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China using pangolin scales in traditional medicine despite claiming the contrary, says environment report

China is still allowing the use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine despite pledging to crack down on wildlife trade given concerns that close contact between humans and animals could lead to another devastating pandemic. 

A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency has found that 221 companies in China remain licensed to sell products using pangolin scales, including leading traditional medicine company Beijing Tong Ren Tang.

Such goods are also being actively advertised and are available to domestic and international consumers via online shopping sites, according to the report.

The watchdog group is urging the Chinese government to close the loopholes that have allowed the pangolin trade to continue. One step the EIA is calling on Beijing to implement is to change the country’s wildlife protection law to fully prohibit the sale or possession of pangolin parts.

“Amid mounting concerns about the role of wildlife trade in causing the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that the Chinese government ends all legal use of pangolin scales, instead of allowing the multi-billion dollar TCM industry to carry on as usual,” said Chris Hamley, senior pangolin campaigner with EIA.

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Facebook, Twitter Block Post Claiming COVID Is Less Deadly Than Flu

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have blocked a post from President Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely claiming COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu. Facebook has removed the post, while Twitter has added a message saying it broke the rules on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.” 

“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.

Trump, who is currently recovering from the virus, posted the controversial tweet early in the day.

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” Trump tweeted.

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, 22,000 deaths were linked to the flu during the 2019 to 2020 influenza season.

Trump admitted to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in February that he had been intentionally downplaying COVID-19 on purpose. The recordings of the conversation were released in September and used as source material for Woodward’s latest book, “Rage.”

In the interview with Woodward, Trump said COVID-19 is “more deadly than even your strenuous flus” but admitted to downplaying the virus in order to not cause a panic. 

Trump is currently at the White House, after spending several days at Walter Reed Military Hospital to receive treatment for the virus. First lady Melania Trump, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and three Republican senators are the latest political figures to contract COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise across the United States. As of Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, there are nearly 7.5 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with the domestic death toll over 210,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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