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Beating the Pavement to Vaccinate the Underrepresented — And Protect Everyone

Leonor Garcia held her clipboard close to her chest and rapped on the car window with her knuckles. The driver was in one of dozens of cars lined up on a quiet stretch of road in Adelanto, California, a small city near the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. He was waiting for the food bank line to start moving and lowered the passenger window just enough to hear what Garcia wanted. Then she launched into her pitch.


This story also ran on Black Voice News. It can be republished for free.

“Good morning! We’re here to talk about covid-19 today! Do you have a minute?” she said in Spanish.

After a brief conversation, Garcia learned the man had no internet connection or phone of his own but was 66 years old and wanted to get the covid vaccine. He had tried to visit a pharmacy in person, but the … Read the rest

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Battle Brews Over Neutral Zone Where Border-Crossing Parties Rendezvous, Risking Infection

BLAINE, Wash. — In the shadows of covid travel restrictions, a 42-acre park on the far western edge of the U.S.-Canadian dividing line has become a popular opening in an otherwise closed border, a place where Americans and Canadians can gather without needing permission to go through an official border crossing.

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What is known as Peace Arch Park has lush green lawns, gardens and a 67-foot-tall white concrete arch erected in 1921 that spans the border. It’s an often muddy, sometimes idyllic place. But the pandemic has transformed this patch of historically neutral ground into a playing field for some fundamental public health questions.

Should people from Canada, which has a lower incidence of covid-19, risk mingling with people from the U.S.? Should families who’ve masked and distanced be able to reunite for a day without quarantining? Who decides?

On a … Read the rest

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‘It Didn’t Really Stick With Me’: Understanding the Rural Shrug Over Covid and Vaccines

At 70, Linda Findley has long been active in her small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, which sits more than an hour away from any major city.

Findley, whose husband died in an accident just after the local hospital closed, helps with the Elks and fundraising, and — like many people in this part of the country — doesn’t think covid-19 is that dangerous.


This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free.

“I don’t even know what I think about it,” Findley said recently. “I don’t know if I trust the testing because it’s so messed up or … I’ve had nieces and nephews, that’ve had it. I’ve lost good friends to it, or supposedly it’s to that.”

Findley said she just isn’t sure that every case reported as the coronavirus really is the virus: “Everything seems to be coronavirus. I mean, it’s just … no … Read the rest

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Dramática baja de enfermedades por virus comunes, ¿significa máscaras para siempre?

Las máscaras y el distanciamiento físico están demostrando tener importantes beneficios extra, evitando que las personas contraigan todo tipo de enfermedades, no solo covid-19.

Pero no está claro si los protocolos valdrán la pena a largo plazo.

Maestros de la Academia New Hope en Franklin, Tennessee, estaban charlando sobre el tema. La escuela cristiana privada ha permanecido presencial durante gran parte de la pandemia, requiriendo máscaras y tratando de mantener a los alumnos separados, en la medida en que es posible con niños pequeños.

Nicole Grayson, quien enseña en cuarto grado, dijo que se dieron cuenta de algo peculiar.

“No conocemos a nadie que se haya engripado”, dijo. “A ningún estudiante que haya contraído faringitis estreptocócica”.

Y no se trata solo de algo anecdótico.

Un estudio publicado este marzo en el Journal of Hospital Medicine, dirigido por investigadores del Centro Médico de la Universidad de Vanderbilt, encontró que en 44 … Read the rest

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Getting a Prescription to Die Remains Tricky Even as Aid-in-Dying Bills Gain Momentum

Linda Heim knew her dad didn’t plan to wait for the cancer to kill him. For decades, he’d lived in Montana, which they’d thought was one of the few places where terminally ill people could get a prescription to end their life.


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After two years of being sick, Heim’s dad got the diagnosis in 2019: stage 4 kidney cancer. His physician offered treatments that might extend his life by months. Instead, the 81-year-old asked the doctor for help dying. Heim said her parents left the appointment in their hometown of Billings with two takeaways: The legality of medically assisted death was questionable in Montana, and her father’s physician didn’t seem willing to risk his career to put that question to the test.

“My parents knew when they left there that was the end of that conversation,” said Heim, … Read the rest

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In His Continued Sparring With Fauci, Sen. Rand Paul Oversimplified the Science

“Sorry Dr Fauci and other fearmongers, new study shows vaccines and naturally acquired immunity DO effectively neutralize COVID variants. Good news for everyone but bureaucrats and petty tyrants!”

— Sen. Rand Paul in a tweet, March 21, 2021

That Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky often disagrees with infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is well known.


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Recently, the pair clashed at a Senate hearing when Paul, a Republican, argued against mask recommendations for people who have had covid-19 or have been vaccinated against it.

At the hearing, Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, pushed back against Paul’s characterization of wearing masks as “theater.” Continued caution is advised, Fauci said, as scientists study the new variants now circulating in the U.S. and other countries.

Paul, an eye doctor by training, continued the squabble a few days … Read the rest

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Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher.

Kyunghee Lee’s right hand hurts all the time.

She spent decades running a family dry cleaning store outside Cleveland after emigrating from South Korea 40 years ago. She still freelances as a seamstress, although work has slowed amid the covid-19 pandemic.


This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free.

While Lee likes to treat her arthritis with home remedies, each year the pain in the knuckles of her right middle finger and ring finger increases until they hurt too much to touch. So about once a year she goes to see a rheumatologist, who administers a pain-relieving injection of a steroid in the joints of those fingers.

Her cost for each round of injections has been roughly $30 the past few years. And everything is easier, and less painful for a bit, after each steroid treatment.

So, in late summer she masked up and went in … Read the rest

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How One State’s Public Health Defunding Led to Vaccination Chaos

ST. LOUIS — Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties — at least those with cars and the time. Tens of thousands of doses are waiting to be distributed, slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Waitlists are hundreds of thousands of people long. Black residents are getting left behind.


This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

Missouri’s rocky vaccine rollout places it among the bottom states nationwide, with 23.7% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose as of Thursday, compared with the national average of 26.3%. If Missouri were on par with the national rate, that would be roughly equivalent to more than 162,000 additional people vaccinated, or almost the entire population of the city of Springfield.

Part of the problem, health experts said, is that the state bypassed its 115 local … Read the rest

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Military Exposed to Toxic Fumes From Burn Pits Set to Get Bipartisan Boost

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday planned to roll out what could be the most ambitious attempt ever tried to treat American war fighters poisoned in deployments overseas.


This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free.

The bipartisan bill, modeled on both Agent Orange legislation and the 9/11 health act, aims to help unknown thousands of veterans who got sick after being exposed to toxic substances from massive open fire pits where the military burned its garbage, as well as other sources.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates some 3.5 million service members were exposed to the toxic trash plumes in Iraq, Afghanistan and other battlegrounds, and maintains a burn pits registry through which nearly 236,000 veterans have reported exposures. President Joe Biden believes that toxic smoke is responsible for the brain cancer that killed his son Beau in 2015.

Yet the VA and … Read the rest

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Stop Blaming Tuskegee, Critics Say. It’s Not an ‘Excuse’ for Current Medical Racism.

For months, journalists, politicians and health officials — including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Dr. Anthony Fauci — have invoked the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study to explain why Black Americans are more hesitant than white Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine.


This story is from a partnership that includes NPR, KQED and KHN. It can be republished for free.

“It’s ‘Oh, Tuskegee, Tuskegee, Tuskegee,’ and it’s mentioned every single time,” said Karen Lincoln, a professor of social work at the University of Southern California and founder of Advocates for African American Elders. “We make these assumptions that it’s Tuskegee. We don’t ask people.”

When she asks Black seniors in Los Angeles about the vaccine, Tuskegee rarely comes up. People in the community talk about contemporary racism and barriers to health care, she said, while it seems to be mainly academics and officials who are preoccupied with the history of … Read the rest

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