Christopher Hanson was five years old when he died from the coronavirus.
Jameela Dirrean-Emoni Barber was 17, and had been worrying over an unfinished school assignment.
Kimora Lynum was a healthy nine year old girl.
They are three of the more than 121 kids and teens under 21 years old who’ve died from the coronavirus so far across the US.
They were also all Black — representative of a disturbing, deadly trend.
According to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, very few children who’ve gotten sick with the coronavirus have died. Of the 391,814 cases of COVID-19 — as well as the rare infection linked to it, pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome — that the CDC recorded between February 12 and July 31 of this year, only 121 (about 0.03%) were deadly.
But among those 121 young decedents, few were white. The CDC reported that just 17 of those recorded fatalities were in white children, compared with 35 deaths of Black children, and 54 Hispanic deaths.
“The data is horrifying, but not surprising to me,” Dr. Uché Blackstock, founder of Advancing Health Equity, told Insider. “Where you see marginalization and disadvantage, you’re going to find coronavirus.”
Half of all children in the US are white, but they account for only 14% of childhood COVID-19 deaths
The data doesn’t match up with the demographics of the US as a whole: white children comprise about 50% of the kids in the country, according to the Kids Count Data Center, but accounted for only 14% of the childhood COVID-19 deaths.
Black children, meanwhile, make up 14% of that same population, but accounted for more than double their ratio in deaths, at 28.9%. The over-representation of Hispanic and Native communities in COVID deaths is even more stark.
One of the key reasons the CDC suspects so many children of color are dying from the coronavirus is because they live in the same households as adults of color, who are more likely to be essential workers, and exposed to the virus on the job.
“Their risk of being infected is higher than white children,” Blackstock said.
Racism, not race, is the reason for the deaths
“Crowded living conditions, food and housing insecurity, wealth and educational gaps, and racial discrimination,” as well as lack of access to care all also likely play a role in the higher rates of death in Black and brown children, the CDC report said.
In other words, the deaths have nothing to do with the color of a child’s skin, they’re tied to systemic racism that puts their health at risk, by subjecting them to different living conditions than their white counterparts.
Those conditions extend outside of a child’s household and into the neighborhoods that Black and brown families disproportionately live in. In these areas, there tends to be worse air and toxic dumps that contribute to asthma, as well as food deserts and other environmental and societal setbacks that hurt their health over time.
“Not just lack of access to food, but, lack of access to green space, lack of access even to healthcare and regular preventative care that could prevent worsening of these chronic conditions,” Blackstock said. “Children don’t go untouched when we’re talking about marginalization and disadvantage.”
Recent studies also show the redlining policies that have kept US neighborhoods segregated by race for decades line up with higher rates of pre-existing conditions that can make COVID-19 harder to fight.
In the UK, both Black and Asian children are more likely to suffer from a rare, but potentially deadly complication thought to be linked to the coronavirus, called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
“There are disparities in how Black patients and other patients of color are treated, in terms of complaints being minimized,” Blackstock said.
Many of the children who’ve died from the coronavirus in the US (more than 75%) also had at least one underlying medical condition. The two most common were chronic lung disease and obesity, health issues that have been linked, in study after study, with living in marginalized, disadvantaged communities.
It’s especially concerning, Blackstock said, as parents weigh how and when to send their kids back to school safely this fall.
“This is bringing up that really difficult, almost false choice that families have where, you know, Black and brown communities are the communities where there already are opportunity gaps in terms of education,” she said. “And if we keep school closed, we know that remote learning is not as effective as in person. But at the same time, these are the communities and children that are most at-risk for being infected with coronavirus.”
Read the original article on Business Insider
Meet Magawa, the ‘hero rat’ awarded a bravery medal for detecting dozens of landmines
A rat is being honored with one of the highest awards in the animal world after he has potentially saved numerous lives for clearing landmines from fields in Cambodia.
Magawa, an African Giant Pouched Rat, was awarded a gold medal from the PDSA, a British veterinary charity, for his work over the past seven years leading to the detection of 39 landmines and 28 unexploded items and clearing more than 20 soccer fields in the process.
The rat is the most successful in the history of APOPO, a charity organization that has trained him and other rodents since the 1990s to detect landmines.
“This is the very first time in our 77-year history of honoring animals that we will have presented a medal to a rat,” said John Smith, the chairman of PDSA.
The PDSA has awarded its gold medal to 29 other animals, all dogs, for “animal bravery and exceptional devotion to duty.” The medal for Magawa was specially designed to fit onto his work harness, said Jan McLoughlin, PDSA’s director general.
APOPO rats like Magawa undergo training from a young age, and it’s safe for them to work in landmine detection because they are light enough not to trigger the explosives, said Christophe Cox, CEO and co-founder of the charity.
To train the rodents, handlers reward them with treats for finding a target or walking on a surface, eventually leveling up the training to rewarding them for smelling explosives.
Rats make good landmine detectors, too, because they are quick. Magawa can clear an area in 30 minutes that would take a human four days, Cox said.
“The rats cannot miss any landmine,” Cox added. “We really trust our rats, because very often after clearing a minefield, our teams will play a game of soccer on the cleared field to assure the quality of our work.”
In Cambodia, around three million landmines remain hidden, and tens of thousands of people in the country have died or been injured, often causing amputations, from the unexploded mines.
“Magawa is a true hero rat,” McLoughlin said.
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rat Magawa gets PDSA gold medal for detecting landmines in Cambodia
U.S. nears 7M coronavirus cases, big pharmaceutical companies race for a vaccine
3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield
Markets are volatile, there can be no doubt. So far this month, the S&P 500 has fallen 9% from its peak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which had led the gainers all summer, is now leading the on the fall, having lost 11% since September 2. The three-week tumble has investors worried that we may be on the brink of another bear market.The headwinds are strong. The usual September swoon, the upcoming election, doubts about another round of economic stimulus – all are putting downward pressure on the stock markets.Which doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. As the old saw goes, “Bulls and bears can both make money, while the pigs get slaughtered.” A falling market may worry investors, but a smart strategy can prevent the portfolio from losing too much long-term value while maintaining a steady income. Dividend stocks, which feed into the income stream, can be a key part of such a strategy.Using the data available in the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks with high yields – from 7% to 11%, or up to 6 times the average dividend found on the S&P 500 index. Even better, these stocks are seen as Strong Buys by Wall Street’s analysts. Let’s find out why.Williams Companies (WMB)We start with Williams Companies, an Oklahoma-based energy company. Williams controls pipelines connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas fields with the Pacific Northwest region, and Appalachian and Texan fields with users in the Northeast and transport terminals on the Gulf Coast. The company’s primary operations are the processing and transport of natural gas, with additional ops in crude oil and energy generation. Williams handles nearly one-third of all US commercial and residential natural gas use.The essential nature of Williams’ business – really, modern society simply cannot get along without reliable energy sources – has insulated the company from some of the economic turndown in 1H20. Quarterly revenues slid from $2.1 billion at the end of last year to $1.9 billion in Q1 and $1.7 billion in Q2. EPS in the first half was 26 cents for Q1 and 25 cents for Q2 – but this was consistent with EPS results for the previous three quarters. The generally sound financial base supported the company’s reliable dividend. Williams has been raising that payment for the past four years, and even the corona crisis could not derail it. At 40 cents per common share, the dividend annualizes to $1.60 and yields an impressive 7.7%. The next payment is scheduled for September 28.Truist analyst Tristan Richardson sees Williams as one of the midstream sector’s best positioned companies.“We continue to look to WMB as a defensive component of midstream and favor its 2H prospects as broader midstream grasps at recovery… Beyond 2020 we see the value proposition as a stable footprint with free cash flow generation even in the current environment. We also see room for incremental leverage reduction throughout our forecast period on scaled back capital plans and even with the stable dividend. We look for modestly lower capex in 2021, however unlike more G&P oriented midstream firms, we see a project backlog in downstream that should support very modest growth,” Richardson noted.Accordingly, Richardson rates WMB shares as a Buy, and his $26 price target implies a 30% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Richardson’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on WMB is based on 11 Buy reviews against just a single Hold. The stock’s current share price is $19.91 and the average price target is $24.58, making the one-year upside potential 23%. (See WMB stock analysis on TipRanks)Magellan Midstream (MMP)The second stock on our list is another midstream energy company, Magellan. This is another Oklahoma-based firm, with a network of assets across much of the US from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley, and into the Southeast. Magellan’s network transports crude oil and refined products, and includes Gulf Coast export shipping terminals.Magellan’s total revenues rose sequentially to $782.8 in Q1, and EPS came in at $1.28, well above the forecast. These numbers turned down drastically in Q2, as revenue fell to $460.4 million and EPS collapsed to 65 cents. The outlook for Q3 predicts a modest recovery, with EPS forecast at 85 cents. The company strengthened its position in the second quarter with an issue of 10-year senior notes, totaling $500 million, at 3.25%. This reduced the company’s debt service payments, and shored up liquidity, making possible the maintenance of the dividend.The dividend was kept steady at $1.0275 per common share quarterly. Annualized, this comes to $4.11, a good absolute return, and gives a yield of 11.1%, giving MMP a far higher return than Treasury bonds or the average S&P-listed stock.Well Fargo analyst Praneeth Satish believes that MMP has strong prospects for recovery. “[We] view near-term weakness in refined products demand as temporary and recovering. In the interim, MMP remains well positioned given its strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and ratable cash flow stream…” Satish goes on to note that the dividend appears secure for the near-term: “The company plans to maintain the current quarterly distribution for the rest of the year.”In line with this generally upbeat outlook, Satish gives MMP an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and a $54 price target that implies 57% growth in the coming year. (To watch Satish’s track record, click here)Net net, MMP shares have a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, a show of confidence by Wall Street’s analyst corps. The stock is selling for $33.44, and the average price target of $51.13 implies 53% growth in the year ahead. (See MMP stock analysis on TipRanks)Ready Capital Corporation (RC)The second stock on our list is a real estate investment trust. No surprise finding one of these in a list of strong dividend payers – REITs have long been known for their high dividend payments. Ready Capital, which focuses on the commercial mortgage niche of the REIT sector, has a portfolio of loans in real estate securities and multi-family dwellings. RC has provided more than $3 billion in capital to its loan customers.In the first quarter of this year, when the coronavirus hit, the economy turned south, and business came to a standstill, Ready Capital took a heavy blow. Revenues fell by 58%, and Q1 EPS came in at just one penny. Things turned around in Q2, however, after the company took measures – including increasing liquidity, reducing liabilities, and increasing involvement in government-sponsored lending – to shore up business. Revenues rose to $87 million and EPS rebounded to 70 cents.In the wake of the strong Q2 results, RC also started restoring its dividend. In Q1 the company had slashed the payment from 40 cents to 25 cents; in the most recent declaration, for an October 30 payment, the new dividend is set at 30 cents per share. This annualizes to $1.20 and gives a strong yield of 9.9%.Crispin Love, writing from Piper Sandler, notes the company’s success in getting back on track.“Given low interest rates, Ready Capital had a record $1.2B in residential mortgage originations versus our $1.1B estimate. Gain on sale margins were also at record levels. We are calculating gain on sale margins of 3.7%, up from 2.4% in 1Q20,” Love wrote.In a separate note, written after the dividend declaration, Love added, “We believe that the Board’s actions show an increased confidence for the company to get back to its pre-pandemic $0.40 dividend. In recent earnings calls, management has commented that its goal is to get back to stabilized earnings above $0.40, which would support a dividend more in-line with pre-pandemic levels.”To this end, Love rates RC an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $12 price target, suggesting an upside of 14%. (To watch Love’s track record, click here)All in all, Ready Capital has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 4 recent positive reviews. The stock has an average price target of $11.50, which gives a 9% upside from the current share price of $10.51. (See RC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Would Trump really try to stay in power if he loses? Democrats, the Pentagon, and GOP are taking him seriously.
President Trump has said several times this week he may not accept an electoral loss, won’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and expects the election to be decided by a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court.
“After more than four years of non-stop voter fraud claims” and “at least one float about delaying the November election,” Politico reports, “Republicans can no longer truthfully deny that Trump may be unwilling to leave office in the event he is defeated. And Democrats must now confront the possibility they may not have the power to stop him.” But Democrats are lawyering up to fight Trump’s expected attempts to throw out mail-in ballots or otherwise circumvent the voters.
“I’ve been spending the last six weeks gaming out all the crazy things this man could do,” one Democratic strategist told Politico on Thursday. “If you’re prepared … it’s not as disturbing.” Lots of Democrats are still disturbed. “We’re a lot more organized than in 2000. A lot,” said Matt Bennett at the center-left group Third Way, “but I don’t know if it’s enough.”
The Defense Department has ruled out dragging Trump from the White House, but senior Pentagon leaders are privately discussing what to do if Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and tries “to use any civil unrest around the elections to put his thumb on the scales,” The New York Times reports. “Several Pentagon officials said that such a move could prompt resignations,” starting with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I know that Milley is trying to think his way through, but I have my doubts he can,” John Gans, former chief speechwriter to the defense secretary, told the Times. “The Pentagon plans for war with Canada and a zombie apocalypse, but they don’t want to plan for a contested election.”
And those congressional Republians subtweeting at Trump about an orderly transfer of power take this more seriously that you might think, Brendan Buck, a top adviser to former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), tells the Times. “Senators are stating their principle here because it’s obvious to everyone that he is, in fact, planning to dispute the results if he loses, no matter how lopsided. Calling him names isn’t going to stop him, but they are trying to save themselves some trouble later by making clear they’re not going to flirt with crazy conspiracies that make a mockery of our democracy.”
More stories from theweek.com
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