Over $100 Billion Was Stolen From Pandemic Relief Funds, Secret Service Says
The Secret Service is reporting that a minimum of $100 billion was stolen from pandemic relief funds that totaled $3.4 trillion in benefits. A majority of the amount comes from unemployment fraud. About $87 billion in benefits may have been paid out improperly, according to the Labor Department. So far, the Secret Service has seized only $1.2 billion while investigating unemployment insurance and loan fraud. It has returned more than $2.3 billion in fraudulently obtained funds. There are more than 900 active criminal investigations into pandemic fraud and over 100 people have been arrested.
When it comes to government waste, we’ve seen some pretty big numbers of recent – including $80 billion worth of military equipment that was left behind in Afghanistan just months ago.
But trumping that number, according to the Secret Service, is more than $100 billion that was stolen from pandemic relief funds. The $100 billion figure is “at a minimum,” a new report from AP says.
The estimate is based on “Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration,” the report says.
“The sheer size of the [$3.4 trillion dispersed] is enticing to the criminals”, said Roy Dotson, the agency’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator.
Supreme Court to Hold Special Session to Determine Legality of Biden’s Vax Mandates in January
Joe Biden’s controversial vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees, using OSHA to implement the rule, will be considered by the Supreme Court during a special hearing in January. The court will also decide on the lawfulness of a separate vaccine mandate for health care workers in which federal funding through CMS has been threatened if workers do not comply. The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, has previously refused to take action on emergency requests in both cases that sought an immediate decision.
Joe Biden’s controversial nationwide order that large businesses either mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or test their workers regularly will be considered by the Supreme Court during a special hearing in January, the justices announced on Wednesday.
The court will also decide on the lawfulness of a separate vaccine requirement for health care workers.
The brief court order said the justices will hear oral arguments on January 7 in the two cases, with rulings likely to follow swiftly after.
The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, delayed action on emergency requests in both cases that sought an immediate decision.
The workplace mandate is currently in effect nationwide, while the health care worker mandate is blocked in half the 50 U.S. states.
US Army’s New Next Generation COVID Vaccine Aims to Protect Against Future Variants
The US Army announced that its COVID-19 vaccine can provide a potent immune response and protection against future variants. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) has been developing a spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN) vaccine since early 2020 and began early-stage human trials of the vaccine in April with analyses to conclude this month. Researchers will compare the results of this vaccine to the others that are under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. The SpFN vaccine uses a protein with 24 faces, which allows for scientists to attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains on different faces.
The U.S. Army announced that its COVID-19 vaccine can provide a potent immune response and broad protection against variants of concern.
Preclinical study results published in December state the Army’s Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) COVID-19 vaccine developed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) protected non-human primates against diseases caused by the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and produces antibody responses against major variants.
The vaccine differs from other options currently available, as it is designed to be a pan-coronavirus shot, offering protection against future strains.
The results also stated the vaccine offered protection against the SARS-CoV-1 virus that emerged in 2002.
“The threat from COVID-19 continues as it evolves, and eventually there will be other emerging disease threats,” Dr. Nelson Michael, Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research at WRAIR, said. “Our investment in developing a next generation vaccine is an important step towards getting ahead of COVID-19 and future disease threats.”
The Army began Phase 1 human trials on the vaccine in April, and early analyses are expected to conclude this month. Researchers will compare the results of this vaccine to the others authorized by the FDA for emergency use.