Day: August 8, 2020

Kashmiris in limbo and lockdown

On 5 August 2019, the Indian government revoked a constitutional article that stripped the semi-autonomous status from the part of Kashmir it administers and split the region into two federally-run territories. A stringent curfew was imposed and thousands detained along with a communications black-out.

The lockdown began to be eased in March, but was then re-imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been a year of shutdowns, anger and fear. The BBC spoke to 12 different Kashmiris, to find out what their lives have been like during this year.

Sanna Irshad Mattoo, 26

Sanna Irshad Mattoo,
Sanna Irshad Mattoo,

“In our line of work, you can’t separate the personal from the professional,” says Ms Mattoo, who has been a journalist for the last four years.

“We have been through lockdowns in previous years. But last year there was an environment of fear psychosis. We didn’t know what was happening. Our modes of

Read More

$800 a week to test employees for COVID-19. Could rapid, cheap tests help?

Sara Polon spends $800 dollars each week on coronavirus tests for the staffers at her Washington, D.C., business, but sometimes the test results don’t come back for weeks.

Polon, 43, owns Soupergirl, a small soup company that has managed to stay open during the pandemic. Polon wanted to reassure her 30 full-time and part-time employees that she was trying to protect their health, so she’s been covering their weekly coronavirus tests since early June. But the national lab where the results are processed has significant backlogs.

“If I’m getting results 2 1/2 weeks later, I might as well just take that $800 and flush it down the toilet,” Polon told NBC News. “I’m just at the mercy of these national labs, and it’s petrifying.”

What Polon needs is a cheaper test with fast results that her employees could use at home, experts say. To ease the overwhelmed testing system, a

Read More

Hundreds quarantining in Ga. school district; masks optional at Sturgis motorcycle rally

Florida, ravaged by a historic spike in COVID-19 cases for weeks, is showing signs of progress in statistics such as hospitalizations and positivity rates according to its governor — but stories of the human toll of the virus on young and old in the state continue to emerge this week.

In one case, a 21-year-old who believed he had recovered from a mild case suddenly became gravely ill with multi-organ failure. He’s now sharing his story as a warning of the potential for long-term illness.

And in a heartbreaking story, a 90-year-old man likely caught the virus as he said his final goodbye to his dying wife. After his story gained international attention, he also tested positive and later died. His family says he had no regrets.

Those stories come even as other areas of the country have gone months without serious outbreaks. In South Dakota, low case counts have

Read More

Without $600 Weekly Benefit, Unemployed Face Bleak Choices

Latrish Oseko, 39, sits with her daughter, at a hotel in Newark, Del., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, where they have been staying. (Hannah Yoon/The New York Times)
Latrish Oseko, 39, sits with her daughter, at a hotel in Newark, Del., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, where they have been staying. (Hannah Yoon/The New York Times)

When Latrish Oseko lost her job last spring, government aid helped prevent a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.

A $1,700 federal stimulus payment meant that when her 26-year-old car broke down, she could replace it. The $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits from the federal government allowed her to pay rent and buy food. When her day care provider closed, she was able to get her 4-year-old daughter a subscription to ABCmouse, an online learning app.

But the federal money has run out, and talks in Washington over how to replace it have broken down.

So Oseko, 39, is spending much of her time sitting in the Delaware hotel room where she has lived since her landlord kicked her out at

Read More

How Schools Missed a Chance to Fix Remote Learning

The Clinton Hill School in New York, July 22, 2020. (Mark Wickens/The New York Times)
The Clinton Hill School in New York, July 22, 2020. (Mark Wickens/The New York Times)

With some combination of optimism, anxiety and wishful thinking, many educators spent their summers planning, in minute detail, how to safely reopen classrooms. Teachers stocked up on sanitation supplies as superintendents took a crash course in epidemiology and studied supply chain logistics for portable air filters.

But with the pandemic now surging across a wide swath of the country, many of those plans have been shelved, and a different reality has emerged for the nation’s exhausted and stir-crazy families: Millions of American children will spend their fall once again learning in front of laptop screens.

In places where schools haven’t already reopened — in some, to just as quickly close again — educators are spending the little time they have left before the new academic year moving to focus more fully on improving online instruction,

Read More

21-year-old’s organs fail after mild case; masks optional at Sturgis rally; Trump may use executive orders on stimulus

Florida, ravaged by a historic spike in COVID-19 cases for weeks, is showing signs of progress in statistics such as hospitalizations and positivity rates according to its governor — but stories of the human toll of the virus on young and old in the state continue to emerge this week.

In one case, a 21-year-old who believed he had recovered from a mild case suddenly became gravely ill with multi-organ failure. He’s now sharing his story as a warning of the potential for long-term illness.

And in a heartbreaking story, a 90-year-old man likely caught the virus as he said his final goodbye to his dying wife. After his story gained international attention, he also tested positive and later died. His family says he had no regrets.

Those stories come even as other areas of the country have gone months without serious outbreaks. In South Dakota, low case counts have

Read More

Young people struggle with finding mental health support amid COVID pandemic

Kathryn Boit feels “guilty for struggling so much” these past few months. 

As the president of the Harvard Student Mental Health Liaisons, she has “college friends, acquaintances, and strangers reach out to me for resources and advice,” she said. “I don’t know the answers anymore.”

It’s no wonder Boit, a Harvard sophomore, feels overwhelmed. Prevalence of depression among college students increased since the pandemic caused the closure of campuses this spring compared to fall 2019, according to a survey of 18,000 college students published by the Healthy Minds Network on July 9. And of the nearly 42% of students who sought mental health care during the pandemic, 60% said it was either much more or somewhat more difficult to access care.

Mental health among young people has been worsening for years. A 2019 analysis of teens reported 13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said in

Read More

‘If I Had Known The Risks Before Getting Breast Implants, I 100-Percent Would Have Said No’

Photo credit: jade4fitness - Instagram
Photo credit: jade4fitness – Instagram

From Women’s Health

Something weird was going on with Laura Miranda’s left breast; the shape was changing. Two days prior to her noticing that something looked off, she’d had her first mammogram (breast cancer runs in her family, so she’s vigilant about getting the necessary tests). Now, her left breast seemed to be “deflated,” as she describes. It was June of 2016.

She’d gotten implants on a whim at 22 to fulfill the big-busted aesthetic ideal at the time. They were offered to her as a gift by the gym she worked for early in her career as a trainer—the athletic club had a partnership with a plastic surgery group, and she was meant to be a sort of walking advertisement for them.

She suspected the pressure from the x-ray machine had caused a leak in one of the implants since she’d previously

Read More

Churches are essential. If protesters can assemble, so should people of faith.

As states started the first of their efforts to “slow the spread” of COVID-19 in late March, including stay-at-home orders, many churches went to an online platform and Americans attended Easter services via livestream and in their pajamas.

But as the lockdown continued, and marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores were deemed essential services while many churches were not, many people of faith said the closures infringed on the right to the free exercise of religion.

Religious groups became ever more angry when protests following the death of George Floyd — some of which quickly turned to riots where demonstrators burned churches, vandalized businesses and looted — were allowed to assemble with little to no social distancing and spotty mask-wearing.

This juxtaposition exposes the double standard by which some First Amendment rights are protected more than others.

Not all rights are treated equally

As restrictions started to lift in May, many

Read More

Everything to know as students head back to class

As students head back to classes this fall – online, in-person or a hybrid of the two – millions of families are walking a tightrope, trying to balance safety with continued academic growth.

Most large public school districts have opted for fully online learning, but some have already returned to in-person classes and new cases of COVID-19 have already been reported at schools in Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. Colleges and universities, meanwhile, are increasingly altering earlier plans and opting for online fall semesters.

As the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. continues to evolve, we’re here to keep you updated on all the latest news and scientific developments. Check back for back-to-school resources, tips and tricks.

First, some resources: 

Can children get COVID-19?

Yes, children can catch COVID-19, but they are less likely to than adults. A study published in Science has shown that children under age 14 are between

Read More