Things That Matter

Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Study Finds Pandemic Lockdowns Hit Latinas, Black, Women Hardest Due To Likelihood Of Job Loss, Inability To Afford Basic Necessities

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Study Finds Pandemic Lockdowns Hit Latinas, Black, Women Hardest Due To Likelihood Of Job Loss, Inability To Afford Basic Necessities

Angel Valentin / Getty

Updated April 7, 2021.

We’ve known since the start of quarantine that the coronavirus poses extreme risks to those who catch it. But when it comes to those with respiratory diseases and other severe and chronic conditions, the virus caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 can be even more unforgiving.  Now, new studies are revealing that pregnant women infected with the disease are also more likely to become severely ill and die from Covid-19 than researchers might have suspected.

Still, while the results from two major COVID-19 vaccine trials have inspired some hope, researchers are still unsure as to how the new studies will affect pregnant people.

Some experts weighing in on the current vaccines say that pregnant women or nursing moms who want the COVID-19 vaccine should get one.

According to the Daily Mail, researchers found that low-income African-Americans and Latinos were up to three times more likely than high-income white men to suffer job loss, experience food insecurity, and “default on a rent or mortgage.”

In the study, which was published by JAMA Network Open, a team combed through data taken from one million people that participated in the US 2020 Household Pulse Survey. The surveys were taken between April 23 and July 21 to people across all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. “Researchers asked if volunteers had experienced any of the following due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Daily Mail notes, including “unemployment; food insufficiency; mental health problems; no medical care received for health problems; default on last month’s rent or mortgage; and class cancellations with no distance learning.”

In a recent report it was revcealed that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are effective in protecting pregnant and lactating women. The studies also found that the vaccine was able to pass protective antibodies from mother to newborns. “These vaccines seem to work incredibly effectively in these women,” one of the researchers of the new study, Galit Alter, a professor of medicine at the Ragon Institute stated.

“Pregnant women who opt not to receive the vaccine should be supported in that decision as well, a practice advisory from ACOG recommends,” WebMD shared in an article. “In addition, women do not need to avoid getting pregnant after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine on Dec. 11.”

After Pfizer and Moderna, revealed that they might have developed two promising high-profile vaccine candidates there’s still quite a bit of some uncertainty.

On December 11, the FDA said that they will allow pregnant and lactating women to access the vaccine. This is despite the fact that the vaccinehas hasn’t been tested on pregnant woman and remains unavailable for anyone under 16.

In an interview with Vogue, experts weighed in on why the clinical trials for major COVID-19 vaccines haven’t included pregnant people. According to the interview, “Historically, pregnant and lactating women have been excluded from clinical and vaccine trials because of safety concerns for the mother and child. But that exclusion can pose its own risks, a point that’s been repeatedly raised by the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and various medical professionals. “

According to USA Today, “Both companies have indicated they will seek a federal emergency-use authorization, in which the government makes the drug available before having approved it, based on the strength of early results. That means vaccines could be available to the general public by next spring… But since the vaccine trials have thus far excluded people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s unclear when the immunizations would be safely available for them.”

Reports released earlier over the summer, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, underlined that pregnant women with COVID-19 are at risk for premature delivery.

According to Hub, “A late September Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among nearly 600 pregnant women in 13 states hospitalized with COVID-19 from March 1 through August 22, 16% were admitted to an intensive care unit, 8% were put on mechanical ventilation, and 1% died.”

In a recent report bioethicist Ruth Faden, who is reportedly the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics says that the issue of the distribution of vaccines to women is sensitive.

“As more and more vaccine candidates progress to later-stage trials, we want to make sure that pregnant women have fair opportunities to participate in studies that may benefit them and their babies and also that pregnant women, as a group, have a fair opportunity to benefit from vaccines when they are authorized for use outside of trials,” says Faden, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. “We want to make sure that their interests are taken into account from the outset so that we can generate the best possible evidence about safe and appropriate use of vaccines in pregnancy.”

The CDC’s latest findings reveal that that pregnant women infected by coronavirus are more likely to need intensive care.

While overall risk of severe illness or death is still considered low, the CDC says that pregnant women with coronavirus are at an increase risk for needing intensive care including ventilation, heart and lung support than women are not pregnant and infected by the virus. In a separate report published by the CDC researchers discovered an increase in the rate of premature birth just before the 37 weeks of pregnancy. The results found that 12.9% of women with coronavirus gave birth early compared to 10.2% who tested negative for the virus.

According to CNN, researchers behind the recent CDC studies reviewed data collected from 461,825 women (ages of 15 and 44) who tested positive for Covid-19 in the time between January 22 and October 3. The studies also only focused on those who experienced coronavirus symptoms.

Reports underline that these new developments highlight an increase in the number of reports related to the risk the virus poses to pregnant women. Speaking to CNN, Dr. Denise Jamieson, the chair of the gynecology and obstetrics department at Emory University School of Medicine, explained that the new research “demonstrates that their infants are at risk, even if their infants are not infected, they may be affected,” Jamieson noted on a call with reporters Monday.

“The team adjusted for outside factors and found that pregnant women were more likely to need intensive care, with 10.5 per 1,000 pregnant women admitted to the ICU, compared to 3.9 per 1,000 women who aren’t pregnant,” CNN explained about the report. “Pregnant women were 3 times more likely to need help breathing with invasive ventilation than women who aren’t pregnant. Similarly, they were at greater risk of requiring lung and heart support with oxygenation. They were also more likely to die, with 1.5 deaths per 1,000 pregnant women, compared to 1.2 per 1,000 women who aren’t pregnant.”

While the risks pregnant women face are low, researchers say that they must still take precautions.

This is particularly important as the winter months rise and coronavirus cases increase. “Less than 1% of pregnant women with Covid are admitted to an intensive care unit,” Jamieson told CNN. “However, they are at increased risk when you compare them to their non-pregnant counterparts.”

According to CNN, pregnant women should avoid gatherings, wear masks, and practice social distancing. “We’re learning more about how people are infected, and there is some new information that household contacts — so, people who are in your house — may be a source of infection,” Jamieson explained. “It’s not unreasonable, if a person has a lot of exposure at work, for instance, for that person to stay separated from the rest of their family or to protect the rest of their family by wearing a mask or even separating physically in the house.”

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