Pfizer And Omicron Photo Illustrations Medicine pills are seen with Pfizer logo and 'omicron' sign displayed in the background in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on December 14, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NurPhoto / Contributor
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Contributor via Getty Images

News

New COVID Treatments Show Promise

It’s Friday, December 17th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) New COVID Treatments Show Promise

The Topline: New oral medications for treating COVID-19 have shown strong results in clinical trials, yet despite surging cases, these lifesaving treatments still aren’t being prescribed here in the US. 

Quote Of The Day: “People are hungry for honesty right now, and we can be honest with the data that these therapeutics are incredibly effective.”

– Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Contributor/LightRocket via Getty Images

COVID 

Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University told Morning Wire he considers the omicron variant  to be like a common cold. Americans will likely see a high level of contagiousness, but a low level of severity. 

A promising new COVID treatment from Pfizer called Paxlovid isn’t yet available. Studies also revealed evidence showing how the antidepressant drug fluvoxamine could also be effective in treating COVID. 

Ethan Swope/Stringer/Getty Images

2) District Attorneys Face Recalls Over Crime Policies

The Topline: As San Francisco and Los Angeles face a surge in violent crime, many are blaming “soft on crime” policies, resulting in recall efforts against multiple District Attorneys.

Quote Of The Day:He is destroying the beautiful county of Los Angeles and he is actually a menace to public safety when he should be the person who is the strongest advocate for public safety.”

– Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp 

California Crime

Los Angeles has seen 331 homicides this year, a 16% increase over the total number of murders in the city this time last year. San Francisco’s murder rate has also increased by 7% year over year.

In recent years, Left-wing progressive District Attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles have implemented policies such as no cash bail, which allows criminals to immediately be released back on the street. They’ve also put policies in place making it harder to prosecute crimes like theft. 

Political Point: Some politicians are still reluctant to acknowledge the increase in crime. Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascon recently noted how most crimes, except for homicides, have decreased in the county, and said his policies “absolutely” did not lead to the spike in smash-and-grab incidents. 

Recalls

The District Attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles are both facing recalls. At least 50 attorneys have resigned or been fired from D.A. Chesa Boudin’s office in San Francisco, some of whom have joined the recall effort to remove him from office. In Los Angeles County, dozens of cities have issued votes of “no confidence” in D.A. George Gascon. Neither politician has yet been removed.

The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed (D), has now distanced herself from the “defund the police” movement, which she fully supported a year ago. 

Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images

3) Senate Passes Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

The Topline: On Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which will ban imported goods from China unless it can be proven they were not made using forced labor. 

Quote Of The Day: “The proof is now on the businesses. The burden is on them to show that they’re not operating using these work camps. And if you can’t prove it, then your product doesn’t enter the United States, it’s that simple.”

– Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Background

The Chinese government has placed up to 1.5 million people in concentration camps where they’re often sterilized, tortured, and used as slave labor in factories and on farms. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act will require all businesses importing goods from the Northwestern part of China, where most of the prison camps are, to prove that slave labor was not used during production. 

Companies Push Back

Nike has reportedly been lobbying against the bill for months, trying to push for looser restrictions. They argue that their supply chain is so large, and they employ so many workers that it’s impossible to prove there’s no slave labor involved. 

Coca-Cola, which sources sugar from the region, has also reportedly pushed back against the bill behind the scenes. Though Apple has spoken out against slave labor in China, they were also reportedly fighting the bill.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced they’d be blacklisting 34 Chinese companies who had helped develop technology for tracking religious minorities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Big Picture: The law could impact the price of tech products, sneakers, clothes, and soda, as companies will likely respond by moving production plants or paying to monitor their supply chains more closely. 

Owen Franken via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Kidnapped Missionaries

All remaining members of the American Christian missionary group who were kidnapped in Haiti in October have been safely released. The group included at least 5 children and one infant. The gang which abducted the group was initially demanding $1 million per person. 

Crime

In San Francisco and Oakland, California, some citizens are beginning to leave their vehicle trunks open so thieves won’t break the windows. People have also put signs on their cars asking, “Please use the door,” or “Please Do Not Break Glass!! Nothing Inside!!”

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