National News Content

Doctors Fear For Alexei Navalny As His Health Declines Due To Hunger Strike

WXXI US News - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 5:05am
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Torrey Board to consider Greenidge cryptocurrency plan Monday

WXXI US News - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 5:00am
ENDWELL (WSKG) — The fate of Greenidge Generation’s plan to expand cryptocurrency mining operations at its power facility along Seneca Lake will be decided Monday by the town of Torrey Planning Board. Environmental advocates have been pushing back against the proposal , which they allege will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions by the plant and other detrimental impacts. “It’s a decision that the town should really take seriously, and yet we are afraid that they are about to approve the site plan for this facility and once Pandora’s box is open, you will not be able to get the lid back on,” said Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian. Greenidge converted the former coal plant to natural gas in 2017, and installed its first machinery to “mine" Bitcoin a year later using excess power generated at the facility. Now, they want to expand that operation, adding four outbuildings equipped with mining rigs. Michael McKeon defended the plant, asserting that it’s within

Snag a Vaccine Appointment, Then Face the Next Hurdle: How to Get There?

Latest Updates From Kaiser Health News - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 5:00am

The airport says a lot about Cortez, Colorado: The single-engine planes that fly into its one-room airport seat nine passengers at most. The city of about 9,000 is known largely as a gateway to beautiful places like Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners Monument. But covid vaccines have made Cortez a destination in its own right.

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“We had a couple fly in to get their vaccine from Denver that couldn’t get it in the Denver metro area,” said Marc Meyer, director of pharmacy services and infection control for Southwest Health System, which includes clinics and a community hospital in Cortez. Others have come from neighboring states and as far away as California, Florida and the Carolinas. “They all come back for their second dose,” he said. “Because it’s so hard to get in the cities.”

With vaccines now becoming available to the general public in much of the country, the privilege of easy access is coming into sharper focus. On the most extreme end, vaccine tourists with means can nab inoculations, as Forbes has reported, in places such as Israel, the United Arab Emirates and even Cuba, where ads offered “mojitos and vaccine.” On the flip side, some people have found it hard to get to a vaccine appointment a few miles away.

In fact, around the same time people were flying into Cortez to get their shots, Meyer said, some locals couldn’t get to vaccine locations. That was particularly true for people who are homebound or homeless.

So Meyer and his colleagues came up with a vaccine SWAT team of sorts, composed of paramedics and a handful of ambulances stocked with vaccine vials. The team visited about 40 homebound people. For 30 or so people who are homeless in the area, Meyer snagged leftover doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a nearby county.

But he said he doesn’t know if his team got to everyone who wanted vaccines. “The problem with health disparities in rural areas is there’s no data,” he said. “It would be really helpful to know how many people have transportation issues.”

A KHN analysis of Colorado health department data shows that by the end of March about 43% of Coloradans who had received their first doses, and had addresses on file, got those shots outside of their home county. At least 60,000 Coloradans — about as many people as live in Grand Junction, the biggest city in western Colorado — got their first vaccine dose 50 or more miles away, as the crow flies, from their home ZIP codes.

And the state vaccinated more than 20,000 people from out of state — tourists, traveling nurses, cross-border dwellers and others whose primary residence is elsewhere — about 1% of the total number of people who had received first doses by April 1 in Colorado.

Other states have noticed similar migrations. Missouri, for example, saw an exodus of urbanites to rural areas in search of vaccines, leading critics to say doses had been misallocated in a way that neglected cities such as St. Louis.

But traveling for a vaccine requires money, flexibility with one’s time and a vehicle. Transportation was a health issue even before the pandemic, said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Researchers writing in the American Journal of Public Health found that, in 2017 alone, 5.8 million people in the U.S. delayed medical care because they lacked transportation. This group was disproportionately poor and had chronic health conditions.

Access issues, Freeman said, are likely being mischaracterized as vaccine hesitancy. Even some who live in cities with robust public transportation and ride-hailing services have found themselves jumping through hoops to get to a vaccine appointment.

Bob McIntyre, 81, lives in Denver in an apartment close enough to a major highway that the traffic “sounds like ocean waves in the distance.” But he doesn’t have a car. “It’s just too expensive,” he said. Before the pandemic hit, McIntyre could walk or take public transit. With the coronavirus circulating, though, he’d rather not be closed in a box with a bunch of strangers. “So, I’ve been hermitized.”

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have offered free rides to vaccine appointments, but McIntyre doesn’t feel safe using those services. He eventually learned of A Little Help, a nonprofit that offers everything from free yardwork to rides for covid vaccine appointments. Volunteer drivers took him to both of his vaccine slots, which were about 15 minutes from his home but otherwise would have remained out of reach.

Maggie Lea, director of programs at Mile High Connects, worries others may not be as lucky. Her organization believes more affordable and accessible transportation is key to achieving a racially and economically equitable Denver — especially right now.

“There are people who may or may not be motivated already to get the vaccine,” she said. “If they don’t have access to transport, or it’s particularly expensive for them to get over there, or burdensome for them to get to a vaccine site, we’re noticing that they just won’t go.”

Transit systems can use federal covid relief funding to help people get their vaccines, said Amy Conrick, director of the National Center for Mobility Management.

In West Texas, the SPARTAN public transit agency offers free rides to covid vaccine appointments, including many at its headquarters.

In Oxford, Ohio, older adults can get vaccinated by nurses aboard buses that accommodate oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. The city set up a hotline for residents to schedule their vaccine and transportation in one call.

“We live in a rural community where some people just don’t have internet,” said Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene.

Transit systems need to talk to public health officials, Conrick said. “Now is the time,” she said. “Well, actually, yesterday was the time.”

But many places lack decent public transit. For them, Freeman of NACCHO imagines covid shots waiting anywhere people congregate, even at NASCAR races, once the supply increases. “You should be able to just turn in any direction and be able to get a vaccine,” she said.

For now, demand is so high that vaccines go into arms as soon as they are available, Freeman said, but soon public health officials will have plenty of vaccine but a shrinking group of people who want to bother getting it. “We will hit a hard stop where we’re looking full face onto the universe of people that do not want to get the vaccine.”

Then, she said, it will be even more important for vaccination to not only be possible, but for it to be easy.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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Fast-Moving Fire On Table Mountain Destroys South African Landmarks, History

WXXI US News - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 4:43am
A wildfire that started on South Africa's Table Mountain early Sunday spread to the University of Cape Town, burning the school's historic library and forcing staff and students to evacuate. The Rhodes Memorial Fire broke out around 9 a.m. Sunday, according to Table Mountain National Park. The fire likely started from a "vacated vagrant fire." Extreme fire danger in the area, heavy winds and high temperatures helped the fire spread quickly, park officials said . By Monday morning, the fire remained hard to reach in certain areas, according to the city's official Twitter account . Officials hoped efforts to douse the flames by helicopter would prevent the spread outside of Cape Town. Some precautionary evacuations began taking place in the suburb of Vredehoek. A fire rages out of control on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday. AP More than 100 firefighters have been dispatched. At least two firefighters were sent to the hospital with injuries. City officials

Europe's Top Soccer Teams Announce New 'Super League'

WXXI US News - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 3:22am
A battle is brewing between Europe's top soccer clubs and their governing bodies--one that could cost billions of dollars in television rights payments alone . Twelve of Europe's richest and most powerful soccer teams from Spain, Italy, and England announced Sunday they would abandon the existing Champions League and create a rival Super League. The Super League's 12 Founding Clubs include Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Real Madrid. The organization said three more clubs will be invited to join before a potential inaugural season. The new competition is being pitched as a necessary change following the global pandemic which, the group said in a statement, "has accelerated the instability of the current economic model of European football." The Super League's statement said, "The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and commercial approach is needed to increase value and support for the benefit of the football pyramid as a whole." The Union of European Football

Closing Arguments In Derek Chauvin Trial Set To Begin Monday

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 10:57pm
Monday marks the beginning of the end in regards to the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck for more than 9 minutes. The defense and prosecution have each rested their cases and both sides are set to deliver their closing arguments Monday. After three weeks of emotional testimony and expert opinions, coupled with two fatal police shootings since the trial began, pressure has mounted as the world watches the Twin Cities. Monday will provide both sides one last opportunity to be heard before the jury decides Chauvin's fate. Chauvin faces three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Before the jurors left for the weekend, Judge Peter Cahill suggested they prepare for a lengthy deliberation. "If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short," Cahill said. "Basically, it's up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a

Consumer Safety Agency Warns People With Children To Stop Using The Peloton Tread+

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:18pm
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning for owners of the popular Peloton Tread+ exercise machine after "multiple incidents of small children and a pet being injured beneath the machines." The warning comes weeks after Peloton CEO John Foley said a child died in an accident related to the machine. "While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread+ where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton, and our hearts go out to the families involved," Foley said in a statement . The Consumer Product Safety Commission subsequently launched an investigation into the treadmill, one that the commission says remains ongoing. The commission said it is aware of 38 other safety incidents so far, none of which led to death. The commission believes the Peloton Tread+ "poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death" resulting from "children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller

Monroe County reports 217 new COVID-19 cases; hospitalization trend higher

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 6:48pm
While Monroe County officials push residents to take advantage of an increasing number of available vaccine appointments, case numbers remain high. The county's test positivity rate was down as low as 1.5% earlier this year, but the seven-day rolling average spiked to 3.4% on Saturday before dropping back to 3.2% on Sunday. On Sunday, the county health department reported 217 new cases of COVID-19. The seven-day rolling average of new cases reported on Sunday is 248 new cases per day. There were no new deaths. The numbers that are trending in the worst direction are hospitalizations. On Sunday, the Finger Lakes region reported nearly 200 COVID patients in area hospitals with more than 60 in ICU, the highest number since last fall's surge of cases. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced that the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.35%, the lowest since Nov. 7. The seven-day average statewide positivity rate was 2.92%. The percentage of New Yorkers with at least one vaccine

Weekend Shootings In Texas And Wisconsin Add To Tally Of U.S. Gun Deaths

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 5:27pm
Updated April 19, 2021 at 5:29 AM ET Three people were killed in a shooting in the Great Hills neighborhood of Austin on Sunday, police said. Austin police said that while the suspect remains at large, the shooting appears to be a "domestic situation" and poses no risk to the general public. The public was temporarily told to shelter in place as police searched for the suspect. Interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon told reporters the three victims were two women and a man. "Obviously this is a tragedy. We have people who have lost their lives here," Chacon said, according to the Austin American-Statesman . "We'll do our best ... to get this person in custody ... and hopefully with no more loss of life." The Austin Police Department identified Stephen Nicholas Broderick, 41, as a suspect in the fatal shooting of three people Sunday. Austin Police Department The suspect, 41-year-old Stephen Nicholas Broderick, is a former deputy with the Travis County sheriff's office, Chacon told

Indianapolis Shooting Suspect Obtained Guns Legally, Police Say

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 10:24am
The man who police say carried out a mass shooting that left eight people dead and several others injured at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis is said to have used two assault rifles in the attack, both of which were purchased legally. A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives trace revealed that the weapons used by Brandon Hole, 19, in Thursday's attack were purchased legally in July and September of 2020, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said. On Saturday, Hole's family issued an apology to the victims and claimed that the family had attempted to get him "the help he needed." "We are devastated at the loss of life caused as a result of Brandon's actions; through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed," the family said in a statement provided to The Indianapolis Star . "Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy. We are so sorry for the pain and hurt being felt by their families and the

Reactions To Biden's Decision To Pull Troops From Afghanistan Are Mixed

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 8:25am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: Today, a look at President Biden's foreign policy at a time when things are rapidly shifting. Russia is building up its troop presence near Ukraine. China is aghast at America's display of alliance with Japan at the White House. Iran says it's continuing to enrich uranium as talks go on to curb its nuclear program. And, after almost 20 years, President Biden announced the U.S. will finally leave Afghanistan. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021. Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us. GARCIA-NAVARRO: That conflict has been costly, complex and far-reaching, so we wanted to take a moment to hear some of the perspectives of those impacted by the war there. THOMAS BURKE: The human cost of being in Afghanistan is

The Incredible Shrinking And Growing Brains Of Indian Jumping Ants

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:58am
New research on ants has shown a first in insects: the ability to shrink and then regrow their brains in a big way. It relates to how these particular ants, called Harpegnathos saltator , or the Indian jumping ant, reproduce. "In most ants, the queen is the only member of the colony that lays eggs," says Clint Penick, an assistant professor of biology at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. "The workers just do all of the hunting and take care of the babies and all of the chores in the colony. But the queen is the only one who reproduces. And when she dies, the colony dies." Not so for this type of ant, native to India. Their worker ants have the ability to mate and reproduce. So when the Indian jumping ant queen dies, "it actually triggers a dominance tournament. And they'll fight each other over a month to decide who's going to be the next ant to replace the queen." (These are all females we're talking about. The males really aren't involved in anything here except mating and dying.

U.S., China Agree To Cooperate On Climate Crisis With Urgency

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:58am
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and China, the world's two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue. The agreement was reached by U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua during two days of talks in Shanghai last week, according to a joint statement. The two countries "are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands," the statement said. China is the world's biggest carbon emitter, followed by the United States. The two countries pump out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet's atmosphere. Their cooperation is key to a success of global efforts to curb climate change, but frayed ties over human rights, trade and China's territorial claims to

Examining Biden's Foreign Policy Plans

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:58am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: Producer Andrew Craig gathered those many voices and perspectives, and Ed McNulty edited them. Now a question. Is there a thread running through President Biden's Afghanistan decision and the sanctions leveled on Russia and the talks aimed at returning to the Iran nuclear deal? John Gans is a foreign policy and national security historian who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He has close ties to the administration, and he joins us now. Good morning. JOHN GANS: Good morning. Good to be with you. GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should start with Afghanistan. You know, President Obama, of course, came into office also promising to end the U.S. military's role there but instead saw troop levels rise from, I think, 30,000 to, at one point, 100,000. Is Obama's former vice president just fulfilling that promise? Or do you see more Biden here than Obama? GANS: I definitely see more Biden here. I think what you see in the past week,

Politics Chat: Biden's Immigration Challenge

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:58am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: President Biden returns to the White House today. He met there with the Japanese prime minister Friday and then went home to Delaware for the weekend. He's returning to a problem that's proven to be particularly troublesome - immigration. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been looking into it and joins us now. Good morning, Mara. MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu. GARCIA-NAVARRO: Biden promised to deal with immigration and sent a bill to Congress which passed the House and rests now with the Senate committee. But the politics aren't waiting for the policy on this issue. LIASSON: No, this is the issue that Biden has had the most trouble handling since he came into office. It's not clear whether the White House misunderstood or underestimated how a new president with a more welcoming policy on immigration than his predecessor's - predecessor would be received by people desperate to come to the U

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota's Most Diverse City, Is In The Spotlight After Shooting

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:43am
Never has so much attention focused on these quiet, leafy eight square miles along the Mississippi River. Brooklyn Center, Minn., a small inner-ring suburb of modest postwar houses and apartment buildings, is the latest community to feel the heat of the national spotlight in the days since the death of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man shot during a traffic stop by a Brooklyn Center police officer who officials say mistook her handgun for her Taser. Affordable home prices and easy commutes — no more than 20 minutes to drive to the downtowns of Minneapolis or St. Paul — have long made Brooklyn Center attractive to middle-class families. In the last 25 years, rapid demographic change has come to this city of just 30,000 people. The exodus of jobs, decline in median income, and rise in poverty that Brooklyn Center has seen in that time would be challenges for any small suburb. But residents say Brooklyn Center's problems are compounded by a city administration and police force that

OPINION: Doctors Should Be More Candid With Their Patients

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:00am
Back in December, I spent what felt like every moment agonizing over whether or not I should get vaccinated against COVID-19. I was early in my second trimester of pregnancy, and I'm also a family physician, which meant I was eligible to get my shot as soon as the vaccines were authorized for use in the U.S. At the time — it feels like a lifetime ago, even though it's only been a few months — we didn't have any direct data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people, since no one who was pregnant had been enrolled in those first clinical trials. I wasn't sure it was a good idea. When I saw my nurse midwife for an early prenatal visit in December, she was caring but circumspect, and left the vaccine decision entirely up to me. It was arguably an empowering stance, but it left me frustrated. I wanted more of an answer, I realized, even if it was based on a hunch, not years of rigorous research. So I next turned to my personal networks — texting all the prenatal providers among

Opinion: How COVID Reveals The Hypocrisy Of The Global Health 'Experience'

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:00am
"You're a hero." I can't count the number of times I've heard this from well-intentioned friends and family. They send messages of praise for the work I've done over the past decade, addressing rural health and infectious diseases in India (where I was born), Mozambique, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Thailand, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Uganda. In many ways, this recognition felt and still feels misplaced. I knew then and know now that the credit was far more deserved by my local health-care colleagues — many working in these areas their entire lives, not weeks or months. Unlike me, they didn't always have a choice in the matter. And if something went wrong — like a global pandemic striking — many did not have the option to board a plane and fly out to somewhere safer. (To no surprise, the U.S. ended up being much less safe in the end.) These local health workers cope perpetually with the lack of paved roads, limited sanitation systems, overt poverty and a host of deadly infectious

For Some Americans, Getting A Vaccine Is As Easy As Showing Up To Work

WXXI US News - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 5:00am
For Denver-based flight attendant Ken Kyle, getting a coronavirus vaccine was as convenient as pulling up to the place he knows so well. "It was great to be able to be vaccinated at the airport," Kyle says, quipping: "You know where you're going." Kyle is one of a growing number of workers who are benefitting from a strong push by some companies to provide shots at employment sites, all in coordination with local and state health authorities. It's part of a broader push by these companies to remove potential barriers to get the vaccines for their workforces. Some are even offering financial or work incentives to get their workers to get the shot. The airline industry, for example, is working with airport authorities and health officials to provide on-site vaccines for workers ranging from pilots to ticket agents at a growing number of locations including Denver International Airport. Other companies such as Amazon, General Motors and Walt Disney Company have also hosted on-site
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