In testimony before US Congress on March 11, 2020, members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee were informed that estimated mortality for the novel coronavirus was 10-times higher than for seasonal influenza. Additional evidence, however, suggests the validity of this estimation could benefit from vetting for biases and miscalculations. The main objective of this article is to critically appraise the coronavirus mortality estimation presented to Congress. Informational texts from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are compared with coronavirus mortality calculations in Congressional testimony. Results of this critical appraisal reveal information bias and selection bias in coronavirus mortality overestimation, most likely caused by misclassifying an influenza infection fatality rate as a case fatality rate. Public health lessons learned for future infectious disease pandemics include: safeguarding against research biases that may underestimate or overestimate an associated risk of disease and mortality; reassessing the ethics of fear-based public health campaigns; and providing full public disclosure of adverse effects from severe mitigation measures to contain viral transmission.
Author(s): Ronald B. Brown
Publication Date: 12 August 2020
Publication Site: Cambridge University Press Public Health Emergency Collection
In a major victory for America’s counties, the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation, part of the American Rescue Plan Act was passed by the U.S. Senate on March 6. The bill, which now heads back to the U.S. House of Representatives for final consideration, includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America, as well as other crucial investments in local communities.
The Senate version amends the House-adopted bill in several important ways:
The U.S. Department of Treasury would still oversee and administer these payments to state and local governments, and every county would be eligible to receive a direct allocation from Treasury. States, municipalities, and counties would now receive funds in two tranches – both tranches would provide 50 percent of the entity’s total allocation. In cases where a state has a very high level of unemployed individuals, these states may receive both tranches at the same time.
In order to receive a payment either under the first or second tranche, local governments must provide the U.S. Treasury with a certification signed by an authorized officer. The U.S. Treasury is required to pay first tranche to counties not later than 60-days after enactment, and second payment no earlier than 12 months after the first payment.
Current and former top executives at SolarWinds are blaming a company intern for a critical lapse in password security that apparently went undiagnosed for years.
The password in question, “solarwinds123,” was discovered in 2019 on the public internet by an independent security researcher who warned the company that the leak had exposed a SolarWinds file server.
Several US lawmakers ripped into SolarWinds for the password issue Friday, in a joint hearing by the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.
“I’ve got a stronger password than ‘solarwinds123’ to stop my kids from watching too much YouTube on their iPad,” said Rep. Katie Porter. “You and your company were supposed to be preventing the Russians from reading Defense Department emails!”