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Yesterday at a coronavirus press conference President Trump reiterated that he wants the U.S. economy to “reopen” and this time by Easter where he hopes to see “packed” churches. When he was asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins why he chose Easter as his target date, the President answered, “I just thought it was a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline.”
While the stock market rebounded and the President’s approval rating went up (matching his all-time high) there’s an ominous feeling among public health experts that Americans will be lulled into a false sense of comfort as no doctors or researchers believe that Easter is an adequate time frame to ease social distancing restrictions.
Why This Matters: Public health decisions should be based on science and not political optics. The best remedy for the economy is a healthy population. Furthermore, there’s still a lot about this disease that we don’t understand (like why some people get it again). But mostly, the Easter timeline conflicts with what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested could be the peak for the outbreak in his state, the place that VP Pence called the “epicenter” for the virus outbreak in the United States.
Who To Believe: The real danger of President Trump not trusting and listening to scientists is that it creates confusion. Americans don’t know what to believe and thus end up believing whatever they want–facts cease to have meaning. We’re seeing this from people who are reluctant to stay home as they don’t think coronavirus is an urgent threat to geopolitical disputes between the United States and China regarding disinformation.
The US Senate has passed a nearly $2tn stimulus package early this morning to help rescue the American economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic as Donald Trump considers easing restrictions aimed at combating the contagion.
After days of around-the-clock negotiations between senators and administration officials, a bipartisan compromise was struck over what is expected to be the largest US economic stimulus measure ever passed.
The bill next goes to the House, where Democrats have introduced their own proposal.
Additionally, senior Democrats serving on the House Natural Resources Committee jointly called on Senate negotiators and House leadership this afternoon to ensure the upcoming congressional coronavirus relief bill and any future relief measures adequately address the growing health needs across Indian Country.
Tribes have faced unique funding delays in virus responses to date and are suffering from chronically underfunded health care services.
There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.
Why this Matters: The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.
Why This Matters: We’ve been relying on old data about farmworkers’ exposure to pesticides for the past 30 years, and thus the full picture of the harmful impact of these products on people has been underappreciated.
A coalition of 63 health, wildlife, and environmental organizations has written a letter urging the Biden administration to adopt policies to combat the increased threat of zoonotic disease spillover into human populations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say that human population expansion and increased interactions with wildlife, present increased chances for future pandemics as well.
Why This Matters: According to the World Health Organization, there are over 200 known zoonoses, diseases that have jumped from non-human animals to humans.
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