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COVID19: Harvard Study Warns ‘Intermittent Periods’ Of Social Distancing Until 2022

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A new Harvard study released Tuesday on the novel coronavirus is evoking a feeling of disbelief at the possibility that strict social distancing measures may be required to combat the disease for years to come.

Well, at least it is for me.

Look at the study below and ask yourself, can you socially distance for years in an effort to fight this virus if no vaccine or therapeutic treatment works?

The new modeling study warns that ‘intermittent’ periods of social distancing may be required until the year 2022 in the United States, in order to combat any surge in the virus that could overwhelm the health care system.

“To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022,” states the studies abstract. “Additional interventions, including expanded critical care capacity and an effective therapeutic, would improve the success of intermittent distancing and hasten the acquisition of herd immunity. Longitudinal serological studies are urgently needed to determine the extent and duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.”

The research was published Tuesday in the journal Science. It examined various scenarios for how the SARS-CoV-2 virus will spread over the next five years.

From The Study: 

Intensive testing and case-based interventions have so far formed the centerpiece of control efforts in some places, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Many other countries are adopting measures termed “social distancing” or “physical distancing,” closing schools and workplaces and limiting the sizes of gatherings. The goal of these strategies is to reduce the peak intensity of the epidemic (“flatten the curve”), reducing the risk of overwhelming health systems and buying time to develop treatments and vaccines. For social distancing to have reversed the epidemic in China, the effective reproduction number must have declined by at least 50-60%, assuming a baseline R0 between 2 and 2.5. Through intensive control measures, Shenzhen was able to reduce the effective reproduction number by an estimated 85%. However, it is unclear how well these declines in R0 might generalize to other settings: recent data from Seattle suggests that the basic reproduction number has only declined to about 1.4, or by about 30-45% assuming a baseline R0 between 2 and 2.5 . Furthermore, social distancing measures may need to last for months to effectively control transmission and mitigate the possibility of resurgence.

To read the full Harvard study Go Here. 

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Economy

Biden Administration Expands Obamacare Coverage for ‘Dreamers’

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Friday morning the Biden administration announced it is expanding health-care access for “Dreamers”, a select group of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Illegal immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be granted access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House. Beginning in November, DACA members will be able to apply for healthcare coverage on healthcare.gov and state level insurance marketplaces.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed,” President Joe Biden said in a prepared statement. “And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.”

National Review notes Biden was vice president when then-president Barack Obama created DACA through executive order over a decade ago. The program gives deportation protections and work visas to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. An estimated 580,000 people are enrolled in the program. Former president Donald Trump failed to put an end to DACA during his term and the program continues to be fought in court.

Over 100,000 DACA beneficiaries will purchase health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Basic Health Program created by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates. Access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will not be incorporated into the White House’s new rule after Biden proposed doing so last year, according to National Review.

“Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a prepared statement. “This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.”

The White House did not share a cost estimate for the expansion of Obamacare to DACA recipients. They will be eligible for financial assistance to help them afford the health insurance DACA enrollees are now eligible to purchase.

Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and to give Dreamers permanent citizenship. It’s unlikely that Congress will grant Biden’s wishes, given the failure of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration package earlier this year. Conservatives widely rejected the Senate’s proposal for not being tough enough on the southern border at a time when record levels of illegal immigrants are entering the country.

Immigration is a top issue for voters in the 2024 election because of the surge in border crossings under Biden’s watch. Polls indicate that Americans believe that Trump is better suited to handle the crisis at the southern border with his hardline approach.

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