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Ten times as many New Yorkers are dying in their homes than normal and they aren’t being tested for COVID-19

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As of this writing, 12,242 people have died in the United States as a result of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 5,000 of those losses were in New York, which has become the global epicenter of the pandemic.

But we don’t actually know what the true toll from this disease is. The actual number of deaths is higher–possibly much higher.

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In New York City, somewhere around 20-25 people die at home on a typical day. But according to City Council Member Mark Levine, who chairs the health committee, between 200 and 215 are dying at home every day at present. As Levine wrote on Twitter, only those “who are known to have a positive coronavirus test have the disease listed as the official cause on their death certificate.”

Gothamist reports that the city Medical Examiner’s office “is not testing dead bodies for COVID-19. Instead, they’re referring suspected cases to the city’s health department as ‘probable.’” And those “probable” COVID-19 deaths aren’t included in the tallies.

This is not a problem that’s unique to New York. BuzzFeed News reported that “medical professionals around the US [say] that the official numbers of people who have died of COVID-19 are not consistent with the number of deaths they’re seeing on the front lines.”

In some cases, it’s a lag in reporting, caused by delays and possible breakdowns in logging positive tests and making them public. In other, more troubling, cases, medical experts told BuzzFeed News they think it’s because people are not being tested before or after they die.

I should note that this is not some conspiracy to conceal the true number of fatalities caused by the pandemic. Insufficient testing capacity has been a consistent issue from the beginning of the outbreak, and confirming that the dead had the disease would be a poor use of such scarce resources.

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And in the US, local public health agencies compile data on fatalities and report them to the CDC, and many of those agencies are understaffed and overwhelmed.

The CDC is also forthcoming about the problem. ABC News reports that the agency “is well aware that the figures – which keep going up – do not tell the full story.”

“The current data on presumptive and lab-confirmed cases and deaths are underestimates,” CDC spokesman Scott Pauley said Monday. “Right now, we believe that the number of deaths we have reported paints an informative picture of the scope of epidemic.”

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While doctors and nurses treating patients on the frontlines and both local and federal public health experts say COVID-19 fatalities are being undercounted, an emerging narrative on the fringe-right is that the opposite is true. Some, motivated by partisanship to discount the experts, claim that deaths due to other causes are being recorded as COVID-19 deaths in a sprawling conspiracy to hurt Trump’s chances in November. Given that we do not know the true number, one can expect that narrative to enter the conservative mainstream at some point, possibly promoted by Donald Trump himself.

If that comes to pass, it will continue and deepen a trend that’s been evident since the beginning of the crisis, with people on the left and right divided not only in their opinions of the regime’s handling of the crisis, but also embracing very different sets of facts, or”facts,” about its severity.

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‘They just fired on us’: Horrifying videos of cops ‘using journalists for target practice’ in Minneapolis

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Journalists covering the protests in Minneapolis reported on being targeted by police on Saturday.

Multiple reports -- including live coverage on CNN -- showed police firing rubber bullets at journalists.

It’s open season on the media for the cops in Minneapolis. Evil. https://t.co/ZR3Nnf9ofH

— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) May 31, 2020

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Scientists warn of ‘superspreaders’ as Americans flock back to restaurants, salons and churches

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SAN DIEGO — Churches. Hair salons. Restaurants. Malls. What do they all have in common?They’ve all been cleared to reopen in San Diego County amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and by and large, they all require people to congregate inside, potentially with strangers.This comes as an increasingly vocal group of scientists has sounded the alarm about the danger of indoor gatherings due to the potential for airborne transmission of the disease by “superspreaders.”This week Kimberly Prather of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography penned an urgently worded perspective paper in t... (more…)

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About 75% of Trump’s proposed coronavirus capital gains tax cut would go to the top 1% of earners

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Roughly three-quarters of the benefits from the capital gains tax cut floated by President Donald Trump as part of the administration's coronavirus relief plan would go to the top 1% of earners, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump has repeatedly floated a cut to capital gains taxes, which are taxes paid by investors on profits made when an asset, like stock or real estate, is sold. The capital gains tax rate is already 35% lower than the top income tax rate, and only about 6% of households in the bottom 80% of earners claim any capital gains, meaning the overwhelming majority of benefits would flow to the wealthy.

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