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Coronavirus

Doctors Concerned that Black Communities Might Not Be Getting Access To Coronavirus Tests

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A group of Virginia doctors are calling for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to release information about whether black communities are being left behind as the shortage of coronavirus tests continues in the U.S.

What We Know:

  • Some doctors fear that many African Americans may not be receiving the access to coronavirus testing which stems from deep-seated inequities that disproportionately affect the community such as lack of paid leave, inadequate health insurance, income disparities, and access to medical facilities.
  • “I don’t want to speak about black Americans as if we’re all the same, but there’s a lot of reasons not to trust the government to be fair in circumstances like these,” said Dr. Cameron Webb, who is running for Congress in Virginia to BuzzFeed News. “Yes, that’s a huge question, who has access to those tests…If you’re not an NBA player, it might be a little harder for black people to get access to those tests.”
  • One of the ways doctors are screening patients is by looking for apparent symptoms such as dry coughing and a sore throat, which may deepen implicit biases that already exist within the healthcare system toward African Americans where the level of care is not equal to that of white patients. Many are calling for the data being gathered to be broken down by race and ethnicity in addition to age and gender.
  • Currently the CDC’s coronavirus information site reports a total of 66,371 people across the country who have been tested with a reported 15,219 confirmed cases nationally. But, experts point out that those numbers alone don’t tell the full story.

“We know in the U.S. that there are great discrepancies in not only the diagnosis but the treatment that African American and other minorities are afforded. So I want to make sure that in this pandemic, that black and brown people are treated in the same way and that these tests are made available in the same way pattern as for white people,” said Dr. Ebony Hilton, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the University of Virginia.

 

  • Taison Bell, an assistant professor at UVA in the infectious diseases and pulmonary critical care divisions, said that while testing might not change the course of treatment, making people aware of how the virus is spreading in their community has the benefit of encouraging people to take the crisis seriously and act accordingly.

Testing could be crucial because people who show no symptoms of the illness can still have it and spread it to others if they don’t know they have it and don’t self-isolate.

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Dominique Browder is a Digital Content Creator for UnmutedCo. Dominique is creating news content for Black News Alerts website, social media and newsletter. She enjoys the freedom and loose structure at UnmutedCo and loves how she is able to gain a more hands-on experience. When she is not writing and researching content, Dominique lends her skills to empowering women.

Coronavirus

Fan at Chiefs-Texans Game Tests Positive for COVID-19

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A fan who attended the Kansas City Chiefs-Houston Texans game on September 10th has tested positive for the coronavirus.

What We Know:

  • The Kansas City Health Department has confirmed that a person who was in attendance at the NFL season opener at Arrowhead Stadium has tested positive for COVID-19. The department has quarantined 10 other people for possible exposure to the virus as well.
  • The Chiefs were one of the few teams to allow in-person fans for Week 1. The team said that their protocol required all fans and personnel to wear face coverings while inside. Several other NFL teams have stated that they will not allow fans into stadiums for the rest of 2020.
  • The Chiefs defended themselves in their statement, saying that their contact tracing mechanisms and mask mandate limited potential exposure to a single seating zone of the stadium and allowed officials to identify all exposed people. The Chiefs have not made any announcements about allowing spectators for future games.
  • The Chiefs-Texans game was the first NFL game to be held in front of fans. The Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Indianapolis Colts are the only teams that allowed fans to be in attendance at the start of the season. Arrowhead Stadium’s capacity is approximately 76,000 and it has been reduced in accordance with coronavirus protocols. Almost 16,000 fans were in attendance for this game.
  • The Chiefs-Texans season opener was also in the news for the scene fans made before the game. Players from both sides held a “moment of unity” pregame and displayed messages supporting Black Lives Matter and racial justice. The fans in attendance could be heard on the broadcast booing the players during this moment.

The NFL has not made any official statements about this positive case of a fan. There is no official league-wide rule about having fans in stadiums. The NFL also announced seven new positive cases among players and team personnel in the latest round of testing.

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Coronavirus

Big 10 to Begin Football Season in October

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One of the nation’s power 5 college sports conferences has announced that it will begin its football season next month, a reversal of its decision earlier this summer, CBS Sports reports.

What We Know:

  • Teams in the league will play eight regular-season games as well as a Big Ten Championship game set for December 19th. Their schedule will make them eligible for the College Football Playoff as the season’s final rankings announcement is slated for December 20th. Consolation games will also be played at the conclusion of the season.
  • No tickets will be sold and fans will not be permitted to enter any games. Some exceptions may be made for family members of players, coaches, and staff.
  • In regards to coronavirus safety, the conference will institute mandatory, daily COVID-19 testing for athletes and coaches beginning September 30. If a member of any team tests positive for the virus, the earliest they could return to the field is 21 days following their testing.

The decision follows pressure to resume play, including from President Donald Trump who is eager to see a return to normalcy. No decision has been made from PAC-12 officials regarding a reconsideration. The Big 10’s decision makes them the only power 5 conference not playing college football this year.

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Coronavirus

Mayor de Blasio Will Furlough Everyone in Office, Including Himself

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All staff members working in the mayor's office will need to take a week-long furlough unpaid. Courtesy of news.sky.com

The New York City mayor stated that he will mandate everyone who works in his office to take a 5-day unpaid furlough due to a budget shortfall.

What We Know:

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio stated the city had lost $9 billion in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic. The city has cut the budget by $7 billion, yet cost savings are still needed.

  • The layoffs will start on October 1st and will be extended until March 2021. The Mayor also mentioned he will also be part of the furlough. The unpaid time off is suggested to save about $1 million.
  • The Mayor stated, it is a step that you never want to see for hardworking, good people. He went on to say that it’s with pain he had to announce that employees and their families will have to lose a week’s pay and its something that has to be done.
  • There is a total of about 500 employees in the Mayor’s office. There was already a hiring freeze put in place and other cuts were made to save about $12 million.
  • When de Blasio was asked if there could be a possibility this might be extended to the entire city workforce, he answered that they are looking into all options.
  • Fiscal hawks have called on the city to order more cuts before turning to borrow more money. The city has asked for permission to borrow roughly $5 billion. De Blasio anticipates the furloughs, first reported by The New York Times, would help convince Albany lawmakers he is firm about cutting back.
  • New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo rejected in following the Mayor’s lead in placing himself on furlough and took a swipe at the city’s quality of life.

De Blasio stated decisions such as furloughing other city workers instead of doing layoffs could be taken into consideration. Cuts could also be accomplished by wage freezes or early retirements, although unions would have to agree to such decisions. At the same time, the city has the legal authority to do layoffs unilaterally.

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