Inside the school, they just made the vaccine available for 11-year-olds, so not a lot of the sixth graders are vaccinated. Seventh and eighth grade have had access for a little bit longer. Broadly speaking, Covid is one of those things where they believe whatever their parents tell them. I’ve heard offhand comments and conspiracy theory claims about the vaccine and why they have to get it. They’ve gotten used to masks and prefer coming to school over remote, but they’re worried about it — there’s a kind of storm cloud feeling about Covid. One student who lost a parent to it just stopped coming to school during the surge. For us teachers, it’s always at the front of our minds, teachers who are worried about how school will work, but the majority are worried about their physical health. No one at the top seems to be caring.
National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union of registered nurses in the United States, today condemned new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance stating that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks, avoid crowds or large gatherings, and no longer needed to isolate after exposure or get tested unless they develop symptoms. Nurses say that given the threat to their patients across the country, they are especially disappointed that the CDC would ease up its Covid guidance on the heels of International Nurses Day.
Last year, as the meatpacking industry’s frontline workers were infected with Covid-19 and the industry pushed claims of a meat shortage, companies in the U.S. exported more than $22 billion in meat products, continuing an upward trend in foreign sales since 2016. Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2020 the value of American meat exports reached its highest level since 2014. Companies exporting meat products from the Midwest also fared well, increasing sales by about $500 million from 2019 to 2020.
Twelve months ago, Dr. Michael Osterholm was interviewed on the Joe Rogan Program. At the time, he warned that anywhere from 400,000 to 1.5 million Americans would die of COVID and that the pandemic would last for many years and significantly impact our lives. So far, his predictions have been eerily accurate. Today, Dr. Osterholm is warning that a “Category 5 COVID-hurricane” is on the horizon, with the B117/UK Variant posing the greatest threat. As positive cases and deaths decline, he warns that the media has been negligent in their overly positive reporting. Indeed, the scientific community is engaged in an important debate. On one side, we have scientists who believe enough Americans have been infected and, as a result, have developed enough immunity to avoid a serious surge.
President Biden included $35 billion in funding for higher education in his American Rescue Plan. If this aid makes it into the final Covid relief law, college and university employees across the country will no doubt applaud. The pandemic has hit this sector hard. Around 260,100 university employees (14.6 percent of the total workforce) have lost their jobs since February 2020. Staff also make up most of the Covid-19 deaths on college campuses. But while federal funding is welcome, it is no guarantee of equitable treatment for higher education workers. Economic disparities and unsafe working conditions are motivating staff on a growing number of college campuses to build power through union organizing. One of the most ambitious university organizing efforts is taking place in Arizona. Late last year, staff at two schools — the University of Arizona and Arizona State University — formed United Campus Workers Arizona Local 7065, a “wall-to-wall” union representing all of the schools’ employees.
Even asking the questions is exhausting. Who’s making the Covid decisions, and why do they change every day? How has the workload doubled? What about the new extremes of micro-management? Which of my co-workers, or their families, or my customers or patients or students are going to get sick? And why can’t we seem to do anything to stop all this suffering? The pull to give up, to withdraw, to hunker down and “just survive” is almost irresistible—even for a committed activist like you. But here we are. We are connecting to one another at work, even if just through images on a screen.
New York - Yellow taxis have for years been a symbol of the visual landscape of New York. The Empire State Building, the Bull of Wall Street, Central Park, Times Square and the famous Subway, stand out in the city that until a few months ago did not sleep. Delivery men running daily on their bikes and their electric motorcycles; some on skateboards and scooters, carrying food orders across the city’s five boroughs, are also notorious in the New York cityscape. It’s hard not to see them walking everywhere, sometimes more than public service vehicles, with their helmets and bags of food, with the logos of well-known applications or the names of restaurants. But many feel invisible.
As a strike wave sweeps the U.S. healthcare industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 700 frontline workers at 11 Chicago-area nursing homes have been on the picket lines since November 23. Primarily Black and Latina women, the striking workers are members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana and include certified nursing assistants (CNAs), dietary aides, housekeepers and laundry workers. They are fighting for at least $15 an hour, hazard pay and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Cliff Willmeng, the RN employed at Allina Health’s United Hospital in St Paul, Minnesota, who was fired during workplace struggles for frontline safety and patient care, received notification that Allina Health reported him to the Minnesota Board of Nursing last week. The Board of Nursing, the state governmental body that issues and maintains licenses for registered nurses, can both censor nurses and revoke nurses’ licenses. Willlmeng has never been reported to any Board of Nursing during his 13-year nursing career, which spans three states and includes employment in emergency medicine, intensive care, and other nursing specialties.
As confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in Iowa, activists and community members sent Gov. Kim Reynolds nearly a thousand "failing report cards" during a Friday afternoon demonstration to speak out against the governor's response to the pandemic. Over a dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the Governor's Terrace Hill mansion for a planned action by community organization Iowa CCI demanding a statewide mask mandate and more leadership from the governor.
National Nurses United’s new nationwide survey of more than 15,000 registered nurses reveals that 11 months into the pandemic, hospitals are failing to prepare for a surge of Covid-19 cases during flu season and that basic infection control and prevention measures are still lacking. Nurses cite the health care industry’s inappropriate pursuit of profit during this public health crisis as the main reason for its failure to follow the proper infection control measures that nurses have been demanding since the beginning of the pandemic.
Fargo - About 70 employees of a Fargo food distribution business went on strike Wednesday, Nov. 18, calling for resumption of union contract talks and drawing attention to what a union spokesman described as "lackadaisical" COVID-19 precautions at the site. About 20 warehouse workers and truck drivers set up picket lines outside of Cash-Wa Distributing, at 4101 15th Ave. N., Fargo around 1 p.m. Wednesday amid union concerns that the warehouse could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 because of its ties to businesses and warehouses across the region, according to Brian Nowak, business agent for the Teamsters Local 120.
Public health experts were among those who urged cautious optimism on Monday as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that the first formal review of its coronavirus vaccine showed the vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus in trial volunteers who had never before had Covid-19. Pfizer shared the news in a press release—not in a peer-reviewed medical journal, noted consumer advocacy group Public Citizen—amid its ongoing 44,000-person trial, which it is conducting with German drug manufacturer BioNTech.
Union, NJ - An inmate at the state's only prison for women has filed a lawsuit alleging the state Department of Corrections is failing to take proper precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennie Cullum filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court in Hunterdon County against the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women claiming she was not allowed to take precautions against the virus as cases began to increase, and, in one instance, guards did not allow her to wear a face mask she had fashioned out of her own bra.
New York, NY— Nurses from Albany Medical Center gathered in front of the hospital to highlight conditions that may threaten nurse and patient safety, as the region prepares for a second surge of COVID-19. In the Capital District, newly identified COVID-19 cases have been trending upward since August, and in late September, spiked to their highest rate since July. After 7 months of the COVID pandemic, nurses are speaking out about the continued lack of preparations and safety protocols at Albany Med.