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May 8, 2020

Researchers are sounding the alarm over what they say is a looming health crisis of suicides and deaths from drug and alcohol abuse as the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the economy and normal ways of life. One report, published Friday, claims that Americans could expect some 75,000 such "deaths of despair" stemming from the pandemic between 2020 and 2029, based on current projected unemployment and economic recovery modeling, CBS News reports.

"Deaths of despair are tied to multiple factors, like unemployment, fear and dread, and isolation," said Benjamin Miller, the chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust, the national mental and spiritual health foundation that authored the study. "Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were already an unprecedented number of deaths of despair (almost 182,000 in 2018). We wanted to estimate how this pandemic would change that number moving forward."

The worst case models project as many as 150,000 additional deaths of despair over the next 10 years due to fallout from the pandemic, while the most optimistic models projected an additional 28,000 deaths. Dr. Elie Aoun, the vice chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Council on Addiction Psychiatry, confirmed to CBS News that the research was alarming but realistic. "Addiction patients are relapsing, and a lot of patients who don't have drug use or alcohol problems are drinking more now, sometimes every day from 4 or 5 p.m., and they don't stop until they sleep," he said.

On Friday, President Trump offered reassurance to the American people, promising that "jobs will all be back, and they'll all be back very soon." Analysts, however, say it could take as much as a decade for the economy to fully recover. Jeva Lange

April 15, 2020

An anonymous person called the police department in Andover, New Jersey, on Monday to report that a corpse was being stored in a shed outside the largest licensed nursing home in the state. When officers arrived, they discovered the body was gone, but found 17 others inside the facility's tiny morgue.

The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II has 700 beds in two buildings, The New York Times reports. There have been 68 recent deaths of residents and nurses, with at least 26 testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. As of Wednesday, 76 patients and 41 staffers have also tested positive for the virus. Andover Police Chief Eric Danielson told the Times the facility was "just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring." He added, "I don't know if I'm shocked by any means."

Most long-term care facilities in New Jersey have reported at least one case of the coronavirus to state authorities. As of Wednesday, 6,815 patients in New Jersey have been infected by the virus, and at least 45 of the day's 351 deaths related to COVID-19 took place at a nursing home.

"The challenge we're having with all of these nursing homes is once it spreads, it's like a wildfire," Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D) told the Times. "It's very hard to stop it." His office has been receiving calls from worried nurses and family members of residents, and "it's scary for everybody," Gottheimer said. "What is surprising to me is how many are dying in house, versus the hospital."

Local health officials were told by Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation I and II staffers that sick patients were separated from other residents, and placed on the same floors or wings. Prior to the pandemic, Medicare gave the facility a one-star rating, or "much below average," based on staffing levels, patient care, and inspections. Read more at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

April 15, 2019

The spire of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral has collapsed as a massive fire continues to engulf the iconic landmark.

Devastating video was captured on Monday of the moment when part of the spire, which had become overtaken by flames, collapsed. The roof of the cathedral also collapsed into the church as those on the scene observed in horror.

The fire at the 800-year old cathedral began at about 6:50 local time, ABC News reports. The building had been in the midst of renovations. Firefighters are currently responding, and police say no deaths have been reported, per The Associated Press. A Notre Dame spokesperson said, "Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame." Brendan Morrow

March 15, 2019

An Australian senator on Friday released a shockingly Islamophobic statement after a horrific attack on two mosques in Christchurch left 49 people dead.

Fraser Anning, who was elected as a Queensland senator in 2017, released a statement after an attack was carried out against Muslims, and it includes exactly one sentence condemning the violence followed by seven paragraphs suggesting Muslims themselves are to blame, per CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Anning writes that the attack "highlights" a "growing fear within our community" of "the increasing Muslim presence," and he claims that the "real cause" was "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place." Anning goes on to write that "the entire religion of Islam" is a "violent ideology" and that Muslims are not "blameless."

This is hardly a first-time offense for Anning, who has advocated for ending Muslim immigration and in 2018 delivered a Senate speech calling for a "final solution to the immigration problem," evoking the infamous phrase referring to Nazi extermination of Jewish people, per BBC News. Anning refused to apologize for these comments even as he was condemned by members of Parliament.

Anning's statement was similarly condemned all around on Friday, The Washington Post reports, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying his comments are "disgusting" and "have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament." Brendan Morrow

January 29, 2019

Actor Jussie Smollett has been hospitalized after being brutally assaulted in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.

Chicago police say Smollett, who is openly gay and plays a gay character on the Fox drama Empire, was attacked while leaving a restaurant Tuesday by two suspects who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The attackers also reportedly poured a chemical substance over him and wrapped a rope around his neck. NBC News reports the chemical substance is thought to have been bleach.

Police say that Smollett is recovering at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is in "good condition," Variety reports. Brendan Morrow

November 20, 2018

A bombing in Afghanistan's capital has left at least 40 people dead and 60 injured, BBC News reported Tuesday.

An explosion went off at a wedding hall in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where religious scholars and clerics were gathering on the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. Hundreds of Muslims were gathered for the occasion, TIME reports, and The Washington Post cites an Afghan official who said a suicide bomber was responsible for the deadly blast.

"The victims of the attack unfortunately are all religious scholars who gathered to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad," Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief told The Associated Press.

This comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Kabul that killed or wounded more than 100 people in August, per BBC News, and after six Shiites were killed in a bombing during a protest there, reports the Post. No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack. Brendan Morrow

October 19, 2018

Another 93 women have come forward to accuse a former University of Southern California gynecologist of sexual misconduct, HuffPost reported Friday. The women, who are suing the school for its handling of the alleged abuse, join nearly 400 more who have previously reported wrongdoing by Dr. George Tyndall.

Many of the nearly 500 women who were allegedly mistreated say USC ignored their complaints against Tyndall.

Allegations against Tyndall first became public earlier this year, when the Los Angeles Times reported that he had been accused of misconduct, including making inappropriate remarks, groping, and taking pictures of patients' genitals. Students reportedly filed complaints against Tyndall as early as 1988, but he was not suspended until 2016.

A 2017 sexual harassment allegation led to an internal USC investigation that found evidence to support the claim. He resigned, and reportedly received a payout. Tyndall has denied the allegations.

Prior to the announcement of this new set of lawsuits, 50 of the accusers were already suing USC, reports CNN. In a press conference on Friday, attorney John Manly called for the state attorney general to get involved, saying that the university "miserably failed these women." Brendan Morrow

October 17, 2018

New horrifying details are emerging about the evidence Turkey claims to have in the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials reportedly shared with the United States details of an audio recording that suggests Khashoggi was killed minutes after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The audio reportedly includes the voice of Salah Al Tabiqi, a Saudi forensic specialist, who tells others in the room to listen to music while he dismembers Khashoggi.

Audio leaked by a Turkish newspaper also suggests Khashoggi had his fingers cut off and was beheaded, and that the Saudi consul general told operatives to "do this outside," The New York Times reports. "You will put me in trouble," he reportedly said.

The United States is awaiting the completion of a Saudi investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. The journalist arrived at the consulate earlier this month and has not been heard from since. Saudi Arabia's government has denied any knowledge of what happened to him, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he is expanding the probe to find details.

President Trump seems to be leaning toward believing Saudi officials' denials; on Tuesday he compared accusations that they were involved in Khashoggi's death to the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Both, he said, are cases of being considered "guilty until proven innocent." Pompeo, after speaking with Saudi leaders Tuesday, said he did not yet "want to talk about any of the facts." Brendan Morrow

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