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White House recommends tests for all nursing home residents
5/15/2020 12:35:08 PM

By Darlene Superville and Bernard Condon   WASHINGTON (AP)—With deaths mounting at the nation’s nursing homes, the White House strongly recommended to governors Monday that all residents and staff at such facilities be tested for the coronavirus in the next two weeks. Why the government is not ordering testing at the the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes was unclear. Nor was it clear why it is being recommended now, more than two months after the nation’s first major outbreak at a nursing home outside of Seattle that eventually killed 43...

COVID survivors’ blood plasma is a sought-after new commodity
5/15/2020 12:33:49 PM

By JoNel Aleccia khn.org   NEW YORK, NY—Diana Berrent learned she had tested positive for COVID-19 on a Wednesday in mid-March. Within a day, she had received 30 emails from people urging her to donate blood. Friends and acquaintances, aware of her diagnosis, passed along a pressing request from New York’s Mount Sinai Health System, one of the first centers to seek plasma, a blood component, to be used in a therapy that might fight the deadly disease. Berrent, 45, said she immediately recognized the need for the precious plasma—and the demand that would...

Focus on nursing home workers amid continued virus outbreaks
5/15/2020 12:30:24 PM

By Amy Taxin   For nearly two months, many nursing homes nationwide have been on virtual lockdown. Families of residents are not allowed inside, vendors have to drop deliveries outside and the only people coming in and out are health care workers and assistants. Despite all that, the outbreaks continue—possibly spread by the same nursing home workers who are risking their lives to tend to some of society's most vulnerable. In response, many workers are significantly increasing their own vigilance, nursing homes are adding safety measures, and the testing of...

When everything fails, it’s over
5/13/2020 8:35:12 PM

Dr. James L. Snyder   During this time of seclusion, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly has spent some significant time binge-watching some of those Hallmark mystery movies. After a while, they all look alike, but my wife loves them, therefore, so do I. The other night as we were watching, one of the characters was a very old, grouchy, mean-looking woman who had nothing nice to say about anybody. I usually groan whenever I saw her. In the middle of the movie, my wife looked at me and said, “Does that woman remind you of anybody?” Whenever my...

Compton College introduces chemistry to student bound for medical school
5/6/2020 2:54:47 PM

COMPTON—It took several years, numerous schedule changes, and three different colleges to find the right fit. Compton College turned out to be the best place for Daniel Astorga to pursue his academic goals; he is now headed toward a career in medicine. Astorga enrolled at Compton College in 2017 and discovered that the smaller campus environment really suited his learning style. He also found a career path in science and medicine after realizing he has an affinity for chemistry. He will graduate from Compton College this June with three associate degrees: two Associate of Science and...

Americans without bank accounts must wait for federal checks
5/6/2020 2:53:11 PM

By Aaron Morrison   NEW YORK (AP)—As the coronavirus crisis took hold, Akeil Smith's employer slashed her work as a home health aide to 25 hours per week. Her $15-an-hour salary no longer provided enough to pay her $700 monthly rent, and she had to visit food pantries for groceries. While millions of U.S. workers have already received a quick relief payment from the federal treasury through direct deposit, Smith is among millions of others without traditional bank accounts who must wait weeks for paper checks. When the checks finally arrive, this disproportionately...

Testing in California still patchwork of Haves and Have-nots
5/6/2020 2:50:53 PM

By Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Angela Hart and Rachel Bluth KHN.org   SACRAMENTO—Months into the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, widespread diagnostic testing still isn’t available, and California offers a sobering view of the dysfunction blocking the way. It’s hard to overstate how uneven the access to critical test kits remains in the nation’s largest state. Even as some Southern California counties are opening drive-thru sites to make testing available to any resident who wants it, a rural northern county is testing raw sewage to...

30 million have sought U.S. unemployment aid since virus hit
5/6/2020 2:47:23 PM

By Christopher Rugaber   WASHINGTON (AP)—More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s. Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it's by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to...

LA County supervisor wants mandatory masks on Metro buses, trains
5/6/2020 2:44:38 PM

LOS ANGELES—A county supervisor urged Metro Monday to require face coverings for everyone riding buses and trains, in order to protect drivers and passengers from the coronavirus. Supervisor Janice Hahn, who along with the other four county supervisors holds a seat on the 13-member Metro board, wrote a letter to CEO Phil Washington. "Given what we know about the COVID-19 virus, the policy of not requiring face coverings puts both Metro passengers and bus drivers at risk," Hahn wrote. Hahn asked Washington to take action immediately rather than waiting for the...

NASA plea: Stay home for 1st home astronaut launch in years
5/6/2020 2:41:39 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP)—NASA and SpaceX on Friday urged everyone to stay home for the first home launch of astronauts in nearly a decade because of the coronavirus pandemic. Top officials warned the public against traveling to Florida for the May 27 launch of two NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station. It will be the first launch of astronauts from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in nine years—ever since the last space shuttle flight in 2011. It also will be the first attempt by a private company to fly astronauts to orbit. For space...