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Category Archives: Health Care

Impact of Lifting School Masking Requirements on Incidence of COVID-19 among Staff and Students in Greater-Boston Area School Districts

Impact of Lifting School Masking Requirements on Incidence of COVID-19 among Staff and Students in Greater-Boston Area School Districts: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis. FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Boston Public Health Commission.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Boston University.Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

“Before the statewide school masking policy was lifted, there was no statistically significant difference in case rate trajectories between school districts. However, weekly and cumulative case rates were significantly higher in students and staff in school districts that removed masking requirements, compared to districts that had not yet lifted requirements. We estimate that lifting of school masking requirements was associated with an additional 44.9 (95% CI: 32.6, 57.1) COVID-19 cases per 1,000 students and staff over the 15 weeks since the lifting of the statewide school masking requirement, representing nearly 30% of all cases observed in schools during that time. School districts that sustained masking requirements for longer periods tended to have older school buildings in poorer condition, more crowded classrooms, higher proportion of low income and English learning students and students with disabilities, and a higher proportion of Black and Latinx students and staff.Conclusions.

Masking is a relatively low-cost but effective intervention that can protect students and staff from substantial illness and loss of in-person days in school. Despite compelling evidence that masking significantly reduces the spread of SARS-CoV-2, political will and public adherence to masking has waned. Our study confirms that universal masking requirements can benefit all students and staff, and therefore represents an important strategy to mitigate the impacts of structural racism, ensure health equity, and to avoid potential deepening of educational inequities.”

The right kind of filter can keep microplastics out of drinking water

Popular Science – Slow sand and membrane filters can knock out nearly all of the tiny pollutants. “Out of all the plastic that has even been produced globally, less than 10 percent has been recycled. One of the biggest environmental dilemmas with this is that plastic does not decompose, it only breaks down into smaller… Continue Reading

FDA Finalizes Historic Rule Enabling Access to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids for Millions of Americans

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule to improve access to hearing aids which may in turn lower costs for millions of Americans. This action establishes a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, enabling consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase hearing aids directly from stores or… Continue Reading

The 6th National Risk Assessment on Hazardous Heat

“New research from First Street Foundation analyzes the the prevalence of increasing extreme temperatures and dangerous heat wave events throughout the contiguous United States, with a key finding being the incidence of heat that exceeds the threshold of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) highest category for heat, called “Extreme Danger” (Heat Index above 125°F) is… Continue Reading

How Many U.S. Households Don’t Have Air Conditioning?

Energy Institute at Haas: “With rising adoption, nearly 90% of American homes have air conditioning, but almost 30% in California are still without it. And, once again, the U.S. is gripped by sweltering heat and humidity. Higher-than-average summer temperatures are everywhere, even in places like Portland, Oregon, which topped 100 degrees last weekend and in… Continue Reading

More dangerous heat waves are on the way: See the impact by Zip code

Washington Post: “…Across much of the United States, millions of people are expected to experience extreme temperatures more frequently and for longer periods of time — a threat that will grow as climate change worsens. The new data, released Monday by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, calculates the heat risk facing each property in the… Continue Reading

National Wastewater Surveillance System

CDC – “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC launched the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) in September 2020. CDC developed NWSS to coordinate and build the nation’s capacity to track the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in wastewater samples collected across the country. CDC’s NWSS works with health departments to track… Continue Reading

Partisanship Colors Views of COVID-19 Handling Across Advanced Economies

“Publics are increasingly satisfied with the way their country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey in 19 countries. A median of 68% think their country has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, with majorities saying this in every country surveyed except Japan. However, as… Continue Reading

EPA Webinar on PFAS Strategic Roadmap: Research Tools and Resources

Register and join the webinar on the EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the United States and around the globe since the 1940s, and they are still being used today. There are thousands of different… Continue Reading

American Library Association (ALA) Condemns Proposed State Legislation Limiting Access to Information on Reproductive Health

“The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) issued the following statement in response to proposed state legislation that would censor library materials or put at risk library workers who provide access to information, including information on abortion or any aspect of reproductive health care. ALA stands committed to the free, fair, and unrestricted… Continue Reading

How California Reproductive Health Workers Can Protect Information They Submit to the Government

EFF: “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs reversing long-standing rights to abortion access, workers and volunteers for reproductive health clinics must reevaluate the risks they face (also known as a threat model) and take steps to safeguard their personal information–including information they have submitted to the government.  In 2020, nearly 17% of abortions… Continue Reading

Biden–Harris Administration Releases Two New Reports on Long COVID to Support Patients and Further Research

“The National Research Action Plan on Long COVID (the Research Plan), created in coordination with 14 government departments and agencies, introduces the first U.S. government–wide national research agenda focused on advancing prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and provision of services and supports for individuals and families experiencing Long COVID. The Research Plan stresses four guiding principles to… Continue Reading