Posts tagged with "CNN"

Biden says he thinks Trump will try to delay the presidential election

April 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on April 23 that he believes President Donald Trump will try to delay November’s presidential election, CNN reports.

“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser, according to a pool report.

Biden has maintained the November election should not be postponed and has previously made similar comments.

However, were the president to try to switch dates on the American public, he would have to use sleight of hand: CNN has done its homework—and the cable news network says, “Trump cannot unilaterally change the date of the election in November, as it has been set into law by federal statute and Congress would have to OK such a move.”

That’s good news for Democrats, but it hasn’t stopped them from worrying that Trump will try to do so. In fact, voters had asked the previously large field of Democratic presidential candidates if they had concerns that Trump would try to delay the election.

And comedian and commentator Bill Maher has repeatedly said on his HBO show that he fears that Trump will refuse to leave office if he is defeated in November.

“Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement Friday. “President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd.”

Fears over the coronavirus and its spread have increased concerns over how the election will be held safely, with new calls to expand access to voting and voting by mail. Biden said Congress needs to ensure that states have sufficient funding for expanded voting options during the pandemic.

He referenced the Wisconsin primary, which went ahead with in-person voting earlier this month after courts halted Democratic efforts to delay the primary and extend the deadline for ballots to be returned by mail. Wisconsin was the only one of 11 states with April primaries that moved forward with in-person voting, after the other 10 delayed their primaries or shifted to by-mail-only voting.

“Republicans were trying to force in-person voting no matter the health cost. We have to figure out how we are going to conduct a full and fair and safe election in November, and no one should have to risk their lives to cast a ballot,” Biden said Thursday.

“The idea you had all the governors and so many mayors — Republican and Democrat — asking the President and asking (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell, ‘We need local funding for our local support, for the things we have to do,’ ” he said. “I think it’s absolutely mindless, mindless, that they are unwilling to do it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

The former vice president also accused Trump of “already trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud.”

Indeed, CNN reports, in recent weeks, Trump, who opposes expanding voting-by-mail options, has made false claims about voting-by-mail being “corrupt” and “dangerous,” even while states embrace it as a safe alternative during the pandemic.

Biden referenced a report by The Washington Post  saying that the Trump Administration was considering leveraging an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which needs to be approved by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to force changes at the U.S. Postal Service. The move could allow the administration to influence how much the agency charges for delivering packages and how it manages its finances, according to the Post.

What’s worse, it could affect the states’ ability to offer mail-in voting.

“Imagine threatening not to fund the post office,” Biden said. “Now what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote. That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.”

“You can be assured between (Trump) and the Russians there is going to be an attempt to interfere” in the election, Biden said.

Research contact: @CNN

Santa in April: Anonymous donor mails gift cards to every household in Iowa town

April 22, 2020

Some people have all the luck: Residents of a small town in Iowa found themselves to be $150 richer one morning in late March, when they opened their mailboxes and discovered gift cards addressed to their households, Goodnet reports.

Earlham is a small city—more like the size of a town, with a population of 1,450—many of whom know each other’s names, but haven’t seen each other in weeks due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

But they all feel a lot more connected again, now that an anonymous donor has given each family three $50 certificates to local food establishment—among them, West Side Bar and Grille, Hometown Market, and Trostel’s Broken Branch.

According to the  Des Moines Register, about a week earlier, Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie received a phone call from a man who said he was representing a potential donor to the community who wished to remain anonymous.

The Register said that the man told the mayor that the donor wanted to pump up the local economy, which had been hard hit by the coronavirus, by purchasing 100 gift cards to a local grille and a grocery store. The mayor told the donor’s proxy that a new restaurant just opened before Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ended dine-in-service and that it should also be included in this stimulus package.

This was agreed to and the donor upped the amount of gift cards to 250 one hour later—and then doubled it to 500 one hour after that.

“I said to him, at 500, you’re darn near giving a gift card to every single household in Earlham,” Lillie told CNN. “When I told him there were 549 households in town, he said ‘Done.’ And that was it. I was ecstatic because it made sure everyone would get a card.”

After ascertaining that the businesses agreed to come up with all the gift cards—which was no easy task, especially for a new eatery—it was a done deal. That meant that every household received three gift cards, totaling $82,350 for the town, with each local business receiving more than $27,000.

Trostel’s Broken Branch was so new that they didn’t even have gift cards yet. “We were in the middle of interviews for our employees, hiring some waitstaff and trying to get everything ready,” restaurant owner Jennifer Trostel told CNN. “Just about then, everything closed down. It hit right when we were going to open our restaurant.”

Trostel was unable to make the switch to take-out but now she knows that the restaurant will be able to open when the restrictions are lifted.

Lille told reporters that he was “completely overwhelmed” by this act of generosity. Especially since people in the town had lost their jobs and were struggling financially. “It came at the end of a couple really hard weeks.”

The major explained, “I remember going home and walking through the front door, and I couldn’t speak for a minute. I was just crying like a baby, and my little boy saw me and wrapped around my leg and said, ‘Daddy what’s wrong?’ And eventually I was able to choke it out: ‘Buddy, right now, for once, nothing’s wrong.'”

The secret was kept by the mayor and the business owners so that it would be a complete surprise when the mail arrived according to the Register. The envelopes contained a letter that explained the situation along with the cards.

“That was the longest two days ever,” Lillie told the Register.

The city wants to pay this gift forward. If people do not need to use the gift cards, they can donate them to families in need by dropping them in the bill pay slot at city hall. The cards will be given to needy families in the local school district to distribute.

Research contact: @goodnet_org

Governors call Trump’s testing claims ‘delusional’ and ‘absolutely false’

April 21, 2020

Although President Donald Trump is pushing to “reopen” parts of the country by May 1, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), along with the leaders of six other states and the District of Columbia, already have extended their COVID-19 lockdowns through May 15.

What’s more, several governors are not mincing words about their opinion of the president’s decision, The Huffington Post reports.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)—who has extended the lockdown for his state’s residents to June 10 and has instructed non-essential business to remain closed at least through May 8—on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was “delusional” for President Donald Trump to claim the U.S. currently has the testing capacity needed for states to relax social distancing measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s Republican leader, Governor Larry Hogan, told Tapper that Trump’s claim “is just absolutely false.” “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” Hogan said. “That’s just not being straightforward … Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests.”

Hogan added, “Look, we have increased our testing in Maryland by 5,000% over the past month, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be.”

And they are not alone: Multiple health officials in the Trump administration have cautioned against setting May 1 as a target date to loosen social distancing guidelines, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said last week that the U.S. has not yet developed the testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the economy.

But that hasn’t stopped the president. On Saturday, echoing comments Vice President Mike Pence made a day prior, Trump claimed “experts” had said that “America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally.”

Indeed, The Huffington Post reports, Trump has taken an adversarial stance toward a number of governors as states struggle to overcome nationwide test shortages. The Trump Administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic and has faced criticism after initially calling concerns about the coronavirus a “hoax” and downplaying its impact.

In recent weeks, Trump has used language that appears aimed at shifting responsibility for the economic recovery from the administration to individual states.

“People’s initial reaction is always to look to the president, but as time goes on and it becomes clear other states are doing other things, that blame and credit will shift to the governors, considering they are the ones making the calls,” one Trump political adviser told Politico.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Gray area: Getting a message to grandma during the COVID-19 lockdown

April 20, 2020

Families who are separated during the novel coronavirus pandemic are being forced to find  new ways to communicate—especially with the elderly members of the clan,  who may not even know have heard of Facetime, Skype, or Zoom.

CNN tells the story of 94-four-year old Jane Feld, who used to spend her time playing tennis, attending concerts with friends, and having family members over for dinner at her house in Syracuse, New York. Now she is alone, sheltering in place.

For Feld, who is hard of hearing, video chatting with her grandchildren or other family members poses a challenge. She has a caption-call phone, but the live captions don’t always work well. Therefore, to keep in touch during this time, she mostly uses email.

“I’m not too comfortable with tech stuff,” Feld told CNN Business in an email interview. “Email has definitely helped me keep track of offspring and grands. Hours on the phone wear me out, but it’s easy to roll with email. Just let me know you’re OK and we’ll get together as soon as possible. With a virtual hug and kiss.”

She is not alone. Only 26% of Internet users 65 years and older feel “very confident” when using computers, smartphones or other electronics to do what they need to do online, according to a 2015 study from Pew Research. More than that, it’s no perfect substitute for the real-life interactions they’ve long been accustomed to.

“Of course, it’s not the same as in person,” Meredith Doubleday, Feld’s granddaughter, told the cable news outlet. “It definitely doesn’t replace that, but it sure helps. I’m very grateful that we can still email. She keeps reminding me that in high school she was an excellent typist.”

Abby Godard has regular virtual dance parties over Apple’s FaceTime video calling feature with her 83-year-old grandmother Yvonne Simon Perotti, who lives about 15 minutes away from her in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. Godard and her extended family also get together weekly on Zoom, including with her grandmother and 78-year-old grandfather Charlie Perotti.

The Perottis consider themselves quite tech adept for their ages and have figured out how to use services like Zoom on their own. “In our neighborhood, we have a book club. So, we have a virtual book club meeting with Zoom, which is kind of cool,” said Charlie Perotti.

Other families are turning to gadgets such as smart picture frames to communicate. Ann Fraser bought a ViewClix picture frame in 2018 for her 92-year-old mother Lorraine Tangney so they could keep in touch when Fraser and her husband moved to Florida. The smart picture frame, which is designed for seniors and doesn’t require them to learn new technology, lets multiple family members share photos, conduct live video calls, and post virtual sticky notes with messages to their loved one.

In normal times, her family members upload pictures of themselves and their travels to the frame. But during the pandemic, her relatives are relying on the video chatting function to keep in contact with Tangney, who is in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. Her family set up the picture frame in front of her favorite chair. When a ViewClix video call comes in, it’s set to automatically connect so Tangney doesn’t have to get up to answer it.

“I called her the other day on it, and the nurse was in her room, so she was able to be like ‘Oh look someone’s calling you on it.’ We had a whole conversation on it, she was so excited,” Leah Briscoe, her granddaughter, told CNN. “We tried to do the tablet thing with her, and it wasn’t successful. She can’t really talk on the phone anymore, so we needed to get a little bit more creative with how we were going to keep in touch with her.” Fraser called the frame a “priceless” way of communicating with her. The 10.1-inch frame costs $199,; the 15.6-inch version sells for $299.

ViewClix said it’s seen a 201% jump in video calls from February to March. Over a five-day period in mid-March, the company said it sold out of several months of stock of both its frame options. Skylight ($159), another digital frame aimed at seniors, said it has seen a similar increase in usage: the number of video messages sent to frames has tripled compared to last month, and early April sales are three times higher than a month ago.

But for other seniors, new devices are just too difficult to figure out. Alexandra DeLessio and her family bought her 88-year-old grandmother Rosemary Adams a Facebook Portal smart speaker, which start at $129, and walked her through how to operate it, even practicing it with her. But Adams has never used it on her own because she can’t remember how.

Adams now lives in an assisted living facility, and no visitors are allowed to come inside due to the pandemic. So her family has come up with a safe, in-person way to interact: Adams comes out onto her balcony, and DeLessio, her parents and sister shout to her from outside.

Her grandmother shouts back.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump berates Fauci for criticism of slow virus response

April 14, 2020

In his efforts to reframe the story of how he responded—late and less than adequately—to the looming COVID-19 crisis, President Donald Trump has collided fast and hard with the truth , as told by the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.

The doctor said again last week that more lives could have been saved if the country had been shut down earlier—sending Trump into a Twitter rant, The New York Times reported.

Frustrated by Dr. Fauci’s reluctance to toe the party line, Trump reposted a Twitter message that said “Time to #FireFauci” as he rejected criticism of his slow initial response to the pandemic that has now killed more than 22,000 people in the United States. The president privately has been irritated at times with Dr. Fauci, but the Twitter post was the most explicit he has been in letting that show publicly the news outlet said.

The message that the president retweeted came from a former Republican congressional candidate whom Trump had suported. “Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” said the tweet by DeAnna Lorraine, who got less than 2% of the vote in an open primary against Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month. “Fauci was telling people on February 29 that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US at large. Time to #Fire Fauci.”

In reposting the message, Trump added: “Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up.”

The Times pointed out that the tweet came amid a flurry of messages blasted out by the president on Sunday, April 12, defending his handling of the coronavirus, which has come under sharp criticism, and pointing the finger instead at China, the World Health Organization, President Barack Obama, the nation’s governors, Congress, Democrats generally and the news media.

In truth, Trump did not “ban China,” but he did block foreign nationals who had been in China in the past 14 days from coming into the United States,  starting on February 2. Despite the policy, 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have still come into the country from China since then.

Dr. Fauci and other public health experts were initially skeptical that the China travel restrictions would be useful when the president was first considering them, but then changed their minds and told Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of Health and Human Services, on the morning of January 30 that they supported them.

The president has repeatedly pointed back to those travel limits to defend his handling of the pandemic, but experts have said the limits were useful mainly to buy time that the administration did not then use to ramp up widespread testing and impose social distancing policies before infections could begin growing exponentially.

By the third week of February, advisers had drafted a list of measures they believed would soon be necessary, like school closures, sports and concert cancellations and stay-at-home orders, but the president did not embrace them until mid-March.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, said on Sunday that earlier imposition of such policies would have made a difference.

“I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” he said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you’re right. Obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down.”

Dr. Fauci has become a celebrated figure among much of the public, which trusts him far more than Mr. Trump, according to polls. A Quinnipiac University survey last week found that 78% of Americans approved of Dr. Fauci’s handling of the crisis compared with 46% who approved of the president’s response. 

Research contact: @nytimes

Dogs, cats, bats dropped from draft list of animals allowed as food by Chinese government

April 13, 2020

The Chinese people still are eating “high off the hog”—but dogs, cats, bats, and pangolins (scaly anteaters) are permanently off the menu.

According to a report by CNN, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese government has issued a new draft list of livestock that can be farmed for meat. COVID-19 suspected to have originated from wild animals sold as food in a Wuhan wet market.

Beijing temporarily banned all trade in wild animals for food following the outbreak, which has now spread globally to infect more than 1.6 million people—but the new law has yet to be finalized.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture issued a draft list of animals considered fit to be used as livestock on April  8, including dietary staples such as pigs, cows, chickens and sheep, as well as “special livestock” such as a number of species of deer, alpaca, and ostriches.

Foxes, raccoons, and minks can be kept as livestock, but not bred for their meat.

There is no mention of the species of animal that are suspected by scientists to have spread the virus to humans, such as pangolins, bats, and civet cats, CNN reports. Dogs also are missing from the list of approved livestock, which, if formally enforced, would lead to China’s first countrywide ban on their consumption—and a major victory for animal rights activists.

“With the progress of human civilization and the public’s concern and preference for animal protection, dogs have evolved from traditional livestock to companion animals,” said an accompanying explanation of the draft. “They are generally no longer regarded as livestock in the rest of the world. It is not advisable to list them under livestock or poultry in China.”

The draft has yet to be finalized and the public has until May 8 to provide feedback.

The initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province in Central China, where a wide variety of wild animals were being sold as meat, including snakes, porcupines, and raccoon dogs.

Wet market is a widely used term across parts of Asia to describe markets that sell meat, fish and perishable goods. Not all wet markets sell animal products.

When wild animals are kept in close proximity and unsanitary conditions, experts say there is a high risk of viruses spreading between the animals—and then potentially to humans.

Research contact: @CNN

Cuomo: Millions and millions of tests needed before U.S. economy can be rebooted

April 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on April 10 that millions of COVID-19 tests must be administered nationwide, if the country’s economy is going to reopen safely and effectively, according to a report by The Hill.

“This is going to be a horrendous transformational period for us,” Cuomo said in an appearance on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe.

“I don’t think we ever get back to normal. I think this is one of the new normals now in public health,” he said.

The governor added that just how smoothly American society and its economy will be able to reopen will directly correspond to what the steps the government does or does not take.

“This is such an important period for government and the political discussion,” Cuomo said. “Nothing is pre-charted here. It’s all a function of what we do.”

He added: “How good are we at getting this testing up? Are we better than we’ve been in the past? Is it going to take us months to come to scale on rapid testing? That’s the only way to get people back to work. You have to have millions and millions of tests, frankly, better and faster than we’ve done to date.”

This isn’t the first time that Cuomo has signaled that widespread testing to see who has had the virus is essential to America’s ability to get its people back to work, The Hill said.

Cuomo has said that New York State has developed a test that sees whether a person has developed antibodies to fight COVID-19. It has been well-documented that not everyone who contracted the virus will show outward symptoms consistent with the disease.

“We cannot restart life as we knew it without testing,” he tweeted earlier this week.

But Cuomo’s stance on testing differs from President Trump’s opinion on the matterThe Hill noted. In his daily coronavirus press briefing Thursday, Trump punted when asked about the need for widespread testing—saying that it would be nice but not required.

“We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes,” Trump said. “We’re talking about 325 million people. And that’s not going to happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else either.” 

Trump has expressed optimism that the country could start to ease social distancing recommendations by early May. The White House’s social distancing guidelines run through the end of April.

Cuomo isn’t alone in his call for comprehensive testing, though.

“In a setting where there will still be spread and we’ll still be slowly exiting the epidemic; we need capacity to test several million people a week (and probably more) to get broad enough coverage in community to detect outbreaks early and make case containment strategies work,” Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, tweeted Thursday.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, the United States has tested about 960,000 people in the past week.

Research contact: @thehill

Corona stops production and marketing, but says it’s not due to ‘beer fear’

April 7, 2020

It’s not a good thing when your brand name is eponymous with the name of a worldwide pandemic. That’s the case for Corona beer—but the parent company of the popular brew, Mexico City-based Grupo Modelo, stated on Twitter this week, that is not the reason why the brand has halted production and marketing.

The company is closed, Grupo Modelo said, because the Mexican government has shuttered non-essential businesses. The Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned company also makes Modelo and Pacifico beers, according to a report by CNN.

Indeed, the Mexican government has announced the suspension of non-essential activities in the public and private sectors until April 30 in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. To date, the country has suffered more than 1,500 cases and 50 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Grupo Modelo is ready to enact a plan to “guarantee the supply of beer,” if the Mexican government decides to include breweries as essential, the company said.

Constellation Brands handles the distribution and import of Grupo Modelo’s beers in the United States. CEO Bill Newlands said in an earnings call the brand has “ample supply to meet consumer demand” and doesn’t expect shortages in the near term.

What’s more, Corona’s coincidental name with the virus hasn’t dented sales. Constellation said sales of its beer brands grew 8.9% for the first three months of this year, with Modelo and Corona being its top sellers. Sales accelerated in the first three weeks of March, the company said, with its beers growing 24% compared to a year ago.

Corona Hard Seltzer, which launched in early March, is also off to a “strong start,” according to a company earnings release.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump reneges on reopening federal health insurance exchanges during the COVID-19 crisis

April 2, 2020

Defying appeals from insurers and Democrats, the Trump Administration said on March 31 that it would not reopen Obamacare enrollment to allow uninsured Americans to buy health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, Slate reports.

The decision comes after the White House told lawmakers and insurers it was considering a special enrollment period in addition to the usual November 1 through December 15 window for the federally run exchange that covers roughly two-thirds of U.S. states.

Eleven largely Democratic-leaning states, as well as Washington, D.C., have temporarily reopened their health insurance exchanges, CNN reports, in order to provide frontline workers with the chance to buy in during the coronavirus outbreak.

Democratic legislators had called on the White House to open the federally run exchanges for some 30 million Americans who remain uninsured and— after initial hesitation from the health insurance industry over the prospect of being hit with a deluge of coronavirus-related claims—“the main insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, endorsed the special enrollment period roughly two weeks ago while also urging lawmakers to expand premium subsidies to make coverage more affordable for middle-income people,” Politico reports.

“Given the risk posed by COVID-19, it is more important than ever for people to have health coverage,” the CEOs of America’s Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association wrote in a letter to Congress in mid-March.

The insurers told Politico they had expected the Trump White House to announce a special enrollment period last week after receiving private assurances from the administration that the exchanges would be reopened. The coronavirus has already put intense pressure on the job market, and with the economic toll of the pandemic expected to worsen over the coming weeks, millions of newly unemployed workers who previously had insurance through their employer will likely be in need of health insurance options.

Workers who lose their health insurance through their employer are eligible to buy a plan on a federal or state exchange for up to 60 days after becoming unemployed.

The Trump administration did not give any reason for refusing to reopen the health insurance marketplace during the pandemic, but President Donald Trump has publicly supported the GOP legal effort, this one led by Republican governors, to destroy the Affordable Care Act once and for all. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, which could put the ten-year-old law, and the 20 million Americans who get health coverage from it, in jeopardy.

Research contact: @Slate

Separated at birth? There’s a new insect named for Lady Gaga

March 31, 2020

Kaikaia gaga is the newest species of treehopper, a common insect group known for its bright colors and ostentatious flair. The newest find shares a name-—and idiosyncratic style—with singer-actress and worldwide icon Lady Gaga: She wears a pair of devilish horns on her head, and she’s unlike any other species in the forest, CNN reports.

Treehoppers represents an ostentatious, but little-known, insect group that populates most forests on Earth. A paper detailing K.gaga’s discovery was recently published in the journal Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed scientific journal on animal taxonomy.

But treehoppers have never gotten their due, according to Brendan Morris, an graduate research assistant in Entomotology—the study of insects—at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studied and named the new bug.

According to CNN, Morris immediately knew the discovery mattered: The ruddy insect, with her pointy horns and unique body structure, more closely resembles “Old World” species endemic to Asia, Africa, and Europe. But she’s native to the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

So to shine a glittery spotlight on the new species, Morris named it after one of music’s greats.

“If there is going to be a Lady Gaga bug, it’s going to be a treehopper, because they’ve got these crazy horns; they have this wacky fashion sense about them,” Morris said in a university news release. “They’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

They’re certainly among the most theatrical of all insects: Treehoppers are splashed with color, and no two species look alike. There are over 3,500 species of them worldwide, and they’re harbingers of the health of forests, Morris told CNN.

“It blows my kind that a group that is roughly 40 million years old has so much diversity of form—diversity, I would argue, that we don’t see in any other family of insects,” Morris said in the news release.

There’s still a lot left to learn about K. gaga—”basically everything,” Morris told CNN. Entomologists still don’t know what the K. gaga males and nymphs look like, how she interacts with other animals, and what her “song” sounds like.

But attempts to extract DNA from her specimen haven’t been successful. She was collected in the early 1990s and sat in a museum before Morris and paper co-author, Illinois Natural History Survey entomologist Christopher Dietrich, decided to take a closer look.

Soon, Morris will head to the insect’s native Nicaragua to learn more about her native range and how ongoing environmental degradation will affect the species— and hopefully find more of her family members.

“New treehopper species are found all the time, and the only limit to our knowledge is funding and manpower,” the two researchers told CNN. “So much of our natural world remains unknown, and we can’t know how to save species without knowing their names.”

Lady Gaga has yet to comment on the discovery of the eponymous insect, but K. gaga’s debut was certainly well-timed: The human Gaga released a new single and music video at the end of February.

Research contact: @CNN