Senate parliamentarian strikes down minimum wage hike in latest COVID-19 relief bill – YouTube

Senate parliamentarian strikes down minimum wage hike in latest COVID-19 relief bill

Progressives are willing to accept defeat on the minimum wage for now and vote for President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. But they’re channeling their energy into a renewed push to kill the filibuster.

One day after the Senate parliamentarian effectively forced a $15 minimum wage hike out of Democrats’ coronavirus relief package, leading liberal activists are racing to turn their bitter setback into opportunity. The need to sacrifice a key Biden priority in order to ensure the Covid aid bill can pass the Senate with a simple majority has handed progressive lawmakers and their allied groups a new talking point in their long-running quest to eliminate the legislative filibuster.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/26/progressives-minimum-wage-defeat-471772

Organ transplant patient dies after receiving Covid-infected lungs

Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted Covid-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.

Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of Covid-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.

The incident appears to be isolated — the only confirmed case among nearly 40,000 transplants in 2020. But it has led to calls for more thorough testing of lung transplant donors, with samples taken from deep within the donor lungs as well as the nose and throat, said Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service.

Source: Organ transplant patient dies after receiving Covid-infected lungs

Low-income Californians to receive new COVID stimulus checks – Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced Wednesday that they have agreed to provide low-income Californians a $600 state stimulus payment to help them weather financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, part of a $9.6-billion economic recovery package that also includes $2.1 billion in grants for small businesses.

The “Golden State stimulus” payments provided under the state proposal, which will be expedited for legislative approval next week, are in addition to the $600-per-person stimulus checks already approved by Congress and would be on top of direct payments of up to $1,400 per person that have been proposed by House Democrats.

Source: Low-income Californians to receive new COVID stimulus checks – Los Angeles Times

Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Pushback among doctors and pharmacists is mounting to a state Department of Health pivot in vaccine strategy that aims to boost the number of COVID-19 inoculations by favoring bigger hospitals over smaller physician practices and clinics.

Within hours of the Health Department’s announcement Friday that it will shrink the number of providers administering COVID-19 vaccines by eliminating the smallest ones, three physician groups lodged their objections — calling the new policy a “misguided allocation change” and a “woeful mistake.”

“We urge acting secretary Alison Beam and Gov. Tom Wolf to immediately rescind the order to avoid further problems in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” their statement said. It was signed by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

Source: Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh permanently closes Camp Soles in Somerset County; tentative sales agreement in works | TribLIVE.com

Source: YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh permanently closes Camp Soles in Somerset County; sale in works | TribLIVE.com

The 263-acre camp was a destination for kids, families and school groups for generations.

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh was unable to sustain the camp because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Carolyn Grady, chief development officer.

“Camp T. Frank Soles operated over the summer with pandemic restrictions but was never able to regain the level of program participation that would make it financially viable,” she said in a statement. “We made the difficult decision to end programs at Camp Soles in October and listed the building for sale.

Despite vaccine, Redstone Highlands reports covid spike at Greensburg facility | TribLIVE.com

About 1,000 employees and staff members at Redstone Highlands’ three skilled nursing facilities have their first and, in some cases, second doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

With the facilities on their way to being protected, president and CEO John Dickson said it was a shock to learn the virus made its way back in. An outbreak of covid-19 was reported in the Greensburg center, where 15 residents and three staff members tested positive during the past week. One resident died.

“This has been surprising to us,” Dickson said.

Source: Despite vaccine, Redstone Highlands reports covid spike at Greensburg facility | TribLIVE.com

Bombshell Report Surfaces On COVID Deaths In New York Nursing Homes – YouTube

Learn about vaccine progress from the CDC

Bombshell Report Surfaces On COVID Deaths In New York Nursing Homes

Republicans were outraged. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., called for a Justice Department investigation.

“The families of thousands of dead New York seniors deserve accountability and justice for the true consequences of Governor Cuomo’s fatally flawed nursing home policy and the continued attempts to cover it up. It’s clear what’s happening here is criminal,” Zeldin said.

The Post report coincided with a second correction from state officials in as many weeks about underreported nursing-home deaths.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., demanded that Cuomo and his “senior team” be “prosecuted immediately” in connection with DeRosa’s revelations. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON OUR TOP STORY.

PFAS exposure linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

People who had elevated blood levels of a toxic chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) had an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 than those who did not have elevated levels, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. PFBA is part of a class of man-made chemicals known as perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs), which have previously been shown to suppress immune function.

The study, published December 31, 2020 in PLOS ONE, was led by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health.

PFASs have water- and grease-resistant properties and are used in a wide variety of products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams. PFBA, more than other PFASs, is known to accumulate in the lungs, according to the study.

Source: PFAS exposure linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Chicago strikes deal with teachers to reopen school buildings – The Washington Post

Teachers in Chicago, home to the nation’s third-largest school district, are set to return to classrooms this week after striking a deal with the city on health and safety standards, capping months of tense negotiations that raised the specter of a strike during a school year that has already seen repeated disruptions.

Chicago Teachers Union officials accepted the agreement begrudgingly after concluding that they would be unlikely to extract any more concessions from the city. Nearly 70 percent of members who cast ballots endorsed accepting the agreement, less than a day after union brass had passed a vote of “no confidence” in Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D).

Source: Chicago strikes deal with teachers to reopen school buildings – The Washington Post

Vaccine passports: Path back to normality or problem in the making?

LONDON – Governments and developers around the world are exploring the potential use of “vaccine passports” as a way of reopening the economy by identifying those protected against the coronavirus.

Those developing the technologies however, say such tools come with consequences such as potentially excluding whole groups from social participation, and are urging lawmakers to think seriously about how they are used.

The travel and entertainment industries, which have struggled to operate at a profit while imposing social distancing regulations, are particularly interested in a way of swiftly checking who has protection.

Among those developing passports are biometrics company iProov and cyber security firm Mvine which have built a vaccine pass now being tested within Britain’s National Health Service after receiving UK government funding.

Source: Vaccine passports: Path back to normality or problem in the making?

Pennsylvania Covid-19 vaccination appointment hotline intercepted by hackers – CNN

At some point “mid-afternoon,” the Allegheny County health department and the 2-1-1 service became aware that a hacker was intercepting callers and diverting them away from the help line without their knowledge, officials said.

Source: Pennsylvania Covid-19 vaccination appointment hotline intercepted by hackers – CNN

China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Sinovac Biotech said on Saturday that its unit’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use by the general public by China’s medical products regulator.

Source: China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

The ruling issued just before 11 p.m. ET Friday produced four separate statements by the justices.

However, a majority of the court was only willing to lift the ban California has applied on all indoor worship in Tier 1 counties — those most challenged by Covid-19. The other restrictions remain undisturbed, for now.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Friday night ruling: new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative Catholic views drew suspicion from many liberals in advance of her confirmation last year, declined to grant the churches the most sweeping relief favored by her most conservative colleagues.

Source: Supreme Court lifts California worship bans prompted by coronavirus – POLITICO

Does wearing two masks provide more protection? | Covid19 | latrobebulletinnews.com

(AP) — Does wearing two masks provide more protection?

It depends, but it’s possible that doubling up could help in some situations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth mask made with two or more layers, and ensuring it covers your nose and mouth. The agency says it should fit snugly so there aren’t any gaps at the sides of your face.

Wearing just one mask should be enough for most situations, as long as it fits well and isn’t loose, said Dr. David Hamer, an infectious disease expert at Boston University.“

Starting out with a good mask to begin with is going to be key,” Hamer said.

Some people might want extra protection if they’re at risk for severe illness if infected or will be in situations where they expect to be around others for extended periods, such as on a plane.

One option in scenarios when you want extra protection is to wear a cloth mask as well as a regular surgical mask, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

Gandhi said that combination — with either mask on top — could help achieve a similar effect as the N95 mask. She recommended the added protection for people who will be indoors in areas where transmission rates are high — which could reflect the circulation of more contagious variants.

Another option Gandhi and a colleague recommend for situations where you want “maximum” protection: A two-layer cloth mask that has a filter material in between.

With single cloth masks for everyday use, Gandhi noted it’s important that they’re made of tightly woven material and have at least two layers, which creates “an obstacle course” that makes it harder for virus-carrying particles to break through.

Source: Does wearing two masks provide more protection? | Covid19 | latrobebulletinnews.com

Democrats push forward with $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill, clearing Senate hurdle – CBS News

Washington — The Senate on Tuesday cleared a procedural hurdle on the road to passing President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, a signal that congressional Democrats will continue to move forward with a vote to provide more economic assistance whether or not Republicans come to the negotiating table.

“We cannot, cannot afford to dither, delay or dilute. We need a big, bold package along the lines of what President Biden has proposed, the American Relief Plan. We hope that our Republican colleagues will join us in offering amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech ahead of the vote on Tuesday.

A motion to proceed to debate over the budget resolution that serves as the vehicle for the aid package passed by a 50 to 49 vote along party lines in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.

Source: Democrats push forward with $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill, clearing Senate hurdle – CBS News

Coronavirus stimulus: Joe Biden to meet with Republican senators about relief bill

President Biden will meet with 10 GOP senators after they put forward a $618 billion counteroffer to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.

  • President Joe Biden will meet with 10 Republican senators as he tries to pass a coronavirus relief package.
  • The GOP lawmakers put forward a $618 billion aid package, which scales back the direct payments and unemployment benefits in Biden’s plan and does not include state and local government aid.
  • Biden has to decide whether to move forward with his $1.9 trillion proposal with only Democratic votes in the Senate or try to negotiate a smaller piece of legislation with Republicans.

Source: Coronavirus stimulus: Joe Biden to meet with Republican senators about relief bill

What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.com

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, and recent research has suggested it may also help guard against severe COVID-19.

But how much is enough, and how hard is it to get the right amount of vitamin D?

“We know that a large percentage of the population has suboptimal levels of vitamin D. In fact, as many as half of the U.S. population may be deficient in vitamin D,” said Kristin Gustashaw, clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “This can possibly lead to symptoms including fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, delayed wound healing, decreased immune health, muscle pain, and more, with no other known causes.

“Part of the difficulty of maintaining vitamin D levels is because there are not a large variety of foods that contain much vitamin D,” Gustashaw added in a medical center news release.

The vitamin is accessible to people through some foods, supplements, and even sunshine.

Food sources include egg yolks, milk, cheese, beef or calf liver, and certain fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Other foods are fortified with vitamin D, including certain cereals, breads, soy milk, and orange juice.

Read Newsmax: What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.comSource: What You Need to Know About Vitamin D | Newsmax.com

NY undercounted nursing home coronavirus deaths by as much as 50%, state AG says

New York Attorney General Letitia James said that the state Department of Health underreported nursing home deaths due to the coronavirus by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday.

Source: NY undercounted nursing home coronavirus deaths by as much as 50%, state AG says

Teachers say they want the Covid-19 vaccine before they head back to the classroom

CHICAGO – Children who have been marooned at home for months by the pandemic are slowly returning to classrooms, but many teachers say they won’t go back until they’ve received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Especially in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest public school district, where teachers who were supposed to return to classrooms Wednesday worked from home again and are once more threatening to strike.

Source: Teachers say they want the Covid-19 vaccine before they head back to the classroom

Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com

The new website has a list of vaccine providers, how to contact them and a link to the state health department’s interactive map of vaccine providers.

Information on how to register for the covid vaccine and a quiz to determine when a person is eligible to get one can be found at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/2934/29523/Vaccine-Info.

Residents need to contact the vaccine provider to schedule an appointment. Supplies of the vaccine are limited, the county said.

The web page also has information on the state’s four phases of distribution. Information on the authorized vaccines and potential side effects can be found.

Source: Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com