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Biden administration falls very short on recovering $280 billion in stolen COVID aid

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Out of a whopping $280 billion of taxpayer money that was outright fraudulently stolen during the COVID-19 pandemic, only $8 billion has been recovered. According to a new congressional letter, the small recovery was done through Justice Department prosecutions, but the government is lackluster about the amount of money lost.

In a letter to the Justice Department, House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer expressed concern over the stolen money that was intended to help families and businesses that suffered during the pandemic.

“It is highly concerning that possibly billions of taxpayer dollars intended to help Americans suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were stolen by organized criminal rings in foreign countries,” Comer wrote.

“Therefore, we write today to better understand the full scope of this problem and what actions the Department has taken to investigate international COVID-19 relief program fraud and hold these foreign actors accountable,” he added.

Comer devulged the latest numbers on how much taxpayers spent on COVID relief, and how much they’ve lost to fraud:

“As of January 2023, the federal government spent approximately $4.6 trillion on aid programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. “This is equal to more than was spent by the entire federal government in every fiscal year prior to 2020.”

“Criminals inside and outside the United States stole approximately $280 billion in taxpayer funds intended for struggling families, businesses, hospitals, and others,” it added. “Estimates imply that at least half of all stolen COVID-19 relief funds went to Russian, Chinese, and Nigerian criminals.”

“As of March 2022, the Department stated that it had taken criminal and civil enforcement actions in matters alleging over $8 billion in pandemic relief fraud,9 but it is unclear if this is limited to domestic fraud.”

Just The News reports the committee is demanding the department provide documents and answers detailing the loss of COVID relief program including:

  • The total number of current and closed cases involving COVID-19 fraud by international actors or organizations delineated by country;
  • the total dollar value of fraud by international actors or organizations delineated by country;
  • the total number of current and closed cases involving COVID-19 international fraud by the targeted relief fund.
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COVID-19

Former Harvard medical professor says he was fired for opposing Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates

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“My hope is that someday, Harvard will find its way back to academic freedom and independence.” That is the heartfelt message from Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former Harvard University professor of medicine since 2003, who recently announced publicly he was fired for “clinging to the truth” in his opposition to Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

Kulldorff posted the news on social media alongside an essay published in the City Journal last week. The epidemiologist and biostatistician also spoke with National Review about the incident. Kulldorff says he was fired by the Harvard-affiliated Mass General Brigham hospital system and put on a leave of absence by Harvard Medical School in November 2021 over his stance on Covid.

Nearly two years later, in October 2023, his leave of absence was terminated as a matter of policy, marking the end of his time at the university. Harvard severed ties with Kulldorff “all on their initiative,” he said.

The history of the medical professional’s public stance on Covid-19 vaccines and mandates is detailed by National Review:

Censorship and rejection led Kulldorff to co-author the Great Barrington Declaration in October 2020 alongside Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University. Together, the three public-health scientists argued for limited and targeted Covid-19 restrictions that “protect the elderly, while letting children and young adults live close to normal lives,” as Kulldorff put it in his essay.

“The declaration made clear that no scientific consensus existed for school closures and many other lockdown measures. In response, though, the attacks intensified—and even grew slanderous,” he wrote, naming former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins as the one who ordered a “devastating published takedown” of the declaration.

Testifying before Congress in January, Collins reaffirmed his previous statements attacking the Great Barrington Declaration.

Despite the coordinated effort against it, the document has over 939,000 signatures in favor of age-based focused protection.

The Great Barrington Declaration’s authors, who advocated the quick reopening of schools, have been vindicated by recent studies that confirm pandemic-era school closures were, in fact, detrimental to student learning. The data show that students from third through eighth grade who spent most of the 2020–21 school year in remote learning fell more than half a grade behind in math scores on average, while those who attended school in person dropped a little over a third of a grade, according to a New York Times review of existing studies. In addition to learning losses, school closures did very little to stop the spread of Covid, studies show.

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