side effects
April 21, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is creating a "silent sub-epidemic" of its own, The Washington Post reports.

When doctors look around their hospitals, especially around New York City and other major metropolitan areas, they see nothing but coronavirus patients. But those beds are usually filled with patients being treated for other emergencies, leaving some doctors wondering where the heart attack and stroke patients have gone.

Dr. Harlan M. Krumholz explicitly asked this question in an April 6 op-ed for The New York Times. At Yale New Haven Hospital where he works, Krumholz said at the time he had "almost 300 people stricken with COVID-19, and the numbers keep rising — and yet we are not yet at capacity because of a marked decline in our usual types of patients." Krumholz's hospital has never been so empty, he said.

Cardiovascular surgeon John Puskas said the same of his unit in New York City's Mount Sinai hospital. Nearly all of his 60-bed cardiac unit is filled with coronavirus patients, but "even those left almost speechless by crushing chest pain weren't coming through the ER," the Post writes. People with "inflamed appendixes, infected gall bladders, bowel obstructions and, more ominously, chest pains and stroke symptoms," have all gone missing, the Post reports via physicians and early research. The explanation is devastatingly simple, Puskas said: "Everybody is frightened to come to the ER." Read more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 30, 2020

Whole Foods employees are demanding better pay and protections as they work through the new coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, employees of the Amazon-owned grocery chain plan to call in sick en masse in the company's first collective workplace strike since its founding in 1980, Vice reports. They're seeking paid leave for all workers who call out sick or are quarantining during the pandemic, free COVID-19 testing for all employees, and hazard pay that doubles the current hourly wage for workers.

Whole Foods employees and others who work at grocery stores have been deemed essential employees throughout the coronavirus pandemic, putting them at increased risk of catching the virus. Employees at Whole Foods locations in several states have tested positive for COVID-19, Vice reports. Whole Foods responded to news of the "sickout" by offering a temporary pay increase of $2 an hour for every worker and two weeks of paid leave for those who test positive for COVID-19, "which isn't enough," an anonymous organizer told Vice. "It's very plausible that some of us will die for this job."

Shoppers for the grocery delivery service Instacart started their nationwide walkout on Monday to similarly demand additional hazard pay for every delivery, paid protections such as hand sanitizer and gloves, and expanded sick leave. Employees at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island, New York also walked out Monday to protest their continued work even though an employee was confirmed to have COVID-19 case. And at a General Electric factory outside Boston, workers actually walked off the job to demand they start making ventilators to address a nationwide shortage. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 27, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will gain some unprecedented power from the coronavirus relief bill he helped write.

The House is set to pass a stimulus bill that addresses economic shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday (or possibly Saturday). It'll send individual checks to Americans and billions of dollars to institutions and businesses, and with Mnuchin overseeing it all, it'll make him "one of the most powerful Cabinet members in modern history," The Washington Post writes.

Mnuchin has been at the forefront of congressional negotiations surrounding the stimulus bill since the start, steering it from its trillion-dollar beginnings to a final total more than double that cost. A highlight of the bill is its $1,200 checks for individual Americans. Mnuchin will be responsible for ensuring those checks actually get distributed, and has so far been hopeful — perhaps unrealistically so — that they'll be out by April.

The bill also contains a $500 billion funding program, and Mnuchin will oversee how it's distributed to local and state governments, as well as businesses, the Post notes. He'll undoubtedly face pressure from corporate executives looking for bailouts from that fund, and will have to weigh those pleas alongside the needs of taxpayers.

Mnuchin will remain "under constant scrutiny by Democrats, Republicans, a new inspector general, a new congressional oversight panel, as well as [President] Trump" as these disbursals go on, the Post notes. But he's so far gotten both sides of the aisle and the president onboard with the bill, even as Trump reportedly fielded dozens of calls complaining about what was inside it. Read more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 23, 2020

As the new coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Chinese Americans — and Asian Americans as a whole — have reported rising verbal and physical attacks suggesting they're responsible for COVID-19's emergence. It's "a sudden spasm of hate that is reminiscent of the kind faced by Muslim-Americans after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," but this time, the president isn't acting like he's on their side, The New York Times reports.

Yuanyuan Zhu recalled walking to the gym in San Francisco for one of her last workouts before an inevitable quarantine a few weeks ago. Along the way, she noticed a man "yelling an expletive about China," and hearing him shout "run them over" when a bus went by, the Times writes. Zhu tried to stay away, but when she got stuck with the man waiting for a crosswalk, he spit on her.

The possibility of those kinds of attacks have the nearly two dozen Asian Americans interviewed by The New York Times "afraid to go grocery shopping, to travel alone on subways or buses, to let their children go outside." Even Dr. Edward Chew, the head of the emergency department at a large Manhattan hospital, says he has noticed people covering their noses and mouths when he walks by.

Still, President Trump insists on calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" despite medical professionals warning how that could fuel fear of and attacks against an entire group of people. "If they keep using these terms, the kids are going to pick it up," Tony Du, an epidemiologist in Maryland, told the Times. "They are going to call my 8-year-old son a Chinese virus. It's serious." Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

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