Commentary: The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Lockdowns

The costs of the government responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. New evidence suggests they could be even worse than we imagined.

An ABC affiliate in California reports that doctors at John Muir Medical Center tell them they have seen more deaths by suicide than COVID-19 during the quarantine.

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Reports: Largest Concentrations of ‘at-Risk’ Coronavirus Patients Are in States with Best Health Infrastructures

Many individuals considered to be the most at-risk for coronavirus live in states that had the best health infrastructures in place before state restrictions began in March, according to two recent analyses.

Residents of West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia were found to be the most vulnerable, according to personal-finance website WalletHub’s analysis of States with the Most Vulnerable Populations to Coronavirus.

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Senators Graham, Cornyn, Murkowski and Lankford Among Republicans Set to Block Trump’s Guest Worker Immigration Pause

Several Republican senators asked President Donald Trump to preserve key guest worker programs for foreign nationals, revealing a split in the conservative base on how to best protect U.S. workers and the economy.

Nine GOP senators signed onto a letter delivered to the president on Wednesday, asking that he keep in place non-immigrant temporary visa programs as a means to aid the recovery of the U.S. economy. Their request came in sharp contrast to immigration hardliners who have recently pressed Trump to scrap the programs amid record job losses.

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‘I Dial And Dial And Dial’: California’s Million-Dollar Aid Program for Illegal Aliens Clogged by Thousands of Calls

California’s multi-million dollar aid program for illegal aliens has been bogged down by technical issues, with many applicants inundating phone lines every day to no avail, according to NPR.

The implementation of California’s Disaster Relief Fund, a $125 million initiative backed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom that provides one-time cash payments to undocumented immigrants, remains rocky as there are simply too many callers for workers to handle. Reports of jammed phone lines and unanswered calls have plagued the program’s rollout.

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Commentary: Are States That Refuse to Reopen Losing the Consent of the Governed?

What happens to a government when the consent of the governed breaks down?  History has many instances of this some ending with peaceful transformation, others with successful revolution as in our own history and still others with military crackdowns as we currently see in Hong Kong.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, which was written as a series of reasons why the American colonists no longer accepted the rule of King George III.  The opening two paragraphs of this seminal document used to be memorized by school children as part of their school exercises, a practice which was largely abandoned in the 1960s. So as a refresher, here is what Jefferson penned:

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Oil and Gas Industry Reports Record-Breaking Job Losses in April

The oil and gas industry lost 26,300 jobs in April, the largest drop of industry jobs in a single month, according to job data dating to 1990.

Texas saw a record surge of more than 2 million claims for unemployment in roughly a six-week period after Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order in March shut down businesses he deemed nonessential to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and to tanking oil prices resulting from an oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The economic fallout also sent commodity prices to historic lows.

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Commentary: Can the Economy Withstand a Second Round of COVID-19?

Some 100 million people in China are now back in lockdown as fears of a second wave surge. Now that the US and the rest of the world is opening up, the probability of infection will most likely go up, as will the number of infections. What does that mean for the economy?

First, uncertainty and fear of another lockdown will negatively influence business decisions and overall economic recovery. Even if your business survived the first wave, would you be willing to go all in, invest, rehire people, renew leases, etc., if you think you will be shut down in the autumn?

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Commentary: Life Is Risky

Perhaps the most unserious response to the coronavirus pandemic has been the facile assertion that lockdowns, the destruction of the economy, and the suppression of our historic freedoms are all justified if they “save just one life.” As Joe Biden put it on Twitter, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: No one is expendable. No life is worth losing to add one more point to the Dow.”

While every person is unique and has an immortal soul, we do not do anything and everything to save lives from all hazards, nor should we. Adults know that there are no easy solutions to most problems, and real life consists of tradeoffs.  

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Health Care Group: It Would Cost $440 Million to Provide 3 Million Tests for All Nursing Home Residents and Workers

Testing every nursing home resident and care facility worker in the U.S. for COVID-19 would cost $440 million in federal and state funding, a health care group found. 

Doing so would require almost 3 million tests, according to the American Health Care Association’s National Center for Assisted Living, an industry group representing nursing homes and assisted living centers that calculated how much it would cost for states to receive adequate funding so all resident and care facility workers could be tested.

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Students Sue Harvard Citing ‘Subpar Online Learning Options’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

On Wednesday, students sued Harvard University for not refunding tuition and fees after the coronavirus pandemic forced classes online.

This makes Harvard at least the fourth Ivy League school to be targeted for failing to reimburse educational costs, following Brown, Columbia, and Cornell. The school is facing a $5 million federal class-action lawsuit.  Students chose to pursue legal action as a result of not having “received the benefit of in-person instruction or equivalent access to university facilities and services.” 

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National Security Adviser ‘Wouldn’t Be Surprised’ if China Steals US Coronavirus Vaccine

by Jason Hopkins   White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on Sunday suggested that the Chinese Community Party would very likely try to steal American developments on a coronavirus vaccine. During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien predicted that the United States would be the first country…

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Ohio Dems ‘Outraged’ by Gov. DeWine’s Plan to Address COVID-19 Racial Disparities: ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Ohio Democrats said they were “outraged” by Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposal for addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black population.

African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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Commentary: The CDC’s Guidelines for Back-to-School Under COVID Sound Traumatizing

When schools reopen in the US amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they will be even more restrictive than they already were. Schools have long controlled students’ movements and imposed constraints on where they can go, when, and with whom. With virus concerns, those controls will increase in quantity and intensity.

NPR recently proclaimed that “disruption from the pandemic constitutes an ‘adverse childhood experience’ for every American child.” While many children are sad to be away from their friends and activities, being home with their family members for a prolonged period of time is hardly an “adverse childhood experience” for most American children. Returning to schools with extreme virus control and social distancing measures, however, could very well be traumatic for many kids.

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Watchdog Repeatedly Warned About Nursing Home Infections Before Pandemic Struck

Infection prevention and control deficiencies were widespread across most of the country’s nursing homes before the coronavirus outbreak, a watchdog group reported Thursday.

More than 82% of the United States’ 15,500 nursing homes were cited for infection prevention and control deficiencies between 2013 and 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a blog post Thursday.

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COVID-19 Unemployment Claims Approach 39 Million Since Mid-March

Even as much of the country eases restrictions and slowly begins to reopen state economies, new jobless claims continued their COVID-19 spike last week, increasing the total number of those filing for unemployment benefits to nearly 39 million since mid-March.

According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, an additional 2.44 million workers filed for benefits in the week ending May 16. That’s down 249,000 from the revised number of claims filed in the week ending May 9.

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US Birth Rates Continue to Fall as Millennials Put off Having Kids

Birth rates in the United States continue to fall as millennials put off having kids, and experts warn that coronavirus could make people less likely to have children.

Federal figures released Wednesday show that women in the U.S. had babies record-low rates in 2019, causing the number of U.S. births to reach the smallest number in 35 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. The data demonstrates that birth rates in the U.S. have not rebounded since the 2007-2009 recession when childbearing began declining.

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Commentary: Resolving the Argument Between Lockdown and Liberty

As the debate between those who want an unlimited lockdown and those who want to reopen America as quickly as possible becomes more clangorous every day, months of intensive study and sad experience with the coronavirus enable us to determine the best course and resolve the argument.

The shutdown must end in all but severely afflicted areas. Its original purpose was to “flatten the curve.” In the early stages, the number of coronavirus reported cases and deaths in the United States was doubling every few days. Horrifying projections based on the scanty evidence available and hyped by the anti-Trump media to put as much pressure and blame on the president as possible for his initially somewhat casual treatment of the subject, stirred fears of millions of deaths and of a universal vulnerability to an almost untreatable fatal illness.

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‘Null and Void:’ Judge Overturns Oregon Gov. Brown’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

A judge granted a preliminary injunction Monday freezing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus executive orders restricting church services and business.

Brown exceeded her authority when she restricted activities for longer than the 28 days the governor is authorized under a state law, Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matt Shirtcliff said. The judge’s ruling effectively blocks enforcement of the 10 orders Brown gave since early March when she first imposed stay-at-home orders on citizens.

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Ohio Lifts Stay-at-Home Order, Issues Urgent Health Advisory Instead

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on Tuesday, changing it instead to an “urgent health advisory.”

Saying that Ohio had been successful in flattening the curve and that the rates of infection are down, DeWine cut short the stay-at-home order, instead shifting it to “strong recommendations.”

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Commentary: Trump Soars in Approval as America Begins Reopening, Challenging China

President Donald Trump continues to see his highest approval ratings of his first term in office, hitting 49 percent in the most recent Gallup survey (48 percent disapprove) and 51 percent in the Hill/HarrisX poll (49 percent disapprove) as the Trump administration continues its response to the China-originated COVID-19 pandemic and states begin reopening.

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‘Pelosi Basically Lost Me:’ White House Says Checks for Illegal Aliens a No-Go for Stimulus Negotiations

White House adviser Peter Navarro swatted down the possibility that the coronavirus stimulus package passed by House Democrats would be acceptable by the Trump administration.

Navarro said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “lost” him with her party’s stimulus bill during a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. The legislation includes cash assistance for eligible illegal aliens, protections for sanctuary cities and other progressive provisions.

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Illegal Aliens Can Begin Applying for Cash Assistance in California

by Jason Hopkins   Illegal aliens can apply for direct cash assistance from the California state government as of Monday, marking the implementation of the first relief program of its kind. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced in April the launch of The Disaster Relief Fund, a $125 million coronavirus relief program…

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Analysis: Minnesota Has Highest Percent of COVID-19 Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities in the Nation

About 81.7 percent of Minnesota’s COVID-19 deaths were in nursing homes and residential care communities, the highest percentage state in the nation that reports such data.

That’s according to data from The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), a Texas-based nonprofit think tank.

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Gov. DeWine Prepared to Pull Plug on Ohio’s Reopening as His Strict Guidelines Lead to Penalties for Restaurants

Gov. Mike DeWine said he is prepared to “pull back” on Ohio’s reopening.

The governor made the remark Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

”Candidly, we’ve worked with the attorney general … and we’re going to do what we have to do if these things in fact occur across Ohio.”

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Commentary: Sweden’s COVID-19 Strategy Is Quietly Becoming the World’s Strategy

Sweden’s unique approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has been drawing a great deal of scrutiny for weeks, including both admiration and criticism.

The Swedes, unlike most other nations, have eschewed the hardline approach that has led to mass economic shutdowns and skyrocketing unemployment. Restaurants, bars, public pools, libraries and most schools remain open. While the nation’s “laissez-faire” approach has drawn rebuke from some quarters, it is also beginning to draw praise.

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New York Admits Knowingly Undercounting Nursing Home Deaths After Quietly Changing Reporting Rules

New York has omitted an unknown number of coronavirus deaths in recent reports regarding residents of nursing home and adult care facilities, the New York State Department of Health acknowledged in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

In early May, those reports quietly began omitting long-term care residents who died of coronavirus in hospitals. Even so, New York still leads the nation with 5,433 reported deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as of Wednesday.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Evers’ Safer-at-Home Restrictions

A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ extended safer at home order Wednesday, siding with Republicans who claimed the governor overstepped his authority when his administration extended restrictions on individuals and businesses through May 26.

In the 4-3 decision, all but one of the court’s conservative members ruled that the Evers’ administration does not have the legal power to continuously extend restrictions in the name of trying to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Ohio Antibody Testing Traces History of Coronavirus to January

Dr. Amy Acton claims the Ohio Health Department found five cases in five counties where COVID-19 symptoms were experienced in January.

Acton mentioned serological antibody testing and hinted that contact tracers were involved in investigating the patients’ cases during a press conference Monday, WLWT reported.

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Judge Orders Paul Manafort Released from Prison to Home Confinement

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be released from prison to home confinement amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Manafort, 71, is serving a seven-year prison sentence on fraud and money-laundering charges. He was convicted in August 2018, sentenced to jail in March 2019 and scheduled to be released on Nov. 4, 2024.

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Data Show Michigan Residents Are Defying Gov. Whitmer’s Stay-at-Home Orders

Michigan residents went out more last week, according to cell phone data reported by The New York Times, even as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to push her stay-at-home executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately one million more people began to move around the state between May 1 and MAy 8, to move around the state again, The NYT reported.

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Democrats’ $3 Trillion ‘Relief’ Package Declared Dead-on-Arrival, Republicans Say

A new Democratic bill proposed by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), without input from Republicans or the Trump administration is “dead on arrival,” top Republican leaders say.

The White House has said it wants to wait and see how the $3 trillion Congress already allocated will impact the economy and help Americans suffering from the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus.

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Buckeye Institute Supports Businesses Being Immune to COVID-19 Lawsuits

The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony Wednesday to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee on the policies of Senate Bill 308, which would provide businesses and workers with immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

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Speaker Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill Includes Billions for Eligible Illegal Aliens

Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced her party’s coronavirus relief package, which includes billions of dollars in carve outs for illegal aliens, grants to sanctuary cities, and other protections for the undocumented community.

House Democrats released the HEROES Act on Tuesday, a bill that provides a total of $3 trillion in stimulus funds to state and local governments, along with other industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation — which was not negotiated with the GOP or the Trump administration — includes $500 billion for state governments and $375 billion for local governments.

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Commentary: The Unbearable Truths About Our Current Political Moment

Sometimes the truth is like mythical kryptonite. It radiates power and yet promises great destruction. And so reality is to be left alone, encased in lead, and kept at bay.

Take the Chinese genesis of the COVID-19 epidemic. We started in February with the usual Chinese deceptions about their role in the birth, transmission, and worldwide spread of the virus.

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Eighteen Attorneys General Call for Congressional Probe into China’s Efforts to Mislead the World About Coronavirus

Eighteen Republican attorneys general called for a congressional probe on Friday into China’s deliberate concealment of the severity of the coronavirus outbreak at its onset.

“Recent reports suggest that the communist Chinese government willfully and knowingly concealed information about the severity of the virus while simultaneously stockpiling personal protective equipment,” stated the letter from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, which 17 other state attorneys general cosigned.

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Cuomo Reverses, Says Nursing Homes Can Refuse COVID-Positive Patients

Gov. Andrew Cuomo partially reversed a March executive order Sunday that prevented nursing homes from denying admission of patients who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Patients must now test negative for the virus before hospitals can admit them to assisted living facilities, Cuomo said during an Albany press briefing Sunday.

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Pennsylvania Counties Go Rogue, Ignore State Shutdown Orders

Officials from several counties across central Pennsylvania said over the weekend they likely will lift pandemic restrictions against Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders.

The news follows the governor’s decision Friday to transition 13 counties in the southwestern region of the state – including the Pittsburgh metro area – to the yellow phase of his economic reopening plan after showing signs of slowing community spread and ramped up testing and contact tracing abilities.

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Cherry Health, CBS News Slammed for Adding Staffers to Coronavirus Testing Line

A Michigan health system and CBS News have come under fire after Project Veritas revealed that a line for a COVID-19 testing site was staged for television cameras.

Cherry Health and CBS News denied directing staffers to form a line to appear as patients for a coronavirus testing site before later reversing their statement and saying that the staffers were in line to “provide a visual backdrop.”

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Ohio Lawmaker: DeWine’s Budget Cut ‘an Alarming Divestment from our Public School System’

 A state senator from Toledo is blasting Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to cut funding to public schools as part of a move to reduce spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Governor DeWine’s decision to slash more than $300 million from Ohio’s K-12 funding is an alarming divestment from our public school system during a time when schools need more support than ever,” state Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, said in a statement. “Nearly half of the $775 million total in cuts to General Revenue spending will be stripped from Ohio’s public schools, which continue to serve more than 90% of children in our state.

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Georgia’s Restaurants, Barber Shops Are Coming Back to Life as Lockdowns Ease, Data Show

Georgia’s restaurants and barber shops are seeing a slow but steady increase in traffic after Gov. Brian Kemp began easing up the economic lockdowns he imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic, location data show.

Visits to the state’s barber shops and tattoo parlors increased to 80% of pre-coronavirus levels after Georgia began rolling back own stay-at-home orders on April 24, according to data released by Foursquare, a location technology platform. Data also show restaurants are on the rebound.

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90 Percent of Ohio’s Economy Expected to Reopen This Week

An estimated 90 percent of Ohio’s economy will be reopened by the end of the week under Gov. Mike DeWine’s “Responsible Restart Ohio Plan.”

Since May 1, the healthcare industry has been able to perform all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay, such as routine check-ups, outpatient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests.

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Commentary: Will COVID-19 Kill Environmental Leftism?

The coronavirus has had, at least, the unanticipated benefit of obscuring and diminishing the very tedious public clamoring about climate change. It is a slightly redeeming virtue of crises that they tend to supersede and diminish previous crises; if a crisis is serious, public opinion can rarely worry about more than one menace at a time.

When Iran took over the role of principal promoter of terrorism in the Middle East, and Turkey, rebuffed by Europe, began imposing itself on the fringes of the Arab world, support for the Palestinian onslaught against Israel effectively collapsed. All the nonsense about Israel as an “apartheid state” has almost stopped, and the simpering of naïve or devious advocates of one big happy, multiracial Palestine (a formula for the subjugation or expulsion or even massacre of the Jews one more time) is rarely heard.

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Commentary: American Prayer in the Midst of Crises

Several weeks ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a press conference on – what else? – the coronavirus.

The press conference was, like many these days, a discussion of numbers and the problems of reopening the economy, but one statement was a bit startling. Discussing the hopeful sign of plateauing numbers, Cuomo expressed caution rather than enthusiasm. Then he made the following blunt announcement:

“The number is down, because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that. And that’s why we lost five pounds, because we went out every day and we exercise and we burned more calories than we ate. That’s how it works. It’s math.”

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Mexican National Illegally Crossed Border for Coronavirus Medical Care

A man crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally to seek treatment for COVID-19 symptoms, the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Thursday.

“This week, [U.S. Border Patrol] agents encountered a Mexican national who after being apprehended, was showing symptoms of COVID-19,” CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted. “During his medical assessment he admitted to being exposed to COVID-19 and his deliberate intentions to illegally enter the US for medical care.”

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San Francisco Gives Drugs, Alcohol to Homeless Addicts in Coronavirus Hotels

San Francisco is giving free drugs and alcohol to some homeless addict isolating inside city-rented hotels during the coronavirus pandemic, the city’s department of public health confirmed Wednesday.

Fox News reports, San Francisco’s controversial  practice was recently brought up last Friday when a man who describes himself on Twitter as “Formerly homeless addict in #recovery advocating for the #truth about homelessness and drug addiction. Faith, Hope and Love. SF Native. Tweets are my own.” tweeted to the city.

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