Fact check: Conspiracy theorists claim Nancy Pelosi visited Wuhan in November. She did not

: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Wuhan, China, in November

a conspiracy-promoting Facebook account claimed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Wuhan, China, in November, around the time researchers say the coronavirus probably originated.” data-reactid=”12″>A since-deleted tweet posted April 19 on a conspiracy-promoting Facebook account claimed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Wuhan, China, in November, around the time researchers say the coronavirus probably originated.

The tweet accused Pelosi of being “traitorous” and being involved in the release of the virus. “THE ENEMY FROM WITHIN!” the tweet said, ending in a series of hashtags, including “#StayAtHome” and “#ThesePeopleAreStupid.” It included a photo of Pelosi shaking hands with a Chinese official, with Chinese characters in the lower left corner like a TV station identifier.

The screenshot of the tweet that was posted to Facebook has been shared more than 1,200 times and copies the language used in the tweet. Because the tweet was deleted, it’s unclear how far it spread on that platform.

at all?

The photo attached to the tweet and included in the Facebook post shows Pelosi visiting with officials in China in November 2015.

a Chinese Embassy webpage and highlights Pelosi meeting with Zhang Dejiang, who was the leader of China’s equivalent to a legislative branch. It is timestamped November 2015, which coincides with independent news reports of Pelosi taking a delegation to meet with Chinese leaders.” data-reactid=”17″>The photo was posted on a Chinese Embassy webpage and highlights Pelosi meeting with Zhang Dejiang, who was the leader of China’s equivalent to a legislative branch. It is timestamped November 2015, which coincides with independent news reports of Pelosi taking a delegation to meet with Chinese leaders.

website of the speaker of the U.S. House.” data-reactid=”18″>The visit is detailed on the website of the speaker of the U.S. House.

has no record of Pelosi visiting China on or around November 2019.” data-reactid=”19″>Zhang retired from his post as chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in March 2018. The clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, which logs foreign travel reports from members of Congress, has no record of Pelosi visiting China on or around November 2019.

Despite tweets busting the conspiracy in the replies, and the original tweet being deleted, a screenshot found its way to a Facebook account with about 18,000 followers that traffics in  a right-wing conspiracy theory that a Democratic cabal of pedophiles is trying to control the country and that President Donald Trump is trying to stop it.. The people behind the Twitter account and the Facebook account did not respond to requests for comment. Pelosi’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.

Our ruling: False

The claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited China in November is FALSE. The photo used in the claim features a retired politician and ties back to a visit Pelosi made to China four years prior. There are no congressional records, media reports or other evidence supporting the claim that the House speaker visited China any time close to when the novel coronavirus appeared in that country.

Our fact-check sources:

Nick Coltrain is a politics and data reporter for the Register. Reach him at ncoltrain@registermedia.com or at 515-284-8361.

subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.” data-reactid=”30″>Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Fact check: Did Nancy Pelosi visit Wuhan, China, in November?” data-reactid=”31″>This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Did Nancy Pelosi visit Wuhan, China, in November?

Dubai lifts lockdown on two densely populated commercial districts

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai

DUBAI (Reuters) – The emirate of Dubai said on Sunday it has lifted its full lockdown on two commercial districts which have a large population of low-income migrant workers, after the United Arab Emirates eased nationwide coronavirus curfews over the weekend.

Dubai on Friday cut its emirate-wide 24-hour lockdown back to a 10:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew. It has now taken the same step in the Al Ras and Naif districts, which had been sealed off as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management took the decision since no new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the two areas in the last two days, the government media office said in a statement. It said more than 6,000 tests were conducted among Al Ras and Naif residents in less than a month.

The UAE has reported more than 10,300 cases and 76 deaths resulting from the virus, the second-highest count among the six Gulf Arab countries after Saudi Arabia. It does not give breakdowns for each of the seven emirates that make up the country.

The Gulf states, where expatriates make up the bulk of the labour force, have seen infections spread among low-wage foreign workers living in cramped quarters despite measures to combat the disease including the suspension of passenger flights, curfews and the closure of public spaces.

Dubai, the Middle East’s business hub, on Friday allowed dine-in cafes and restaurants to resume business with a maximum capacity of 30% and shopping malls to be reopened partially. Mosques, cinemas and playgrounds remain closed.

(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Israel's Labour party agrees to join Netanyahu-led coalition

Labour party leader Amir Peretz is expected to be named economy minister in the prospective coalition government his party voted to join on Sunday (AFP Photo/Gil COHEN-MAGEN)

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel’s left-wing Labour party, traditionally a staunch opponent of right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, voted Sunday to join a coalition government he is set to lead.

At a party conference held virtually because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, 64.2 percent of nearly 3,500 voting Labour delegates endorsed the alliance agreed last week between Netanyahu and his centrist election rival Benny Gantz.

“We are not joining a right-wing government,” Labour leader Amir Peretz said in a statement.

“We are joining an egalitarian unity government with power-sharing.”

Labour had backed Gantz’s efforts to form a government following Israel’s three inconclusive elections over the past year.

But the former army chief was unable to forge a viable governing coalition, given the deep divisions within the anti-Netanyahu bloc.

Last week, Netanyahu and Gantz signed a three-year coalition agreement that ends the political stalemate and sees the job of prime minister rotating between the two men.

Netanyahu will serve as premier for 18 months, with Gantz as his alternate. They will switch roles midway through the deal.

Labour, Israel’s founding political party, which has repeatedly led the country since its creation in 1948, has seen its political fortunes whither.

It only earned three out of 120 parliamentary seats in the country’s March 2 vote.

In joining the prospective coalition, Peretz is expected to be named economy minister, while another party official is likely to be named social affairs minister.

Labour’s endorsement offers a boost to the coalition government, which is likely to be finalised and sworn in over the coming days.

The IRS is telling 10,000 'mission-critical' employees to bring their own face masks while calling them back to work this week

FILE – This April 13, 2014, file photo shows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building in Washington.

Associated Press

  • The IRS will call back about 10,000 employees to 10 facilities beginning Monday, according to a Politico report.
  • The employees, who will handle “mission-critical functions to handle work that must be conducted onsite,” according to a leaked memo, will be working to handle tasks associated with the tax filing season and the CARES Act stimulus, according to the report.
  • In an email to employees, the IRS told all returning employees to wear face masks in the office but said workers would have to bring their own masks.
  • Employees will be asked back on a volunteer basis, but they will be ordered back to offices if there are not enough volunteers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

leaked memo sent to employees of the agency on Friday. ” data-reactid=”24″>About 10,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service will be brought back to 10 offices beginning Monday, and the agency told employees to bring their own face masks with them, according to a leaked memo sent to employees of the agency on Friday. 

“People have differing levels of concern associated with the current situation,” read the memo, published by Democrat Reps. Richard Neal of Massachusetts and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. “As we return to the worksite, we need to respect and balance the concerns of others with the requirement to continue our mission-critical functions.”

“Although the IRS is seeking to procure personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, each IRS facility may not be able to initially procure the PPE for all employees immediately,” read the memo, written by IRS Human Capital Officer Robin D. Bailey, Jr. and Deputy IRS Human Capital Officer Kevin Q. McIver.

which says such cloth coverings can be "fashioned from common household materials," suggesting employees make them from "clean t-shirts or bandanas."” data-reactid=”27″>The Friday letter told returning employees to “bring personal face coverings for their nose and mouth area when they come to work.” The memo directs employees to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which says such cloth coverings can be “fashioned from common household materials,” suggesting employees make them from “clean t-shirts or bandanas.”

Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Lewis, the oversight subcommittee chairman, criticized the agency for the requirement that workers bring their own protective equipment. 

said in a joint statement. "However, it is completely irresponsible and unethical for the IRS to demand those workers obtain their own protective equipment — this is the responsibility of the federal government to its workers."” data-reactid=”29″>”It is understandable that in carrying out its mission during a crisis, the agency would require some employees to report back to work during perilous times,” Lewis and Neal said in a joint statement. “However, it is completely irresponsible and unethical for the IRS to demand those workers obtain their own protective equipment — this is the responsibility of the federal government to its workers.”

The IRS did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on Sunday.

Politico there will be an "initial wave" of about 10,000 employees IRS employees ordered to return to work at 10 locations. These workers will be "opening taxpayer correspondence, handling tax documents, taking taxpayer telephone calls, and performing other functions related to the filing season," Reardon said, according to the report.” data-reactid=”31″>Tony Reardon, the head of the National Treasury Employees Union, told Politico there will be an “initial wave” of about 10,000 employees IRS employees ordered to return to work at 10 locations. These workers will be “opening taxpayer correspondence, handling tax documents, taking taxpayer telephone calls, and performing other functions related to the filing season,” Reardon said, according to the report.

Reardon told Politico that the agency was asking workers, who have been working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, to volunteer to come back to the office and was offering incentive pay to employees who volunteered to return to the office. The IRS would order people back to work if not enough volunteered, according to the report. 

IRS data. The agency is tasked with distributing the stimulus aid to Americans given by the CARES act, which was signed into law on March 27. It’s also in the midst of tax filing season, which was extended until July 15.” data-reactid=”33″>The agency has more than 73,000 employees, according to IRS data. The agency is tasked with distributing the stimulus aid to Americans given by the CARES act, which was signed into law on March 27. It’s also in the midst of tax filing season, which was extended until July 15.

Business Insider” data-reactid=”34″>Read the original article on Business Insider

CDC adds 6 new possible coronavirus symptoms

coronavirus. Previously, the CDC only noted fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms.” data-reactid=”13″>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms to its list of possible signs of the coronavirus. Previously, the CDC only noted fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms.

The agency has updated its list to include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Shortness of breath has also been changed to “shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.” The full list now is:

FeverCoughShortness of breath or difficulty breathingChillsRepeated shaking with chillsMuscle painHeadacheSore throatNew loss of taste or smell

A runny nose rarely occurs with COVID-19, and sneezing is still not a symptom of the virus.

CDC’s website. Any of the now nine symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the agency. ” data-reactid=”17″>”People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported — ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness,” reads the CDC’s website. Any of the now nine symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the agency. 

The CDC recommends that people seek medical attention immediately if they develop any of these emergency warning signs:

Trouble breathingPersistent pain or pressure in the chestNew confusion or inability to arouseBluish lips or face

three most common symptoms were fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Medical experts say body aches, sore throat and fatigue sometimes occur with coronavirus, but are more often associated with the flu. ” data-reactid=”20″>Dr. William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) told CBS News in March that the three most common symptoms were fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Medical experts say body aches, sore throat and fatigue sometimes occur with coronavirus, but are more often associated with the flu. 

WHO’s website. "These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms."” data-reactid=”21″>According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. “Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea,” reads the WHO’s website. “These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms.”

While about 80% of people recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment, the WHO warns that “around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.”

“Anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill,” according to WHO. “Even people with very mild symptoms of COVID-19 can transmit the virus. People of all ages who experience fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.”

"Sunday Morning" Matinee: "Dream For You," from "Sing Street"” data-reactid=”24″>“Sunday Morning” Matinee: “Dream For You,” from “Sing Street”

Cuomo says parts of upstate New York could open as soon as May 15” data-reactid=”25″>Cuomo says parts of upstate New York could open as soon as May 15

Americans look inward to navigate troubled times” data-reactid=”26″>Americans look inward to navigate troubled times

New York's low coronavirus transmission rate suggests the state's outbreak is contained for now

Some PR pros praised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings as a playbook for internal comms.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • A key measure of New York’s coronavirus outbreak suggests the virus’ spread is contained.
  • Each person with the coronavirus in New York is infecting fewer than one other person on average right now, but cases could spike again if social distancing measures are lifted too soon.
  • For the state to reopen, the hospitalization rate must be in decline for 14 days, Gov. Cuomo said on Sunday.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

New York has a way to tell when its coronavirus outbreak has run its course.

When a population has immunity or social distancing measures are in place, epidemiologists look to a figure called the “effective reproduction number” (R), which represents the average number of people whom a single coronavirus patient is expected to infect.

The effective reproduction at a specific point in time, called the R(t), shows how fast the virus is currently spreading within a population. It offers a real-time guide for states looking to ease social distancing or stay-at-home restrictions.

New York’s R(t) is now 0.8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing on Sunday. That means, right now, every person is infecting fewer than one other person on average. Taken on its own, this figure suggests that New York’s outbreak is temporarily contained.

But the rate could easily rise if social distancing measures are relaxed.

“Short term, the numbers are on the decline. Everything we have done is working,” Cuomo said. But he cautioned against “getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

If the rate of transmission rose above 1.2, he said, cases could spike again dramatically.

Dr. Elizabeth Halloran, a biostatistician at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, previously told Business Insider.” data-reactid=”30″>”If we just said, ‘OK, guys, we’re all tired of staying home — we’re going to open the schools and everybody can go and hang out in the cafés,’ I would expect we’d have another big rebound and it would not be pretty,” Dr. Elizabeth Halloran, a biostatistician at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, previously told Business Insider.

New York’s stay-at-home restrictions are scheduled to last until May 15. On Sunday, Cuomo outlined a plan for reopening the state:

  • Phase 1: Resume construction and manufacturing. Wait two weeks to see if cases spike.
  • Phase 2: Reopen low-risk businesses that have a plan to keep transmission low. Schools could reopen as well.
  • Prohibit attractions that would draw large crowds from outside the local area.

Cuomo said upstate regions are more likely to reopen sooner than downstate areas like New York City. The decision to reopen, he added, ultimately hinges on whether hospitalizations decline for two weeks.

“The federal guidance from the CDC is that before you start reopening, the state and regional hospitalization rate must be in decline for 14 days,” Cuomo said. “In this case, I think the CDC guidance is right.”

The fact that cases are declining is a testament to the actions of New Yorkers, he added.

“The great achievement in this period has been that when people get the facts and they trust the facts and they understand the facts, they do the right thing,” Cuomo said. “That is a lesson that I hope people remember after this is all over.”

Business Insider” data-reactid=”40″>Read the original article on Business Insider

'Game-changing' Oxford antibody test claims 'overblown'

Scientists are racing to manufacture an antibody test that can tell people whether they have had the virus and built up possible immunity – Ed Jones/AFP

Hopes for the discovery of a “game-changing” immunity test for Covid-19 were dealt a new blow on Sunday when the Government was forced to deny claims it had ordered up to 50 million home testing kits.

Scientists are racing to manufacture an antibody test that can tell people whether they have had the virus and built up a possible immunity. But so far none of the available tests on the market have passed a Government validation panel set up at Oxford University. 

50 million antibody tests had been ordered by ministers at a cost of as little as £10 each. ” data-reactid=”19″>In the latest blow, Department of Health sources dismissed a report on Sunday that 50 million antibody tests had been ordered by ministers at a cost of as little as £10 each. 

A source said: “The claims are overblown. It is premature to be talking about ordering large numbers of a test that hasn’t passed a regulator. 

“We are currently engaged with several companies and are urgently testing the quality, accuracy and effectiveness of potential tests with scientific experts and regulators with a view to being in the best place possible for future use of antibody testing.”

It was reported on Sunday that a new immunity test had been devised by Oxford scientists working for the Rapid Testing Consortium, which has Government backing to develop one. The consortium comprises Oxford University and four private diagnostics and healthcare companies, but Government sources said the test had yet to be approved by a regulator.

The consortium is not the only company racing to find an effective antibody test. The test works by analysing antibodies in blood obtained through a fingerprick kit that can be done at home. They would give positive or negative results for the Cvoid-19 antibody in about an hour or less.

But existing kits – already for sale in the UK by private companies – have been shown to be, at times, woefully inaccurate and work least well where symptoms for coronavirus have been mild.

making them less relaible than the toss of a coin.” data-reactid=”25″>Spain returned tens of thousands of kits bought from China after it turned out they were accurate only 30 per cent of the time, making them less relaible than the toss of a coin.

Boris Johnson, before going off sick with the virus, had heralded antibody tests as a “game-changer” provided they could be shown to work.

the Government had bought 3.5 million home kits, while sources briefed that a further 17.5 million had been ordered. But it emerged that the kits, bought from China, did not work and the Government is trying to claw back its money.” data-reactid=”27″>Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, went one step further, declaring that the Government had bought 3.5 million home kits, while sources briefed that a further 17.5 million had been ordered. But it emerged that the kits, bought from China, did not work and the Government is trying to claw back its money.

A successful antibody test would allow the Government to establish the scale of so-called “herd immunity” and enable a rapid easing of the lockdown for people who could know with certainty they had coronavirus and could not catch it again – although there are also doubts about how effective and long-lasting immunity is for those infected with Covid-19.

Immunity might only last six months to a year, but that could buy time for a vaccine to be found and the population to be immunised.

The antibody blood test is separate to the antigen test that requires a swab taken from the nose or throat and then examined in the lab which tells if someone currently has the virus.

Fact check: Hospitals get paid more if patients listed as COVID-19, on ventilators

: Hospitals get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19, and on ventilators

"The Ingraham Angle" host Laura Ingraham on April 8 on Fox News and claimed hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and get three times as much money if they need a ventilator.” data-reactid=”12″>Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Minn., a physician in Minnesota, was interviewed by “The Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham on April 8 on Fox News and claimed hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and get three times as much money if they need a ventilator.

published April 9 by The Spectator, a conservative publication. WorldNetDaily shared it April 10 and, according to Snopes, a related meme was shared on social media in mid-April.” data-reactid=”13″>The claim was published April 9 by The Spectator, a conservative publication. WorldNetDaily shared it April 10 and, according to Snopes, a related meme was shared on social media in mid-April.

Jensen took it to his own Facebook page April 15, saying, in part:” data-reactid=”14″>Jensen took it to his own Facebook page April 15, saying, in part:

“How can anyone not believe that increasing the number of COVID-19 deaths may create an avenue for states to receive a larger portion of federal dollars. Already some states are complaining that they are not getting enough of the CARES Act dollars because they are having significantly more proportional COVID-19 deaths.”

On April 19, he doubled down on his assertion via video on his Facebook page.

Jensen said, “Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it’s a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they’re Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.”

higher Medicare allocation allowed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Past practice, Jensen said, did not include probabilities.” data-reactid=”18″>Jensen clarified in the video that he doesn’t think physicians are “gaming the system” so much as other “players,” such as hospital administrators, who he said may pressure physicians to cite all diagnoses, including “probable” COVID-19, on discharge papers or death certificates to get the higher Medicare allocation allowed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Past practice, Jensen said, did not include probabilities.

He noted that some states, including his home state of Minnesota, as well as California, list only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses. Others, specifically New York, list all presumed cases, which is allowed under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of mid-April and which will result in a larger payout.

Jensen said he thinks the overall number of COVID-19 cases have been undercounted based on limitations in the number of tests available.

Provision in the relief act

coronavirus relief legislation created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients.” data-reactid=”25″>The coronavirus relief legislation created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients.

There have been no public reports that hospitals are exaggerating COVID-19 numbers to receive higher Medicare payments.

"plausible" COVID-19, not just laboratory-confirmed, cases can be greenlighted for Medicare payment and eligible for the 20% add-on allowed under the relief act.” data-reactid=”27″>Jensen didn’t explicitly make that claim. He simply suggested there is an “avenue” to do so now that “plausible” COVID-19, not just laboratory-confirmed, cases can be greenlighted for Medicare payment and eligible for the 20% add-on allowed under the relief act.

disbursed according to 2019 Medicare reimbursements.” data-reactid=”28″>The initial $30 billion – out of $100 billion – in the grants dedicated to health care providers to address the pandemic was disbursed according to 2019 Medicare reimbursements.

according to Kaiser Health News, giving rise to Jensen’s concern that hospitals could exploit the CDC’s guidelines allowing presumed cases.” data-reactid=”29″>The second wave will focus on providers in areas more heavily affected by the outbreak, according to Kaiser Health News, giving rise to Jensen’s concern that hospitals could exploit the CDC’s guidelines allowing presumed cases.

Jensen did not return an email request from USA TODAY for comment about his claim.

USA TODAY reached out to Marty Makary, a surgeon and professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about the claim. Makary said in an email April 21 that “what Scott Jensen said sounds right to me.”

Makary did not elaborate, answer additional questions or respond to a request for an interview.

USA TODAY reached out to the American Hospital Association and Federation of American Hospitals on April 22, but as of publication had not received a response.

How does Medicare pay? 

Snopes investigated the claim, finding it’s plausible Medicare pays in the range Jensen mentions but doesn’t have a "one-size-fits-all" payment to hospitals for COVID-19 patients.” data-reactid=”35″>Snopes investigated the claim, finding it’s plausible Medicare pays in the range Jensen mentions but doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all” payment to hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

As explained by nurse Elizabeth Davis in her piece for verywellhealth.com, each hospital has a base payment rate assigned by Medicare. It takes into account nationwide and regional trends, including labor costs and varying health care resources in each market.” data-reactid=”38″>As explained by nurse Elizabeth Davis in her piece for verywellhealth.com, each hospital has a base payment rate assigned by Medicare. It takes into account nationwide and regional trends, including labor costs and varying health care resources in each market.

Then, each diagnosis-related group, which classifies various diagnoses into groups and subgroups, is assigned a weight based on the average amount of resources it takes to care for a patient. Those figures are multiplied to determine the payment from Medicare. A hospital in one city and state may be paid more or less for treating a patient than a hospital in another.

wrote, "The dollar amounts Jensen cited are roughly what we found in an analysis published April 7 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading source of health information."” data-reactid=”40″>PolitiFact reporter Tom Kertscher wrote, “The dollar amounts Jensen cited are roughly what we found in an analysis published April 7 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading source of health information.”

Ask FactCheck weighed in April 21: "The figures cited by Jensen generally square with estimated Medicare payments for COVID-19 hospitalizations, based on average Medicare payments for patients with similar diagnoses."” data-reactid=”41″>Ask FactCheck weighed in April 21: “The figures cited by Jensen generally square with estimated Medicare payments for COVID-19 hospitalizations, based on average Medicare payments for patients with similar diagnoses.”

Ask FactCheck reporter Angelo Fichera, who interviewed Jensen, noted, “Jensen said he did not think that hospitals were intentionally misclassifying cases for financial reasons. But that’s how his comments have been widely interpreted and paraded on social media.”

Ask FactCheck’s conclusion: “Recent legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment, but there is no evidence of fraudulent reporting.”

Julie Aultman, a member of the editorial board of the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics, told PolitiFact it is “very unlikely that physicians or hospitals will falsify data or be motivated by money to do so.”

Health care workers screen patients who will be tested for COVID-19 at the FoundCare drive-thru testing station in Palm Springs, Fla., on March 19.

Our ruling: True

We rate the claim that hospitals get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19 and on ventilators as TRUE.

Hospitals and doctors do get paid more for Medicare patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or if it’s considered presumed they have COVID-19 absent a laboratory-confirmed test, and three times more if the patients are placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.

American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on the topic.” data-reactid=”59″>This higher allocation of funds has been made possible under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through a Medicare 20% add-on to its regular payment for COVID-19 patients, as verified by USA TODAY through the American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on the topic.

Our fact-check sources

You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.” data-reactid=”74″>Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Fact check: Medicare pays hospitals more money for COVID-19 patients” data-reactid=”75″>This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Medicare pays hospitals more money for COVID-19 patients

French coronavirus deaths reach 22,856 as government eyes how to ease lockdown

Lockdown imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS (Reuters) – The death toll in France from the coronavirus has risen by 242 to 22,856, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the government prepares to see how it might ease a national lockdown that has been in place since mid-March.

While the number of deaths from the virus has risen, the rate at which the casualties have mounted has steadily fallen over the last two weeks, emboldening those who want France to start to lift the lockdown measures.

The numbers of people leaving intensive care units (ICUs) has also outpaced the numbers of those entering those units.

The lockdown ordered by President Emmanuel Macron to slow the spread of the virus has been in place since March 17 and is due to be lifted on May 11.

Macron is aiming to ease some of the lockdown measures on May 11 by initially re-opening schools, although the government has yet to finalise how this might work in practice.

France has also offered retailers some relief by saying it wants them to reopen on May 11, although some curbs could remain in certain areas to delay any new wave of the virus.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is due to present the government’s plan to unwind the lockdown to parliament on April 28, and parliament will then vote on the measures.

Philippe wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday that the government plan would centre on six key areas – public health, schools, businesses, public transport and public gatherings.

The scientific council advising the government on the pandemic wrote over the weekend that school children aged 11-18 should wear masks to help thwart the virus.

Politicians are also debating whether or not to proceed with a software and mobile phone application aimed at being able to trace the coronavirus, with some expressing concerns over the potential for data abuse and privacy violations.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Louisiana pastor, while on house arrest, again defies coronavirus order with church service

defied state orders against large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic has been placed under house arrest.” data-reactid=”12″>A Louisiana pastor who defied state orders against large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic has been placed under house arrest.

Tony Spell, pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and placed under house arrest after he would not promise to maintain social distancing, his attorney confirmed Sunday. Spell has admitted violating Louisiana’s mandate to avoid large gatherings by hosting church services.

livestream posted on Facebook. The pastor showed off his ankle monitor while standing in front of his congregation, claiming, "I’m not hiding anymore."” data-reactid=”14″>Spell showed up to the church’s Sunday service to cheers, according to a livestream posted on Facebook. The pastor showed off his ankle monitor while standing in front of his congregation, claiming, “I’m not hiding anymore.”

“It’s a dirty, rotten, crying shame when you have to hide in America,” he said.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak” data-reactid=”16″>Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Joseph Long, Spell’s attorney, told NBC News in a statement that Spell lived 50 yards from his church, which still planned to host services Sunday. Long characterized the judge’s order as forcing Spell to stop “preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his congregation.”

“The judge has found him in contempt of Court for refusing to promise,” Long said. “Obviously, we believe this is an illegal order in violation of the Constitution, and will litigate the issue.”

Image: Life Tabernacle Church members (Gerald Herbert / AP)

In late March, Spell was issued a summons for violating the governor’s executive order against gatherings of more than 50 people. He hosted a church service of about 500 worshippers.

Spell was accused of violating the order again. He told CNN that he hosted around 1,220 churchgoers for a Palm Sunday service at his church.” data-reactid=”31″>The following week, Spell was accused of violating the order again. He told CNN that he hosted around 1,220 churchgoers for a Palm Sunday service at his church.

having backed up his church bus dangerously close to a protester outside the church. He was met outside East Baton Rouge Parish Prison by cheering supporters after he posted bail. The pastor insisted that he would not give up his rights to worship.” data-reactid=”34″>Spell was then arrested Tuesday and charged with assault, accused of having backed up his church bus dangerously close to a protester outside the church. He was met outside East Baton Rouge Parish Prison by cheering supporters after he posted bail. The pastor insisted that he would not give up his rights to worship.

“My right to have church and to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ are endowed by my creator — not my district attorney, not my chief of police and not my governor, John Bel Edwards,” Spell said.

NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak” data-reactid=”36″>Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak

harder-hit states in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 26,000 confirmed cases and at least 1,703 deaths as of Sunday.” data-reactid=”37″>Louisiana has been one of the harder-hit states in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 26,000 confirmed cases and at least 1,703 deaths as of Sunday.