Posts tagged with "disease"

Kaelen Fenix illustration for homelessness in 360 MAGAZINE

Covid-19 Increasing Homelessness

By Eamonn Burke

A study back in May of this year by a Columbia professor found that the unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could increase homelessness by 45%, following a peak unemployment rate in April of 14.7%. Using data from previous recessions as well as current unemployment trends, Dr. Brendan O’Flaherty estimated that another 250,000 people would become homeless this year, bringing the total number of homeless in the country to 800,000. Across the nation, evidence of this narrative coming to fruition is clear. In West Virginia, there are 10,000 homeless students. 125 homeless people have died this year in San Francisco. Homelessness is increasing in Ohio and Texas, and Residents of Long Island are petitioning for another homeless shelter. This is just some of data to show the trend of widespread homelessness as a result of the coronavirus.

Besides taking the lives of many through infection, the coronavirus has caused a massive recession, like likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s. As of last month, 22 millions Americans are receiving unemployment payments, coming after one of the best economic stretches in American history.

In addition to unemployment benefits, many people were also protected by the moratorium under the Federal CARES Act, which has since expired, allowing evictions to resume. An Aspen Institute study estimates 30-40 million people could be evicted by the end of 2020. This means even more people out on the streets and more vulnerable to getting COVID, which creates a vicious cycle and creates more pressure on emergency services. Shelters are available but often overcrowded and unsanitary.

There is also the issue of those who are older and who have preexisting conditions, who have been identified as higher risk for COVID-19 and who also are becoming more prevalent among homeless populations. Over 100,000 people over 45 years old were estimated to be living outside on an average night in 2019. Another study showed that around 85% of unsheltered people had physical health issues in 2019. Lastly, a Harvard study revealed that roughly 11 million households spend at least half of their income on housing, making them vulnerable in a recession.

There is also a racial undertone of the homelessness crisis from Covid-19, as black and Latinx people make up a large portion of the population and 58% of black and Latinx people lack the sufficient liquid assets to survive a recession. This can lead to greater racial disparity in an already tumultuous period for race relations in the country.

The CARES act also provided $4 billion in funding, which the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, along with The National Alliance to End Homelessness used to develop a framework for how to use the money to fight homelessness. It focuses on five major points: services for the unsheltered, housing, shelter, prevention and diversion, and improving future systems.

It is expected that the rising homelessness rate with correlate with the projected rising unemployment rate through 2022. The homelessness rate was already rising with overpopulation, and the pandemic is acting as a catalyst for the issue.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

New COVID-19 Strain In Southeast Asia

By Eamonn Burke

A mutation of the COVID-19 virus called D614G has been discovered in Southeast Asia, mostly in Malaysia and the Philippines but also in China. The outbreak can be traced back to a man who did not quarantine after his trip from India, causing a 45-case outbreak in Malaysia. The man has since been fined and sentenced to five months in prison. D614G is the leading strain in the United States and Europe, after being discovered in Chicago in June. Now the mutation is quickly spreading across Asia and the entire world.

The mutation is estimated to be up to 10 times more infectious, but “We still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen,” says Phillipines’ Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Verviers. A study from Johns Hopkins points to evidence showing that the new virus is not more deadly than the previous strain. Benjamin Cowling of University of Hong Kong agreed: “(D614G) might be a little bit more contagious. We haven’t yet got enough evidence to evaluate that.” A Cell Press paper also corroborates this, saying that the strain will most likely not impact vaccine development. However, Malaysia’s Director-General of Health, Noor Hisham, warns that this may mean that vaccine studies may be incomplete without accounting for the new strain.

A mutating virus is far from an exceptional thing, because it is how they can continue to spread. In fact, the genome of the coronavirus changes about 2 times a month, according to Science Magazine. Some of them help the virus reproduce, others damage it, and some are neutral. These changes can be just a single letter in the genetic code, but it can make the virus much more transmissible. Dr Thushan de Silva, at the University of Sheffield, says that there is not enough evidence to say whether the D614G mutation helps or harms the virus, but he knows that it is not neutral.

This comes as the FDA has just granted emergency authorization for COVID-19 spit tests, which will make testing much easier and much wider spread. The SalivaDirect test, developed at Yale University, will expedite testing by eliminating a time consuming step in the process.

Meanwhile, the United States passes 170,000 deaths from the virus, with infections of children rising as they return to school. New information from the CDC says that rates of COVID-19 in children are increasing. While they make up only 7% of cases in the country, they are responsible for over 20% of them. In addition to this, and in contrast to previous beliefs, “Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings.”

Data to reinforce this claim can be found in the rising cases among children at schools that have already reopened, including 7,000 in Alabama. Many schools have debated or committed to reversing course and going online. These rising cases correlating with schools reopening “may explain the low incidence in children compared with adults,” says the CDC, suggesting that children’s perceived resistance to transmitting the virus may have been partly a result of simply staying inside – a sobering reminder of the ever changing narrative of COVID-19.

Rhea Roberts-Johnson in 360 MAGAZINE talks about Coachella and Goldenvoice.

Goldenvoice Black – Trailblazer

By Neecole Cockerham

Rhea Roberts-Johnson is the first Black woman to be promoted to a VP position at Goldenvoice, an AEG subsidiary. The new executive is also a new mother to an energetic toddler named Story, with her husband industry impresario Marcus Johnson.

As if having a career and being a full-time mom doesn’t take up enough time in the day, Goldenvoice staff and vendors have been forced to postpone Coachella, one of the world’s leading music festivals, due to the COVID-19. The coronavirus disease has created an unprecedented pandemic.

In the midst of the quarantine, the abnormally shut in citizens of the United States, witnessed via a cell phone recording, the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, who pressed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds. At that moment Black people in the United States were forced into a position that challenged our civil liberties and stripped away our dignity as if we were inhumane. People of all races, from all walks of life took to the streets – men, women and children. The coordinated, mostly peaceful marches were organized by activists and the Black Lives Matter Movement. The protesters began to mobilize and protests began across the U.S and and on every continent around the world. People banded together for an unprecedented globalization of civil unrest and demanded change for the rights of Black people in America against the country’s systemic oppressed law enforcement agencies, and the society that inadvertently supported their actions.

The times are somewhat changing – as universal corporate offices have taken a short but hard look at themselves and the systemic racism that they have promoted through the years. Corporations are challenged with how they hire, retain and promote people of color within their organizations. They are being held to task to begin to fill openings with qualified Blacks and other people of color instead of continually engaging in white employment nepotism, frat boys and a Becky in tow.

The round table at Goldenvoice was a diverse group of people who acknowledged the repugnant feeling of what their eyes had seen and everyone’s heart had felt.

I sat down with Roberts-Johnson, to ask the down to earth, prestigious executive a few questions over a Zoom conference. I’ve known Rhea for a number of years, so it was easy to dive into a conversation that was just as she is – honest and candid.

Can you explain GV Black?

“Goldenvoice Black was birthed from round table discussions of Black employees, who for some time, have exchanged views of working as Blacks in a predominantly white environment – it is the voice of the people. GV Black has become a source of comfort to communicate what being Black means in today’s climate. Our social responsibility is to have acknowledgment from the corporation in which we work, the need to bring equality and more diversity to our workforce and to outline and monitor productive steps to insure that this equality is met.”

Do you have any fear in being a part of a revolutionary entity within the internal confines of a corporate environment?

“As a woman we are already marginalized in this environment. As a Black woman and a mother of a Black male child, I am more interested in social equity not just for now but for the future of those who come after me. I had no mirror to show me insight into how to maneuver in the world of behind the scenes entertainment. The conversations we were having at Goldenvoice were more than just about talking. We were all hurting just like many people and it was important for us to say something and even more important to agree on the actions that we would take to support diversity, elevate youth and develop community under the Goldenvoice umbrella.”

The music festival Coachella released its first statement ever about their position on injustice. The declaration issued by Coachella would be the words of Rhea Roberts-Johnson.

The poetic rhyme scheme is just 5 lines shy of a Sonnet and reads like a mission statement of hope:

We do not stand for injustice.

We do not stand for racism.

We do not stand for bigotry.

We stand for music.

We stand for celebration.

We stand for love.

We stand for unity.

We stand for Black Lives.

They Matter.

~Coachella

Now that the protesting has come to a halt, the pandemic is at an all time high; Goldenvoice employees are working from home or either furloughed… Goldenvoice recently posted on social media and received backlash from a few public critics, because of the word “bodies”..Can you comment on it?

“I’m actually glad that you asked this question. Before I go into what it means, I have to mention that the statement was written by Black employees, and had the public known that, it may have been received differently. Surprise! There are Black people that work at Goldenvoice (I’m sure that’s shocking to some since in its early days the company booked a lot of punk rock bands). We used the word “bodies” as a metaphor to draw attention to the objectification of Black people. Many types of Black and brown people in this country are dehumanized and not allowed the luxury of full humanity as so many others are. We also used it to emphasize the history of physical violence against Black people in our country whether it be through slavery, lynching, police brutality, etc. It’s a common term used by social justice activists, and having come from one of them, there probably wouldn’t have been a peep. Coming from a festival, some people were taken aback.”

Rhea I think to be silent nowadays is to be in agreement. Maybe those taken “aback” will be propelled into recognizing the truth and understanding the ladder is merely semantics.

What is next for GV Black?

“Without giving up too much too soon, we along with our non-Black allies at the company, are working diligently to create an even more inclusive environment for our employees, fans, artists, vendors, etc.”

Rhea Roberts-Johnson is a rare breed. She has a silent strength that exists when you can only imagine the amount of pressure that is being experienced to incite change. As we wait to see what’s next to come you can feel a glimmer of hope. Goldenvoice, GV Black and Coachella are consciously pioneering trailblazers for utilizing their platform to be all inclusive and unite people as one just as music does.

Live Virtual AIDS Walk

ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco will air a one-hour virtual special, “AIDS Walk: Live At Home,” on SUNDAY, JULY 19 (10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT), to raise funds to
benefit PRC, (formerly Positive Resource Center), and more than 45 other AIDS
service organizations that provide HIV/AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy throughout the Bay Area. In addition to airing on ABC7, the special will be livestreamed on aidswalk.net and PRCSF.org.

ABC7 has been a proud sponsor of the AIDS Walk San Francisco since 1987. Normally, the news team would join in the walk that’s held at Golden Gate Park. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will
be held virtually. Additionally, AIDS Walk San Francisco and AIDS Walk New York have joined together to feature voices of communities of supporters from both cities and coasts. This year’s special will harness the strength and individual character of two landmark events coming together virtually to present the Bay Area’s largest, single-day
AIDS-related fundraiser.

Just added to the star-studded lineup for Sunday’s virtual broadcast on ABC7 are Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, Jordin Sparks, Harvey Fierstein, Raul Esparza, Norm Lewis and San Francisco Mayor London Breed. They join previously announced guests, award-winning icon Bette Midler; GRAMMY®-winning global superstar Gloria Estefan; Golden Globe® winner Matt Bomer;
entertainment icon Vanessa Williams; Emmy® and Golden Globe Award winner Laura Linney; Katharine McPhee (“Smash”); Shoshana Bean (“Wicked”); Megan Hilty (“Smash”); Skylar Astin (“Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist”); Alex Newell (“Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist”);
and stars from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” including Nina West, Jackie Cox, Latrice Royale, Willam, Chi Chi DeVayne, Alexis Michelle, The Vixen and Ginger Minj.

“AIDS Walk: Live at Home” will raise awareness and funds that support HIV care and prevention services, as well as mental health, substance use, housing and other important social programs. Viewers are
encouraged to register and raise funds at aidswalk.net

About ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco

Emmy^® Award-winning station KGO-TV ABC7 is the San Francisco Bay Area’s source for breaking news, weather and live video. Widely recognized for its solution-based promise to help the Bay Area communities, the station’s initiative “Building a Better Bay Area” dedicates more time, resources and reporting to the issues that impact its viewers’ quality of life. From the local economy and education, to health and safety, to race and social justice, ABC7’s focus is to bring greater perspective on the challenges currently facing neighborhoods. In addition to being the first station in the market to expand its weekday morning program to 4:30 a.m. in 2008 and their 11
p.m. weekend newscast to one hour in 2011, the station has consistently garnered Emmy nominations and wins for Overall Excellence/News Excellence, with one most recently awarded in 2019. KGO-TV is an ABC
owned television station serving San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and all of the greater Bay Area.

New Possible Pandemic

By Eamonn Burke

As the coronavirus continues to ravage the United States and the entire world, new concerns have sprung up over another virus with roots in China.

The flu virus is a newer strain of H1N1, a highly contagious and deadly disease that swept the world in 2009 and became a seasonal illness. This new strain, called G4 EA H1N1, first cropped up in 2016 among pig farms in China. It can and has spread to humans through the respiratory system without causing harm, but scientists are warning of the viruses pandemic potential.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the virus is not an “immediate threat” but rather “something we need to keep our eye on just the way we did with in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu.” He has compared the characteristics of the virus as similar to the swine flu as well as the Spanish flu that killed between 30-50 million people.

Although the virus right now does not seem to have deadly or highly transmissible traits, what it does show is “reassortment capabilities” that suggest that it could become a major problem quickly, and one that needs to be controlled urgently. While President Trump falsely asserts that the coronavirus is fading, scientists worry about how the nation would cope with another pandemic on our hands.

New Possible Pandemic

By Eamonn Burke

As the coronavirus continues to ravage the United States and the entire world, new concerns have sprung up over another virus with roots in China.

The flu virus is a newer strain of H1N1, a highly contagious and deadly disease that swept the world in 2009 and became a seasonal illness. This new strain, called G4 EA H1N1, first cropped up in 2016 among pig farms in China. It can and has spread to humans through the respiratory system without causing harm, but scientists are warning of the viruses pandemic potential.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the virus is not an “immediate threat” but rather “something we need to keep our eye on just the way we did with in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu.” He has compared the characteristics of the virus as similar to the swine flu as well as the Spanish flu that killed between 30-50 million people.

Although the virus right now does not seem to have deadly or highly transmissible traits, what it does show is “reassortment capabilities” that suggest that it could become a major problem quickly, and one that needs to be controlled urgently. While President Trump falsely asserts that the coronavirus is fading, scientists worry about how the nation would cope with another pandemic on our hands.

Covid and health illustration

PFCD × Antimicrobial Resistance

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today announced a new initiative to advance awareness on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR, aka “superbugs”) and to drive action for policy changes to address the threat AMR poses to our health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. The COVID-19 crisis has increased public awareness on the importance of having the right treatments available to treat public health crises as they arise. The threat of AMR looms large as an existing and growing public health need.

In addition to educating and drawing attention to AMR as a pressing public health issue, the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) will:

* Advocate for policy changes to encourage research and development of new treatments and therapies for infectious diseases, * Motivate broad change in the way antimicrobial treatments (e.g. antibiotics, antifungals) are developed, distributed, and consumed, and * Reinforce awareness about the value of antimicrobial treatments, the impact to the practice of modern medicine, and the threat to individual health.

“The launch of PFID is an extension of PFCD’s work for over a decade to advance a vision for a healthier future. The significant impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the millions of Americans living with one or more chronic conditions is a long-overdue wake-up call that demands an answer,” stated PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe. “PFCD stands committed to our goals of addressing the burden of chronic disease, motivating calls for change, and challenging policymakers to create sustainable progress for both chronic and infectious disease threats that exact a heavy human and economic toll in America.”

According to a recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters, there is considerable urgency around and support of policy changes on issues related to AMR.

“The level of concern voters have about antimicrobial resistance is intense and remarkably consistent across the country,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. “They want this issue to be a high priority for policymakers.”

When presented with some background on AMR, 85 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the issue and 76 percent believe that the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority.

More than 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that the government, universities, and drug companies need to all work together to deal with antimicrobial resistance. The strongest predictor of concern for this issue is if a voter has been impacted by COVID-19.

Fifty-nine percent of those who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 are much more likely to say they are very concerned about AMR, and are also more likely to feel the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority (87%) compared to those who haven’t been seriously impacted (64%).

Levels of concern were notably higher among people of color and older Americans, those most impacted by the current pandemic. Further, supporting a candidate who makes the development of new antibiotics a priority was a likelihood for many, and a strong majority believe investment in antibiotics is too low.

“Everyone needs antibiotics to work, whether you are living with chronic disease, are having a routine surgery or undergoing cancer treatment or dialysis. Antibiotics are the safety net of modern medicine, and every procedure becomes more dangerous if we lose them,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership that funds the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics urgently need to treat superbugs. “There are solutions. We need to invest in new antibiotics to address drug-resistant pathogens.”

While the causes for the existing shortfall are many, the PFID initiative will prioritize prevention and translate knowledge into action by stakeholders across the health care continuum – patients, providers, employers, policymakers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and many others. In doing so, the end goal is to cultivate collaboration among both public and private stakeholders to expand education and awareness of the issues and related impact areas, and to encourage and support innovation and development of quality treatments and therapies that can address the health threats of today and protect patients at large into the future.

“Without effective antibiotics many of the advances of modern medicine are in jeopardy. We must curtail the overuse and misuse of antibiotics that is driving the development of resistance and invest in new antibiotics that can treat superbugs. IDSA welcomes the PFID partnership to help drive the policy changes we need,” stated Amanda Jezek, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

For more information about the PFID and efforts to address AMR throughout the U.S. and across the globe, click HERE.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

Covid and health illustration

COVID Collaboration Reducing Cases

A collaborative program developed at UVA Healthto work with local long-term care facilities to control COVID-19 is saving lives and offers a model for communities across the country, a new scientific paper reports.

The program has helped prevent COVID-19 infections and reducedmortality when outbreaks occur, its creators say. Of the first two facility outbreaks that the team has worked with, there were lower mortality rates than seen in previous outbreaks – 12% and 19%. That’s compared with a 28% mortality rate reported at a long-term care facility in Washington state.

“Developing this program has been a wonderful collaboration amongst many sites of care and types of care providers,” said UVA Health geriatrician Laurie R. Archbald-Pannone, MD, MPH, the program’s lead physician. “We call the program GERI-PaL – meaning Geriatric Engagement and Resource Integration for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Facilities – and it has been a great opportunity to bring together hospital and community-based resources to assist our local facilities in preventing and responding to COVID-19 outbreaks.”

A Practical Approach to Controlling COVID-19 Archbald-Pannone and her colleagues describe the program as a “practical approach” to controlling COVID-19 in long-term-carefacilities. Such facilities have been hard-hit by the pandemic because of the vulnerable health of many residents and the intensive nature of the care provided.

In their new paper, the UVA team highlights five key components of the program:

Infection advisory consultations: UVA Health infection-control experts worked hand-in-hand with the long-term care facilities to develop effective infection-control policies and address issues such as staffing needs and access to personal-protective equipment (PPE).

Project ECHO: A geriatrician, pulmonologist, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader and nurse educator were all made available using a model based on Project ECHO, a program that offers training and support for health professionals. The group met virtually with their colleagues at the nursing facilities to provide the latest COVID-19 information, testing and treatment guidance.

Telemedicine consultations: UVA Health pulmonary/critical-care and geriatric and palliative medicine experts provided consultations via telemedicine on testing, monitoring and treating facility residents for COVID-19. The team also facilitated transfers to the hospital, when needed, and transfers back to the nursing facilities when the patients had recovered sufficiently. The team also worked closely with the primary-care physicians to assist in decision-making and treatment of these patients.

Nursing liaisons: A nursing liaison offered concierge-style service for each facility, helping to keep lines of communication open and ensure any needs were met.

Resident social remote connections: Volunteer medical students spoke with residents by telephone to combat social isolation and keep their spirits up.

“This program has really been a team effort and highlights the dedication of colleagues across the healthcare continuum – physicians, nurses, administrators, technology experts, local health officials and more – all coming together to support work with our local facilities amidst the challenges of COVID-19,” Archbald-Pannone said. “We have all faced many challenges over the past few months. It’s been an honor to help support our local facilities and their dedicated staff members in the care of these vulnerable patients. Many of the systems we’ve put in place and lessons we have learned will be value to improve care beyond even COVID-19.”

Results Published

The UVA Health team members have described their experiences in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. The team consisted of Archbald-Pannone, Drew Harris, Kimberly Albero, Rebecca Steele, Aaron Pannone and Justin Mutter.

Covid and health illustration

COVID Collaboration Reducing Cases

A collaborative program developed at UVA Healthto work with local long-term care facilities to control COVID-19 is saving lives and offers a model for communities across the country, a new scientific paper reports.

The program has helped prevent COVID-19 infections and reducedmortality when outbreaks occur, its creators say. Of the first two facility outbreaks that the team has worked with, there were lower mortality rates than seen in previous outbreaks – 12% and 19%. That’s compared with a 28% mortality rate reported at a long-term care facility in Washington state.

“Developing this program has been a wonderful collaboration amongst many sites of care and types of care providers,” said UVA Health geriatrician Laurie R. Archbald-Pannone, MD, MPH, the program’s lead physician. “We call the program GERI-PaL – meaning Geriatric Engagement and Resource Integration for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Facilities – and it has been a great opportunity to bring together hospital and community-based resources to assist our local facilities in preventing and responding to COVID-19 outbreaks.”

A Practical Approach to Controlling COVID-19 Archbald-Pannone and her colleagues describe the program as a “practical approach” to controlling COVID-19 in long-term-carefacilities. Such facilities have been hard-hit by the pandemic because of the vulnerable health of many residents and the intensive nature of the care provided.

In their new paper, the UVA team highlights five key components of the program:

Infection advisory consultations: UVA Health infection-control experts worked hand-in-hand with the long-term care facilities to develop effective infection-control policies and address issues such as staffing needs and access to personal-protective equipment (PPE).

Project ECHO: A geriatrician, pulmonologist, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader and nurse educator were all made available using a model based on Project ECHO, a program that offers training and support for health professionals. The group met virtually with their colleagues at the nursing facilities to provide the latest COVID-19 information, testing and treatment guidance.

Telemedicine consultations: UVA Health pulmonary/critical-care and geriatric and palliative medicine experts provided consultations via telemedicine on testing, monitoring and treating facility residents for COVID-19. The team also facilitated transfers to the hospital, when needed, and transfers back to the nursing facilities when the patients had recovered sufficiently. The team also worked closely with the primary-care physicians to assist in decision-making and treatment of these patients.

Nursing liaisons: A nursing liaison offered concierge-style service for each facility, helping to keep lines of communication open and ensure any needs were met.

Resident social remote connections: Volunteer medical students spoke with residents by telephone to combat social isolation and keep their spirits up.

“This program has really been a team effort and highlights the dedication of colleagues across the healthcare continuum – physicians, nurses, administrators, technology experts, local health officials and more – all coming together to support work with our local facilities amidst the challenges of COVID-19,” Archbald-Pannone said. “We have all faced many challenges over the past few months. It’s been an honor to help support our local facilities and their dedicated staff members in the care of these vulnerable patients. Many of the systems we’ve put in place and lessons we have learned will be value to improve care beyond even COVID-19.”

Results Published

The UVA Health team members have described their experiences in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. The team consisted of Archbald-Pannone, Drew Harris, Kimberly Albero, Rebecca Steele, Aaron Pannone and Justin Mutter.