The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering tapping social media platform TikTok to encourage more young Americans to practice public health precautions as coronavirus cases surge among younger people, officials said Thursday.
Data indicates that the new infections seen across the country “are targeting younger individuals,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said on a conference call with reporters. Redfield said that while young people face a lower risk of severe disease and death due to Covid-19, a high rate of infection among young Americans increases the chances that they go on to infect older, at-risk people.
Young people might not be taking the pandemic as seriously as older Americans, CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, said on the call.
“We may need to get out the message that young people are not somehow naturally immune to this virus, although they may be at lower risk of severe infection,” he said. “The tools that can be used include social media. We’re exploring TikTok.”
Operated by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, TikTok, is a social media platform focused on short-form video. The app uses an algorithm to determine what kind of videos a user likes and delivers them on a scrollable page. Organizations can also pay to place short-video advertisements on users’ pages. The app has exploded in popularity, especially among young people, in recent years.
As I reported on June 23, Apple has fixed a serious problem in iOS 14, due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard. As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way.
Worryingly, one of the apps caught snooping by security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk was China’s TikTok. Given other security concerns raised about the app, as well as broader worries given its Chinese origins, this became a headline issue. At the time, TikTok owner Bytedance told me the problem related to the use of an outdated Google advertising SDK that was being replaced.
Well, maybe not. With the release of the new clipboard warning in the beta version of iOS 14, now with developers, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in a quite extraordinary way. So it seems that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice back in April as promised after all.
A pair of GOP governors on Friday moved to impose new mitigation measures in their states amid record numbers of new coronavirus infections, with both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering bars closed and Texas placing new restrictions on other businesses the governor said were linked to the virus's resurgence.
Texas and Florida are among around a dozen other states that have hit the brakes on reopening their economies amid a resurgence of the virus across the South and West affecting more than half of the states in the country.
That both governors — who are close allies of President Donald Trump and were criticized for resisting calls to lock down their states in the pandemic's early days — have not only pressed pause on reopening but reimposed some restrictions, speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country.
Video of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bragging about tackling coronavirus resurfaces
A video of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bragging about Florida’s success tackling the coronavirus pandemic has embarrassingly resurfaced as the state now battles a surge in new cases and continues to break single-day records — clocking a whopping 8,942 new infections Friday.
The undated clip was shot “last month” according to Ahmed Baba, the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of Rantt Media, who posted the video to Twitter.
“Our data is available, our data is transparent, in fact, Dr. Birx has talked multiple times about how Florida has the absolute best data so any insinuation otherwise is just typical partisan narrative trying to be spun,” DeSantis ranted in the video.
“Part of the reason is that because you got a lot of people in your profession who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York, wait two weeks and Florida’s going to be next just like Italy, wait two weeks. Well hell, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened,” DeSantis goes on, using a smug voice when recalling the naysayers before triumphantly proclaiming Florida has been spared of the virus’s vicious impact.
DeSantis then goes on to brag about the state’s low death rate compared to the Midwest, the Northeast and across the South, pointing to states like Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia — many of which are now facing a similar resurgence.
As Florida reports nearly 9,000 new cases, a single day record for the state, this video from last month of DeSantis bragging about how everyone was wrong about how Florida would be hit hard by coronavirus won’t age well. pic.twitter.com/vsXJ7m5a53
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) June 26, 2020
“Florida has the lower death rate, and I was the number one landing spot from tens of thousands of people leaving the number one hot zone in the world to come to my state so we succeeded,” DeSantis says in the video, referring to a mass exodus of New Yorkers to the Sunshine State at the height of the pandemic.
“I think that people just don’t want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative, it challenges their assumption so they gotta try to find a boogie man. Maybe it’s that there are black helicopters circling the department of health, if you believe that, I got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you,” DeSantis seethed.
Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s faltering response to soaring new coronavirus numbers in his state is descending into acrimony, after an accusation his administration is “cooking the books” in an effort to hide the true impact of the devastating pandemic.
The claim from the state’s former leading Covid-19 data scientist comes as Florida smashed its own one-day record for new cases of the disease on Friday with 8,942, after two successive days above 5,000 – by far the highest figures since the pandemic began.
The situation in Florida is part of a widespread surge of infections across broad swathes of the US, especially in states – often run by Republicans – which have rushed to reopen their economies.
So far this month, Florida has seen confirmed cases more than double from 56,000 to above 114,000, and set daily records on seven of the last 13 days. Meanwhile, the number of deaths among Florida residents has climbed to almost 3,400.
Rebekah Jones, who says she was fired from her job in charge of the state’s official Covid-19 database in May for refusing to manipulate its figures, claimed on social media to have evidence that employees at Florida’s department of health “have been instructed this week to change the numbers and begin slowly deleting deaths and cases so it looks like Florida is improving next week in the lead-up to July 4, like they’ve ‘made it over the hump’.”
“They’re only reporting all these cases now so they can restrict reporting next week to make everyone think it’s over,” she said.