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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on CDC Drops 14 Day Quarantine On Travel As Campus Cases Rise

CDC Drops 14 Day Quarantine On Travel As Campus Cases Rise

 

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The confirmed U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is approaching 180,000, with over 5.7 million recorded infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the U.S. is on track to record its 200,000th death from COVID-19 by the fourth week of September. Public health officials say the true U.S. death toll likely passed that grim milestone weeks ago.
The White House defended a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend against coronavirus testing for people who lack symptoms of COVID-19 — even if they’ve been exposed to an infected person. The CDC also quietly dropped its recommendation that people quarantine for 14 days after traveling from an area with a high rate of infection. Public health experts say the moves will undermine efforts to control the spread of the disease. The New York Times cited two federal health officials who said the changes were ordered by higher-ups at the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.
The decision was reportedly made at an August 20 meeting of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, while top public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was not present because he was undergoing surgery. The changes were backed by the task force’s newest member, Dr. Scott Atlas — a Fox News contributor and radiologist with no expertise in infectious diseases. This comes amid rising concern over outbreaks in schools around the country as at least three dozen states so far have reported cases on college campuses.
A return to campus for the new academic year has colleges and universities struggling to both contain outbreaks of Covid-19 and enforce policies meant to prevent its spread. Across the United States, at least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities, adding more than 8,700 cases to the country’s tally. Outbreaks have been identified at four different sororities at Kansas State University, according to news releases from the college and the Riley County Health Department. Temple University in Philadelphia announced it is suspending in-person classes for two weeks following the identification of 103 cases on campus. East Carolina reported 370 total positive cases from students as of Aug. 24.
The University of Alabama is receiving backlash after it ordered faculty members to remain silent about students who test positive for the virus, arguing that alerting their classmates would violate federal privacy laws. In an email the professors were admonished, “Do not tell the rest of the class,” with the word “not” underlined. UA currently has confirmed over 1,200 Covid 19 cases since classes resumed August 19th. They continue to urge students to wear masks and socially distance on and off campus. Many schools have limited parties and other gatherings to reduce Covid-19 risks but those rules being violated are why Notre Dame’s outbreak started.
A consensus is building among public health experts that it’s better to keep university students on campus after a Covid-19 outbreak rather than send them home as many are doing. It’s easier to isolate sick or exposed students and trace their contacts if they stay put. While sending students home risks exposing other people there as well as along the way, and makes contact tracing all but impossible. Contact tracing can help manage outbreaks when done correctly. The U.S. has struggled with it for many reasons, including getting people to answer the phone and respond truthfully. That’s even harder at college, when students worry about being disciplined for violating rules on social gathering.

 

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis

Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis

 

 

 

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The state of Michigan has reportedly reached a deal to pay out about $600 million to victims of the water crisis in Flint. The crisis began in 2014 when Flint’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, switched the source of the city’s drinking water in order to save money. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had found dangerous levels of lead — which can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves — in the water flowing into residents’ homes.
The water source move has been linked to at least 12 deaths from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, as well as widespread lead poisoning in residents, including 12,000 children. Dozens of lawsuits, including class-action cases, filed against Michigan and the city of Flint followed. Many cases emphasize the youngest victims — the children whose exposure to lead and toxins could lead to neurological disorders and learning disabilities, among other conditions.
The Supreme Court this year said it wouldn’t block a lawsuit by Flint residents seeking to hold city officials accountable. Lawyers for the city had asked justices to step in, saying their clients had immunity from such lawsuits. A previous ruling from a federal appeals court also sided with the residents. “Knowing the Flint River water was unsafe for public use, distributing it without taking steps to counter its problems, and assuring the public in the meantime that it was safe is conduct that would alert a reasonable person to the likelihood of personal liability,” the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals held.
In March 2017, nearly three years after the incident first came to light, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100 million to fund water infrastructure upgrades in Flint. A few weeks later, city officials declared the city’s drinking water was safe to drink. Six years later, the city has inspected more than 25,000 service lines and has replaced 85 percent of the pipes. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put work on hold. Residents are still scared to drink the water after city, state and federal officials have been accused of ignoring, denying or covering up complaints that started immediately after the switch.
Tens of thousands of Flint residents are expected to be eligible to receive money from the settlement. The settlement will establish a court-monitored victim’s compensation fund that will provide the direct payments to Flint residents. Nearly 80% of the money will go to those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis. Besides the state of Michigan, the settlement includes the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the individual defendants, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, according to a news release. Litigation will continue against other defendants, including two private engineering firms charged with professional negligence.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Portland Violence Continues As Judge Extends Order Against Federal Marshals

Portland Violence Continues As Judge Extends Order Against Federal Marshals

 

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A U.S. district judge in Oregon has extended a restraining order against the U.S. Marshals Service and agents with the Department of Homeland Security, ordering them to stop attacking journalists and legal observers at Black Lives Matter protests in Portland. The ruling came over the objections of the federal government, who argued that the restraining order issued against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service was now irrelevant.
That order barred federal officers from using physical force, arresting, or dispersing anyone they should “reasonably know” was at the protests as a journalist or observer. Attorneys for the federal agencies argued the circumstances had changed with the federal presence in Portland supposed to wind down — and that the order should therefore be allowed to lapse.
Judge Michael Simon sided with attorneys working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, who argued that the threat of violence remained even as the federal officers became less visible. The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon, alleging local and federal law enforcement have been targeting and attacking journalists during more than two months of nightly protests against racism and police brutality. Two weeks ago, Simon issued an initial restraining order on the federal officers, following mounting accounts of officers injuring journalists and observers on the ground.
Protests in Portland continue for the 11th straight week as the city’s mayor pleaded for protesters to stay off the streets, saying those who barricaded the doors to a police precinct the night before and tried to set it ablaze were not demonstrators, but criminals. The majority of sit-ins and marches have been peaceful with no police interaction. A smaller element continues to violently clash with police after most of the several hundred peaceful demonstrators have cleared the streets.
Within a week of the restraining order being extended, police declared riots as a march turned violent. Police repeatedly blocked marchers as they made their through neighborhoods. The tactics prevented people from gathering outside local police buildings, which have been the recent focus of raucous demonstrations. Portland police pushed people, shot them with impact munitions and set off smoke devices after people threw water bottles and paint toward officers. As protestors left the area to make their way down another street they were repeatedly met by police blocking the march.
Each time protestors marched a different street another standoff with police ensued. Videos have circulated of the confrontations showing objects being thrown at officers from a crowd and others of officers advancing on protestors, knocking people to the ground as they walk down the street. The incident drew immediate criticism, including from Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, the council’s leading advocate for police reform.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide

Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide

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Daisy Coleman, a high school sexual assault survivor who was featured in the documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” has died at the age of 23 by suicide. After announcing her death, Daisy’s mother Melinda wrote, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.” Daisy’s sexual assault prompted her to become an advocate for sexual assault victims and she co-founded the non-profit organization SafeBAE, which was aimed at preventing sexual assault in schools.
The Coleman family have suffered tremendous loss over the years far beyond Daisy’s sexual assault at a party in 2012. Melinda’s husband and father to her four children, Dr. Michael Coleman, was killed in a car crash in 2009, then Daisy’s younger brother Tristan died in a car accident at the age of 19 in June 2018 and now the loss of Daisy. The family had originally moved to the small town of Maryville from Albany, Missouri in 2009 after Michael Coleman’s death in hopes of making new and better memories than those the town of Albany held. Instead, they found themselves at the center of a sexual assault case that shocked the nation. Daisy and her friend were invited to a party in January 2012 where they became heavily intoxicated and both were sexually assaulted.
After the assault, Daisy was left intoxicated on her porch in 22-degree weather with no shoes or socks; when her mother found her she had frostbite. Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teens within hours and charged them with felonies. Matthew Barnett, a 17 year old high school senior and the grandson of former state representative Rex Barnett, was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of Coleman, who was 14 at the time. A 15-year-old boy was accused of doing the same to the girl’s 13-year-old friend Paige, and a third boy admitted to recording Barnett’s alleged assault on a cellphone. The video which was never retrieved by law enforcement, was deleted after reportedly being passed around the school.
The identities of alleged sex assault victims are generally not published, but Coleman’s family decided to go public with her identity and accusations. According to the Coleman’s, the torrents of hatred came only days after the case went public and the case divided the community. All four children experienced intense bullying and threats. Melinda Coleman, a veterinarian, lost her job because the case had become too contentious for the local veterinary clinic that was also the subject of threats. Mrs. Coleman says her three sons – Daisy’s brothers – were threatened at school and booed on the field – often by boys they had counted as friends’ just weeks earlier. Daisy became the target of daily bullying in school and was suspended from the cheerleading squad. She was hounded on social media, called a skank and a liar, and urged to kill herself, which she tried to do multiple times.
The relentless bullying prompted the family to move from Maryville back to Albany, Missouri. Shortly after moving, the family’s house in Maryville that they were trying to sell mysteriously burned to the ground 8 months after the moved. The case caught national media attention in October 2013 when the Kansas City Star reported that prosecutor, Robert Rice, dropped the rape charges – citing insufficient evidence. The state at the time appointed a special prosecutor to re-investigate the case, which ended in Barnett pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of charge child endangerment on Jan. 9, 2014. Barnett and his attorney maintain that the sexual encounter was consensual and the fact that two independent investigations have cleared him proves that he didn’t do anything wrong that night except for leaving Coleman outside in the cold. Daisy’s friend Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court, after Barnett was convicted in adult court on the lesser charge of child endangerment during the 2nd investigation.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Portland Riots Spark Wall of Allies

Portland Riots Spark Wall of Allies

 

 

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Black Lives Matter protests continue into their third month in many cities across the US as federal agents drew down their presence in Portland, Oregon last week after a widely condemned violent crackdown on the demonstrators. For weeks, Portland activists have protested racial inequities in the criminal justice system. The Portland police chief stepped down and the Portland City Council slashed the police budget by millions. The Multnomah County district attorney stepped down five months early to make room for his reform-minded successor. The governor also called a special legislative session to address demands for police accountability.
Portland police and city leaders openly struggled with how to respond to nightly havoc wrought by a smaller core of demonstrators. The White House sent federal marshals to Portland to quell the protests. As the number of videos of excessive force used by federal marshals against peaceful protestors began to circulate on social media, so did the size of the protests. Tensions escalated after an officer with the Marshals Service fired a less-lethal round at protester Donavan La Bella’s head on July 11, critically injuring him.
Videos of La Bella’s assault and others prompted the Wall of Moms, a group of approximately 40 women, some pregnant, who first attended the protests in Portland to help protect protestors from the violence they had seen in their own city. Now, the Wall of Moms has grown to over 14,000 and they have popped up at protests in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and many other cities across the US.
When videos out of Portland began circulating showing the Wall of Moms being sprayed in the face with tear gas while standing with arms interlocked in front of protestors, the Wall of Dads emerged, armed with leaf blowers to blow the tear gas away. The violence continued and video of navy veteran Christopher David emerged, showing him being pepper sprayed and repeatedly struck with a baton by a marshal when he walked up to them to ask a question. David suffered a fractured hand that will require surgery.
Within a week of David’s assault going viral, a new wall, the Wall of Veterans joined the frontlines in Portland to curb the violence by federal marshals. Their numbers swelled and they were soon joined by other burgeoning groups — green-shirted Teachers Against Tyrants, the pizza-box carrying ChefBloc, the Wall of Nurses, health-care workers in scrubs and Lawyers for Black Lives, who turned up at the protest in suits and ties.
Michelle Heisler, the medical director of Physicians for Human Rights said that typically, police fire the tear gas or pepper spray agent once or twice to clear crowds and encourage people to move away from an area, but in Portland, federal agents have been unleashing the chemicals repeatedly for hours. This sustained cascade makes it difficult for peaceful demonstrators to avoid being hit and runs the risk of ensnaring bystanders in the area.
The Marshal Service has acknowledged only the two instances of excessive force that were caught on video and are currently under internal review by the agency involving La Bella and David. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies have been criticized for their use of tear gas and other irritants on protestors. A representative for the Marshal service said they are defending themselves against coordinated attacks by a smaller group of organized protestors that stay behind after the peaceful protestors leave.wallmoms.jpg

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US

Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US

 

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Housing activists across the country are demanding local protections against evictions during the pandemic. Many states have faced criticism for resuming evictions as millions of people are still out of work, many who still have children at home until the school year starts. Many companies have closed their doors indefinitely, taking jobs with them across the US. While some states and counties issued eviction moratoriums, they have expired and thousands face homelessness.
In New Orleans, members of the Renters Rights Assembly surrounded a courthouse that handles evictions, chaining themselves together under a banner reading “Evictions = Death,” and blocking several landlords from entering the building. In Maryland, more than 100 protesters marched through Mayor Tom Barrett’s neighborhood demanding a moratorium on evictions and other forms of housing protections. Beyond standard legal protections, tenants in Maryland have an extra layer of protection against eviction during the pandemic: an executive order from Governor Larry Hogan prohibits eviction so long as the state remains under the state of emergency — and so long as the tenants can prove that their income has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A second layer of protection, a pause on eviction-related hearings in Maryland courts, expired on July 25.
In Missouri, protests brought proceedings to a halt at a Kansas City eviction court. All spring KC Tenants demanded relief for Kansas City renters left vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. They organized — virtually and in person — to shut down the state eviction court proceedings at the Jackson County Courthouse. KC Tenants leaders pledged to keep shutting down the eviction docket until they see action to protect vulnerable residents. “If our so-called leaders continue to lead our tenants into death digitally, online, via phone or even in person, we are going to continue to shut it down until we get what we want,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick said in front of the courthouse. In St. Louis, protestors gather outside city hall for an “anti-eviction rally” heavily criticizing the court’s decision to restart evictions. “People aren’t working. People don’t have money,” said Sarah Watkins, a rally organizer with Action STL. “People haven’t paid rent since the pandemic began in April. People will be on the street.”
In Milwaukee, a march was organized by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union to demand help for the many families still out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide ban on evictions expired two months ago and now, between 150 and 170 people are being evicted from their homes in Milwaukee every week. The state ($25 million), Milwaukee County ($10 million) and City of Milwaukee ($15 million) have poured millions into rental assistance programs, but advocates say vulnerable tenants need added protections. “The rental assistance is good, but it’s not enough,” said protest organizer Robert Penner. “It’s very slow, the systems are backlogged, and they’re over-saturated with cases. A lot of people lose their home before they can even get in contact” with such programs, he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a second round of $15 million in rental assistance for people financially struggling during the COVID-19 recession Friday, one day after he declined to support a city-mandated eviction grace period for tenants to catch up on past-due payments. More than 3 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. They have also relied on federal benefits from a congressional pandemic relief package, eviction moratoriums and rent assistance programs to remain housed.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Minneapolis Investigating Unnamed Umbrella Man

Minneapolis Investigating Unnamed Umbrella Man

 

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Minneapolis police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect known as “Umbrella Man” who was filmed smashing the windows of an auto parts dealership on May 27, two days after the police killing of George Floyd.  Video of the “Umbrella Man” went viral after protesters in Minneapolis confronted and filmed him while he was in the act of smashing several windows of an AutoZone store.  Investigators say the man is a white supremacist who sought to provoke violence against protesters.  The term “Umbrella Man” was coined on social media as people guessed at his identity, with some protesters speculating he was actually a member of the police force.

According to a search warrant, the man is associated with the “Aryan Cowboys,” which the Anti-Defamation League lists as a White supremacist prison and street gang. The warrant does not label them as a White supremacist group, but describes them as a “known prison gang out of Minnesota and Kentucky.”  A Minneapolis arson investigator wrote in the search warrant affidavit that the man also spray painted the words “free sh*t for everyone zone” on the doors of the AutoZone. Not long after he smashed in the windows, looting began, and a bit later the AutoZone was set on fire, the affidavit said.

“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” Sgt. Erika Christensen, wrote in the affidavit.  “Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”

Police identified the 32-year-old suspect through a tip last week but the suspect has not been named. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder told the Associated Press he could not confirm the name of the person involved, but said the investigation remains open and active.  The tipster told the investigator that the man was a member of the Hells Angels biker gang who “wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.”  Police matched him to photos a Muslim woman took when she was harassed during an encounter with the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, while eating burgers with her young daughter in Stillwater in June.

The riots spread to other parts of Minneapolis and led to Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct burning down, and according to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, resulted in $500 million in property damage.  At least two people died — one a man who was fatally shot at a Minneapolis pawnshop and another man whose burned body was found in the ruins of another pawnshop.

Protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death.  The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn tens of millions into the streets to participate in protests taking place every day since May.  The protests have been plagued with violence from the start.  They continue to push for police reform and an end to systemic inequalities around race.  It has led to radical reform in recent months in many states and the faces of those they continue to seek justice for continue to change as more police shootings occur.

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Cases Surge As Research On Lasting Effects Continues

Covid 19 Cases Surge As Research On Lasting Effects Continues

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Coronavirus cases continue to surge in much of the United States, where the number of confirmed infections has topped 4.6 million, with nearly 155,000 reported deaths. Florida has surpassed New York to become the state with the second-highest number of infections after California. Almost 66,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths from the virus were reported in the U.S. on July 29th, 2020. The toll marks the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day since May 15. A total of 773 of those deaths were reported by coronavirus hot-spot states Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Florida reported a state record of 216 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours.
In California, healthcare providers say they are again dealing with shortages in testing, which is hitting low-income and immigrant communities the hardest. In Texas, doctors at a rural hospital in Starr County have received critical care guidelines to help them decide which COVID-19 patients the hospital can treat and those whom they send home because they are more likely to die. With the virus continuing to spread out of control, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are calling for a “reset” in the U.S. coronavirus response with universal mask mandates, federal support for expanded testing and a new round of stay-at-home orders in hot spots. And in an open letter published Wednesday, the Association of American Medical Colleges writes, “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”
Globally, coronavirus cases have now topped 16.2 million and over 650,000 have died since the first cluster of cases were reported in late December 2019 in Wuhan China. Last week, the worldwide caseload jumped by 1 million in just four days. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak the most severe global health emergency the WHO has ever faced.
As European nations scramble to prevent a second wave of infections, Britain has reinstated a 14-day quarantine for travelers coming from Spain. Globally, 11 million people have recovered. For those who survive COVID-19, there’s increasing evidence of long-term organ damage with more studies underway. A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of 100 middle-aged patients who recovered from COVID-19, 78 had structural damage to their hearts.
One study group in Italy found that 87% of patients hospitalized for acute COVID-19 were still struggling 2 months later. Data from the COVID Symptom Study, which uses an app into which millions of people in the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden have entered their symptoms, suggest 10% to 15% of people—including some “mild” cases—don’t quickly recover. But with the crisis just months old, no one knows how far into the future symptoms will endure, and whether COVID-19 will prompt the onset of chronic diseases.
Distinct features of the virus, including its propensity to cause widespread inflammation and blood clotting, could play a role in the assortment of concerns now surfacing. Survivor studies are just starting to probe them. Researchers across the United Kingdom have launched a study that will follow 10,000 survivors for 1 year to start, and up to 25 years. Ultimately, researchers hope to understand the disease’s long shadow and hopefully be able to predict who’s at highest risk of lingering symptoms and learn whether treatments in the acute phase of illness can head them off.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Tensions Rise Over Schools Reopening in US

Tensions Rise Over Schools Reopening in US

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In the US, Covid 19 has killed nearly 141,000 people and infected 3.8 million — both by far the highest numbers in the world. The US has more than a quarter of the deaths and infections in the entire world, yet only a little more than 4% of the population. As cases continue to spike, tensions spike over schools reopening. As schools across the country prepare to reopen for in-classroom learning, teachers are trying to figure out the safest way to resume in-person education. While some schools have given the option for online courses, others are still working on plans to return to the classroom. Lawmakers in Washington are pushing to include a provision in a new coronavirus relief package tying school funding to the reopening of classrooms. Many public health officials fear the reopening of schools could lead to a new surge in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations.
Three teachers in Arizona were sharing a classroom for two hours a day teaching online summer school classes during the pandemic. Despite following protocols — social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and using hand sanitizer — they were all sickened by the coronavirus. Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died June 26, less than two weeks after she was hospitalized. The two surviving teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, said that it is not yet safe for kids, or teachers, to return to the classroom. Martinez said that when they began to do their online schooling from campus, they followed plans in place meant to keep them safe from the virus.
In Arizona, teachers want Governor Doug Ducey to push the start of in-person school to at least early October after the beloved educator died of COVID-19 teaching summer school and statewide hospitalizations and deaths spiral. At stake, Arizona teachers say, is the safety of the state’s 1.1 million public school students and 20,000 teachers. Arizona has been hit hard by the virus this summer as its 7-day average of new cases has gone from 500 at the end of May to more than 3,000 in July, while hospitals’ intensive care capacity, according to most recent data from Arizona Department of Public Health, stood at a nearly 90% percent last week.
Florida has reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row. On Monday, Florida’s largest teachers’ union sued Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to block his order requiring all schools to reopen next month despite the growing pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,200 Floridians.
Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Mike Parson is insisting students go to school despite the risk of the virus. He received backlash after giving an interview where he said “These kids have got to get back to school. They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it. We gotta move on,” he continued. “We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.” Many criticized his statement calling it “stunning ignorance” saying the virus “doesn’t stop with our children. The teachers, bus drivers, janitors, food service workers, parents, grandparents and neighbors who our children see every day are susceptible to this virus, too. We need a plan that keeps all Missouri families safe.” Missouri has 47,519 confirmed cases and 1,268 deaths.
It is still unclear how frequently children transmit the virus to others. Some data suggests children are less susceptible to contracting the virus and spreading it to adults. According to the CDC, 175,374 cases have been confirmed in kids ages 17 and under, accounting for approximately 6% of all confirmed cases. A large study recently shared out of South Korea found children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus as much as adults do, while children younger than the age of 10 transmit the virus to others less often than adults.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Two Indiana Men Arrested in Viral July 4th Attack

Two Indiana Men Arrested in Viral July 4th Attack

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Two Indiana men were charged in an alleged assault against a Black man who was seen in a viral video being held against his will in the woods near an Indiana lake on the Fourth of July.  Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox are charged with various crimes, including confinement and battery against 36-year-old Vauhxx Booker. Purdy and Cox were part of a group of five men who pinned Booker to a tree, beat him and threatened to lynch him. Booker was able to escape them after passersby intervened. A portion of the assault was captured on video by the strangers who intervened.
Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant has filed two active warrants for the two men and says Booker will face no charges. Purdy is charged with criminal confinement, battery resulting in injury and intimidation, all felonies. Cox is charged with aiding or causing criminal confinement, felony battery resulting in injury, intimidation and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
Booker, a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, posted his account of the July 4 incident along with video to his Facebook account, writing, “I don’t want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching.” He went on: “On July 4th evening others and me were victims of what I would describe as a hate crime. I was attacked by five white men with Confederate flags who literally threatened to lynch me in front of numerous witnesses.”
Booker said he and his friends were visiting a public beach on Lake Monroe outside Bloomington to join a gathering when a group of white men said they were on private property and began following them. Some of the men became belligerent, he said. When he approached “sober seeming group members” to “see if we could smooth things over a bit,” the confrontation escalated. Video posted to social media shows a group of white men holding Booker to a tree as his friends plead with them to release him. In the video, one man shouts at the camera, “You happy about this, you nappy-headed bitch? You and your five white friends?” As Booker’s friends leave, one of the men follows, shouting, “Those Black boys want to start it all.”
Booker says during the attack there were shouts of “get a noose” and “white power,” although those are not heard on the video. Booker believes he’s alive because strangers stopped to help and film the altercation. “The reason why I’m here today is simply because these folks, they didn’t just stop and watch and film my execution,” Booker said in an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. “They became involved. They became active participants. They put themselves in danger when they stepped forward for me.”
Last week, the FBI confirmed it was investigating the incident as a potential hate crime, and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb called it “beyond disturbing.” “The brief video clip that I viewed with my own two eyes was beyond disturbing and that’s why it’s very important that the DNR … complete their investigation sooner rather than later.” Bloomington

Mayor Greg Hamilton, who said he has known Booker personally for at least five years, said his city had work to do. “I don’t know what would have happened in the woods around Lake Monroe if there hadn’t been other individuals there and if there hadn’t been a video taken,” Hamilton told Yahoo News. “It’s incredibly important that we as a country, and then me and my community, that we make clear that has no place in our community, and we want to root it out.”

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