Coronavirus impact on world's indigenous, goes well beyond health threat, 05/20/20


Photo Credit: UN News

Urgent special measures must also be put in place to ensure availability and access to culturally appropriate medical services, he added, emphasizing that public health facilities are often too scarce in indigenous communities.

The rights to development, self– determination and lands, territories and resources must also be guaranteed, in order for indigenous peoples to manage the crisis and advance sustained development and environmental protection.

Mr. Cali Tzay said that in many countries, states of emergency are exacerbating the marginalization of indigenous communities – and in the most extreme situations, militarisation of their territories is taking place. “Indigenous peoples are being denied their freedom of expression and association, while business interests are invading and destroying their lands, territories and resources”, he said.

In some countries, he stated, consultations with indigenous peoples – as well as environmental impact assessments – are being abruptly suspended in order to force through megaprojects relating to agribusiness, mining, dams and infrastructure.

Freedom to Write Index 2019 by PEN America, 5/20/20


Photo Credit: PEN America

During 2019, according to data collected for the inaugural edition of PEN America's Freedom to Write Index, at least 238 writers, academics, and public intellectuals were in prison or held in detention unjustly in connection with their writing, their work, or related activism. Many of these individuals have faced long–term detentions without charge, lengthy drawn–out trials, and in some cases severe prison sentences.

While a total of 34 countries, ranging from democracies to authoritarian states, held writers behind bars, the majority were in just three countries: China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Among them, those three held 141 of the total of 238 cases in the Index. In recent years, these three countries have engaged in systematic crackdowns on free expression, including coordinated, mass arrests of literary writers, academics, publishers, columnists, journalists, and others. Of the myriad threats faced by the writers and intellectuals whose cases PEN America tracks, being held in detention or prison is by far the most common.

Why COVID-19 immunity passports may violate US law by Seema Mohapatra for the Conversation 5/27/20

Corona Virus, New York

Photo Credit: UN NEWS

A growing list of U.S. companies – Amazon and General Motors, among them – are exploring ways to test employees for infection or immunity. Current Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance only allows screening and testing for COVID– 19 infection, not antibody testing.

But allowing only people with immunity – or evidence of past infection – to work would disadvantage those who haven’t gotten sick or those without the antibodies to prove it. It’s as if, in the eyes of their employer, their lack of infection constitutes a disability. The inequality that immunity passports could foster in these situations may be illegal under the ADA.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study describes severe COVID–19 response in children by Albert Einstein College of Medicine 5/20/20

Corona Virus, New York

Of the children being cared for in the PCCU, almost 80% had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which is more commonly associated with critically ill adult COVID-19 patients, and almost 50% of children with ARDS were placed on ventilators. On average, children in the PCCU stayed in the hospital four days longer than children on the general unit. Researchers at CHAM and Einstein also found that while obesity and/or asthma was highly prevalent in children in this study, these complications did not increase the likelihood that a child would need enhanced levels of care.

“We know that in adults, obesity is a risk factor for more severe disease, however, surprisingly, our study found that children admitted to the intensive care unit did not have a higher prevalence of obesity than those on the general unit,” said lead author Jerry Y. Chao, M.D., M.Sc., pediatric anesthesiologist, CHAM, and assistant professor of anesthesiology, Einstein.

Researchers also found that more than half of the children had no known contact with a COVID–positive person. This may reflect the fact that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people and COVID19 may be more prevalent in communities with a high population density.

“Thankfully most children with COVID-19 fare well, and some do not have any symptoms at all, but this research is a sobering reminder that children are not immune to this virus and some do require a higher level of care,” said senior author Shivanand S. Medar, M.D., FAAP., attending physician, Cardiac Intensive Care, CHAM, and assistant professor of pediatrics, Einstein. “These preliminary findings contribute to our understanding of COVID-19 in pediatric patients, but more research is needed to determine how the virus truly impacts children.”


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