Blog Rolls

Underlying Health Disparities Could Mean Coronavirus Hits Some Communities Harder

In the U.S., health and wealth are often linked. As the coronavirus spreads, experts worry low-income communities will be especially vulnerable — and ill-equipped to respond.

(Image credit: Ruth Talbot/NPR)

Categories: Just News

Some Snowbirds Headed North Told To Stay In Their Southern Nests

People who migrate South for winter are being told not to return to their year-round homes in the North. Some places that typically welcome their return are asking people to stay away.

(Image credit: Vicki Jauron/Babylon and Beyond via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Tips From Someone With 50 Years Of Social Distancing Experience

Billy Barr has living alone in a cabin in a Colorado mountain ghost town for 50 years. He offers advice on how to find and maintain happiness in isolation.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Billy Barr)

Categories: Just News

LC Coronavirus Resource Guide

In Custodia Legis – “Update: As promised, we are updating this guide today, March 27, 2020, with links to additional legislation (H.R.748), presidential actions, CRS reports, U.S. and state government resources and Law Library Global Legal Monitor Articles.  The updates have (new) at end of the entry so the added content is easy to identify. This is intended as a guide to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States, at both the federal and the state level, and in various countries with respect to the new coronavirus and its spread. We are also including links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that provide information to Congress about the novel coronavirus. In addition, we provide links to relevant federal agency websites. We intend to update this guide on at least a weekly basis for the immediate future…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak and Overview

CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Overview Updated March 30, 2020: “The COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly shifted the congressional agenda in recent weeks, while altering the daily lives of millions of American residents. Alongside the many medical, economic, social, and public policy questions raised by the pandemic are a range of legal issues. These include both short-term legal questions related to the unfolding outbreak as well as longer-term legal issues that are anticipated to persist in the wake of the crisis. Among the most immediate questions are those related to the scope of state and federal authorities concerning quarantine measures, travel and entry restrictions, the movement of medical goods, health care coverage, and the like. Of more ongoing concern may be legal issues ranging from those related to the development of vaccines, testing, treatments, and other medical countermeasures, to postponing national elections, to civil liability for COVID-19 exposure, to criminal actions related to hoarding and price gouging, to providing economic assistance to individuals and businesses,to foreclosure, eviction, and debt collection moratoria.This Legal Sidebar provides a list of legal resources discussing these and other legal topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated intermittently as additional legal issues emerge…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Courts and COVID 19

CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – The Courts and COVID-19 March 30, 2020: “The spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19 has prompted far-reaching responses affecting many areas of American life. As Americans strive to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease, the United States federal courts have implemented various measures designed to protect litigants, jurors, court personnel, and members of the public, and to reduce the obstacles to litigation arising from the pandemic.As this Sidebar discusses in more detail,the courts generally possess significant discretion to modify their procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some areas where further changes would require congressional action…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Zoom vs. Google Hangouts: Which video chat service is right for you?

tom’s guide – Deciding between Zoom and Google Hangouts is a game of figuring out your priorities. “Comparing Zoom vs Google Hangouts comes down to your priorities and needs for communication. They’re both video chat clients that have been widely popular for a while, and can both be found on a variety of platforms. And as we all spend more and more time apart, these services have become all the more important, and so we’ve looked closely at both Zoom and Google Hangouts to see how they differ. Surprisingly, they’ve got big differences on a couple of key features…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing

The Intercept: “Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings. With millions of people around the world working from home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, business is booming for Zoom, bringing more attention on the company and its privacy practices, including a policy, later updated, that seemed to give the company permission to mine messages and files shared during meetings for the purpose of ad targeting. Still, Zoom offers reliability, ease of use, and at least one very important security assurance: As long as you make sure everyone in a Zoom meeting connects using “computer audio” instead of calling in on a phone, the meeting is secured with end-to-end encryption, at least according to Zoom’s website, its security white paper, and the user interface within the app. But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption, explained further below…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Feds Warn Merchants Not Make Coronavirus Treatment Claims

The FDA has sent warning letters to seven marketers of products including essential oils, nasal sprays and herbal concoctions. No treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 have been approved.

(Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces?

USA Today – Coronavirus can survive on common materials for hours or even days. Here’s what you need to know and how to protect yourself. “Tiny, infected water droplets that drift in the air or land on surfaces have multiplied into a global pandemic.  Typically, an infected person’s cough or sneeze spreads SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, a highly contagious respiratory illness. To slow the rising number of infections – tens of thousands of Americans have been infected since Jan. 20 – researchers are looking for the coronavirus’ limits. Just how long can it last outside the human body? According to the New England Journal of Medicine, here’s how long the virus could live on a variety of surfaces.  The report also noted the half-life, or rate of decay, of the virus on various materials. That’s the time it took for half of the virus sample to die. The decay rate is important because though the virus may linger on surfaces for days, people are less likely to become infected as the virus dies…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Cruise Ship Struggling With COVID-19 Headed to Florida

A cruise ship with four dead and nearly 200 people who have been sick with suspected COVID-19 may dock in Fort Lauderdale if cruise company executives and public officials can agree on a plan.

(Image credit: Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Commentary – Maybe we shouldn’t use Zoom after all

FBI warns Zoom, teleconference meetings vulnerable to hijacking: “…The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” the FBI cautioned. “As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts..to prevent against unwanted participants joining Zoom or other video teleconferencing meetings, the FBI advises users to not make Zoom meetings or classrooms public. Instead, users should require a meeting password, or use the Zoom waiting room to control who has access to particular meetings. The bureau also recommends not sharing links on public social media posts, and instead providing links directly to intended participants…”

TechCrunch: “Now that we’re all stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, video calls have gone from a novelty to a necessity. Zoom, the popular videoconferencing service, seems to be doing better than most and has quickly become one of, if not the most, popular option going. But should it be? Zoom’s recent popularity has also shone a spotlight on the company’s security protections and privacy promises. Just today, The Intercept reported that Zoom video calls are not end-to-end encrypted, despite the company’s claims that they are. And Motherboard reports that Zoom is leaking the email addresses of “at least a few thousand” people because personal addresses are treated as if they belong to the same company. It’s the latest examples of the company having to spend the last year mopping up after a barrage of headlines examining the company’s practices and misleading marketing. To wit:

  • Apple was forced to step in to secure millions of Macs after a security researcher found Zoom failed to disclose that it installed a secret web server on users’ Macs, which Zoom failed to remove when the client was uninstalled. The researcher, Jonathan Leitschuh, said the web server meant any malicious website could activate Mac webcam with Zoom installed without the user’s permission. The researcher declined a bug bounty payout because Zoom wanted Leitschuh to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which would have prevented him from disclosing details of the bug….”
Categories: Law and Legal

Justice Department Looking Into Senator's Stock Sell-Off

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash. The FBI will assess whether he was motivated by nonpublic information.

(Image credit: Alex Brandon/AP)

Categories: Just News

FACT CHECK: Trump Praises Florida Governor Despite Criticism Of Coronavirus Response

President Trump claimed ally and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken "decisive steps" against the virus, but public health experts and a pending lawsuit say his leadership has been inadequate.

(Image credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Categories: Just News

Answering Your Coronavirus Questions: Death Toll, Treating COVID-19 And Testing Scams

On this broadcast of The National Conversation, we answer your questions about the government's response to the pandemic, the death toll in the U.S. and potential testing scams.

(Image credit: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Models Of Epidemic Predict Huge U.S. Death Toll; Scientists Hope For Better Outcome

Computer models predict that between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 in the months ahead. Administration officials said public health interventions could still lower the toll.

(Image credit: Alex Brandon/AP)

Categories: Just News

Preliminary Estimates of Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019

Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 31 March 2020.

  • Summary – What is already known about this topic? – Published reports from China and Italy suggest that risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease include underlying health conditions, but data describing underlying health conditions among U.S. COVID-19 patients have not yet been reported.
  • What is added by this report? – Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease, appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than persons without these conditions.
  • What are the implications for public health practice? – Strategies to protect all persons and especially those with underlying health conditions, including social distancing and handwashing, should be implemented by all communities and all persons to help slow the spread of COVID-19…”
  • Washington Post – Why older and chronically ill Americans are at greatest risk from coronavirus
Categories: Law and Legal

FACT CHECK: Should People Cover Their Faces With Scarves Like Trump Said?

In a briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump answered a question about a supply shortage of masks by suggesting that the public wear scarves instead.

Categories: Just News

Chicago Public Health Commissioner: 'We Want To Be Ahead Of This'

Experts worry about new hotspots in cities including Chicago. Dr. Allison Arwady says the city is relatively well prepared but would still not be able to handle the predicted wave of hospitalizations.

(Image credit: Derek Henkle/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Who's Sickest From COVID-19? These Conditions Tied To Increased Risk

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report finds 78% of COVID-19 patients in the U.S. requiring admission to the intensive care unit had at least one underlying condition.

(Image credit: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

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