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Bill Gates says he struggles to trust the CDC and FDA because officials with ‘crackpot theories’ have sidelined top-notch experts

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Bill Gates says he struggles to trust the CDC and FDA because officials with 'crackpot theories' have sidelined top-notch experts
Bill Gates is seen in October 2019.

  • Bill Gates is not sugarcoating how he feels about the US coronavirus response: It is bad. 

  • He told STAT’s Helen Branswell that the US response to the virus has “been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” and said: “it’s unbelievable — the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.”

  • “You have people at the White House who aren’t epidemiologists, you know, saying what a great job they’ve done,” Gates also told Bloomberg. “So it’s no longer a set of experts.”

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is unafraid to tell you how he really feels about the US coronavirus response. And it’s not good. 

“It’s shocking,” he told STAT. “It’s unbelievable — the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.”

It’s a sentiment Gates has been been uttering for months now, but in the wake of two major federal missteps, Gates is irate.

First, in late August, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration overstated recent findings on the success of convalescent plasma to treat coronavirus patients, to the dismay of many other top government scientists.

Then, in September, Politico unearthed that the Trump administration has been watering down the science coming out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to better match it to the president’s cheery pandemic messaging.

‘This is third grade math’

“This is third grade math. I mean, are you kidding?” Gates told STAT’s Helen Branswell of the convalescent plasma snafu. “The head of the FDA got up and said it was a 35% death reduction where it’s not even a 3% reduction, based on just a tiny little subset that was nonstatistical. This is unheard of.”

When asked by Bloomberg “do you still trust the FDA?” Gates seemed unsure. 

“I think in the FDA, there’s a lot of professionals,” Gates told Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker. “Historically, just like the CDC was viewed as the best in the world, the FDA had that same reputation as a top-notch regulator. But, you know, there’s been some cracks with some of the things they’ve said at the commissioner level. Hopefully, the staff isn’t pulled in that direction.”

As for the CDC, Gates said it’s near-impossible to take the public health agency’s advice seriously anymore, as the scientists working there have largely been silenced in favor of watered-down advice that better mirrors the Trump administration’s rosy and shrugging “it is what it is” outlook on the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed more than 193,000 people across the US.

The CDC’s guidance and expertise on everything from addressing possible COVID-19 risks, to recommending mask-wearing, and creating cautious and detailed plans for office, restaurant and school reopenings, has either been pooh-poohed, altered, shuffled around, or shelved entirely by Trump administration insiders. 

“The CDC is largely being written out of the picture,” Gates told Bloomberg. “Because you have people at the White House who aren’t epidemiologists, you know, saying what a great job they’ve done. And so it’s no longer a set of experts.”

Hiring people who believe in ‘crackpot theories’

Former Donald Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. <p class="copyright">AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite</p>
Former Donald Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

One Trump appointee, Michael Caputo, has been promoting coronavirus conspiracy theories, and accusing career scientists in the federal government of sedition.

Another new member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, has reportedly been suggesting to Trump that the US adopt the deadly, non-strategy known as “herd immunity” (a term that’s meant to be reserved to describe the kind of protection humans get from vaccines, not from killing off the most vulnerable members of their communities.) 

“The administration’s now hired this Stanford guy who has no background at all just because he agrees with their crackpot theories,” Gates said of Atlas, in his interview with STAT. 

With or without leadership from the US, Gates is confident that the world will get back on track towards the development goals of reducing poverty and eliminating deadly vaccine-preventable diseases, in the next two to three years.

But first, everyone will need equitable access to a coronavirus vaccine. 

“Creating a perfect barrier between your country and the rest of the world is very, very difficult to do,” he said, as his foundation’s 2020 Goalkeepers report was released.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Woman says she’s unsure why she tried to kidnap Joe Montana’s granddaughter

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Woman says she’s unsure why she tried to kidnap Joe Montana’s granddaughter
The woman who attempted to kidnap NFL legend Joe Montana’s sleeping granddaughter from his home had no idea why she did it, her lawyer claimed. (AP)

The woman who attempted to kidnap NFL legend Joe Montana’s sleeping granddaughter from his home has no idea why she did it, her lawyer claimed.

Sodsai Predpring Dalzell has been charged with grabbing the nine-month-old baby from a playpen and faces eight years in prison if convicted.

Dalzell appeared in court in Los Angeles and pleaded not guilty to felony counts of attempted kidnapping of a child under 14 and burglary.

Authorities say Dalzell, 39, broke into Mr Montana’s luxurious home in Malibu, California, last weekend.

Mr Montana, 64, and his wife, Jennifer, confronted Dalzell and tried to calm the situation by asking her to hand back the baby.

Police say that after a short struggle Mrs Montana managed to grab the child back and Dalzell fled from the scene.

No one was hurt in the incident and Dalzell, who has no prior criminal record, was later arrested.

“Miss Dalzell is extremely apologetic and is very well concerned about the well-being of the family,” Dalzell’s lawyer Ayinde Jones said after the hearing.

“She understands the harm that this has caused the family, friends and also fans of the Montana family. So our heart goes out to them.”

Mr Jones said that his clients’ defense will be, “focused on ensuring that Miss Dalzell gets the help that she may need.”

And he added that he had “no hindsight, no clue as yet on why she did what she did, only that she is very apologetic.

“She has told me over and over again that she understands the harm that she has caused.

“As a parent myself, I can only imagine the pain that it has caused the Montana family.”

Dalzell’s bail was set at $200,000 and she will appear in court again on 20 October.

Mr Montana became a household name as he won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and he retired after a 15 year career in 1994.

Mr Montana and his wife have four daughters, but it us unclear which of them is the mother of the baby that was grabbed.

“Thank you to everyone who reached out. Scary situation, but thankful that everybody is doing well,” Mr Montana Tweeted the day after the incident.

Read more

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Palantir Debuts at $17 Billion Value in Long-Awaited Listing

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Goldman Sachs Predicts Over 40% Rally for These 3 Stocks

A new wave of optimism is splashing onto the Street. Investment firm Goldman Sachs just gave its three-month stock forecast a boost, lifting it from Neutral to Overweight, with it also projecting “high single-digital returns” for global stocks over the next year.What’s behind this updated approach? Goldman Sachs strategist Christian Mueller-Glissmann cites the impressive rebound in global earnings growth and reduced equity costs as the drivers of the estimate revision. On top of this, a “broader procyclical shift” in stocks and other assets could take place during the remainder of this year.“We have shifted more cyclical on sectors and themes tactically but still prefer growth vs. value on a strategic horizon… In the near-term, elevated uncertainty on U.S. elections and a better global growth outlook might benefit non-U.S. equities more, but in the medium term a large weight in structural growth stocks is likely to support the S&P 500,” Mueller-Glissmann noted.As for the “most important catalyst” that could spur growth optimism in the next year, the strategist points to additional clarity on when and how a COVID-19 vaccine will be available.Turning Mueller-Glissmann’s outlook into concrete recommendations, Goldman Sachs’ analysts are pounding the table on three stocks that look especially compelling. According to these analysts, each name is poised to surge in the 12 months ahead.Raytheon Technologies (RTX)First up we have Raytheon Technologies, which is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers. While shares have stumbled in 2020, Goldman Sachs thinks the weakness presents a buying opportunity.Representing the firm, analyst Noah Poponak points out that RTX is “too high quality and well positioned of a company to trade at an 11% free cash flow yield on the fully aerospace-recovered and fully synergized 2023E free cash.”The analyst’s bullish outlook is largely driven by the company’s aerospace aftermarket (the secondary market that deals with the installation of equipment, spare parts, accessories and components after the sale of the aircraft by the original equipment manufacturer) business, which Poponak argues is “the best sub-market within Aerospace over the long-term.” This segment makes up roughly 45% of RTX’s aerospace revenue.Even though COVID-19 flight disruptions have weighed on this part of the business, Poponak points out total aircraft in service is down only 25% year-over-year, and flights have dipped less than 50%. He added, “China domestic traffic is now up year on year, and while international remains depressed, we believe the recovery in global air travel could be quicker from here than broad expectations for a recovery by 2023-2024.”Poponak highlights that in previous downturns, the aftermarket had to confront headwinds that arose from the increased use of parting out, inventory pooling and delayed aftermarket spending. “Even then, aftermarket grew at or faster than ASMs, and we believe there was pent-up demand heading into this downturn that support aftermarket tracking the recovery in global air travel. Long-term, we expect air traffic to grow 2X global GDP, as it has historically,” the analyst commented.Adding to the good news, the Geared Turbo Fan, which is a type of turbofan aircraft engine, product cycle could generate substantial revenue and EBIT growth at Pratt & Whitney, in Poponak’s opinion.“Given the high OE exposure to the A320neo, which has the strongest backlog of any aircraft in the market, we see Pratt OE revenue holding up better and recovering faster than peers. New GTF deliveries will drive expansion in the installed base for Pratt, which was declining for most of the 2000s. Despite the end of V2500 OE deliveries, that program is just moving into the sweet-spot for shop visits on the aftermarket side,” Poponak opined.What’s more, Poponak sees merger synergies as capable of fueling margin expansion and cash generation, with the historical synergy capture in the space implying that upside to guidance isn’t out of the question.In line with his optimistic approach, Poponak stays with the bulls. To this end, he keeps a Buy rating and $86 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 49%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Poponak’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts echo Poponak’s sentiment. 7 Buys and 2 Holds add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $78.63, the upside potential comes in at 36.5%. (See RTX stock analysis on TipRanks)Boeing (BA)Moving on to another player in the aerospace space, Boeing has also struggled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, with it failing to match the pace of the broader market. That being said, Goldman Sachs has high hopes for this name going forward.Firm analyst Noah Poponak, who also covers RTX, points out that BA has already trimmed production rate plans by half, compared to the peak plan from before the COVID crisis and MAX grounding. A slower-than-anticipated air travel rebound could result in more reductions, but the analyst argues these would be much smaller than the reductions that have already been witnessed. He added, “Historically, the best buying opportunities in BA shares are right after it has capitulated to production rate cuts.”According to Poponak, compared to previous economic declines, the peak to trough in the current downturn is larger and faster, although this is partly related to the grounding of the 737 MAX in 2019. “We believe this will result in a less severe dislocation of supply and demand balance, and see deliveries recovering to 2018 levels by 2024 as global air travel recovers and airlines replace accelerated retirements,” he explained.As for how the company can fulfill its new production rate plan “given the mix of its backlog is so much more weighted to growth than replacement,” Poponak believes “the answer is that airlines during this downturn are revising that mix.” Since the pandemic’s onset, airlines have revealed higher aircraft retirement plans, and braced for less growth. “That means for a given revision in an airline’s order book, there is also a substantial mix shift toward replacement from growth within the new delivery numbers. Therefore, the backlog will not necessarily lose all of its growth orders,” the analyst stated.Additionally, following an uptick in aircraft order cancellations in March and April, the pace has slowed. “Even assuming another 200-plus unit cancellations this year, we estimate the 737 MAX would have nearly 6X years of production by the middle of the decade at our revised production rate estimates,” Poponak mentioned.When it comes to free cash flow, the analyst is also optimistic, with Poponak forecasting that BA will see positive free cash flow in 2021. “We think the market is underestimating the mid-cycle achievable aircraft unit cash margins across the major programs, extrapolating temporarily negative items into the future, and underestimating the degree of inventory unwind likely to occur in 2021,” he said.If that wasn’t enough, the MAX recertification could be a major possible catalyst. The company is working towards recertification and return to service, with Poponak expecting both to come before year-end.Taking all of the above into consideration, Poponak maintains a Buy rating and $225 price target. This target conveys his confidence in BA’s ability to climb 35% higher in the next year.Turning to the rest of the analyst community, opinions are mixed. With 8 Buys, 8 Holds and 1 Sell assigned in the last three months, the word on the Street is that BA is a Moderate Buy. At $192.40, the average price target implies 16% upside potential. (See Boeing stock analysis on TipRanks)Immatics (IMTX)Combining the discovery of true targets for cancer immunotherapies (therapies that utilize the power of the immune system) with the development of the right T cell receptors, Immatics hopes to ultimately enable a robust and specific T cell response against these targets. Based on its cutting-edge approach, Goldman Sachs counts itself as a fan.Writing for the firm, analyst Graig Suvannavejh notes that unlike CAR-T approaches, a T cell receptor (TCR)-based approach can go after targets inside the cell, and fight the 90% of cancers which are solid tumor in nature. The company is advancing two technologies: ACTengine, designed for personalized TCR-based cell therapies, and TCER, which targets TCR-based bispecific antibodies.ACTengine is the more advanced technology, with its four assets IMA201, a genetically engineered T cell product candidate that targets melanoma-associated antigen 4 or 8, IMA202, which targets melanoma-associated antigen 1, IMA203, which targets preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) and IMA204 that targets COL6A3 (found in a tumor’s stroma and is highly prevalent in the tumor microenvironment/TME in a broad range of cancers) expected to enter the clinic soon.Using the TCER platform, IMTX is developing IMA401 and IMA402, or “off-the-shelf” biologics consisting of a portion of the TCR which directly recognizes cancer cells and a T cell recruiter domain which recruits and activates the patient’s T cells.Speaking to the market opportunity, Suvannavejh mentioned, “Cancer immunotherapies have made great strides over the past decade, and in particular, advances seen with CAR-T have paved the way for cell therapy-based approaches… CAR-T, however, has to date only shown limited effect in treating cancers that are solid tumor in nature. With more than 90% of all cancers being solid tumors — with lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers accounting for c.60% of the total — this is the opportunity for IMTX.” To this end, he believes cumulative 2035 sales could land at $15.5 billion for the ACTengine-based assets.Reflecting another positive, since 2017, IMTX has inked at least one significant partnership per year with top global biopharma companies. According to Suvannavejh, each provided non-dilutive funding opportunities.The analyst added, “…the ARYA Sciences Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), merger that enabled IMTX to become a publicly traded entity brought in a deep roster of well-known, experienced healthcare-dedicated institutional investors. Taken together, we find these to be validating of IMTX’s longer-term prospects.”Looking ahead, the initial clinical data readouts for IMA201, IMA202 and IMA203, which are slated for Q1 2021, and investigational new drug (IND) application submissions for IMA204 and IMA401 in 2021 and YE2021, respectively, reflect key potential catalysts, in Suvannavejh’s opinion.Everything that IMTX has going for it convinced Suvannavejh to reiterate his Buy rating. Along with the call, he attached a $17 price target, suggesting 73% upside potential. (To watch Suvannavejh’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: IMTX is a Strong Buy. Given the $19 average price target, shares could soar 93% in the next year. (See Immatics stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Pixel 5 fails to live up to Google’s AI showcase device

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Pixel 5 fails to live up to Google's AI showcase device

As widely predicted, Google announced two smartphones during its Launch Night In today: The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G). The Pixel 5 is the follow-up to last year’s Pixel 4, while the Pixel 4a (5G) is a 5G-compatible version of the Pixel 4a that launched in August.

Notably, neither phone appears to introduce software-based features that aren’t already available on existing Pixel devices. (Pixel hardware has historically been a showcase for Google’s AI innovations.) Instead, they appear to move the lineup toward the midrange. Affordability seems to be the focus rather than cutting-edge technology, along with a recognition that neither phone is likely to make splashes in a highly saturated market. Reportedly, Google plans to produce less than 1 million Pixel 5 smartphones this year; production could be as low as around 800,000 units for the 5G-capable Pixel 5.

The Pixel 5 might be a successor in name, but it’s a potential downgrade from the Pixel 4 in that it swaps the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor for the less-powerful Snapdragon 765G. The RAM capacity has been bumped from 6GB to 8GB, which could make tasks like app-switching faster. The Pixel 5 also has a 4,080mAh battery, which is the largest in any Pixel to date. Google says it lasts up to 48 hours on a charge with Extreme Battery Saver mode enabled.

Speaking of the battery, the Pixel 5 introduces Battery Share, a reverse wireless charging feature that can be used to wirelessly recharge Google’s Pixel Buds earbuds and other Qi-compatible devices. It’s akin to — albeit more limited than — the Qi reverse wireless charging features found in Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S20 series.

The Pixel 5 retains the 90Hz-refresh-rate, 6-inch, 2340×1080 OLED display (19.5:9 aspect ratio) introduced with the Pixel 4, as well as the Pixel 4’s rear-facing 12.2-megapixel and 16-megapixel cameras. (The 16-megapixel camera might have an ultra-wide lens, rather than the Pixel 4’s telephoto lens.) As for the front-facing camera, it’s a single 8-megapixel wide-angle affair. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the rear of Pixel 5, harkening back to the Pixel 3, and Google has ditched the Pixel 4’s gesture-sensing Soli radar in favor of a streamlined design.

Above: The Pixel 5.

Image Credit: Google

Other Pixel 5 highlights include IP68-rated water- and dust-resistant casing, sub-6GHz 5G compatibility, and 18W USB-C charging and wireless charging. There’s also Hold for Me, a Google Assistant-powered feature that waits on hold for you and lets you know when someone’s on the line. Currently, Hold for Me is only available in the U.S. in English for toll-free numbers, Google says.

The Pixel 4a (5G) is a tad less exciting, but it sports a larger display than the Pixel 4 (potentially 6.2 inches versus 5.8 inches). It also shares the Pixel 5’s 2340×1080 resolution, processor, and cameras alongside a headphone jack, but at the expense of other components. The Pixel 4a (5G) makes do with a 60Hz screen refresh rate, 6GB of RAM, a 3,885mAh battery, and Gorilla Glass 3 instead of the Pixel 5’s Gorilla Glass 6, with no IP rating for water or dust resistance.

The Pixel 4a (5G) will cost $499, according to Google — a $150 premium over the $349 Pixel 4a. It will be available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia when it goes on sale later today. The Pixel 5 costs around $699 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia, which makes it far cheaper than the $799-and-up Pixel 4.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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