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Honor one life among 500,000

PHILADELPHIA – As Mildred Perry’s casket was lowered into the snowy ground of Greenmount Cemetery on Tuesday, her family sang “I’ll Fly,” a traditional selection to close a funeral service.

Ms Perry, 94, believed she had beaten the coronavirus after contracting it last spring. But eight months later, his lungs had not recovered. She died on February 15 at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, of prolonged medical complications from Covid-19, as the country neared another painful stage in the pandemic.

Ms Perry grew up in Emanuel County, Georgia, then moved to Philadelphia shortly after her first marriage. She worked in a factory that made covers for seven years before leaving to raise her family. She loved gospel music, Sam Cooke, and welcoming families from out of town.

“Our sofa was always open,” said Sam Perry-Cross, 61, her youngest son, who described her as “the ultimate supplier”.

“She was right there for everyone.

Ms. Perry had nine children and 16 grandchildren, as well as numerous great and great-great-grandchildren.

About 25 family members were in attendance for the visit to the Alfonso Cannon funeral chapels in North Philadelphia on Tuesday. More family and friends wanted to pay their respects, but the chapel had to limit the size of the gathering due to the pandemic restrictions.

Family members had to pre-register on a guest list at the chapel. All visitors were greeted with a hand sanitizer pump when they entered the chapel for the visit.

“If Covid wasn’t there, we would have had it in a big church with a few hundred people,” Mr Perry-Cross said. “So today has been a very smooth and reduced day compared to what we are used to.”

The event was broadcast live for loved ones who were unable to attend in person. Ms Perry’s granddaughter, Aisha Jones, has connected with her family through FaceTime and Facebook Live. Family members have come from Delaware, Georgia, Washington, DC, and other areas of Philadelphia.

According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, as of February 23, there were 117,022 coronavirus cases and 3,085 deaths in the city. Data released by the city showed black Philadelphians made up the city’s largest cluster of coronavirus cases, at 32%; the second largest cohort was classified as “unknown”. White Philadelphians made up 22%. Black residents also had the highest overall cases when broken down by age group.

Ms Perry died a week before the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 500,000 cases.

Ms. Perry’s other son, Larry Perry, had fabric shirts and masks made that proclaimed in bold print “The Best Mom Ever.”

The pandemic has dramatically reduced in-person interactions with family and friends. Ms Perry’s return home services provided an opportunity for the family to come together – some members have met for the first time, according to Mr Perry-Cross.

“It’s a shame it’s only for one day,” said Perry-Cross. “But it’s great to come home.”

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Chicago lists Lincoln statues among landmarks to review

Lincoln, although born in Kentucky, became synonymous with Illinois, where he moved at the age of 21 and where he lived until he became President in 1861. In 1955, the State officially designated its slogan as “Land of Lincoln” in honor of the former president, whose home in Springfield is designated a historic site by the National Park Service.

The committee’s list almost immediately drew criticism from some heads of state. “I never thought that the statues of Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant would be considered ‘controversial’ in the land of Lincoln,” said Rep. Darin LaHood, a Republican who represents parts of Peoria and Springfield , written on twitter. “It’s detached from reason.”

Daniel Fountain, professor of history at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, said Lincoln’s legacy has come under scrutiny in the 21st century in part because, as a young politician, his views reflected the white supremacist attitudes of most 19th century politicians.

Professor Fountain noted that during his famous debate with Stephen Douglas, his rival in Illinois, Lincoln declared his opposition to letting blacks become jurors, marry whites, or “achieve some semblance of social equality.”

Lincoln’s views evolved during the Civil War, but those early statements remained “abysmal,” he said.

“For many, his flaws undermine his very real and meaningful accomplishments,” said Professor Fountain.

Lincoln’s statues have also been criticized for their portrayal of him as a savior of blacks and for obscuring the role black Americans played in ending slavery. A Lincoln statue in Boston, showing a black man kneeling in front of the president, was taken down last December.

Such statues diminish “the active role played by African Americans in emancipation and inflate the efforts of whites,” said Professor Fountain.

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One-day pandemic losses: among thousands, a father, a child, a friend

Sherri Rasmussen, 51, of Lancaster, Ohio, was one. She is survived by a daughter who said she will always remember the day her mother gave her handbag to a woman who complimented her at a CVS store, saying, “I want to pay it. And then there was Pedro Ramirez, 47, who worshiped his Puerto Rican homeland, dancing salsa and restoring Volkswagen insects. Days earlier he had spoken to his wife, Shawna Ramirez, about the vaccine and how people like him with chronic medical conditions would soon receive it.

“I told him I loved him and how sorry I was that he had to be alone in the hospital,” said Ms Ramirez, 52, who works at a bridal salon in Macon, in Georgia.

The surge in deaths reflects how Americans have transmitted the virus much faster since late September, when the number of cases identified daily fell below 40,000. Since the start of the pandemic, deaths have closely followed cases, with about 1.5 percent of cases ending in death three to four weeks later.

A range of factors – including financial pressure to return to the workplace, politicization of mask wearing and a collective abandonment of the desire for social contact – has brought the number of new cases reported to more than 200,000 per day. At the same time, the pace of deaths has also accelerated: the first 100,000 American deaths were confirmed on May 27; it then took the nation four months to reach 200,000 deaths, and three more months to surpass the 300,000 deaths on December 14. In contrast, the latest tally of 100,000 dead took place over a period of just five weeks.

In 30 states, at least one in a thousand people has died from the virus, with nine of those states – Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Texas and Wisconsin – crossing the threshold. since January 1, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Last week, more than 4,000 deaths were reported on certain days, an average of almost three deaths per minute. Almost a quarter of total Covid-19 deaths in Los Angeles County have been recorded in the past two weeks.

Because the collective toll of the virus is drawn from many corners of the country, it can often appear fragmented – as if, according to Caitlin Rivers, senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, “what is happening to hundreds of thousands of people families is still somehow below the surface.

But the lives of those who one day die and those they have left behind reflect the individual gaps in families, friendships and communities that constitute an extraordinary national loss.

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Far-right activist “Baked Alaska” is among the latest Capitol rioters to be arrested.

Tim Gionet, a far-right media personality known as “Baked Alaska” known for broadcasting live and participating in illegal activity, was arrested by the FBI on Saturday for his participation in the riot on Capitol Hill, according to The Associated Press.

Mr Gionet, who was banned from Twitter and YouTube for his content, broadcast himself live into the crowd on DLive, an increasingly popular streaming service after a massive exodus of right-wing figures from more traditional platforms . He posted a video showing Trump supporters taking selfies with Capitol Hill officers calmly asking them to vacate the scene. The video showed Trump supporters talking to each other, laughing and telling officers and each other, “This is just the start.”

More than 70 arrests have been made in connection with the riots and at least 170 cases have been opened. Many Mafia participants were easily identified through their social media posts.

Emily Hernandez, a woman pictured with part of the wooden nameplate ripped off at the entrance to President Nancy Pelosi’s office, was arrested and charged in federal court on Friday, according to The Kansas City Star.

Ms Hernandez has been seen in numerous videos and photographs holding Ms Pelosi’s exploded nameplate as a treasured memento. According to FBI documents, they received advice on Ms Hernandez from friends and acquaintances after she posted photos and videos of herself parading with the nameplate on Facebook and Snapchat.

Jenna Ryan, a Frisco, Texas real estate broker who flew on a private plane to Washington to participate in the mob, was also charged on Friday. She was easily identified after posting about her participation in a variety of ways, including webcasting live on Capitol Hill saying, “Life or death doesn’t matter. Here we go.”

Then just before entering she turned to the camera and said, “You all know who to hire for your real estate agent. Jenna Ryan for your real estate agent. “

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The man who stormed Pelosi’s office and a West Virginia lawmaker are among those arrested.

A West Virginia lawmaker and a man who broke into President Nancy Pelosi’s office and posed at her desk were among those arrested on charges related to the Capitol siege, federal forces officials said Friday. order by promising an exhaustive investigation into the violence. .

Authorities also found 11 Molotov cocktails and a semi-automatic rifle in the truck of a 70-year-old Alabama man who was also arrested, prosecutors said. He also had two handguns.

Hundreds of prosecutors and FBI agents were assigned to the investigation and were pursuing dozens of cases, Ken Kohl, an attorney with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, said in a briefing with reporters.

“We are far from finished,” added Steven M. D’Antuono, who heads the FBI’s field office in Washington.

Federal law enforcement officials have charged at least five people, they said. Washington police have also arrested dozens of people, mostly on charges of illegal entry and curfew violations.

Among those charged was Derrick Evans, a new West Virginia lawmaker, Mr Kohl said. Mr Evans posted a video on his Facebook page of him filming as he stood among the crowds outside a door on the Capitol, then rushed inside with them.

Another man, Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Ark., Has been arrested and faces three counts. He had posted a photo on social media that showed him sitting at Ms Pelosi’s desk with his feet in the air and said he expected to be arrested.

“I’ll probably tell them that is what happened up to DC jail,” Barnett told a New York Times reporter later today.

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West Virginia lawmaker among those who stormed the U.S. Capitol

A newly elected West Virginia lawmaker was among the crowd of Trump supporters who stormed the United States Capitol on Wednesday, filming as he stood among the crowd outside a door, rushing with them to inside, then wandered the halls with dozens of others. who had violated the building.

Lawmaker Derrick Evans posted the video on his Facebook page, where he goes by “Derrick Evans – The Activist” on Wednesday afternoon, but then deleted it.

Mr Evans, who was elected as the Republican state delegate in November, has posted several videos of the day’s events, recounting and joining “Stop the Steal” chants with a host of other Trump supporters. In the video that was deleted, he is part of a crowd that pushed against a door on the Capitol’s east front, some chanting and others chanting the national anthem aloud. Those up front appear to be trying to get inside, while Mr Evans comments on the attempts.

“We’re going in,” he said, at one point, turning the camera to show himself wearing a helmet.

Suddenly the crowd is moving fast and the crowd is rushing in, a woman screaming “We did it!” and Mr. Evans shouting “Derrick Evans is on Capitol Hill!”

What follows is a tour through the Capitol’s ground floor, passing the rotunda and the statuary hall, filming dozens of other Trump supporters who stormed past him and did not appear sure what to do next. Some pose with statues and others film themselves on their phones. Songs of “Trump!” and “Freedom!” to burst.

Mr Evans repeatedly yells at people on the move not to commit vandalism, insisting that “this is our home and we respect it”. To a man, who appears to be a Capitol Security guard, he says, “God bless you, sir. We always respect you, ”adding that there was“ nothing personal ”about what they did. Another officer asks him and a group of others to head for the exit, a directive he ignores. “Patriots on the inside, baby!” he shouts.

There is commotion down a hallway, and someone tells Mr. Evans that some people are trying to break into one of the bedrooms. He turns away and walks down the hall screaming, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re here right now! Who thought this was going to happen today? He then tries to sing a song of “USA!” UNITED STATES! USA! ”As the video ends a few minutes later, he appears to be looking for an exit.

In a statement on Facebook on Wednesday evening, Mr Evans said he had “traveled across the country filming many different events” and that earlier he had “had the opportunity to film at another event in Washington”.

“I want to assure you all that I have not had any negative interactions with law enforcement and that I have not participated in any destruction that may have occurred,” he wrote. “I was just there as an independent member of the media to film the story.”

President of the West Virginia House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw said in a statement Wednesday evening that he had “not spoken to Delegate Evans about today’s events,” although he said he had seen what was posted on social networks. He added that “storming government buildings and participating in a violent intentional disruption of one of the most fundamental political institutions in our country is a crime which should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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In Massachusetts, inmates will be among the first to get vaccinated

Carol Rose, executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU, said, “Prisons and prisons are just petri dishes for the coronavirus.” She added: “We need to reduce the levels of incarceration and release those who do not pose a danger to society, so that more people are alive to receive the vaccine when it becomes available.”

But in Massachusetts, as in other parts of the country, efforts to reduce the number of people behind bars – largely by freeing those held in remand – have slowed. And the numbers have crept back up: as of December 7, there were 4,306 remand inmates in Massachusetts, surpassing 4,194 inmates at the start of April.

Although the state has a process to grant medical parole, many inmates who suffer from chronic illnesses that would put them at risk for severe Covid-19 are not eligible.

“You must be terminally ill, within 18 months of death or permanently incapacitated,” said Elizabeth Matos, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, an organization that defends the rights of prisoners and advocates for least restrictive imprisonment.

The organization represents a 78-year-old inmate who was denied medical parole last spring, even though he suffers from heart disease and chronic lung disease and is dependent on the supplemental oxygen.

There is no guarantee that offering the vaccine to prisoners will end the epidemic behind the walls, several experts noted.

It will be difficult to simply pass the doses to the prisoners. Prisons do not have the ultra-cold refrigerators needed to store Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are often located in remote areas. And tracking patients to make sure they receive both doses will also be difficult – inmates enter and leave prisons on bicycles and prisoners are frequently transferred.

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Allegations of a ‘dark’ environmental justice case seem to fall among the favorites

“If I were Joe Biden and looking for someone to implement the green agenda, I would choose Mary Nichols,” said Steven J. Milloy, who led Mr. Trump’s transition team and now leads a website promoting fake climate news. change. “She is dedicated, she has experience, she knows the business from front to back. I don’t agree with a single thing she does. She’s a ‘fucking torpedo, full speed’ type environmentalist.

Ms. Nichols, 75, was first appointed to lead California’s clean air program in 1979 by Governor Jerry Brown. In the decades that followed, she spearheaded this program as California pioneered environmental policy, adopting ambitious measures, the first in the country, to control the environment. pollution and conservation which have often served as models for even international environmental law.

During the Clinton administration, she joined the EPA as its primary clean air officer, then returned to California, where she led the state’s pioneering cap-and-trade climate change program. under the direction of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Under the Obama administration, it was Ms. Nichols who helped negotiate a deal with the federal government and the nation’s largest automakers, which took California’s stringent auto emissions regulations and enforced them on nationwide. Just as Mr. Obama borrowed clean air and climate change strategies from California, Mr. Biden should do the same.

In an interview last week, when she was still seen as one of the top candidates for EPA employment, Ms Nichols strongly rebuffed the claim that she was insensitive to environmental justice issues.

“California is at the forefront of actions across the country and around the world to direct attention and funding to underfunded communities,” she said.

Ms Nichols noted that the main objection from environmental justice groups has been its adoption of California’s cap and trade policy, a system in which the state has placed a cap on tightening greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse from stationary sources, but allows companies to buy and sell permits. pollute.

She noted that the program was put in place because it was the one preferred by Mr. Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor who passed the state’s climate bill in 2006 and recruited her to put it on. implemented in 2007.

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Kavanaugh’s opinion in Wisconsin vote affair raises alarm among Democrats

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling to ban the counting of mail-order ballots in Wisconsin arriving after election day came as no surprise to many Democrats, who had insisted on it but expected to lose .

But a concurring opinion from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh raised alarms among civil rights and Democratic Party lawyers, who saw him as public support for President Trump’s arguments that any outcome counted after November 3 could be riddled with fraudulent votes – an unsubstantiated claim. through the history of elections in the United States.

The decision also baffled Democrats and local election officials in Pennsylvania, where Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to re-examine whether the state can accept ballots received up to three days after election day. . While Wisconsin Democrats had asked for an extension, current rules in Pennsylvania allow ballots three days after the election. Any change could threaten the more than 1.4 million missing ballots not yet returned.

In his opinion, coupled with the 5-3 decision against the extension of the deadline in Wisconsin, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that the mailing deadlines on election day were designed “to avoid chaos and suspicion. irregularities that can ensue if thousands of missing ballots are circulating. after polling day and potentially reverse the results of an election. “

He added: “These states also want to be able to definitively announce election results on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”

Judge Kavanaugh’s statement in some ways mirrored Mr. Trump’s efforts to suggest that only ballots counted on election day should decide the outcome, and more generally to assert unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Earlier Monday, the president posted on Twitter that election officials “must have the final total by November 3,” alleging without evidence that there are “big problems” with the postal ballots. Twitter called the tweet “misleading”.

The Wisconsin decision was the latest in a series of court rulings setting the rules for how voters in different states can vote during the coronavirus pandemic and when the deadline is to receive them.

The Wisconsin ruling revealed a clear division between judges in their understanding of the courts’ role in protecting the franchise during a pandemic and left-wing voting activists concerned about how the court’s conservative majority would rule in the post-election battles.

With Trump indicating that he plans to dispute a loss, Democrats have kept a particularly cautious eye on the Supreme Court.

Keep up with Election 2020

It was the court that made the final decision in the 2000 Florida recount, effectively handing the state over to George W. Bush against Al Gore by just 537 votes and, with him, the presidency. In rushing to name a successor to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg after her death last month, Mr Trump indicated he believed the Supreme Court could again determine the winner, saying, “I think this will work out. at the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine judges.

He hinted that he expected the court to weigh in on his electoral fraud charges, saying: “The scam will be before the United States Supreme Court. And I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation.

The concept expressed by Justice Kavanaugh that the late ballot count could “reverse the results” distorts the voting process, where official results are often not fully tabulated for days or even weeks after an election.

And, this year, both sides expect Democrats to vote by mail in greater numbers than Republicans, and Republicans to vote in person in greater numbers than Democrats will – leading to a potential scenario in which the early results might appear favorable to Mr. Trump, only to go in the direction of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic candidate, as the mail-in ballot counts are made public.

Due to an increase in the number of postal ballots due to the pandemic, as well as delays at the postal service, civil rights groups and Democrats have pushed for the suspension of some voting rules. by correspondence in order to guarantee the greatest possible number of ballots. arrive on time and so that states and counties have more time to count them.

Republicans insisted the more restrictive rules stay in place.

Mr. Kavanaugh’s agreement was greeted by a dissenting judge Elena Kagan, who wrote that “there is no outcome to ‘return’ until all valid votes have been counted.

Justice Kagan wrote that nothing could be more suspicious or inappropriate “than refusing to count the votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night.”

“To say otherwise,” she added, “especially in these difficult times, is to undermine the electoral process.”

Justice Kagan reprimanded the majority for ignoring the overriding effects of the pandemic, adding: “What will compromise the ‘integrity’ of this process is not the count, but rather the rejection of the timely cast ballots which, due to pandemic conditions, arrive shortly after Election Day. “

Democrats have openly feared that Mr. Trump’s attacks would create the false impression that the fraud is a serious threat to the integrity of the election and use it as a basis for challenging the postal vote. For Democrats, Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion seemed to reward the approach, treating voters’ perceptions of fraud – which Mr. Trump tries so hard to influence – as potentially crucial.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Wisconsin case came in response to an emergency petition, so it did not have the weight of a case that had been fully argued before it. But it took on added significance for both sides in the run-up to an election many expect to be challenged, and because it came on a day when Mr. Trump won a sixth Tory vote in court. with confirmation from Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Richard L. Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine, said Judge Kavanaugh’s reference to “suspicion of impropriety” revealed a “Trumpian state of mind.” More substantially, Mr Hasen said, his opinion bodes well for a more difficult climb for civil rights groups and Democrats in election year cases that come before the Supreme Court.

The president’s success in placing his candidates throughout the federal court system led to a shift to the right in the ideological balance of several important federal appeal circuits and cemented the conservative majority in the Supreme Court.

They joined with other Tories in staying several lower court rulings that had been in favor of expanding voting access during the pandemic, including in Wisconsin, where District Court Judge William M. Conley, had decided for the Democrats by extending the deadline. to count the ballots.

It was the second time the Supreme Court has intervened in a decision by Justice Conley this year. In the spring, he suspended his decision granting an extension for postal votes on the eve of the primary elections, which included races for the Democratic nomination and a major race for justice from the state’s Supreme Court. In that case, however, the court allowed election officials to continue counting the ballots for several days after polling day, provided the ballots were postmarked on or before it.

Judge Kavanaugh played a leading role in both cases and agreed with other Conservatives on voting rights matters, relying on state legislatures and their rights to enact strict measures. to institute remains extremely rare.

The opinions expressed by Judge Kavanaugh rocked the voting rights groups.

“Even without the reasoning, it is very clear that what the Court has done throughout this election season has made it clear that federal courts will not be important sources of protecting the right to vote before the election,” said Wendy R. Weiser, the director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“It is the unique constitutional role of the courts to protect individual rights like the right to vote, and they treat it as political decisions,” she added.

Democrats had anticipated the court ruling in the Wisconsin case and focused on efforts on Tuesday to persuade voters not to wait until the last minute and risk not having their ballots in the mail arrive at time to be counted.

Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion has also worried voting groups in Pennsylvania.

Previously, the court had blocked 4 to 4 on a challenge to a similar extension of the voting deadline in the state, although it was Republicans who appealed a decision of the state Supreme Court, rather than a decision of the federal court.

The deadlocked decision meant that the state’s Supreme Court decision was held and that ballots stamped on polling day could be counted as long as they arrived within three days.

The state’s Republicans, however, immediately returned to federal court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, with an almost identical argument against extending the ballot. Their apparent plan was a return appearance before the Supreme Court with newly installed Justice Barrett, who hoped to side with the other Tory members and overturn the extension.

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Nurses are at high risk of Covid among health workers, CDC says

Among healthcare workers, nurses in particular are at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a new analysis of patients hospitalized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results were released on Monday as a wave of new hospitalizations swept the country, with several states reaching record levels of cases.

About 6 percent of adults hospitalized from March through May were healthcare workers, the researchers said, with more than a third being nurses or nursing assistants. About a quarter, or 27 percent, of these hospitalized workers were admitted to the intensive care unit and 4 percent died while in hospital.

The study looked at 6,760 hospitalizations in 13 states, including California, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.

Healthcare workers “may have serious illness associated with Covid-19, stressing the need to continue to prevent and control infections in healthcare settings as well as community mitigation efforts to reduce transmission,” said said the researchers.

Since the start of the pandemic in the United States, frontline medical staff have complained about the shortage of personal protective equipment. Some of the shortages eased for a while, but supplies became strained in parts of the country as an outbreak of coronavirus outbreaks hit daily records.

“We need more testing,” said Michelle Mahon, deputy director of nursing practice at National Nurses United, a union whose members have been vocal since the start of the pandemic about the dangers they faced without supplies. and adequate protection.

Calling the results unsurprising, Ms. Mahon criticized federal officials for failing to put more robust guidelines in place. His organization, which released a report on worker deaths last month, says around 2,000 health workers have so far died from the virus.

She says workers should be tested more frequently so they can be identified and isolated so the infection does not spread, and supplies of protective equipment remain spotty as some facilities are unprepared for an increase. cases.

Even though workers are taking more precautions and treatments have improved in recent months, the analysis highlighted the vulnerability of many people due to underlying health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Nearly three-quarters of those hospitalized were obese, a high risk category for death, according to the study.

The majority had treated patients directly, whether in hospital, at home or at school. It was not possible to determine whether people contracted the virus at work or in the community, but the study highlighted the potential risk faced by nurses who serve as frontline workers “due to their frequent and close contact with patients, resulting in prolonged cumulative exposure. time.”

Most of the hospital workers in the analysis were women. They also tended to be older and were more black employees than the entire group of healthcare workers who contracted the virus.