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Senate Dems Want To Include Free Phone Calls For The Incarcerated In Next Relief Bill

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Four Democratic Senators and one Independent Senator are pushing to include funding for free phone and video calls for the incarcerated population in the U.S. in the next Coronavirus relief bill, The Hill reports.

“Regular communication with loved ones has consistently proven to help incarcerated people succeed in reentering the workforce after their release, and allowing them to stay connected will benefit them and their communities in the short and long term,” the Senators wrote in a letter to leadership, according to the news site.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Angus King, I-ME all signed onto the letter asking that incarcerated people are able to communicate with their families at a time when there’s no visitation allowed.

The group added, “As it remains unclear when effective treatment or a vaccine will be available, ensuring that incarcerated people can stay connected with their loved ones while in-person visits are suspended is critical—but we must also support solutions to help keep families connected after the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Senate has yet to pass a relief bill since the last one was passed in May.

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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’

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The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”

The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”

An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.

In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.

Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”

As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”

Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”

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