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More adult Americans identify as LGBT, Gallup poll finds

A Gallup survey released on Wednesday found that more and more adult Americans are identifying themselves as LGBT, a change pollsters see as being driven, at least in part, by people in younger generations who are more likely to see themselves as LGBT. something other than heterosexual.

The poll found that 5.6% of adults identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, up from 4.5% in 2017, the last time Gallup released an annual update. The poll also found that more than half of LGBT adults identified as bisexual.

According to the survey, one in six Gen Z adults, someone born between 1997 and 2002, identifies as LGBT. The growth in the number of Americans who identify as LGBTQ is likely to continue to rise, wrote Jeffrey Jones, editor-in-chief of Gallup, announcing the results. Indeed, younger generations are more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, he said.

Americans are more supportive of equal rights for LGBTQ people, Mr Jones said, which has resulted in an increase in the number of people who identify as LGBT.

“I think the results prove that visibility and acceptance, when combined, will burst closet doors,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a media organization and advocacy group. of LGBTQ people.

The survey was based on more than 15,000 interviews conducted throughout 2020 with Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia aged 18 or older. Respondents were interviewed both by cell phone and landline. They were asked, “Which of the following do you consider yourself to be?” You can select as many as you want: heterosexual or heterosexual; lesbian; gay; bisexual; transgender. “

Gallup said the poll’s margin of error was plus or minus one percentage point for all adults, and plus or minus five percentage points for LGBT adults.

The identity question in the latest poll was more detailed than in previous years, Jones said. Respondents answered their specific sexual orientation instead of answering “yes” or “no” to see if they identified as LGBT

The Supreme Court has issued several landmark decisions over the past decade, adding to a more favorable climate for LGBTQ people. In 2013, the court ruled that same-sex married couples were entitled to federal benefits. In 2015, the court ruled that same-sex marriage was a national right. Most recently, he ruled in June that civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers.

But the challenges continue for LGBTQ Americans. Although hundreds of religious leaders around the world have signed a declaration demanding a global ban on conversion therapy, which aims to change the sexual orientations of LGBTQ people, only about 20 states have some form of ban on sex. contested approach. Under the administration of President Donald J. Trump, the decline in trans rights has spread across the federal government.

An annual GLAAD report this year also revealed that LGBTQ representation on television fell for the first time in five years.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the Equality Act, a bill that would expand protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, NPR reported.

While major LGBTQ rights groups were encouraged to see that Gallup’s results matched their independent polls, executives said there was more to do to make the estimates more inclusive for people who are otherwise identify or are non-conforming to gender.

“You are not only erasing their identity, but you are missing an opportunity to understand the complexity of their lived experiences,” said Amit Paley, CEO and CEO of the Trevor Project, an organization that aims to prevent youth suicides. LGBTQ people.

For executives, the survey also highlights a perennial problem in collecting data on LGBTQ people that could influence new policies.

“We don’t really know how many LGBTQ people in this country die by suicide because death registries do not include data on gender identity or sexual orientation, which significantly erases LGBTQ people.” Mr. Paley said.

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Video: Biden and Harris honor 500,000 Americans lost in pandemic

new video loaded: Biden and Harris honor 500,000 Americans lost in pandemic

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Biden and Harris honor 500,000 Americans lost in pandemic

As the nation passed a “truly dark and heartbreaking milestone on Monday,” President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris observed a moment of silence during a ceremony at the White House.

Today we mark a truly dark and heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 dead. More Americans have died in a year in this pandemic than in WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War combined. This is more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on Earth. We often hear people described as “ordinary Americans”. There is nothing like it. There is nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were amazing. They have crossed generations. Born in America, immigrated to America. But just like that, many of them took their last breaths on their own in America. As a nation, we cannot accept such a cruel fate. Although we have been fighting this pandemic for so long, we must resist becoming numb with pain. We must resist seeing every life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. We must do this to honor the dead, but just as importantly, take care of the living, those they have left behind.

Recent episodes of Coronavirus pandemic: latest updates

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At least 120 million Americans brace for storm from coast to coast

The parking lot of a San Antonio grocery store was full as shoppers picked up last-minute items before the market closed four hours earlier.

For Zoe Waldron, 30, the polar vortex and gray skies made her nostalgic for La Conner, Washington, her hometown. But in San Antonio? “It sounds like a once in a lifetime event,” she says.

Ms Waldron’s boyfriend Patrick Attwater, 34, visited the couple’s home in Austin on Saturday to heat it up to 65 degrees and let the faucets drip, insurance against pipe splinters as temperatures are expected go down to single digits on Sunday night. , forecasters said. “I’m from Kansas,” he says. “When we look at our family up there, it’s minus 20, so we feel luckier here.”

Parts of the Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are quite familiar with brutal weather conditions: hurricanes, flooding, heavy summer heat. But the single-digit temperatures and icy roads were completely different.

In Mississippi, officials told residents they should likely stay off the roads at least until Tuesday. They warned that local authorities were not as equipped as those in northern states which regularly encounter such winter conditions.

“We have plows on our trucks, but it’s not the kind you have up north that’s really designed to put weight on that plow and dig in and out of the road,” said Melinda McGrath, manager. general Mississippi Department of Transportation. “We don’t invest in these areas because it only happens once every five years or so.

Business owners would review the forecast and decide whether or not to close. Jeff Good, who owns three restaurants in and around Jackson, Mississippi, said two of his restaurants remained open Sunday night, but the third, a bakery that would open early, would likely be closed on Monday. “With the weather forecast tonight at midnight, we just can’t see how we can make a 6am open,” Mr. Good said.

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Tense Lunar New Year for Bay Area after Asian Americans Attacks

There is no shortcut to deep, lasting healing, Ms. Wu said. Progress requires investing in neighborhoods; improve access to education, housing and food; and having “difficult and honest conversations”.

Nonetheless, she said, “It has been really encouraging in a way, to see the level of solidarity and the amount of support, not only from our own communities in the city and across the bay. , but also black and brown communities.

Young activists have used social media to raise awareness and disseminate calls to action, including fundraising and volunteer initiatives.

Eda Yu, 25, a half-Chinese, half-Indonesian writer and journalist, and her partner, Myles Thompson, a black creator, were briefed on the news of the attacks and acknowledged the strong emotions they aroused. The couple, she said, “wanted to come together and create a project rooted in solidarity.”

They made an Instagram slideshow that it was hoped would serve as an art of protest and a resource for those who want to help.

The first image, Ms. Yu said, was meant to look like a poster.

“Please! Protect our elders,” it reads. “Support our Chinatowns. Support our communities.”

The remainder includes a timeline of incidents and a list of community organizations working in Asian communities in the Bay Area. They listed each organization’s website and created a GoFundMe to donate to all organizations at once; they would split the money and one of their employers said they would match the premiums. The initial goal was to raise $ 5,000. In two days, they raised $ 50,000.

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Americans must tighten or double their masks, CDC says

Federal health officials on Wednesday urged Americans to keep their masks on and take action to make them more fitted – or even layering a fabric covering a surgical mask – saying new research had shown the masks significantly reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Recent laboratory experiments showed that viral transmission could be reduced by 96.5% if Americans wore tight-fitting surgical masks or a surgical tissue-mask combination. In announcing the results, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pleaded with Americans to wear a “tight-fitting mask.”

“With cases, hospitalizations and deaths still very high, now is not the time to roll back mask requirements,” she said. “The bottom line is this: Masks work, and they work when they are properly fitted and worn correctly.”

Masking is now mandatory on federal property and on national and international transport. Studies in households in Beijing, hair salons in Missouri, and aboard an aircraft carrier in Guam have proven that “any mask is better than nothing,” said author Dr John T. of the agency’s new research on masking.

“Wearing a mask is reducing the spread, and in communities that adopt a mask, new infections are decreasing,” Dr Brooks said.

But while masks reduce respiratory droplets and aerosols exhaled by infected carriers and protect uninfected wearers, air leaking around the edges of a mask can reduce its effectiveness. The agency’s new lab experiments have shown how to fix the problem.

One option is to wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask, the agency said. The alternative is to adjust the surgical mask more closely to the face by “tying and tucking” – that is, by tying the two strands of the earrings together where they attach to the edge of the mask, then by folding and flattening the extra fabric at the edge of the mask and tucking it in for a tighter seal.

The agency’s experiments were based on surgical and three-ply fabric masks, and only one type of each mask was tested. Other combinations – like lining up on fabric masks or wearing two surgical masks, or layering a surgical mask over a fabric mask – have not been tested.

The advice comes even as states have started lifting measures to slow the transmission of the virus. About three dozen states have masking requirements, but on Monday Iowa ended its tenure, joining Mississippi and North Dakota, which it did months ago.

States are rushing to restart businesses and reopen schools. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for example, announced on Wednesday that supporters would be allowed to return to stadiums and arenas for sporting events and concerts, at limited capacity with mandatory testing and seating. New York City will allow dining in the dining room to resume on Friday, at a capacity of 25%.

Deaths linked to the virus, which resurfaced strongly in the United States in November and remain high, appear to be steadily declining. New cases and hospitalizations also started to decline last month.

But the CDC has warned that even as cases have declined, the new variants could explode infections if Americans let down their guards. Cases of a more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in Britain are doubling about every 10 days in the United States. The CDC warned last month that it could become the dominant variant in the country by March.

Until the vast majority of adults are vaccinated, “we want to fix that,” said Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. Masks are an effective and easy way to do this, avoiding another catastrophic “roller coaster”, he added.

“The less we allow this virus to multiply, the less chance there is for mutations to occur and the less likely we are to get new variants,” said Dr Schaffner.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, is the co-author of an article on making more effective masks that inspired the CDC to conduct the new research.

“We want to do our best to reduce transmission using all the elements: masking, keeping away, hand hygiene, ventilation,” she said. “If we reduce transmission and vaccinate en masse at the same time, there is no way the virus can escape the vaccine.”

The CDC presented a few more options to improve the effectiveness of masks, including the use of a mask-adjuster – a frame contoured to the face – over a mask. Recent studies have shown that adjusters can increase protection against aerosols containing viruses by 90% or more.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the agency also suggested that people consider wearing a sheer nylon hosiery sleeve around the neck and pulling it up onto a surgical fabric or mask.

The CDC’s recommendations were based in part on ideas formulated by Dr Gandhi and Linsey Marr, an aerosol transmission expert at Virginia Tech. Both recommended a surgical mask covered with a tight-fitting fabric mask or a three-layer fabric mask consisting of two outer layers of tightly woven fabric that hug the face and a middle layer of filter material, like the material. of the vacuum bag.

The tight fit and filtration are both important, Dr Marr said. Even with an N95 respirator, the type used by healthcare workers, a good fit is essential.

While a growing number of Americans say they support the wearing of masks, resistance persists in some circles and in some regions. Dr Marr said she expected the CDC’s new advice to be ridiculed.

“I’m sure the resistance will say, ‘What’s the next step? Three masks? Four masks? Said Dr Marr. “But people who want to know how good their masks are and how they can improve them, get a lot of interest. People want the best possible protection. “

The CDC experiments simulated the production of aerosols from a cough and estimated their absorption. While an untied surgical mask blocked 42% of particles and a cloth-alone mask blocked 44.3%, the combination of a cloth mask over a surgical mask blocked 92.5% of cough particles, found Dr Brooks and colleagues.

When both the aerosol source and the exposed form were fitted with the combination of masks or the knotted and folded surgical mask, receptor exposure was reduced by 96.4% and 95.9%.

Neither method was perfect: tying and folding reduce the mask area and may be more appropriate for people with smaller faces, Dr Brooks noted.

Likewise, the combination of fabric and surgical mask works well, but makes the mask thicker and may make breathing more difficult for some people. The extra layers can also obstruct peripheral vision, increasing the risk of tripping or falling.

Breathability is also important, Dr Marr said. “If you layer too many things on top of each other that prevent you from breathing, it’s counterproductive – it’s more likely that the air will find holes to infiltrate,” she says.

Dr Brooks stressed that masking, as Americans currently practice, is not “insufficient”. But the new advice offers “an opportunity to take it to the next level.”

“We are now concerned about forms of the virus that could be transmitted more efficiently or compromise the usefulness of existing diagnostics, therapies and vaccines,” he added. “We need to improve our game to slow the spread of the virus and slow down its progress.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting from Washington.

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Democrats are implementing a plan to send $ 1,400 in stimulus payments to Americans earning up to $ 75,000 a year.

On Monday, House Democrats rolled out a key piece of President Biden’s stimulus package, proposing legislation to send out-of-pocket payments of $ 1,400 to Americans earning up to $ 75,000 and households with incomes of up to $ 150,000 .

The plan, written the day before a scheduled major committee meeting to review it, is at odds with proposals from some moderate Republicans and Democrats who want to reduce eligibility for out-of-pocket payments, targeting it on low-income people. Mr Biden said he was open to such changes.

For now, the measure would allow individuals earning up to $ 100,000 and households earning up to $ 200,000 to be eligible for payment, though check size is phased out for those with income over 75,000. $, or $ 150,000 for a family.

The bill, unveiled by Rep. Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, was part of a series Democrats introduced on Monday ahead of a week of legislative work to solidify the details of the relaunch of Mr. Biden. proposal.

The move to keep the income cap at the same level as the latest round of stimulus payments comes after days of debate in the House Democratic caucus over the size of checks, as some moderates pushed to limit the total amount to those earning $ 50,000 or less and households earning up to $ 100,000.

The legislation also includes a series of significant tax code changes and an increase in the extension of weekly federal unemployment benefits. It would increase the payment from $ 300 per week to $ 400 per week and continue the program – currently supposed to start expiring in March – until the end of August.

The $ 1.9 trillion plan would also provide billions of dollars for schools and colleges, small businesses, and a provision that would raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 by 2025, a progressive priority.

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Stimulus Check poll: Most Americans, including many Republicans, back $ 1,400 in aid

A large majority of Americans, including nearly two-thirds of Republicans, back the $ 1,400 stimulus checks President Biden is calling for, and his $ 1.9 trillion stimulus proposal also enjoys strong public support. according to a new survey from the University of Quinnipiac.

The poll found that 78% of Americans supported stimulus checks, including 90% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans – suggesting that congressional Republicans who want to reduce checks to $ 1,000 are out of step with their voters on this. question.

The comprehensive stimulus package proposal – which includes checks for $ 1,400 as well as state and local aid, expanded unemployment benefits, and other provisions – received 68% support overall, with backing 97% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans. While Republicans are often overwhelmingly against Democratic spending proposals, only 47% of Republicans said they definitely oppose the package. Sixteen percent of Republicans said they were unsure.

The poll also showed majority support for several other Democratic priorities: 65% of respondents supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 63% supported Mr Biden’s decision to join the Paris agreement on climate, 61% supported raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per year per hour, and 54% supported the decision to stop construction of the border wall of former President Donald J. Trump.

The poll, conducted from January 28 to February 1, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Congressional leaders received low approval ratings across the board, but Democrats fared better than Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had 37% approval versus Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 21%; and President Nancy Pelosi got 45% approval, compared to 27% for minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy.

Overall, 44 percent of respondents said they approved of Congressional Democrats ‘job performance, while 26 percent said they approved of Congressional Republicans’ job performance. A similar trend was evident in whether respondents believed parties were going in the right direction: they were also divided on whether the Democratic Party was going in the right direction, but said, 64% to 25% the Republican Party was moving in the wrong direction.

Forty-nine percent said they approved of Mr. Biden’s professional performance so far, while 36% disapproved and 16% were unsure.

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State Department advises Americans to reconsider travel

The State Department, concerned about new variants of the coronavirus, as well as new restrictions on entering the US from a foreign country, is warning Americans who are considering travel to reconsider their plans.

“If you’re overseas right now, it might be more difficult to go home for a while,” said Ian Brownlee, acting deputy secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, according to the Miami Herald. “Everyone should be prepared to be potentially disturbed on their journey.”

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Brownlee noted that new strains of the virus were detected in Latin America and the Caribbean, while at the same time, the US established new requirements for anyone traveling to the US from abroad to produce a negative COVID test by get there, including US citizens. The airlines will deny boarding to anyone who does not and will be responsible for additional accommodation costs.

At least 16 countries and territories, including the United States, have confirmed the presence of at least one of the three emerging variants.

“The bottom line is: This is not really the time for people to engage in discretionary travel and that all travel should be postponed until we can better manage this virus under control and accelerate our vaccination strategies,” Brownlee said.

Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the global migration and quarantine division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the new variants could be more contagious than the main virus that has plagued the world. for more than a year.

“They all suggest that they are potentially more contagious than the prevailing virus currently circulating,” Cetron said. “They can quickly become the predominant virus that is circulating and several of them have presented challenges to … evade some of the natural immunity and challenges to seek our vaccine solutions.”

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Video: ‘They are great Americans’: Biden visits Walter Reed

TimesVideo ‘They Are Great Americans’: Biden Visits Walter Reed President Biden visited the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., On Friday to privately visit wounded soldiers. He also visited the facility’s coronavirus vaccine distribution site, per The New York Times.

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Trump issues a statement calling on Americans to “ease tensions and calm people down.”

A week after a crowd stimulated by his rhetoric stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to overturn the presidential election results, President Trump on Wednesday issued a statement calling on Americans to “ease tensions and calm down the spirits”.

The statement, released by the White House and texted to supporters of Mr. Trump, came a week before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration in Washington, and as security experts and officials of the Law enforcement officials have warned that a number of far-right groups have threatened to protest or attack next week.

“In light of reports of other protests, I urge that there be NO violence, NO breaking of the law and NO vandalism of any kind,” Mr. Trump said. “This is not what I represent and this is not what America represents.”

The president’s statement, first provided to Fox News, was released as the House of Representatives debated an impeachment article that accuses Mr. Trump of “inciting insurgency.” Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican from Ohio, read the statement to the House.

A final vote is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon or evening. Democrats appear to have the necessary votes to remove Mr. Trump for the second time, with a small but significant number of Republicans expected to join them.

Shortly before Mr. Trump’s statement was released, California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, addressed the House, throwing blame on Mr. Trump for the attack.

“These facts call for immediate action on the part of President Trump,” said McCarthy, who does not support impeachment and who voted last week to overturn the election results. “Accept his share of the blame. Calm brewing troubles. And make sure President-elect Biden is able to start his term well.

Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, urged those with “malicious intent” to stay away from Washington or state capitals.

“The peaceful transition of power is one of the founding principles of our nation and is necessary for our country to move forward,” McDaniel said in a statement.

Mr Trump has come under heavy criticism for his role in inciting violence last week, in which a number of his supporters stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of members of Congress and his deputy. president after the president has spoken at a rally beforehand.

On Tuesday, his first response to questions from reporters since the event, Mr. Trump showed no contrition or regret for inciting the crowd, saying his comments to his supporters were “entirely appropriate.”