Trump’s advisors are urging him to do a PSA to convince loyalists to get the COVID-19 vaccine

trump flipped
Two unnamed senior Trump administration officials, who were not named in the CNN report, said that Trump’s hesitancy to help push vaccine rollout could hurt his legacy.

  • Trump’s advisors are trying to convince him to make a PSA urging his followers to get vaccinated.
  • Trump has been vaccinated but did not appear in a PSA last month with other former presidents.
  • His close advisors fear vaccine hesitancy among his Republican supporters could hurt his legacy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trump’s senior advisors are urging him to make a PSA convincing his followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

CNN reported that two former senior Trump administration officials, who were unnamed, said that Trump’s hesitancy to help push vaccine rollout could hurt his legacy.

“Vaccines are widely regarded as one of Trump’s greatest accomplishments, and Trump understands that this legacy is at risk because half of his supporters are not taking the vaccine,” one of the officials said to CNN.

“It’s just not clear yet if he understands that he’s the only one who can fix this.”

CNN said the officials were attempting to convince Trump to film a vaccine ad, particularly after recent polls showed that around half of Trump’s Republican base were unwilling to take the vaccine.

One of the polls, which was carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, surveyed 1,862 adults from March 15 to 22. The poll indicated that 54% of Republicans surveyed said they were hesitant about getting vaccinated, 30% of Republicans and white evangelical Christians confirmed that they would definitely not get vaccinated.

An Axios report last week also indicated that Trump-voting counties showed a markedly high rate of vaccine hesitancy.

A second official told CNN that he thought people were still hesitant about the vaccine and that they were unwilling to take it unless they heard from Trump that they should.

“In Trump country, if you want to call it that, there are still significant numbers of people who aren’t sure COVID is a real thing, despite folks getting sick, and there are lots of suspicions about the vaccine,” he said.

CNN reported that Trump administration officials revealed that they did not want to see his efforts to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine, an undertaking called “Operation Warp Speed,” undermined by vaccine hesitancy.

“I see Operation Warp Speed tipping towards failure, and it really concerns me,” one of the officials said. “If we don’t move half those people into the vaccinated column, we’re most likely not going to reach community immunity, and if we don’t reach it, then the president’s vaccine legacy is dead.”

The vaccine rollout in the US hit multiple snags earlier this year when states were left on their own to figure out a vaccine plan after Trump departed from the White House.

Vaccine rollouts have accelerated quickly under Joe Biden’s presidency, which saw 100 million people getting at least their first shot within his first three months. However, millions of Americans have missed their second vaccine appointments, citing a variety of reasons – including fear of flu-like side effects.

Trump endorsed the vaccine but stopped short of doing a PSA

trump vaccine operation warp speed
Trump greets the crowd before he leaves at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on December 08, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Trump has himself been vaccinated but did not post any pictures of himself doing so.

He also did not appear in a joint PSA aired last month, which featured all the other living former presidents.

However, Trump appeared on the Fox News show “Hannity” last week, telling host Sean Hannity that he would be interested in doing a commercial about the vaccine.

“They want me to make a video,” Trump said. “They want me to do a commercial saying, ‘Take the vaccine,’ and they think that’s very important, and I’d certainly do it.”

This week, Trump endorsed vaccines in an interview with The New York Post, saying he was “all in favor of the vaccine.”

“The vaccine is a great thing and people should take advantage of it,” Trump told the Post, confirming that he and former First Lady Melania Trump had received both their vaccine doses in January and February.

He did not reveal which brand of vaccine they received.

“Nobody should be forced, we have our freedoms. But I strongly recommend it because it’s a real lifesaver,” he said in the interview.

It should be noted that Trump has not discouraged his supporters from taking the vaccine. He even said in a 50-minute speech to donors at Mar-a-Lago that the COVID-19 vaccine should be called the “Trumpcine.”

Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, recently shared pictures on Twitter of herself getting the vaccine, writing: “Today, I got the shot! I hope that you do too!”

Trump’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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Doctors and COVID-19 patients in India are turning to social media in desperate pleas for oxygen, blood plasma, and ICU beds

india second covid wave
India hits world record COVID-19 cases.

  • Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp have been flooded with desperate calls for COVID-19 help from people in India.
  • Doctors, politicians, and patients are seeking oxygen, ICU beds, and blood plasma.
  • India’s COVID-19 daily cases hit a world record on Sunday, with 350,000 new cases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In India, social-media platforms are flooded with requests for oxygen, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and blood plasma amid the deepening COVID-19 crisis.

India recorded more than 350,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Sunday, breaking the world record for the fifth consecutive day.

Doctors, politicians, and COVID-19 patients and their loved ones are using hashtags #CovidSOS and #COVIDEmergency2021 in Twitter posts to plead for supplies, The Verge first reported. Groups on WhatsApp and Facebook such as HumanKind Global are full of people searching for blood plasma and oxygen to help COVID-19 patients, The Verge reported.

Hospitals in the country are struggling to cope with shortages of beds and oxygen supplies – some say they only have a few hours’ of oxygen supply left. Crematoriums are also starting to melt from operating for so long.

Prashant Kanojia, member of the Rashtriya Lok Dal party in India and a former journalist, on Sunday tweeted with the hashtag #CovidSOS that a hospital in Meerut, north India, needed urgent oxygen supplies.

Read more: Hospitals in India are turning patients away and COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing. But Prime Minister Modi is on the campaign trail and ignoring the crisis.

In response to a thread by journalist Swati Chaturvedi to amplify people’s requests for help, one Twitter user said her relative was a critical cancer patient who couldn’t be transferred to ICU because there were no beds available.

Another Twitter user replied to the thread, saying that their friend’s father was “extremely critical” and needed a ventilator urgently in the National Capital Region of India.

Vinay Srivastava, an Indian journalist who had COVID-19, tweeted on April 16 that his oxygen levels had dropped and that he needed medical help. He was denied healthcare because he didn’t have the right paperwork, local media reported. He died the day after his Twitter plea.

Hemant Rajaura, a health reporter for Hindustan Newspaper, tweeted on Sunday that the oxygen supply in Irene Hospital in New Delhi had dropped, endangering patients.

The day before, he tweeted that Delhi needed 700 tons of oxygen to cope with demand, but that only 330 tons was reaching the city.

The US on Sunday said it would provide supplies for testing, drugs, personal protective equipment, ventilators, and vaccines to help India fight its current coronavirus wave. Less than 2% of India’s population is fully vaccinated.

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INTERVIEW: Henry Kissinger on the political consequences of the pandemic, China’s rise, and the future of the Europe Union

henry kissinger
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speaks during the Department of State 230th Anniversary Celebration at the Harry S. Truman Headquarters building July 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner sat down with former US Secretary of State and long-time diplomat Henry Kissinger.
  • They discussed the pandemic’s effects on global politics, China’s rise as a world power, and the future of the European Union.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mathias Döpfner: You’re looking great, and healthy too. So, is life enjoyable despite the pandemic?

Henry Kissinger: I wouldn’t say enjoyable, but I came through the period well.

Döpfner: How has you pandemic experience been so far? How has your life changed over the last 14 months?

Kissinger: Well, my life has changed in that I took for granted seeing people socially or in the office. So I miss that easy contact. I have lost an intangible relationship with people around the world. I have a series of Zooms, but it’s not the same. The immediacy of human relationships has been lost.

Döpfner: You are living quite isolated in your country home at the moment?

Kissinger: Yes. We have had nobody over for dinner in over a year.

Döpfner: Do you think that we will appreciate personal interaction more once this pandemic is under control and people are vaccinated? Or do you think that, in the long run, it could change social interaction, with people traveling less, meeting less, having less personal conversations?

Kissinger: Videoconferences are going to replace meetings more than in the pre-pandemic period. Since I have been vaccinated, I am now freer to have an almost normal life. And my wife Nancy and I are planning to spend a month or so seeing friends. I have already had a dinner with old friends in New York. It was about a month of preparation. But things like that will be much more spontaneous from now on.

Döpfner: What is the pandemic experience going to change in the political context in the long run? Will safety win versus individual freedom? Will autocratic systems gain ground versus democratic centrist systems?

Kissinger: In this country, the majority of people have had health and safety concerns that they’ve never experienced before. And they have been very occupied with maintaining a lifestyle that they used to take for granted. At the same time, there are groups who are systematically urging a new governmental and national philosophy. And while they are not the majority or even close to a majority, they continue pursuing their convictions – while the rest of the country is focused more on day-to-day life, or on very short-term political issues.

Döpfner: Politicians had to make difficult decisions in the context of the pandemic. For example, legal restrictions concerning border controls and traveling that were considered to be impossible were suddenly possible. You might even say that authoritarian measures had to be implemented in order to save lives. The pandemic has reinforced political authority. And in a couple of countries, at least to a certain degree, people have been very supportive of that. Do you think that democracies are going to be more authoritarian?

Kissinger: A great deal will depend on the impact of vaccinations, where there is already a wide gap between America and Europe. In the US, daily deaths from COVID-19 have been receding; young people are now being vaccinated; businesses and restaurants are beginning to reopen. Much of Europe remains locked down and fearful. Vaccination is beginning to pick up in Europe, but it remains several months behind America. The exception, of course, is the UK. So, to return to the question of political stability, if vaccination successfully reduces the incidence of the disease then the pandemic will be perceived mostly as a health problem that was overcome. The danger is less that emergency measures taken to fight the pandemic will persist than that if infections remain high for a prolonged period, on either side of the Atlantic, we would then witness a crisis of confidence in leaders and institutions.

Döpfner: Talking about Europe, the EU has not been very successful, to put it mildly, in deploying vaccinations. The situation is pretty disastrous, and we are lagging behind America, England, even smaller countries like Israel or Chile. Europe seems to be a dysfunctional player in the crisis. Symbolically, it’s interesting that the Biden administration has restricted European travel to the US even more than Trump did. What impact do you think that will have on the current opportunity to re-establish a strategic transatlantic relationship between America and Europe?

Kissinger: In America, there has been growth in national consciousness in this period. It was already developing, encouraged by the previous administration. But more in the sense of indifference to foreigners rather than an active hostility towards foreigners. By contrast, in the period immediately following World War II, and for about 30 years afterwards, the idea that America and Europe were fundamentally linked was widespread, certainly in the educated classes. And contact with foreign countries in that period, especially contact with Europe, was a matter of course. This idea is much less prevalent nowadays. You don’t read reports on European elections in American newspapers anymore, and of course they don’t cover them on television. So, in that sense, a certain psychological separation has taken place.

Döpfner: You once said that, if Europe and America do not re-establish an intense transatlantic relationship, Europe will end up as an appendix of Asia. Do you see a concrete danger at the moment that this might happen?

Kissinger: On the American side, there may be a temptation – certainly in the immediate post-pandemic period – to believe that we can operate in a more isolated manner on the basis of our reasonably good performance towards the end of the pandemic period. The current administration has been making useful pronouncements – with which I agree – about the importance of relinking America and Europe. That’s important, but I don’t think we’ve found our way yet to a new practice of the Atlantic relationship. The nature of that linkage is often defined as a return to American leadership. But it may turn out that what Europe seeks is collaborative autonomy, not guidance.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Döpfner: But do you think that we might be facing disappointment ahead because we have naive expectations for the re-establishment of the transatlantic axis?

Kissinger: At the moment, what we are seeing from the administration is more the expression of an attitude than a detailed policy. There is a general desire to be linked again, and there is an amorphous concept that if we link in dialogue, then some level of operational cohesion will emerge automatically. But the differences between Europe and America did not just appear in the Trump administration. They had been growing already in the previous period, and on both sides.

Döpfner: In a way you could say that Obama took office at the start of America’s Pacific period?

Kissinger: Yes. In the immediate post-war period, there was a common thread, and there was also the common task of rebuilding Europe and of redefining the American attitude to its foreign policy. These were important national endeavors. But even in the Nixon period, when attempts were made to redefine formal links, it proved relatively easy to do that in the strategic field. But it proved difficult to develop an Atlantic Charter of political objectives. There was no hostility, but there was also a reluctance by Europe to define an organic relationship. Now this problem will reappear in relation to the fact that the challenges of the world have become global. There is no localized threat to European identity. So, in defining our global roles, I could foresee a possible temptation on the part of Europe to pursue a kind of separate policy from the United States.

Döpfner: What are the consequences?

Kissinger: In the short run, I can actually see many benefits for both sides. But in the long run, my fear is that an emphasis of both sides on autonomy will do two things. It will reduce Europe to an appendage of Eurasia. And through this, Europe will become preoccupied by the tensions that derive from the competition of Asian and Near Eastern countries with each other. And Europe could become exhausted by these efforts. At the same time, if that happens, America could strategically become an island at the conjunction of the Pacific and the Atlantic. It would then conduct the foreign policies typical for island countries vis-à-vis continental land masses, that is to play off the weaker against the stronger, which means there will be more focus on divisions than on the construction of the world. And even if that separation between Europe and America is very friendly, we and Europe should not exhaust our energies in a struggle about how to define common purposes. We don’t have to agree on every economic policy on every local issue, but we should have a common concept of the direction we want the Atlantic regions to go, historically and strategically.

Döpfner: The EU has not delivered on its promises: no over proportional growth for its economies, weak in managing security challenges, disappointing in its management of the euro crisis. Most importantly, the two big international challenges of the recent past have been very poorly managed by the EU. One is the refugee crisis. And the second one is now the pandemic, particularly vaccination. Could that become an existential threat for the EU?

Kissinger: The EU has not yet managed to create a political identity and a political consciousness as an organic unit. The decisions are made by balancing political preferences in an essentially administrative manner on a case by case basis. So, at least from my perspective, there is no vision that can be described as a specifically or uniquely European vision.

Döpfner: What could the European vision be?

Kissinger: For hundreds of years, Europe has contributed ideas about political structure and political vision. Many of the great ideas about freedom and democracy originated in Europe. At that time on the philosophical level, Europe was largely unified. Now, it seems the EU has a greater ability to concentrate on economic and technical issues than on historic issues. But if Europe is to participate in some unified sense in international affairs, it needs to develop the capacity to generate ideas that are at the same time specifically applicable to European circumstances and also of relevance to the rest of the world. My vision and dream of the European-American relationship has always been that we will manage to establish a unique conceptual relationship within which tactical differences can exist – and should and will exist – but in which they do not become the anchor point of the policy on each side of the Atlantic.

Döpfner: Which America is Europe going to deal with? I am curious to find out how you see the conceptual changes of the current Biden administration, both with regard to domestic and foreign policy.

Kissinger: The leading groups driving foreign policy within the administration are trying to restore what they consider the traditional pattern of the European-American relationship based on frequent, even constant, consultation with some consensus emerging. They have not yet fully addressed the fact that significant internal changes have taken place in the last 20 years on both sides of the Atlantic. And that these changes emphasize national interest more than is common in American conceptual thinking about foreign policy. Thus the content of the dialogues with America has flattened out while they’re still taking place, and while the institutions remain. The previous administration accentuated differences because of its conviction that America could not be mobilized without an emphasis on national interest. The dilemma with that way of thinking is that in the present technocratic world, the national interest requires a global basis. It’s no longer possible to have a national interest that is confined to the immediate circumference of one’s own country. And that is a task in which America has to engage itself as it pursues the Biden-type policy.

Döpfner: What are you thinking about?

Kissinger: When I was in office, because of the Vietnam War which we inherited, the divisions were very intense and, for policymakers, occasionally painful. But in a way they were family divisions. The leaders of the liberal Democratic side were personal acquaintances with whom I had gone to Harvard and met regularly. In the present period, there is a systemic questioning of the historic values of America. There is a point of view to the effect that American society has been immoral from its very beginning. Advocates of this view maintain that the American internal challenge derives from the historic structure of American society and history. They believe America’s institutions – the Senate, the Supreme Court, perhaps even the Constitution itself – have to be remade from the ground up. This is a revolutionary frame of mind which is being pursued very systematically and very effectively. It is not a view that is held by close to 50% of the population. But it is a view that is intensely held and is perhaps dominant in the academic and media community. It is therefore becoming extremely influential.

Döpfner: Would you say there is a growing intolerance for different views in those circles?

Kissinger: With respect to the issues that the adherents consider most important, there is very limited tolerance. It’s a revolutionary view in the sense that it aims for victory, not compromise. And those who hold different views are ejected from participation.

Döpfner: By the year 2028, the expectation is that China will replace the US as the largest economy. A couple of days before Biden took office, the EU signed an investment and trade protection deal with China. That must have been perceived in Washington as a provocation. What does that tell us about the future of the American-European relationship versus China?

Kissinger: The administration is trying hard to keep the relationship within traditionally accepted limits. But it faces the situation now where public opinion has become convinced that China is not only a rapidly growing country, which is true, but also that China is an inherent enemy, and that therefore our main task is to confront it and to reduce its capacity to be a major country. But China has been a major country for thousands of years. And in different historical epochs. And so, the recovery of China should be not surprising, and its consequences are that America, for the first time in its history, is facing a country of potentially comparable capacities in economics, and with great historic skill in conducting international affairs. This was not the case with the Soviets. They were actually weaker than the United States in military capacities, and they had no economic position in the international field at all. So, with respect to the current crisis, there is almost a certain nostalgia for the issues of the Cold War.

Döpfner: Nostalgia?

Kissinger: Yes. The big issue to look upon is not just to prevent Chinese hegemony, but to understand that if we achieve that objective – which we must – the need to coexist with a country of that magnitude remains. Let me say a word about the assumed global domination of China.

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Döpfner: Please.

Kissinger: There is a big difference between the Chinese perception of history and the Russian perception. Russian leaders have historically been insecure, because they have spent their history defending themselves against potential enemies on all sides. They have therefore, since becoming strong, identified influence with physical domination. China has a more complex view. The Confucian view, which shapes Chinese thinking side by side with Chinese Marxism, implies that if China performs at the maximum level of its capacities, it will generate a majestic conduct which will produce respect in the rest of the world – making it agreeable, at some levels, to Chinese preferences. In the Empire period, foreign countries were graded by the degree of their proximity to Chinese cultural precepts. There existed a department for grading these countries, and it conducted foreign policy. China has historically and recently supported this attitude with military actions to remind adversaries that this is not just a philosophical debate. But if you actually study the Chinese military actions, since the period that the communists took over, they’ve all been for psychological effect. They were often very tough. And we must be prepared to oppose Chinese hegemony. But we, at the same time, should remain open to a policy of coexistence.

In dealing with China, different schools of thought have to be sorted out. There’s a group who thinks the Chinese capacity for foreign policy must be confronted at all levels from economics to Chinese internal politics. It ascribes current Chinese policies to the current Chinese leadership and strives for bringing about a more accommodating group. I, on the other hand, believe that such an attitude generates a maximum of resistance. Of course, free societies must continue to conduct world affairs compatible with their principles and free of the threat of hegemony. But coexistence in the current world of technology is a necessity, because it is impossible to visualize a war between major countries who have significant AI technology that will not destroy cultural life as we know it. So that will be the debate in America and maybe in the world.

Döpfner: A truly reliable alliance between the United States and Europe would be essential for America. Do you think a strategic disagreement with regards to China can be a real threat to the transatlantic relationship?

Kissinger: If Europe pursues a policy of taking advantage of American-Chinese disagreement, it will make confrontations all the sharper and crises all the more overwhelming. I am not in favor of a crusade against China. But I am in favor of developing a common strategic understanding so that the situation will not be inflamed further by constant maneuvering for advantage.

Döpfner: But if China becomes the globally leading economy, it seems very likely that it will also have a major impact on political values and political systems in countries that are economically dependent on China – which will be almost all of the non-American rest of the world.

Kissinger: Well, I don’t think it’s the entire world or even the dominant part of it.

Döpfner: We can debate about Russia. But Europe, Africa, Australia?

Kissinger: No, I am assuming that the societies you mention have enough self-discipline and confidence that they will not permit such an outcome.

Döpfner: You are saying Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has the power to have significant impact on our culture. The new instrument strategically and the new form of warfare is not weapons, it’s basically data. In that regard, China has an unfair advantage. They are collecting tons of personal data as part of their regulative system putting the interest of the Chinese Central State first. The likelihood that China is going to win the race of AI is not small. Are you afraid we might end up with a unilateral AI governance dominated by the Chinese?

Kissinger: Five years ago, I didn’t know anything about AI.

Döpfner: Now you’re writing articles about it, you’re an expert in it.

Kissinger: I am a student of it. It is fascinating not only economically, but also philosophically, because it will change the nature of human thinking about reality, which will affect all of us. The U.S. needs to maintain a high level of performance in AI. But there are two levels: superior AI can mean you can crush any competitor who operates on market principles. But you’re wrong in saying that the Chinese are bound to be superior to us in the AI field. We have many of the assets of creativity in the AI field. But we have to understand AI in its totality. In the world that you envision, there will inevitably be a competition between AI powers. “High-tech powers” is a better way to say it. And the propensity of high-tech is towards monopoly. That needs to be overcome.

Döpfner: Right!

Kissinger: And, therefore, there is this propensity to crush the opponent. Now coexistence depends on neither side seeking to destroy the opponent while maintaining its values and objectives, and each side needs to place coexistence ahead of a quest for domination. This requires an understanding between the leaders of high-tech societies. We must learn from history. Europeans in particular know the consequences of wars that can neither be won nor ended.

Döpfner: But do you think there could be peaceful coexistence?

Kissinger: I know it is our duty to attempt it. Right now, in the West, high-tech is developed almost for its own sake. People are fascinated by it, and they keep building it. So, given our propensity for and our demonstrated ability in this field, I am confident that we should be able to maintain a competitive position.

Döpfner: I agree, that that dual competition will remain for the foreseeable near future. However, it is also a realistic scenario that one day a unilateral system with one force basically dominating, either the US or China, will emerge. In this context two questions raise. First, will AI serve the people, or will people be serving AI? Many people like Elon Musk and others, who know AI extremely well are worried about the latter scenario. Second: Is AI serving the economic well-being of big tech platforms and companies, as in the United States, or is AI serving the well-being of a central state, which basically controls and uses AI for the total surveillance and control of its people? And I think this is a very fundamental difference, and it has a huge impact on the consequences of AI.

Kissinger: In the competition between China and the West, a key objective has to be to prevent it from becoming an all-out AI conflict. Which means that, while both sides may have the theoretical capability of winning, neither side chooses to exercise it-they should limit it by some kind of understanding. I’m laying out a task, not a detailed program. Strive for it, because the alternative of an all-out conflict strains the imagination. The United States must always have an adequate defense. But in the high-tech world, it must also work for coexistence. We cannot do it as a unilateral act. This is the challenge of our time.

Döpfner: Europe and particularly Germany play a pretty irrelevant role in that context. A century ago, Germany wanted too much leadership, and today, it doesn’t want enough leadership or doesn’t take enough leadership?

Kissinger: Well, in the 1930s certainly, Germany wanted too much – it wanted dominance. Since the end of the Second World War, Germany has rebuilt itself by reliance on the Atlantic Alliance, and I had the privilege of participating at the margins of that effort. But it has gone through the process of defining a new identity several times since the end of World War II. First to build the Federal Republic of Germany, then for Reunited Germany, then for a European Germany. And now the issue arises of a global Germany, and there is little historical precedent for that role. Germany has the resources and the history to be a major factor in the future. It needs to make up its mind on how it perceives its global role.

Döpfner: At the end, a pleasant topic. There has been one constant over the last almost 100 years and that is that your favorite soccer club is Greuther Fürth. Now, four days before your 98th birthday this year, there is the possibility on the last match day that Greuther Fürth could move up to the Bundesliga. Your favorite birthday gift?

Kissinger: A great birthday gift. I haven’t lived in Fürth in over 80 years. But I follow Greuther Fürth, and I have already made a tentative plan that, if Fürth makes it to the Bundesliga, which does not look very likely, but they are not without a chance, I will travel to Fürth to visit my grandfather’s grave and attend a game if the pandemic permits it.

Döpfner: You should come no matter what happens. If you look back to your childhood, was there a reading experience that was life changing for you? Is there one single book that you could mention that had a particularly strong influence on your way of thinking and your way of living?

Kissinger: No, in my childhood, the preoccupation of my family was how to survive, how to arrive at a situation where one could plan a normal future. Which is why America was such an important element throughout my life. Later on, when I was in America, Spengler’s “Decline of the West” had a major influence on my thinking. Not because of the prediction of decline, but because of the perception of looking at every civilization as a unit and not in terms of separate individual actions. And because of his analysis that the architecture, science, and every other aspect of our culture have certain basic themes.

Döpfner: If you had to decide for the politician of the last 100 years who left the most positive impact on the world who would that be?

Kissinger: Winston Churchill. He saved Europe.

Döpfner: You are, a German who had to leave his home country because Germans organized the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews and many members of your family. You made your career in America and became an international political figure of great influence. And throughout the decades, you have kept this very special interest in Germany and the importance of the American-German relationship. More than that, you have kept a deep emotional affection for Germany. Can you explain why and how that was possible?

Kissinger: I don’t know if I have ever formally addressed this issue. My family suffered more than I did, because I was younger. Despite the losses of close relatives and friends, my father always retained a nostalgic feeling for Germany. In 1965, I received an award from the city of Fürth, and my father came along. To my amazement, he chose to volunteer an extremely conciliatory speech in German emphasizing the positive things he remembered. I never really explored with him how he reached that decision. And in my own personal life at the end of the war, when I was a very young man in counterintelligence who had been entrusted with great powers, I decided that if it was wrong to treat Jews on the basis of their ethnicity, then it was wrong to do that to Germans too. And, by serving in Germany, I had an opportunity to start to work on a new relationship. And it evolved into an important part of my life.

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Ex-White House aide reveals ‘inside story’ of what happened when Trump claimed injecting disinfectant could cure COVID-19

trump press conference injecting breach
President Donald J. Trump departs after speaking with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Thursday, April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC

  • Trump famously touted injecting disinfectant as a cure for COVID-19 during a press briefing.
  • Olivia Troye, a former aide, said that the White House Coronavirus Task Force was “in shock.”
  • The task force then had to discuss how to mitigate people actually ingesting bleach, Troye said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former aide has revealed what happened when then-President Donald Trump first suggested injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19, HuffPost reported.

Olivia Troye, who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and also as a staffer to former Vice President Mike Pence, shared the “inside story” in a video released by the anti-Trump Republican Accountability Project on Saturday.

“We were in shock,” Troye said in the clip. “You could see everyone looking around the room, saying, ‘did he really just say that?'”

Prior to the daily briefing on April 23, 2020, Troye said that the task force had agreed with Trump that he should communicate that “the mitigations and the 45 days to slow the spread had worked and the numbers had dropped.”

Trump, however, veered off-course in the presser and instead decided to focus on a briefing from the Department of Homeland Security about sunshine and cleaning products potentially being able to reduce the number of hours that the coronavirus could live on a surface.

During the conference, Trump famously and erroneously suggested that injecting disinfectant inside people could work as a cure for COVID-19.

He said: “And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”

Injecting oneself with bleach or any other disinfectant is not only dangerous and even life-threatening, but it is also not an effective treatment or cure for the coronavirus.

Troye explained how the task force was horrified and frustrated by the comments. “He just threw away all of the work we’ve done,” she said. “That night there was a discussion of how do we mitigate people actually ingesting bleach,” she continued.

Later on in the clip, the former aide cited this incident as an example of why Trump should not run for office again. “He’s hinted at running at 2024, Troye said, “That’s why we’ve got to remember moments like this… because we can’t allow him or someone like him to ever hold power again.”

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A COVID triple-mutant found in India could be much more deadly, and may be resistant to existing vaccines

india covid
Medics attend to COVID-19 patients at Shehnai Banquet Hall, temporarily converted into an isolation ward, as coronavirus cases surge across the country in New Delhi, India.

  • A new threat has emerged in India’s fight against COVID – a triple mutant variant of the virus.
  • The mutant strain was found in samples in Bengal, and may have evolved from preexisting double mutations.
  • Researchers say this could affect vaccine efficacy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As India contends with its second major wave of COVID cases and a double-mutated variant of the virus, it now faces a new threat – a triple-mutant variant.

Scientists found two triple-mutant varieties in patient samples in four states: Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, and Chhattisgarh. Researchers in the country have dubbed it the “Bengal strain” and say it has the potential to be even more infectious than the double-mutant variant.

This is because three COVID variants have merged to form a new, possibly deadlier variant.

The Times of India spoke to Vinod Scaria, a researcher at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in India, who said that the triple mutant was also an “immune escape variant” – a strain that helps the virus attach to human cells and hide from the immune system.

He added that it could have evolved from the double-mutant variant – which experts say is likely behind the recent surge of COVID in the country.

Sreedhar Chinnaswamy, a researcher from the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in India, told the Times of India that the variant also carried the E484K mutation, a characteristic found in both the South African and Brazilian variants.

“In other words, you may not be safe from this variant even if you were previously infected by another strain, or even if you have been vaccinated,” said Chinnaswamy.

This new threat is worrying. India’s healthcare system has already reached a breaking point as it grapples with the second wave of COVID cases. Hospitals across the country are dealing with critical shortages of medical oxygen supplies. Yesterday, six hospitals in the country reportedly ran out of oxygen as the country grappled with a sudden surge in patients.

Oxygen supplies have been diverted from shipbreaking facilities and steel plants. Still, hospitals remain overwhelmed – with some desperate families even resorting to stealing oxygen cylinders from hospitals to keep their family members alive.

India recorded a daily high of 314,835 COVID cases on Thursday, but that worldwide record was broken within 24 hours when the country announced that it recorded 332,730 new cases and 2,263 deaths on Friday. The country now has over 16 million COVID cases, second only to the US’s record of 32 million cases.

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The most common coronavirus variant in the US is no worse for kids than adults, despite more children showing up at hospital, experts say

kid hand sanitizer coronavirus
  • The most common coronavirus variant in the US infects kids more than the original virus.
  • But the variant, first found in the UK, is no more infectious or deadly in kids than in adults, experts told Insider.
  • This is despite anecdotal reports that, proportionally, more kids are showing up to hospital.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The most common coronavirus variant in the US is estimated to be twice as infectious as the original, and can spread quickly amongst children. Anecdotal reports suggest young people are increasingly filling up US hospitals – but experts tell Insider that the variant, called B.1.1.7, isn’t affecting kids any worse than adults.

The variant became the most common strain of the virus in the US on April 7. In Michigan, the state with the most B.1.1.7 cases, hospitalization rates were higher for kids in recent weeks, “therefore they must be sicker,” Rudolph Valentini, chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, told Bloomberg on Monday.

“Until now we haven’t seen transmission like this in kids in the pandemic,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Minnesota and former advisor to President Joe Biden, told Meet the Press early April. “This B.1.1.7 variant infects kids very readily,” he said.

Higher numbers of kids in hospital doesn’t necessarily mean the variant affects kids differently. Younger people, especially those under 16, are the least likely to be vaccinated. So while many adults are protected from COVID-19, including the variant, kids aren’t, and some are ending up in hospital.

And many experts – including from the UK, where the variant was first detected in December – aren’t convinced it is more infectious for children than adults, and say the variant doesn’t appear to make kids sicker, either.

No evidence variant is not more infectious in kids than adults: Experts

There’s no evidence that B.1.1.7, the name of the variant, is more infectious in children than adults, Damian Roland, honorary associate professor in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Leicester, told Insider.

“Denmark has kept schools open for young kids (even without masks) and hasn’t exploded,” Dr. Alasdair Munroe, clinical research fellow in pediatric infectious diseases at University Hospital Southampton, said on Twitter March 11.

In Denmark, where there are high numbers of B.1.1.7, those under 20 years old were least likely to transmit the virus to others in the household, and those younger than 10 were less likely to catch it than young adults aged 25 to 45, according to a pre-print study from the University of Copenhagen posted March 5.

Read more: Just 3 governors haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, Insider found. Here’s who – and why.

Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who has served on infectious disease advisory panels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told CNBC that kids were getting infected more frequently because of how contagious the virus is, not because the variant poses a particular risk to them.

Roland told Insider that “it’s not the variant, cases rise when you’ve got a lot of coronavirus around.”

A spokesperson for The Royal College of Pediatrics & Child Health (RCPCH) told Insider that “cases in children continue to reflect cases in adults generally.” They said that the best way to protect the children is to maintain “low community infection rates.”

B.1.1.7 appears no more harmful to kids

Dr. Stephen Schrantz, an infectious disease expert at University of Chicago Medicine, told CNBC that young people, especially school-aged children, didn’t tend to get sick because their immune systems react less severely to the virus.”

Roland told Insider that kids “very rarely” get sick with COVID-19. “Often it’s children presenting with non-COVID illness and then happen to have it.”

About one-third of kids testing positive with COVID-19 in a London hospital during the second wave of the virus in the UK – when 70% of the capital’s coronavirus infections were caused by B.1.1.7 – were admitted for another illness, according to correspondence published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health medical journal in February.

A London-based study published in the same journal around the same time found that severe illness and death from COVID-19 in children was rare, accounting for just under 0.2% of all UK deaths in 10 to 19 year olds, and just under 2% for those under 9. More kids died from COVID-19 when there were lots of infections in the wider community, the study authors said.

Kids coronavirus
A temperature check is taken as students return to St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020.

Some children who contracted coronavirus have experienced Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that can sometimes cause severe illness or death.

It doesn’t appear that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant increases the likelihood of developing MIS-C.

Dr Liz Whittaker, consultant pediatrician at St Mary’s Hospital in London, said in a statement January, when London had high levels of B.1.1.7 cases, that there were lots of children with positive COVID-19 tests, but “only small numbers” with severe disease or MIS-C, and these were within expected levels given the high infection rate at the time.

The number of children hospitalized, admitted to intensive care, or dying from COVID-19 hasn’t changed on a national level following the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in the UK, the RCPCH spokesperson said.

In Michigan, those aged 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 years-old are most likely to be infected with coronavirus, according to state data. But while hospital admissions are going up in all age groups by 25% each week, the highest rate remains those 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 – not younger people.

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Dow tumbles 257 points as spike in COVID-19 cases spurs economic-recovery concern

wall street new york stock exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered their second straight losses on Tuesday.
  • COVID-19 cases worldwide have risen by more than 10% over the past week.
  • Nike dropped on the Dow but IBM was a winner.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US stocks dropped Tuesday, with their grip on record highs further loosening as investors worry about the prospects for global economic growth as COVID-19 cases worldwide increase.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average each fell for a second consecutive session, pulling back from last week’s strongest finishes on record.

As “stocks fall on back-to-back days for the first time this month, you can probably blame an old culprit: COVID,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, in comments sent to Insider.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4 p.m. on Tuesday:

Cumulative coronavirus cases worldwide have risen by more than 10% over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and cases topped 142.3 million on Tuesday. Officials in Japan were considering declaring a virus state of emergency, and the UK imposed a travel ban for visitors from India as that country becomes the new epicenter of the outbreak behind the US. Argentina, meanwhile, is battling another wave of cases.

“Higher-than-expected earnings might not be packing as big a punch as normal, partly because analysts had been raising their earnings estimates before earnings season began,” Kinahan said. “At this point, it’s really more about what companies forecast and less about what happened in Q1.”

IBM shares rose and performed the best among the Dow industrials after the technology company’s first-quarter earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s targets. But fellow Dow component Nike dropped sharply following a Citi downgrade to neutral from buy on concerns that recent boycotts in China will hurt sales at the athletic wear maker.

Apple shares were lower. The company at its virtual event on Tuesday unveiled, among other products, its AirTags tracking accessory.

Around the markets, Johnson & Johnson shares rose after the company planned to resume COVID-19 vaccine shipments to the European Union.

GameStop stake held by Alaska’s revenue department soared by more than 700% last quarter. Alaska also said its Tesla bet had grown to $85 million in 18 months.

Bitfarms, a Canadian bitcoin-mining company, is planning a new mining site in Argentina that it said would be its largest yet.

Gold rose 0.3%, to $1,776 per ounce. Long-dated US Treasury yields fell, with the 10-year yield down to 1.56%.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 1.2% to $62.61 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 1%, to $66.51 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose to $56,524.

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US stocks slump as global COVID-19 cases increase

worried trader
  • The S&P 500 and the Dow on Tuesday continued their slide from last week’s record highs.
  • Global COVID-19 cases are rising, and the US State Department is set to issue a travel advisory.
  • The VIX, Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” was advancing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stocks moved lower on Tuesday, edging further from their strongest levels on record over concerns about rising COVID-19 cases worldwide.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average were in the red for the second straight session after notching record closing highs at the end of last week.

But on the rise was the VIX, Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge. It climbed by the most in three weeks, indicating that investors expect increased volatility over the next 30 days. A recent survey by Allianz found that many Americans want to stay on the sidelines of the stock market this year, worried that volatility will accelerate and hurt their investments.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday:

The S&P 500’s consumer-discretionary sector was losing the most ground, with airline stocks down after the US State Department said on Monday that it planned to issue a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for nearly 80% of countries as the coronavirus continues to spread. Shares of United Airlines were lower after the carrier indicated that quarterly losses would continue until air travel recovers to 65% of 2019 levels.

Officials in Japan are weighing a virus state of emergency, and the UK imposed a travel ban for visitors from India because of high case counts there. Argentina is battling another wave of cases.

Elsewhere, Apple will be in focus as it hosts a “Spring Loaded” virtual event at 1 p.m. ET during which it is expected to introduce two iPad Pro models.

Around the markets, a GameStop stake held by Alaska’s revenue department soared by more than 700% last quarter. Alaska also said its Tesla bet had grown to $85 million in 18 months.

Bitfarms, a Canadian bitcoin-mining company, is planning a new mining site in Argentina that it said would be its largest yet.

Gold fell 0.1%, to $1,767 per ounce. Long-dated US Treasury yields rose, with the 10-year yield at 1.61%.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.4%, to $63.60 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 0.8%, to $67.57 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose to $56,079.

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State Department to issue ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ for ‘approximately 80%’ of countries worldwide due to coronavirus spread

airport travel
  • The State Department said on Monday that it plans to issue a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for close to 80% of countries worldwide.
  • The move is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The State Department said on Monday that it plans to issue a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for close to 80% of countries worldwide, as coronavirus continues to spread.

The update also asked US citizens to “reconsider all travel abroad.”

“This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments,” the statement said.

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Fauci hopeful on upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine decision: ‘We will get it back in some manner or form’

Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the White House in January 2021.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he hopes there’s a decision on the paused Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Friday.

“I do think we will get it back in some manner or form, but what I hope that we don’t see anything beyond Friday,” Fauci told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Fauci’s remarks come after the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was paused after six women ranging from ages 18 and 48 developed blood clots after receiving the shot, as Insider previously reported.

“The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson wrote in an April 13 statement.

“The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered,” the statement said.

The CDC plans to meet on Friday to discuss the vaccine pause, and Fauci said hopefully “we’ll get back on track one way or the other.”

“I think by that time we’re going to have a decision,” Fauci said. “Now, I don’t want to get ahead of the CDC and the FDA and the advisory committee but I would imagine that what we will see is that it would come back and it will come back within some sort of either warning or restriction.”

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