character, heart, and business savvy. “The thing about Jennifer is her ability to see and understand things before they happen,” Anthony, explained in his interview.

Anthony, a singer and actor who starred in the 2001 film In the Time of the Butterflies was married to Lopez from 2004 to 2014.

“Before she even brings an idea up, she has visualized it a thousand times. And if anyone says it might not be the greatest idea, she’ll say, ‘You just don’t see it yet.’ Nine times out of 10, she’ll nail it. She’s the first one in the room and the last to leave. The hardest worker I’ve ever met,” Anthony went onto share. “When we were together, it was quite the opposite for me. That has changed since. I learned so much from her. She’s the original!”

Affleck who dated J.LO in 2002 and starred alongside her in the films “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” also spoke openly about Lopez.

“I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts,” Affleck, whose romance with Lopez earned him the other part of the nickname “Bennifer” by the media, explained.

“She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business,” he revealed, “She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”

At one point Affleck commented, relatably, that he felt J.Lo appeared as if she hadn’t aged since they dated.

“Where are you keeping the fountain of youth? Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I’m in my 40s…at best?” he joked.

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