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Fake coronavirus flyer filled with ‘conspiracy theory stuff of mammoth proportions’

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Fake coronavirus flyer filled with 'conspiracy theory stuff of mammoth proportions'

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People living near the Canberra Hospital have received a flyer filled with fake coronavirus warning messages and conspiracy theories.

The flyer, delivered to the letterboxes of Garran residents yesterday, looks like it contains an important COVID-19 health warning, but instead alleges that coronavirus is being spread by the government through the water supply, and that a possible vaccination against the virus could include a tracking device.

The flyer also warns residents against getting tested for COVID-19, and that the testing centre newly located on Garran Oval near the Canberra Hospital will “spread COVID-19 and enable total government control over all aspects of life under UN Agenda 21”.

The flyer outlines incorrect “facts about COVID-19 testing centres”, including that 30 per cent of people who attended a testing centre were given COVID-19 in the testing process.

A temporary structure built in the middle of a oval
Garran Oval was transformed into a temporary COVID-19 emergency department, and then a testing clinic which fake flyers have told residents to avoid.(Supplied: Canberra Health Service)

Some locals like Ivan were alarmed to received the flyer in their letterboxes.

He told the ABC that he was concerned about his elderly neighbours.

“There’s a lot of old people in the area and I don’t know what they might think,” he said.

“I’m actually going to refer it to police.”

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Another resident, Brian, was concerned that people, already fatigued by coronavirus information, might think the flyer was legitimate.

“It’s somebody’s idea of a sick joke,” he told ABC Radio Canberra.

“But if English is not your first language or you’ve been barraged by all this information, I would hate for anyone to take it seriously.”

The ACT Government was quick to condemn the flyer as “as far-fetched lies”, and said a number of people had been in contact with ACT Policing about it.

“It really is conspiracy theory stuff of mammoth proportions,” ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“It’s very irresponsible to produce this kind of material.”

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Ms Stephen-Smith said it was unclear who distributed the flyer, but confirmed the matter would be dealt with by ACT Policing rather than the Government.

She also implored recipients to disregard the potentially dangerous messages in the flyer.

“It is dangerous misinformation,” she said.

“What we really need to do is get the message out that this is really full of far-fetched lies, it is absolutely conspiracy theory stuff, and doesn’t bear any resemblance to the truth.

“The COVID-19 testing centres are really safe facilities, we’ve been at pains to communicate [that] with local communities and particularly with Garran residents, when we decided to open the testing facility.

“I think the Garran community won’t be taken in by this, but it does add potentially to the level of anxiety. This is already a time of great uncertainty for people.”

Reliable coronavirus information can be found on the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website, and anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms should get tested.

There are five active cases of coronavirus in the ACT currently, and almost 40,000 Canberrans have tested negative to COVID-19 so far.

Man charged for failing to comply with COVID-19 directions

A 41-year-old man from Parkes has become the first person in the ACT to be charged for failing to comply with COVID-19 health directions.

ACT Policing said the man travelled to Canberra from Victoria on Wednesday without an exemption from the ACT Chief Health Officer.

He has been arrested and charged with failing to comply with a Public Health Direction under the Public Health Act 1997, the first-ever offence recorded under the Act.

Detective Superintendent Jason Kennedy said the man was cooperative when taken into custody by the ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce about 11:30am on Thursday.

“We take the safety of the Canberra community seriously, especially those who may be at higher risk of health complications,” Detective Superintendent Kennedy said.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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