Cash Assistance Boosted Infants’ Brain Development, Study Shows

When mothers with low incomes received just over $300 in monthly cash assistance during the first year of their children’s lives, their infants’ brains displayed more high-frequency brain waves when they reached 12 months old, a major new study by a team of investigators from six U.S. universities and released this week by the National Academy of Sciences shows. These types of brain waves are associated with higher language and cognitive scores and better social and emotional skills in children as they grow older.

The expanded Child Tax Credit, which Congress enacted in 2021 and which expired last month, provided support very much like the cash assistance described in the new paper. The paper is a pathbreaking combination of social science and neuroscience, is methodologically rigorous, and adds heft to the substantial evidence about the difference that extending the Child Tax Credit expansion would make in children’s lives.

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Where Is The 100,000-Strong Public Health Corps Biden Promised Us?

A year after Joe Biden’s inauguration, things seem bleak. Despite the existence of life-saving vaccines, tests and masks, on January 21, more than 3,000 people were reported to have died of Covid-19, and the last time daily deaths were below 1,000 was in August. With the more transmissible Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, and only 63% of the country with two doses of the vaccine (only 43% of adults with their booster), things may continue to get worse before they get better. Hospitals are filled to the brim while schools and industries deal with absences. Clearly, we need a policy reset. We need to provide people with the resources and information they need to get through this surge and the rest of the pandemic.

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What Students Walking Out Over Covid Can Learn From Student Movements

Fed up with mandatory in-person school attendance policies that fail to keep them safe, students are marching out of classrooms and into the streets.

Last week, hundreds of students from over 30 public high schools in New York City walked out of class to protest the unsafe conditions in city schools. Despite the latest Covid-19 wave, during which over 38,000 students and teachers tested positive COVID, school officials have insisted on in-person classes. That same week, students from a group called the Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance (Chi-Rads), formed days prior, led a walkout followed by a protest at Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Their demands included masks, tests, laptops for remote learning, and a voice at the negotiating table for COVID safety plans.

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Corporate Multilateralism Deals More Blows To Right To Health

It is no news that transnational corporations have effectively infiltrated institutions such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Still, according to a new report published by the People’s Working Group on Multistakeholderism (PWGM), their influence has now edged towards a breaking point. The Transnational Institute (TNI), the People’s Health Movement (PHM), Public Services International (PSI), and other organizations members of the working group have warned that surpassing this point will make it even more difficult to reclaim power from corporations, and that will have an effect on all aspects of people’s lives.

The original concept of multilateralism refers to the collective responsibility of countries’ governments to collaboratively take decisions important for the future of the world.

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Bereft Of Sick Leave, Millions Of Americans Forced To Work With Covid

In the last 10 days, 7.6 million new COVID-19 cases have been detected in the United States. Before mid-December, that’s the time period for which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would have required Americans to quarantine once they test positive for COVID-19 – a practice intended to limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.

However, a sudden policy change on December 27 halved that time, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of Biden’s coronavirus response team, telling CNN that “We want to get people back to their jobs, particularly those with essential jobs, to keep our society running smoothly.”

Having no national paid leave program, Americans have long worked sick despite better wisdom telling them to stay home in bed.

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New York Times Equates China’s Health Care Workers To Adolph Eichmann

In a lead article, on page one of the New York Times on January 13, Li Yuan an NYT reporter, has equated the public health and medical personnel behind China’s successful battle against Covid-19 in the city of Xi’an to Adolph Eichmann, a princiapal architect of the Holocaust.  The article’s opening sentence views them as typical of “the millions of people who work diligently toward” containing Covid-19 in China. 

The anti-Covid campaign in Xi’an, a city of 13 million has now terminated the spread of Covid-19 without a single death and limited its spread to about 2000 cases.  The Nazi Holocaust designed and managed by Eichmann resulted in the extermination of millions of Jews. 

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Biden Urged To Fire Covid Response Chief Over ‘Damning’ Failures

President Joe Biden is coming under growing pressure to fire White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients—a former private equity executive with no public health background—as the administration continues to face criticism over its slow-moving and inadequate efforts to combat Covid-19.

Watchdog groups have long warned that Zients is not qualified to take on the massive task of leading the federal government’s pandemic response given both his lack of scientific and medical experience as well as his record in the private sector, where his firm invested in a company accused of exploitative surprise billing.

Early critics of Biden’s decision to appoint Zients to the key post believe their fears have been realized during the Omicron surge, which has laid bare the administration’s failure to prepare for a highly contagious variant that experts warned was all but inevitable.

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Public Health Professionals Must Demand An End To Weaponized Drones

On January 13, 2017, a family including a husband, wife and three small children scurried from building to building in East Mosul, Iraq. They were seeking refuge as a battle between ISIS (also known as Daesh) and U.S.-backed forces swirled around them. The family was huddled in an abandoned school surrounded by other civilians when a U.S.-operated drone struck and destroyed the structure. The father and one of his sons narrowly escaped with their lives. The tragic fate of his wife and other children would not be confirmed until months later when he watched as their bodies were excavated from the rubble.

This account was just one of several described in a recent publication of Pentagon reports documenting the extensive civilian casualties resulting from U.S. drone and air strikes.

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Biden’s Failure To Provide At-Home Covid Tests Looks Extra Ridiculous

After two years without being able to travel home from London, England to Los Angeles, Cali. to see my family, I finally arrived in a chaotic U.S. in time for the holidays amid the Omicron wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although I’d been preparing for a difficult return thanks to the new variant, I had been eager to see my family now that I’m finally vaccinated against Covid-19 and that my partner, who holds a British passport, was able to visit alongside me after more than a year of travel restrictions barring Europeans. What I hadn’t been expecting, however, was to find family and friends desperately trying to procure rapid antigen tests as many of them developed Covid symptoms and wanted to protect their loved ones and community over the holidays.

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Australian Trade Unions Demand Free COVID Testing For All

In a scathing condemnation of the Scott Morrison government, Australian trade unions criticized its inability to make testing for COVID-19 freely available for all. The country’s largest apex trade union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), released a statement on Thursday, January 13, criticizing the failure to make Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) free and accessible for all.

“The ACTU condemns in the strongest possible terms the Prime Minister’s failure at National Cabinet to ensure Rapid Antigen Tests be made free and accessible for all to protect worker and community safety and get the economy moving again,” reads the ACTU statement.

The statement also criticized the announcement made on Thursday to relax quarantine rules for close contact workers in transport, education and emergency services.

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We Know The Silver Bullet To Ending Poverty And Destitution

Here’s how the world should operate in simple terms: A certain country or region or city or township or Hobbit hole tries something in order to help their society or group or hovel — if it works, other places then do it. If it doesn’t work, other places don’t do it. It’s like when you were a kid and you saw your brother slide down the banister and rack himself on the newel post — You then thought, “Maybe that activity is not for me.” But if he didn’t nail himself in the jewels, you probably thought, “I think I’ll try that.”

That’s how the United States government should work, but it doesn’t. For-profit healthcare, corporate personhood, the drug war, funding terrorists overseas that we call “moderate rebels,” etc. — all of these things have been tried, they fuckin’ suck every time, and we keep doing them.

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Strikes And Student Walkouts Spread Across US As Omicron Surges

Across the US, Omicron infections continue to explode, as “more children are being admitted to hospitals than ever before,” according to *CNN.* Vaccination rates among children remain low and community spread, accelerated by the holiday season and the return to in-person instruction, is rippling across the social terrain; hitting teachers, parents, and family members. In just the Los Angeles school district, “Approximately 65,000 students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to mandatory testing conducted by the district during the winter break.” The drastic spike in COVID cases has also been coupled with increasing shortages of medical staff, which has hindered the ability of many people to get tested and receive medical attention.

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Nurses In US Protest COVID-19 Working Conditions

The protests were held under the banner of National Nurses United (NNU), a labor union with more than 175,000 members nationwide, which called on the hospital industry to “invest in safe staffing.”

Hospitals in the US, the worst-hit country in the world, have been struggling to cope up with the new tide of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, as well as worker shortages and burnout.

Nurses are furious over sheer callousness and indifference shown by the government as well as their employers, blaming them for caring about their businesses, not the public health.

The protests took place across 11 US states  and Washington, D.C. “to demand the hospital industry invest in safe staffing, and to demand that President Biden follow through on his campaign promise to protect nurses and prioritize public health,” according to the union.

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Comparing The COVID-19 Responses In Cuba And The United States

With fundamental differences in health systems structure and organization, as well as in political philosophy and culture, it is not surprising that there are major differences in outcomes. The more coordinated, comprehensive response to COVID-19 in Cuba has resulted in significantly better outcomes compared with the United States. Through July 15, 2021, the US cumulative case rate is more than 4 times higher than Cuba’s, while the death rate and excess death rate are both approximately 12 times higher in the United States. In addition to the large differences in cumulative case and death rates between United States and Cuba, the COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked serious underlying health inequities in the United States.

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