Jeffrey Sachs: The one vital message of nearing 100,000 US deaths



The one vital message of nearing 100,000 US deaths

Jeffrey D. Sachs | May 24, 2020 | CNN.com

(CNN) On this somber Memorial Day weekend, America is approaching the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in a population of 330 million. Six Asia-Pacific nations — Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam — have just over 1,200 coronavirus deaths in a combined population almost the same as the US, 328 million. On May 23, the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker shows that America recorded 1,208 new deaths, while the six Asia-Pacific countries recorded just 13 deaths: 12 in Japan, 1 in Australia, and 0 in the others.

America has failed to control the epidemic while many other countries, and not just the six in the Asia-Pacific, have succeeded.

The American political system has not been focused on how to end the epidemic. Our political debates from the first days of the epidemic have taken the bait of Donald Trump’s nonsensical Twitter feed: chloroquine, Clorox, China pro and con, WHO pro and con, filling church pews by Easter, the liberation of states, the bailout of the post office, the loyalty of Fox News, and whether or not to wear a face mask at the Ford Motor plant. This is not the politics of problem solving; it is the politics of distraction.

Six months into the epidemic and around 100,000 deaths later we still do not have systematic contact tracing across the country. Neither the President nor Congress has focused on the topic even though it is the key to keeping Americans alive and restoring the economy.

Our politics are tribal and ineffective. Rather than designing a system of nationwide contact tracing, we debate Trump versus House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As Americans, we should readily agree that both the President and Congress have failed miserably. Neither has focused on how to stop the epidemic. Both have focused on blaming the other.

The truth is simple and grim. If we don’t stop the epidemic, we will face many more deaths and a long and deep depression. It would be wonderful if a vaccine suddenly rescues us from our persistent failure to implement basic public health measures. But don’t bet on it. The recent news stories on vaccines have the hallmarks of hype, the kind of stories typically followed by long delays and disappointments. That’s not a forecast, just an urgent point that we should not leave the rescue of the republic to unproven vaccines still in the early stages of development.

Sadly, many state and local governments have failed to compensate for the lack of federal leadership. Yes, there were dire shortages of testing equipment because of shocking failures at the federal level. Yet much more epidemic control could have been achieved nonetheless at the state and local level.

New York, for example, failed to note the early spread of the epidemic or to create systems for contact tracing when it was urgently needed. Even worse, New York state health authorities disastrously ordered that convalescing Covid-19 patients should be moved from hospitals to nursing homes, thereby risking mass infections in those highly vulnerable settings. There have been thousands of avoidable and tragic deaths in the state’s care centers. And yet some cities, such as Paterson, New Jersey, have innovated and set a crucial standard for the rest.

Thousands more preventable deaths lie ahead unless and until we start focusing as a nation on ending the epidemic. Ignore Trump’s Twitter feed. It has nothing to do with our real and urgent needs. Our core question should be this: How can the United States quickly and urgently implement basic public health measures — contact tracing, testing, quarantining, and safe public and workplace practices — already achieved in the Asia-Pacific and many other countries? Only by stopping the rampant spread of the disease can we be safe and can our economy function once again.

In this coming week, Congress should return immediately — online if necessary — to consider this issue and this issue alone. By the end of the week, Congress should vote for legislation to finance and otherwise support the urgent and immediate scale-up of nationwide contact tracing and safe workplace practices. The National Governors Association and the United States Conference of Mayors should do the same.

Within a few days we could finally have a meeting of the minds and a national strategy, with or without Trump. We have suffered enough from rudderless, distracted and deadly politics.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/24/opinions/covid-politics-hundred-thousand-deaths-sachs/index.html

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LULAC Shield Reminds America Of Our Service To God And Country



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LULAC Shield Reminds America Of Our Service To God And Country

Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Observes Memorial Day in Solemn Thanks to Fallen Soldiers

Washington, DC – The empty spot at the head of a family table, the quiet void of a son or daughter’s now empty bedroom or the silent pain still felt by a widow holding a framed photo of her fallen loved one. Each of these moments is happening across America on this Memorial Day weekend as a nation remembers and honors its soldiers lost in combat.

“For LULAC, this is always one of the most important days each year because it reminds us of the principles our founders had in their hearts when this organization was established,” says Roman Palomares, Marine Corps Veteran and Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “Our very shield, the emblem we wear with so much pride, exemplifies LULAC’s commitment to service and gratitude to the nation that makes it possible, including our courageous men and women in military uniform who sacrificed their all for us,” says Palomares.

The highest formal recognition paid to a soldier, including those killed in battle, is the Medal of Honor and more than 40 times the recipient has been of Latino descent. Yet, there are many more whose deaths may never be so honored. Yet, the LULAC familia will share stories this weekend as they remember. They will laugh and cry as they celebrate the good times they had together with them and find peace knowing they were honorable padres, mamas, hijos, hijas and died doing something they believed in deeply, love for their country. Yes, LULAC will be forever grateful to those men and women who gave their last breath for us.

“People sometimes forget that Jose y Maria have also worn a military uniform and died for this country,” says Domingo Garcia, National President. “Many of them have even been immigrants like Marine Lance Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez who grew up an orphan on the streets of Guatemala City before walking through Mexico to reach the U.S., entered illegally but later enlisted and was killed in Iraq. Then, there is Lori Ann Piestewa from Arizona, daughter of a Latina, mother of two children and the first woman in the U.S. military killed while serving her country in Iraq. Or, my super hero, Sergeant Marcario Garcia from Houston, Texas who fought with the U.S. Army in Germany and received the Medal of Honor. He single-handedly attacked and overran an enemy machine gun position and was seriously wounded in the process. Then, his squad came under fire a second time. Crawling, bleeding, in agony and without regard for his own life, he went out again and overran the second position to save the other Americans in his unit. Asi somos, that is who we are. Each soldier, each death, each life, cuenta por mucho,” he says.

Sindy Benavides, LULAC National Chief Executive Officer, says Memorial Day enables all of us to reflect on how we can pay tribute to America’s fallen brave. “As a young immigrant Latina growing up in this country, I realized early that I had a duty, not just to myself, but to others including our Latino soldiers who gave their lives for this country. So many of our brave soldiers understood they were putting their lives on the line and served our country honorably because they believed in our democracy and country. This is why I share with young people to make the most out of every opportunity and that’s how we honor our antepasados. We have the chance of making our own choices because someone paid a price to give us those freedoms. May we each on this Memorial Day say a silent prayer, raise our salute to them and may they rest in peace.”

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About LULAC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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Report: 1.6 million Texans lost employer-sponsored health insurance

Report: 1.6 million Texans lost employer-sponsored health insurance

 Report: 1.6 million Texans lost employer-sponsored health insurance

An estimated 1.6 million Texans are uninsured after losing their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a San Francisco-based health policy think tank.

About 20 percent, or 328,000 people, qualify for Medicare. Roughly 55 percent, or 881,000 people, could receive government subsidies for health insurance plans from the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Across the U.S., an estimated 26.7 million employees lost health insurance benefits as the economic downturn forced companies to lay off workers, according to Kaiser Family Foundation figures.

In Texas, nearly 2 million workers have filed first-time claims for unemployment. Nationwide, more than 36 million jobless claims have been filed since the end of March.

Link: https://www.chron.com/business/bizfeed/article/Report-1-6-million-Texans-lost-15277790.php

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LULAC Declares Victory In Texas Vote By Mail Lawsuit



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LULAC Declares Victory In Texas Vote By Mail Lawsuit

Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Applauds Court Order Allowing All Texas Voters to Vote by Mail During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American (LULAC) and the Campaign Legal Center filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas last week, challenging the state’s restrictions on mail-in ballots. The case was argued by Chad Dunn, who filed suit against Texas on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party. The current law restricts access to mail-in voting to a specific group of voters, including those over the age of 65, imposing unconstitutional and illegal burdens on most voters in the midst of a global pandemic.

LULAC National President Domingo Garcia issued the following statement:

“It is in times of national crisis where our constitution is tested, and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. Today’s ruling means no American in Texas will have to decide between their health or civic duty to vote. Today’s ruling proves that only allowing specific groups of voters to vote by mail in a deadly pandemic is a clear violation of the 26th Amendment’s protections against voting discrimination based on age.”

LULAC CEO Sindy Benavides issued the following statement:

“Today LULAC upheld its mission to protect the civil rights of Hispanics. No state has a right to choose which demographic groups can vote by mail, safely and out of harm’s way, and which citizens must sacrifice their health to cast a ballot. LULAC looks forward to having this case heard in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. We know constitutional law is on our side.”

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About LULAC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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