Protecting children during this crisis
Despite COVID-19’s reported lower medical risks for most children, they are at risk for trauma. Children often absorb stress from their environment without necessarily showing it. The rates of PTSD in children who lived through Hurricane Katrina rival those of veterans. And many families will struggle with the resources to manage the physical, mental, and emotional needs of their children during this crisis.
Beyond academics, many children also rely on school for food, social connection, and even health care. With schools closed now, how will those needs be met? This will be particularly acute for children with special needs, and in homes where there may also be substance use or mental health issues. When a critical relationship with an adult outside the home is cut off, children lose vital support. The recent dramatic decrease in reporting of child abuse and neglect is evidence of how important trusted adults, like teachers and child care providers, are in protecting children at risk.
Adverse childhood experiences can have a profound impact on future outcomes for children. And for most, this time will certainly be adverse. We must be focused on the needs of children right now. Making a phone call to a family in crisis to offer support, help with groceries, or a gift bag of crayons and frisbees, are some simple ways to check in with those in our communities who may be struggling and in need of our collective support right now.
During the 2018 Democratic primary for the nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, there were numerous forums where most of the candidates participated. I was able to attend one, and found it useful in helping me decide for whom I wanted to vote.
I am wondering if the Bangor Daily News will be hosting an online forum for the Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate nomination, that would include all the candidates running? If not the BDN, is there another organization who might be hosting such a forum?
The state of Maine has deemed Home Depot and similar retailers to be essential businesses. That’s good — we can spend some money locally and catch up on many projects around the house.
At the Ellsworth Home Depot this weekend, there were limits on the number of people allowed inside at one time. An associate at the door was keeping a tally and letting shoppers in one by one. That’s also good.
What was less good, shocking, and subsequently enraging, was the complete absence of PPE on the part of the associates. In the course of an hour visit, I did not see one single employee wearing either gloves or a face mask. Not one.
This is in sharp contrast to the Hannaford market, which has done a brilliant job protecting its employees and customers with masks, gloves and shields.
All public-facing businesses must act responsibly if we are to avoid widespread contagion. No one can or should assume that we are safe just because the coronavirus is not in Hancock County in large numbers yet.
Judging Collins’ judicial votes
On April 24, 2018, Sen. Susan Collins voted to confirm Federalist Society member Stuart Kyle Duncan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Confirmed by a vote of 50-47, during a time of Sen. John McCain’s absence, Collins had the power to keep a known challenger of women’s reproductive rights off the court.
Fast forward to April 7, 2020. Judge Duncan has sided with another Federalist Society judge, Jennifer Elrod, to uphold an emergency order by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas banning all elective abortions in Texas — even medication abortion — as part of a pandemic order banning elective surgeries. Ignoring the fact that medication abortion does not require PPE, that later abortion as well as carrying a pregnancy to term require numerous in-person visits to healthcare providers and use of PPE, the court has essentially decided that the “temporary postponement” of an abortion is no big deal.
Collins has been elected four times to the U.S. Senate. She has repeatedly promised Maine people her support for the right of women to make their own reproductive health decisions.
This case now goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who Collins also voted to confirm, will help decide if Texas can finally find a way to ban abortions.
Any government given the power to require a woman to carry a pregnancy to term can eventually have the power to force a woman to terminate a pregnancy. I believe Collins turned her back on women and sided with government intrusion into private matters when she voted to confirm Judge Duncan and Justice Kavanaugh.
An unpleasant reality
We were told that the reason for stay at home orders and social distancing was to flatten the curve of hospital admissions for coronavirus.These policies seemed to be put in place because of fear, and much of that fear was due to computer models predicting worst-case hospital admissions and deaths. It has become obvious to me that the computer models were wildly inaccurate and based on assumptions and guesses regarding transmission and lethality rather than accurate data.
Here is the unpleasant reality: Until there is an effective and safe vaccine, at some point a majority of the population is likely going to catch the coronavirus, unless you institute even stricter and more draconian restrictions on business and the public. There is no guarantee there ever will be a safe and effective vaccine. And among those infected an unknown percentage are going to die despite the very best in medical care.
All we are doing is postponing the infections and deaths and spreading them out over time. These policies are not stopping or eliminating the virus. Policies that actually reduce hospital admissions significantly below hospital capacity can effectively extend the length of time of the coronavirus pandemic, and the associated economic and social destruction.