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What has your local school system done with its share of $190 billion in pandemic support? – Poynter – Poynter

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Covering COVID-19 is a daily Poynter briefing of story ideas about the coronavirus and other timely topics for journalists, written by senior faculty Al Tompkins. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
Parents are asking reasonable questions about whether classrooms are as safe against the spread of COVID-19 as they could be considering the federal government sent billions of dollars to local schools to upgrade ventilation and filtration.
As is the case when huge amounts of money quickly leave federal doors, it is difficult to nail down exactly where it all is going … or already went. This is one investigation that almost has to come from local journalists, wherever you are. ProPublica found:
In the year and a half since millions of children were sent home, the Education Department has done only limited tracking of how the money has been spent. That has left officials in Washington largely in the dark about how effective the aid has been in helping students, especially those whose schools and communities were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Provisional annual reports submitted to the federal government by state education agencies underscored the dearth of clear, detailed data. Agencies classified how the funds were spent using six very broad categories, including technology and sanitization. According to a ProPublica analysis of more than 16,000 of the reports covering March 2020 to September 2020, just over half of the $3 billion in aid was categorized as “other,” providing no insight into how the funds were allocated.
In the absence of a centralized and detailed federal tracking system, the monitoring of relief funds flowing to the nation’s more than 13,000 school districts has largely been left to states. Some districts have been found to be spending their federal funds on projects seemingly at odds with the spirit of the aid program, such as track and field facilities and bleachers.
As you search for accountability, focus on March 2020 to March 2021, but know that school districts have until 2024 to spend all of the federal funds. States are supposed to track the spending but may still not have the systems in place to do so. The Office of the Inspector General has been warning that schools need to start tracking spending more closely. Long before this huge slug of federal dollars entered the pipeline, investigators opened more than 200 criminal investigations and more than 140 whistleblowers had suffered reprisals.
Already, ProPublica says, some of the money that schools could use to make their classrooms safer and improve learning has been spent on athletic stadiums, football field turf and tracks. An Associated Press story found:
One Wisconsin school district built a new football field. In Iowa, a high school weight room is getting a renovation. Another in Kentucky is replacing two outdoor tracks — all of this funded by the billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief Congress sent to schools this year.
Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, said every dollar of pandemic relief spent on sports could be used to expand tutoring, reduce class sizes and take other steps to help students who are struggling academically.
“Can these districts show that all their kids are ready to graduate at the end of this year — college- and career-ready?” she said. “If not, then stop the construction. Stop it right now.”
The AP story says some schools didn’t spend the pandemic relief funds directly on athletics but instead used it to pay regular school bills and used school funds to pay for athletics upgrades in a budgetary sleight-of-hand.
If you want to see what states could do to make their pandemic stimulus spending more transparent, look at Georgia’s ESSER funding dashboard website. It lists spending by school district and shows the status of each project. You will see spending lines listed for things such as school nurses and bonuses for teachers.
For the first time, the Red Cross has declared a national “blood crisis.”
COVID-19, of course, is the key reason, as people don’t show up for appointments to donate and there is a staff shortage at blood centers. The Red Cross said there was a 34% decline in new donors last year. Some blood centers have less than a one-day supply of some blood types.
The Red Cross plea said, “If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.”
Here are 10 facts about blood from the Red Cross:
For as long as I have been a reporter (and trust me, that is a long time), I have done a story about a blood shortage seemingly every year. Not long ago, there were stories about big hopes for artificial blood, a substitute that would make blood drives obsolete. What happened?
Experts at Stanford say scientists have looked for a blood substitute for hundreds of years and they still do not have one.
One artificial blood that shows promise can be reduced to a freeze-dried powder. It is called ErythroMer, and only a few years ago a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis was hopeful that it could be useful on battlefields. It would be easy to transport and store.
The researchers hope that they can soon try the blood powder on humans, perhaps even this year.
Another project is trying to perfect freeze-dried platelets. Blood platelets are notoriously difficult to store, so there has to be a constant source of donors for platelets, which are essential to cancer therapy. There are also efforts to create synthetic platelets.
Take a look at this research that mentions artificial blood and platelet research in Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Massachusetts.
We have gotten so consumed by COVID-19 (rightfully) that lots of other important research falls off our radar. But artificial blood research has the promise of solving a life-saving challenge as old as humans.
Face masks are stacked before getting technical information printed on them at a new factory in Mexico City, Thursday, May 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
The word around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that soon, maybe very soon, the agency may recommend that people upgrade masks to more protective N95 or KN95 varieties. Until now, the CDC has said, “CDC recommends that specially labeled ‘surgical’ N95 respirators should be prioritized for healthcare personnel.”
The Washington Post said that deliberations are underway to change the guidance, but the CDC wants to be sure there are enough of the masks available before telling people to switch to the N95 grade protection. After all, anybody who goes near the president of the United States is given an N95 mask.
Recently, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky refused to recommend N95 masks, saying that N95s are too uncomfortable for some people, and some people would just abandon masks completely if the CDC pressed for their use. “They’re very hard to breathe in when you wear them properly,” Walensky said. “They’re very hard to tolerate when you wear them for long periods of time.”
Researchers at Max Planck Institutes in Germany estimated how different masks and fits of masks affect the likelihood that an infected person might infect another after 20 minutes of close contact. Even with a substandard quality mask with a loose fit, the chances are low. But with a KN95 mask that fits tightly, the risk is much lower still, according to the study.
Axios put the findings on a graphic. The blue mask is one of those cheap paper masks. The gray and green ones are N95s. The key difference is the highest performer has a nosepiece that fits around your face.
(Axios)
One thing the study points out is that the fit of the mask may be the most important factor.
(Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization)
This study did not include cloth masks although, in general, they are less effective than surgical masks. The German study also found, “Three meters are not enough to ensure protection. Even at that distance, it takes less than five minutes for an unvaccinated person standing in the breath of a person with Covid-19 to become infected with almost 100 percent certainty.”
Here is the CDC’s advice on what you should know about N95s:
Wear an N95 with
Do NOT wear an N95
So the question remains: Why is the CDC not recommending KN95 masks if ample research shows that they offer greater protection and there is no shortage of masks?
The Guardian points to news that anti-vaxxers are touting urine as a new COVID-19 “cure,” which makes me wonder if somebody is just punking vaccine opponents:
Over the weekend, Christopher Key, the leader of an anti-Covid-19 vaccine group called the “Vaccine Police”, posted videos online extolling the health benefits of what he described as “urine therapy”. According to the wizard of wee, there is “tons and tons of research … [and] peer-reviewed published papers on urine”; so, if you do your own pee-search you will discover it is God’s own antidote to Covid-19. “This vaccine is the worst bioweapon I have ever seen,” Key said. “I drink my own urine!”
Who knows what “research” this guy is pointing to, but it is true that COVID-19 can be traced in urine and researchers are interested in biomarkers that show up in urine as a way to predict severe COVID-19 illness. But, as you know, urine samples are useful in detecting a lot of human problems. Drinking it is another matter entirely.
For my money, this is tied with yesterday’s item about Norway forcing new military recruits to wear used underwear as the grossest COVID-19 story of the week — not that we are shooting for that goal.
George Strait Performs at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Friday, November 5, 2021, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)
Concert promoters say one in five people who buy expensive tickets to big concerts are not showing up. They say it is really unusual and it is another pandemic-era trend. The Wall Street Journal says before the pandemic, maybe 2% of ticketholders would fail to show up. The Journal reports:
Somewhat predictably, the likelihood of no-shows increases with concerts that have been postponed and rescheduled multiple times. Changing a performance date can naturally create conflicts for fans who can no longer attend, but the numbers seem to indicate that continued apprehension about large events amid COVID’s ongoing outbreak is the most likely reason for a decrease in attendance.
“It’s going to take time to get back to what I think is normal,” John Meglen, president and co-chief executive officer of Concerts West, explained, pointing to reschedule shows multiplying by “maybe two, three times, maybe four, I don’t know how many, by Covid.”
While ticket sales often carry the biggest sticker price, concert attendees usually spend money on things like food, drinks, parking and merchandise. These income sources go away when fans no-show, and it’s often the venues themselves that feel the biggest hit.
Been avoiding this but … covid is the absolute pits. Been lucky it isn’t worse, but at its worst it was like a bad flu and it’s dragged on/lingered. I’m vaxxed and boostered and still got a breakthrough case. Would welcome folks not continuing to say it’s all mild.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 10, 2022
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Just explained to a school superintendent why spraying bleach into the air in classrooms is a bad idea…somehow she thinks she and others on her board know better than experts. Feel bad for the kids and teachers. Lawsuits will be coming next..somehow she hasn’t thought of this.
— Kimberly Prather, Ph.D. (@kprather88) January 6, 2022
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We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Covering COVID-19. Are you subscribed? Sign up here to get it delivered right to your inbox.
Plus, cities are still free to impose mandates and are doing so, other countries and big private employers also have mandates, and more.
An edited clip of the interview omitted context, leaving the false impression that the 75% statistic reflected all COVID-19 deaths.
The mandate stands for federal employees, including the military, and health care workers at facilities that receive federal money.
Tash’s 18-year tenure has been marked by extraordinary journalism but also extraordinary financial challenges. Conan Gallaty succeeds him.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep told Trump that he would keep the interview at about 15 minutes. But Trump hung up after about nine.
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Carrots Have These 8 Amazing, Surprising Health Benefits

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Initially, the vegetable originated in the geological area and the Asian United States, and it was initially only available in purple and yellow hues. Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, a natural mineral introduced by the body to provide sustenance, and they are high in fibre.

Carrots, which are crunchy, orange, and delicious, provide a variety of benefits to our health, pores, skin, and hair. These don’t appear to be particularly tasty, but they are loaded with numerous important nutrients, for example, beta-carotene, cell reinforcements, potassium, fibre, sustenance K, and so on.

Carrots are cultivated to promote eye health, lower dangerous LDL cholesterol, and aid in weight loss. Let’s put it to the test and find out why carrots are so good for you!

The following are twelve effective edges you might get from carrots:

1. Supports gadget

Most importantly, carrots contain a few phytochemicals that are well-known for their cancer-causing properties. Carotenoids and carotenoids are present in more than one of these associations. Overall, compounds create resistance and activate specific proteins that prevent the growth of most tumor cells. An investigation reveals on a screen that carrot juice can also fight leukemia.

2. Advances Glowing Skin

Investigate tips that stop outcome, and vegetables well off in those composites will finish pores and pores and skin ground and work with people’s appearances, thus making them more noteworthy young.

3. Fortifies Bones

Carrots are high in vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting agents. Vitamins B6 and K, potassium, phosphorous, and other minerals contribute to bone health, a more durable, and help with mental performance. Aside from selling the body to free extreme annihilation, cancer prevention agents keep an eye on the casing in the course of dangerous microbes, infections, and diseases. Physical cell digestion is managed by the ophthalmic component. Carotenoids have been linked to improved bone health.

4. Advances Male physiological circumstance (ED)

These fruitfulness meals may increase the number of sperm cells and their motility. According to research, this is a direct result of the fake carotenoids found in carrots, which are responsible for the vegetable’s orange color. However, it is still unknown whether carrots can improve sperm enjoyment and motility. Carrots are being tried to improve food for male physiological conditions and erectile dysfunction. Cenforce FM and Cenforce D can be used to treat impotency.

5. Keeps From Cancer and Stroke

Carrots have an unusual endowment in that they are loaded down with anti-cancer resources that will depress the cells’ blast. Essentially, studies have discovered that carrots can reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, including colon, breast, and prostate cancer.

6. Further develops the natural framework Health

Carrots contain a significant amount of dietary fibre, which plays an important role in supporting healthy stomach function. Fibre expands your stool, allowing it to pass more easily through the stomach-related plot and preventing stoppage.

7. Assists with managing polygenic affliction and basic sign

Carrots are high in fibre, which promotes cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol levels in veins and blood vessels. Calcium is absorbed through the frame of carrots, resulting in low but dangerous cholesterol levels.

Carrots have an unbalanced fibre content. An investigation found that advanced fibre consumption improves aldohexose digestion in people with the polygenic disorder. Following a healthy, well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Inconsistencies in glucose digestion may require a high level to combat aerophilic strain, and this is frequently where the inhibitor nutrients dilettanti ophthalmic thing axerophthol fats-solvent sustenance may also benefit.

According to one review, juice provided a 5 wrinkle inside the beat fundamental sign. The supplements in carrot juice, with fibre, K, nitrates, and vitamin C, have all been obtained to help this final product.

8. Advances Healthy Heart

To begin with, each cancer prevention agent is beneficial to your coronary heart. Furthermore, at 0.33, they should contain fibre, which can help you stay in shape and lower your chances of having a heart attack.

9. Forestalls devolution

Edges that are hostile to ophthalmic detail ensure the floor of the eye and provide a sharp inventiveness and perception. Taking juice will help to delay many eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and visual impairment. Overall, carrots contain lutein, which is an inhibitor that protects the eye from obliterating light.

10. Works on urinary organ and Liver perform

Carrots contain glutathione. Cell reinforcement has been shown to be effective in treating liver disease caused by aerophilic strains. The greens are high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, both of which stimulate and develop your popular liver component. Carrots contain carotenoid, which can help fight liver problems.

11. Palatable Anti-Aging

Along with carrots on your regular food, you will appreciate limiting the way you get more seasoned. Furthermore, beta-carotene functions as an inhibitor that advances cell harm, which happens as a result of the casing’s normal digestion.

12. Advances Weight Loss

Uncooked Carrots are 88% water when raw or ebb and flow. A regular carrot has the lowest difficulty level of 25 energy. Taking everything into consideration, including carrots in your diet is a wise way to fuel yourself while collecting calories.

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