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Chile: Teachers Reject Resuming School Year Over COVID-19

Chile's Professors College refused Sunday to resume the educational year in May. The union expressed its disagreement with the Chilean president's administrative decisions. Sebastian Piñeira, Chile´s president, announced administrative measures to resume social and economic activities amid the pandemic. Piñera stated gradual retake on productive and public labors April 27. Chilean mandatary also announced professors and students would return to schools. Mario Aguilar, the educators’ union president rejected these statements. "We find it outrageous that just when the pandemic is at its peak, (there is) a return to classes. "It is a direct attack on the health of the people and the students," affirmed Aguilar to local news media.

Federal Documents: Over 300,000 Likely To Die If Restrictions Are Lifted

Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic. The documents created by the Department of Health and Human Services spell out the data and analysis the agency is sharing with other federal agencies to help shape their responses to the coronavirus.  While the White House Coronavirus Task Force has cited other models created at academic institutions, the federal government has not made public its own modeling efforts. The documents paint the fullest picture yet of the assumptions underpinning the government’s response to the pandemic. 

73 Inmates Test Positive For COVID-19 At One Ohio Prison

The COVID-19 coronavirus is hitting prisons in Ohio hard, especially the Marion Correctional Institution, where 73 percent of the inmate population has tested positive for the virus. The Ohio Department of Health reported Sunday that there are 11,602 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in the state, with 471 deaths. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shared its own numbers, saying that 2,426 inmates in the state's prison system have tested positive for COVID-19, accounting for 21 percent of all confirmed cases in Ohio. Most of the cases are at Marion Correctional Institution, where 1,828 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. The prisoners who are not infected by the virus have been placed in quarantine. No prisoners have died of COVID-19.

‘Scared For Their Lives’: Inside The Coronavirus Outbreak In Philadelphia’s Jails

The last thing Andre Coach saw before he left jail was a riot. It was April 3 at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, one of four city jails. Over 120 incarcerated people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in these county detention centers to date — more than every state-run prison in Pennsylvania combined. Coach says life had been untenable for weeks under the Philadelphia Department of Prisons’ pandemic lockdown to quell the spread of the virus. City officials maintain all inmates are taken out of their cells once per day, but Coach and others said they sometimes went two or more days without reprieve. On his discharge day, Coach saw the anxieties erupt into chaos. Locked in their cells, he said his fellow inmates tried to break their windows. They banged on the bars.

Why Did The World Shut Down For COVID-19 But Not Ebola, SARS Or Swine Flu?

When reports of a new virus circulating in China’s Hubei province first began to emerge, I was cautious about overreacting. I’ve reported on health long enough to know that just because a pathogen is new doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a crisis. Of course, I quickly realized this isn’t just any virus. We’re currently battling a global pandemic unlike any we’ve seen in over a century. But it’s also not the first modern virus we’ve faced. In the past two decades, the world battled Ebola, SARS and more than one major flu outbreak. Those left tragedies in their wake but didn’t cause the same level of societal and economic disruption that COVID-19 has. As a result, they can help us understand this new coronavirus — to capture how unique our new reality is, it helps to look back at similar outbreaks that threatened to upend society, but ultimately stopped short.

Climate Change Won’t Stop For The Coronavirus Pandemic

Two and a half years ago Hurricane Maria ripped open homes across the southern Puerto Rican city of Ponce, destroying the rickety electrical grid and sending thousands of people into shelters or onto the streets. People were still rebuilding when, in January, a devastating earthquake jolted the island’s southern coast. Afraid of collapsing walls and showering concrete, people moved back outdoors, where they still spend cool, wet nights under blue tarps strung to poles and tied to cars packed with coolers and lawn chairs. Now thousands brace for a wave of illness as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads insidiously across the island, threatening people without homes, without water, some struggling even to maintain basic hygiene. It’s the latest blow in a diabolical cascade of crises, striking Puerto Ricans at their most vulnerable.

The Failing Four: Prison Officials Attempt To “Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus”

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the lives of people all over the world, especially those in prison. While the CDC has posted their recommendations for all people to follow, prisoners have no freedom to protect themselves from the spread. People in prison are limited in their ability to keep a safe distance from others, receive medical care, keep in contact with their loved ones or even get access to preventative products like hand sanitizers and soaps. The situation in prison is getting worse by the week. Over the past month the number of cases in prison have more than doubled each week. In order to adequately address this critically dangerous situation, we must shift from expecting prison officials to manage overcrowded populations to passing immediate aggressive policies that will dramatically reduce the number of people in prison to more manageable levels.

New CDC Guidelines Could Worsen COVID-19 Spread And Racial Disparities

New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging workers exposed to the coronavirus to stay on the job would likely worsen the spread of the coronavirus and exacerbate the disparity of infected cases, and deaths, of African Americans that has become a national scandal. Under its new recommendations, the CDC revokes previous guidelines that most workers who are exposed to the virus should be isolated for a period of 14 days. Instead, CDC says essential workers can mainly just wear a mask and not practice social distancing, “as work duties permit,” a significant loophole that can be easily exploited by employers. “The loosened guidelines are dangerous, and risk exposing other workers and the public to infection, with supposed mitigation measures that are far less effective in reducing the threat of spreading the virus...

Prison Pandemic Pending

“Many people who are dying both here and around the world were on their last legs anyway’. There in a nutshell is the misanthropic mindset of one right-wing pundit, Bill O’Reilly, who gave voice to this nefarious notion on an April day in which some 2,000 Americans, many of them in the prime of their life, died from the coronavirus pandemic. Tragically that inhumane attitude is not restricted to heartless individuals with warped minds. At least one major institution of our dysfunctional criminal justice system, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, seems to harbor a similar operative ideology when it comes to explaining coronavirus deaths on its watch. Within its 122 prisons over the course of the past few weeks, well over 200 inmates and nearly 90 employees of the BOP have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Is The Coronavirus ‘Peak’ A Mirage?

The idea of a “peak” gives the comforting impression that there is a corner to be turned, around which life will get back to some kind of normal. “The worst is over,” as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quoted in the New York Times (4/13/20). Or as President Donald Trump told Fox News (4/7/20; New York Post, 4/8/20), “I think New York is getting ready if not already, but getting ready to peak, and once it peaks, it will start coming down and it’s going to come down fast.” Predictions of a peak are based on computer modeling, particularly from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). “The models do show that we are very close to the peak,” FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn told ABC‘s This Week (4/12/20). IHME’s model produces graphs that tend to suggest a rapid rise and fall in Covid-19 deaths—what you might describe as a peak:

Social Distancing Is Impossible In Prisons, People Should Be Freed

In early March, Michelle Tran drove 1,500 miles from her home in Wichita, Kansas, to visit her husband Thai at California’s Avenal State Prison. It’s a trek that Tran makes every 45 to 60 days. She typically spends a week in California so that she can visit her husband for two weekends. During the week, she visits family in Fresno and drives to Los Angeles to check on Thai’s mother, who is battling Stage IV cancer. That first weekend, the couple sat at the small round tables in the prison’s visiting room. They were able to hold hands, hug, kiss and eat snacks from the prison’s vending machines. On Sunday, Tran ended their visit after two hours to drive to Sacramento for a Drop LWOP rally urging lawmakers to change laws and end sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

Social Distance With A Vengeance

Long before the practice of social distancing became the new normal, there was the concept of social distance. Named after its founder, the Bogardus Social Distance Scale was developed within the Chicago School of Sociology during the turbulent 1920s to empirically measure the degree of affinity (or lack thereof) Americans felt for members of various racial and ethnic groups in our highly diverse society. Seven categories of “social distance” were established ranging from willingness to marry a member of specified groups to outright exclusion of all such group members from the USA;  the higher the number on a scale of 1 to 7, the lower the affinity and greater the felt social distance. Not surprising for a white-supremacist society, European-Americans consistently ranked as having the lowest social distance standing in several nationwide surveys over a 40 year period, while Americans of color had the highest.
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