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Anti-Lockdown Protest Leader Says She Tested Positive for Coronavirus, Plans to Keep Protesting

Now she’s worried about being “arrested for denying a quarantine order.”

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Audrey Whitlock
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(TMU) — A leader of a North Carolina group that protested stay-at-home guidelines and rules meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic says she has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Audrey Whitlock, a leader of ReOpen NC, describes herself as “an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patient,” according to Facebook posts she made this week that were quoted and republished by local news station WNCN.

Despite admitting that she is SARS-CoV-2 positive, Whitlock is highly bitter about the fact that she was forced to quarantine from April 12 to April 26 to prevent the virus from being transmitted to the rest of her community, alleging that state lockdown measures in North Carolina violate her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, respectively.

She wouldn’t say whether she had been tested again to see if she is still positive for SARS-CoV-2, according to WTVD. When asked if Audrey Whitlock attended last Tuesday’s parade, a member of ReOpen NC answered “No comment.”

Whitlock, an administrator of the ReOpen NC Facebook page that has organized two protests in downtown Raleigh against Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, claims that she was “forced” to self-quarantine—which she alleges violated her First Amendment rights.

In a long-winded post addressing her fellow “Freedom Fighters” in the group, Whitlock wrote:

“The reality is that modern society has not been able to eradicate contagious viruses. A typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility. I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied my 1st amendment right of freedom of religion.

Continuing, she added that “It has been insinuated by others that if I go out, I could be arrested for denying a quarantine order.”

Whitlock claims that such an arrest would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ominously, she ended her message stating:

“I can’t wait to meet you all! Are you coming? Drop me a note and let me know!”

 

The Facebook post has now apparently been deleted.

For months health authorities have warned of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 who carry SARS-CoV-2 in their body but show few of the common symptoms such as high fever, gastrointestinal issues, shortness of breath, coughing, or other common signs. Some doctors have noted that those who claimed to be asymptomatic actually did have symptoms which were not particularly acute, such as low-grade temperatures and body aches.

Additionally, recent data from outbreaks across the world shows that much of the spread of the coronavirus has been through “stealth transmission” or “silent spreaders” who were typically not tested for SARS-CoV-2 due to a lack of symptoms—meaning that current counts of the infected, dead, and recovered are likely inaccurate.

It remains unclear why Ms. Whitlock herself, who claims to be asymptomatic, went to get tested for the virus.

Thousands of people have been participating in anti-quarantine demonstrations on state capitol grounds and in front of governors’ homes in states across the country. Many protesters have voiced concerns over the state of their constitutional rights and freedoms, lost jobs, or an inability to work during the pandemic.

However, a motley assortment of far-right groups including religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups, and extremist organizations advocating for a violent uprising have also taken part in the rallies. Many of the protests have also been tied to or promoted by Republican Party-aligned fundraising groups and “dark money”-funded organizations backed by wealthy financiers and megadonors, according to an investigative report by the Guardian.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, North Carolina has over 9,000 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services claims that at least 306 deaths are due to COVID-19.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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