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April 1, 2020

White House: 240K Americans Could Die During Pandemic

This Day in History | 1970

Richard Nixon signs legislation that bans cigarette ads on television.  The last televised cigarette ad ran at 11:50 p.m. during The Johnny Carson Show on January 1, 1971.

Good Morning Middle Americans, 

Today is one of those days when we truly wish we had better news to report or a good April fools joke. But it’s pretty much all bad and it’s going to get worse according to the White House and President Trump. 

America’s top medical experts now predict that as many as 240,000 people could die from COVID-19.  Things sound extremely dire right now in the hardest hit hot spots. Places like New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans.  It’s now painfully obvious that this disease was living amongst us – long before anyone really understood the gravity of the situation.  There will certainly come a time for blame. 

But right now — these times call for our vigilance.  And a commitment to protecting our loved ones. Many of us have loved ones working in hospitals, or as first responders. We have a couple of stories that will make you furious about the way they are being treated. As a society – we have to demand more from the powers that be.  We have to demand more for the people who are taking care of us. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon 

Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

(Bloomberg) – Hospitals are threatening to fire health-care workers who publicize their working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic — and have in some cases followed through.

Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.

Read more here

A Major Medical Company Slashes Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

(Propublica) – Alteon Health, a staffing company backed by private-equity firm Frazier Healthcare Partners, will cut salaries, time off and retirement benefits for providers, citing lost revenue. Several hospital operators announced similar cuts.

Emergency room doctors and nurses many of whom are dealing with an onslaught of coronavirus patients and shortages of protective equipment — are now finding out that their compensation is getting cut.

Most ER providers in the U.S. work for staffing companies that have contracts with hospitals. Those staffing companies are losing revenue as hospitals postpone elective procedures and non-coronavirus patients avoid emergency rooms. Health insurers are processing claims more slowly as they adapt to a remote workforce.

“Despite the risks our providers are facing, and the great work being done by our teams, the economic challenges brought forth by COVID-19 have not spared our industry,” Steve Holtzclaw, the CEO of Alteon Health, one of the largest staffing companies, wrote in a memo to employees on Monday.

Find out more here

U.S. Emergency Medical Stockpile ‘Nearly Out’ of Protective Gear

(Reuters) – An emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the U.S. government has nearly run out of protective gear that could be useful to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to two officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The near-exhausted supply includes masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields, the officials said. A small amount of gear has been set aside for federal first responders, according to one of the officials, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile aims to provide medical supplies during emergencies so severe they cause shortages. But states across the country have called on the federal government in recent weeks to send them large quantities of gear to help hospitals deal with surging cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 188,000 infections and 3,873 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Read more here

Obama Protests Trump’s Rollback of Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Rules

(The Hill) – Former President Obama on Tuesday urged voters to “demand better” of the government after the Trump administration rolled back a key Obama-era fuel standard intended to combat climate change.

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial,” Obama tweeted. “All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.” Obama tweeted

The Trump administration on Tuesday slashed Obama-era standards that require automakers to produce fleets that average nearly 55 mpg by 2025. Instead, the Trump rule would bring that number down to about 40 mpg by 2026, bringing mileage below what automakers have said is possible for them to achieve.

Learn more here

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