America has the fiscal capacity to keep its bars in business — and its state budgets in the black — without prematurely reopening watering holes and indoor eateries. The RESTART Act, a bipartisan bill introduced to the Senate in July, would provide small businesses that have suffered steep revenue losses with fully forgivable loans. Critically, unlike the misconceived Paycheck Protection Program, RESTART would not require firms to spend an overwhelming majority of their loans on maintaining a payroll, a requirement that has limited the utility of PPP for firms with high rental costs (such as urban restaurants or bars). Meanwhile, there is also a modicum of bipartisan support for providing states and cities with at least $500 billion in federal aid. With sufficient aid in place, states would be free to make reopening decisions on the basis of public health and public needs without fear of condemning beloved businesses to extinction and entire municipalities to austerity. … [Read more...] about Congress Must Bail Out Bars for Public Health’s Sake
Sweden's decision not to implement a nationwide lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus was seen as highly controversial when initially announced towards the start of the pandemic. Since then it has been widely debated whether this approach was successful or not. Death rates from coronavirus are far higher in Sweden compared with other Nordic countries. However, they are also lower than some other European countries that implemented strict lockdowns. It is thought the lack of a lockdown in Sweden helped protect its economy, compared with other countries that took more extreme measures. … [Read more...] about Sweden’s Public Health Director Explains Why Lack of Lockdown Was a Success
In June, Florida Department of Health scientist Rebekah Jones was fired from her position releasing information on the state's public COVID-19 portal. Jones claimed she was fired for refusing to post inaccurate data. Jones also alleged to be the creator of the state's coronavirus dashboard. Florida Governor DeSantis said Jones was let go for insubordination. … [Read more...] about Iowa Dumps Public Health Department Spokeswoman During Coronavirus Pandemic
Professor Srinath Reddy: It is worrying, but fortunately the mortality rates are not high. Even a fraction of people becoming affected is worrisome, in terms of deaths. The overall death rate, in comparison to Europe and North America, is much less. It is similar to other South Asian countries, though Bangladesh and Pakistan have done better than us in terms of reported death rates. But this is a worrisome fact we have to keep in mind, because if rural areas get badly affected, that would be a matter of concern. … [Read more...] about India’s Surging COVID-19 Cases Worrisome, Says Public Health Expert
These days air pollution comes largely from diesel engines. It can be best seen when fumes get trapped and a dull orange-grey smog develops. Technically, it is produced by sunlight reacting with nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the atmosphere. When sunlight hits these chemicals, they form airborne particles and the result is ground-level ozone or smog. Overall, diesel cars emit less hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and lead pollution than petrol cars, but produce more noxious gases and significantly more minute particles. A 2011 test by government to measure emissions from vehicles in everyday use concluded that, while petrol emissions had improved by 96%, "emissions of NOx [nitrogen oxide] from diesel cars and light goods vehicles have not decreased for the past 15-20 years. … [Read more...] about UK air pollution: why are we only now waking up to this public health crisis?