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Research Says that Teens Are Less Likely To Smoke Weed When it is Legalized

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A recent study conducted by researchers at Montana State University has deduced that “teenagers are less likely to use cannabis when the drug has been legalized.” The university took surveys of high school students’ data from 1993-2017 and found that teen usage decreased by approximately 10%. Lead researcher of the study Mark Anderson hopes that the study “should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up.”

What is your opinion of legalizing weed? Do you think it will decrease teenage usage of cannabis? Let us know in the comments. 

To learn more, please visit https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48921265

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5 Things Included in the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

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The Senate approved a historic $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus economic decline. The infectious disease is causing businesses to temporarily shut down to limit exposure and transmission of the virus among employees and consumers. The scope of the coronavirus pandemic has affected individuals throughout the country job loss that hit a record of over 3 million that filed for unemployment

An agreement was reached on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Congress to help citizens to cope with the unforeseen effects of COVID-19. With many people out of work unable to earn any means of compensation, the bill is served to provide relief to taxpayers, aid the healthcare system, and help small businesses affected by the pandemic. 

Five things we can expect from the stimulus package include:

Direct payments to individuals

The bill plans to give $1,200 to single Americans and married couples $2,400. Parents would collect $500 for each child that is under the age of 17.

Those with incomes up to $75,000 yearly before starting to phase out and ending altogether for others earning more than $99,000.

Expansion of Unemployment Benefits 

Lawmakers increased the scope of unemployment benefits that would extend jobless insurance to 13 weeks. Adding $600 per week for up to four months on top of state benefits. It expands those who qualify to self-employed people and independent contractors.

Emergency loans to Small Businesses

Loans would be available from community banks to small businesses that plan to keep their employees. The loans would become accessible during an emergency period ending June 30 and would be forgiven if the employer continued to provide compensation to workers during the span of the crisis. 

Suspension of Student Loan Payments

The Department of Education would suspend federal student loan payments till September 30 with no accumulation of interest for loans.

Provide Aid to Hospitals

The bill includes $100 billion for hospitals and healthcare systems throughout the nation.  Lawmakers also approved to increase Medicare and raise payments to all hospitals and providers. The bill contains a $100 billion public health and social emergency fund to pay providers for expenses and lost incomes associated with the coronavirus pandemic. About $65 billion will go to hospitals, with the rest distributed to doctors, nurses, suppliers, and others.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/stimulus-package-details-coronavirus/index.html
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/26/weekly-jobless-claims.html
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-updates-whats-in-the-2-trillion-relief-plan.html
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/us/politics/whats-in-coronavirus-stimulus-bill.html

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Coronavirus: How Do We Flatten the Curve?

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 You might’ve heard the term “flatten the curve” when it comes to containing the coronavirus. The term “flatten the curve” in epidemiology is the curve that refers to the projected number of new cases over time. The objective of flattening the curve is to stagger the number of new patients over a longer duration of time. Therefore, healthcare can be accessible to all diagnosed patients without overwhelming the healthcare system, as shown in the chart below.

Link to Source

In recent weeks, the number of cases has increased across America. WHO has characterized the virus as a pandemic, and now is the time to act. The most imperative thing we can do is try to flatten the curve at the rate that the virus is spreading. Some necessary actions we can take to try to limit the spread of the disease include:

Social Distancing
One way to decrease the number of patients is to practice social distancing. The act of social distancing applies to specific measures taken by Public Health officials to stop or reduce the spread of a highly contagious disease. These actions are aimed to reduce the amount of the virus spreading, and protect those most vulnerable such as people with weakened immune systems and the elderly. Experts recommend that it’s vital to stay at least 6 feet away from others since researchers discovered the virus is transmitted through droplets. When an infected individual speaks, exhales, coughs, or sneezes, the droplets from their mouth and nose travels approximately 3 to 6 feet before gravity pulls them to the ground. Applying social distancing to our daily lives can ultimately reduce the number of people infected.

Containment 
To effectively contain the virus, you must ensure all cases are identified, controlled, and isolated. These steps were carried out by Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong. All provinces intervened quickly by wearing protective gear while locating infected individuals and placing them in isolation. China also conducted prompt tactics resulting in 1,800 teams of 5 people that tracked every infected person, who they were in close contact with, and then placed them in isolation. Performing these actions allowed China to contain the virus without spreading any further across the population.

Link to Source

The chart above depicts the effects of the travel ban enforced by Wuhan that helped in delaying the epidemic. The bubble sizes indicate the number of daily cases. The top line illustrates the number of cases if nothing is done. The two other lines display the impact if 40%, and 90% of travel is eradicated. This is a model created by epidemiologists since we cannot determine certainty. 

Link to Source

In the chart above, the top block is similar to the one you’ve seen before. The other two blocks show the number of transmission rates decreasing. If the transmission rate reduces by 25% through social distancing, it flattens the curve and suspends the peak by a total of 14 weeks. If you lower the transition rate by 50%, then you cannot see the epidemic emerge within a quarter.

The European travel ban authorized by the United States spared a few days, perhaps even hours, but not enough time to stop the virus. Once there are hundreds or thousands of patients infected within a population, preventing, tracking existing cases, and isolating their contacts becomes an insufficient solution. The next step to eliminate the spread of the disease is to move on to the mitigation phase.

Mitigation
The mitigation phase consists of an escalated form of social distancing. These measures include shutting down all kinds of social gatherings such as concerts, businesses, and public places. The severity of transmission from the virus can result in more closures. Just recently, the stay-at-home order was issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom due to the number of cases climbing in the state. Observing the progress in Wuhan by closing down businesses ordering people to stay at home, this is something that can slow the progression of the infection. 

Take Action
The time to act is now by following safety measures set in place from the federal and state governments in the U.S. that can result in recovery, as China has. California has taken steps to contain the virus by Gov. Newsom, issuing the stay-at-home order. If we work together and follow the proper procedures recommended by the CDC, do you think our economy and health could improve sooner than expected? Let us know in the comments! 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-what-does-flattening-the-curve-mean-and-why-it-matters.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm
  3. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/how-social-distancing-works-and-what-it-means-for-you
  4. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/05/science.aba9757
  5. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca
  6. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/05/science.aba9757
  7. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/20/could-chinas-new-progress-indicate-hope-for-the-future-of-coronavirus/
  8. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/21/coronavirus-update-california-issued-statewide-stay-at-home-order/
  9. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-issues-statewide-stay-home-order-coronavirus-fight-n1164471
  10. https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
  11. https://www.usa.gov/state-health
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

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Coronavirus Update: California Issued Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

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On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the state in an urgent announcement pertaining to the new development of the novel coronavirus. Gov. Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order for all Californians to abide by to contain the virus.

The order went into effect Thursday night, urging citizens to remain in their homes and only leave when absolutely necessary. Newsom emphasized the importance of this measure in containing the virus to flatten the curve. He estimated that the coronavirus would infect 56 % of the state’s population.

Gov. Newsom reiterated that all essential establishments would remain open such as grocery stores, banks, gas stations, and pharmacies. He stated that this is not a time to panic. Citizens may leave their houses to go out for a walk but should practice social distancing to eliminate any possibility of exposure of the virus to others and to keep loved ones safe.

The announcement came after Los Angeles County Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the “Safer at Home” order for the residents of Los Angeles. Emphasizing that it is not a lockdown, it is only to limit the amount of community transmission as coronavirus patients are increasing within the city.

As we have seen with new progress from China slowly recovering from the coronavirus, do you think if citizens work together, we could see a decrease in patients? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Sources: 

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-issues-statewide-stay-home-order-coronavirus-fight-n1164471
  2. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/live-blog/coronavirus-china-reports-no-new-domestic-cases-first-time-nyc-n1163556/ncrd1164446#liveBlogHeader
  3. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/20/could-chinas-new-progress-indicate-hope-for-the-future-of-coronavirus/
  4. https://twitter.com/GavinNewsom/status/1240820390407991296?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1240820390407991296&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcnews.com%2Fnews%2Fus-news%2Fcalifornia-issues-statewide-stay-home-order-coronavirus-fight-n1164471

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