2020 is for States Setting Record for Early Voting

Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois have come up as the top 4 states with highest early voting records, already outpacing voter turnout in 2016.
So far, more than 13.8 million voters have already cast their ballots for this year’s upcoming general election (November 3), according to U.S. Elections Project. In 2016, early voting had only been at 1.4 million.
The coronavirus pandemic, with health and safety concerns have led to expansion of mail-in voting, and it seems that this has helped increase voter turnout. Georgia and Texas began their early voting this week and already set records.
For example, Georgian voters reported waiting nearly 10 hours at the polling sites on the first day of early voting. 128,000 people hit the polls on Monday, surpassing 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.
In Texas, more than twice the 2016 early voters showed up for the first day of early voting.
This pattern was repeated in Ohio and Illinois.
Voting pace in Virginia, Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin have also reached 20 percent or greater than the 2016 total vote.
Ironically, the pandemic that locked so many of us inside seems to have only led to the result of enhancing the nature of the political system in the US: Representative Democracy.

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Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Stop COVID Vaccine Trials

(Photo from ABC News)

On Monday, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was pausing COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant. Eli Lilly and Company also stopped its Covid vaccine trials because of potential safety concern, as voiced by US government officials. Eli Lilly had been testing the treatment on hospitalized COVID patients, all of whom had received remdesivir.

At the moment, Johnson & Johnson’s patient is being reviewed and evaluated by independent monitoring board and company’s doctors. This comes at the head of AstraZeneca’s pausing its Covid-19 vaccine trials last month to investigate an illness in a patient in the UK. The study has resumed in the UK and other countries but not in the US.

The dean of Brown University School of Public Health, Ashish Jha stated that this was completely expected, but that the political pressure and desire simply was unrealistic to adhere to.

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House Democrats Pushes for $2.2 trillion stimulus plan

House Democrats pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan for aid to American families, schools, businesses, airline workers without Republican support. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had taken a $1.6 trillion package to House Leader Pelosi’s Capitol Hill suite.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-207 vote.

Nancy Pelosi is still opening the door to negotiate this bill with the Republican party and make it a bipartisan bill. She is hoping that this bill gets through before the election.

Ms.Pelosi told reporters that she did not expect a resolution on a stimulus package to emerge Thursday, but she said she was reviewing documents sent by the Treasury Department and that “we’re going back and forth with our paper and conversation.”

More than 30,000 airline workers are facing furlough today and are waiting on some good news from the Hill but as this bill is in stalemate, the airline workers continue to fear for tomorrow.

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UN PEACEKOR Hosts The 1st Global Virtual Forum Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

On September 16, UN PEACEKOR (Chairman Dug-Ryong Kim) held the global meeting through Zoom and Youtube live for the first time ever in history due to coronavirus pandemic.

This forum was held by foreign compatriots from around the world with different time zones on the actual conditions and prospects of North Korea’s three sufferings (sanctions, corona, flood damage), and where to find clues for the recovery of South-North relations in this difficult situation. We had time to express each other’s opinions using the internet space as a place.

The forum was hosted by Jun-Hyuk Huh, Secretary General of UNPEACEKOR, and led to discussions by Yong-Han Choi, head of the National Security Strategy Research Institute, Jong-Cheol Park, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Unification, Yoo-seok Jeong, a senior research fellow at the Northeast Asia Research Center at Export-Import Bank of Korea, and Dae-jin Jeong, a professor at Ajou University.

The chairman of the organization stated that despite US’ distraction during a presidential election year, and North Korea focusing on its internal structure, there is still tremendous responsibility to bring to awareness, the importance of restarting the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

The members of the forum focused heavily on the kind of development necessary in North Korea, and talked about the impact of Covid-19 on both the social and economic infrastructure of China and North Korea, but also how this could require heavier interest by South Korea or the US to improve relationship with North Korea, especially in the area of trade.

The forum garnered much interest, as almost 400 people tuned in to watch the forum.

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Is ICE Performing hysterectomies on immigrants?

On Tuesday, light allegations accused ICE’s Irwin County Detention center in Georgia of performing mass hysterectomies, refusing to test detainees for Covid-19, and shredding medical records.

Follow-up news conference in Atlanta however, has not helped substantiate the story, as the whistleblower’s attorney refused to release the full statement made, and the whistleblowing nurse herself did not take any questions.

The whistleblower is a nurse who had been working full-time as a licensed practice nurse at the immigration detention center until July, when she was demoted.

That being said, the nurse stated that she did not actually know if the women that underwent hysterectomy operations actually consented or not. She simply stated that, “everybody [the doctor] sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody.”

At the press conference, however, the nurse mostly focused on improper Covid-19 violations rather than on hysterectomy allegation.  The complaint states that the nurse was demoted after missing work with coronavirus symptoms.

The agency, while it is taking the allegations seriously, also stated that unsubstantiated statements should be treated as such. This is an ongoing investigation.

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Covid-19 Survivors’ Lungs Likely to Recover over Time, study says

Among concern regarding Covid-19 were multi-organ inflammation, damage, and failure. For example, many as 35% of those testing positive for Covid-19 showed heart inflammation.

However, there is some good news regarding Covid-19 recovery: a new study from University Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria showed that a vast majority of hospitalized Covid-19 patients showed lung damage 6 weeks after discharge, but this proportion dropped significantly after 12 weeks, indicating that the lungs are able to self-repair.

The 86-patient analysis showed that 6 weeks after discharge, approximately 47% of patients struggled with shortness of breath, with 15% struggling with coughing.  However, by 12 weeks, only 39% of patients still experienced shortness of breath, while 15% continued to cough.

12-weeks were chosen due to the newness of the Covid-19, and the lack of data on how long the diseased lungs would react to other infections. Research is ongoing, with data expected at 24-weeks.

The relationship between Covid-19 and the heart was not covered by this research.

While the research was limited by the small patient cohort (only 86 patient pool), and while it is still unclear as to what happens with residual lung lesions, Judith Loffler-Ragg, MD from University Clinic in Innsbruck stated, “… there is resolution of so-called damage.”

It is one silver lining in the cloud storm of the year that has been so very difficult for so many people.

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As COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise, West Coast Burns

There were confirmed new cases of 36,500 Covid-19 cases on September 10, 2020, bringing the total confirmed case to 6,471,218 in the US. Of course, only about 2,764,361 cases are active currently. But many living on the Pacific west coast are dealing with another problem making breathing difficult.

There are currently more than 13 states being impacted by wildfires, not just California. From Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California to Texas, almost half of the US is currently battling wildfires.

In many of these states, citizens are struggling between choosing to open the window to breathe in smoke, or to stay stuffed up inside their homes due to Covid-19 pandemic and the risk of going elsewhere.

For example, the Governor of Oregon has declared a state of emergency for the wildfires, as well as extending the state of emergency for COVID-19 for another 60 days until November 3, 2020.

The current state of affairs have forced evacuations for many, as well as putting much strain on the states’ fire-fighting resources. The heat wave has eased a bit for California, and the shift in wind has finally allowed the Utilities to turn the electricity back on.

Nonetheless, the effects of the wind storms continue to have lasting effect in the region. More than half a million acres of forests and grassland have burned in California on Wednesday alone.

A blaze in Butte County has killed at least 3 people.

Air quality throughout San Francisco Bay area have reached unhealthy levels, with thick smoke blanketing much of the Pacific west and Northwest. What is very concerning is that the wildfires have not reached their worst of the season, as wildfires become most dangerous when the dry winds pick up in the fall months.

Unfortunately for the West Coast, there is a ridge of high pressure that has pinned the smoke in place, which means that it will be a while before California, Oregon, and Washington gets any relief from the heavy smoke and soot.

As the climate of the American West continues to show extremes unseen in previous eras, many are worried for their safety, as well as feeling the pressures of anxiety, stress, and fear.

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33% of Big Ten athletes with Covid-19 has heart inflammation

Big Ten conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States with athletes in just about every athletic field for college students. Unfortunately, up to 35% of the Big Ten athletes (not isolated to football players) who had Covid-19 are showing signs of inflammation of the heart muscle called myocarditis.

It is unclear how myocarditis could affect the long term health of the athletes.

The Big Ten conference has been pressured to play, with some athletes, coaches, and even Pres. Trump urging the team to play. However, the kind of effect the myocarditis has on the athletes are worrying; the athletes who performed at their peak one week are found to be struggling like a normal individual, due to this heart inflammation.

If there is an overload of impact on the heart, the person could suffer many complications, including death.

If there is an overload of impact on the heart, the person could suffer many complications, including death.

As schools and colleges begin to return their students home, Big Ten has a real problem on their hands, and it is always important to remember that before they are athletes, they are students, and young people, some just recently turned 18. It is a cruel fate to bestow, and one that these student athletes may have to take with them for the rest of their lives.

Big Ten should take this into account in determining whether the conference plays this season.

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Large Companies Enforce Gag Orders for Positive Coronavirus cases

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Cheesecake Factory, Amazon.com, Cargill, McDonald’s, Target have given instructions to their employees not to talk about Coronavirus positive cases at work places.

As the countries start to reopen, with many businesses closing or being sluggish, big corporations noted to be important were able to make up some of the financial losses, but in doing so, they’ve also forced their employees to hide the true nature of the positive coronavirus cases occurring at these locations.

According to Bloomberg, Workers at Amazon.com, Cargill, McDonald’s, and Target say they were told to keep coronavirus cases quiet. The same sort of gagging has been alleged in OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) complaint against Smithfield Foods, Urban Outfitters, and General Electric.

At Recreational Equipment Inc., an employee texted colleagues to say he’d tested positive and that “I was told not to tell anybody” and “to not post or say anything on social media.”

These are just on the surfaces, but there is no doubt that many companies are keeping their employees quiet even where positive coronavirus cases are appearing. It is quite saddening that even in times of crises, what is most important are profit margins for these large corporations.

As of August 27, coronavirus positive cases are 5.8 million+ and deaths are 180,635 in US. With nearly 1,000 people dying every day, these behaviors aren’t helping the problem, only worsening it.

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Catching Coronavirus Twice

A 33-year old Hong Kong resident contracted the COVID-19 twice this year. He was infected once in March, recovered from it, only to become re-infected in August.

The first time, his symptoms were mild; second time, they were asymptomatic. They are 142 days apart in terms of infection.

The second time, he was returning from a trip to Spain via the United Kingdom. The study noted that the Coronavirus involved between the first time and the second time were unrelated strains, showing that acquired immunity may not be as strongly counted upon to keep the population safe, even if a significant number recover from the infection.

Given the variety of COVID-19 mutations, experts advise that people should take the vaccine when it becomes available to minimize the continued spread of the number of COVID-19 viruses.

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