Immigration advocates report that they are so far unable to find the parents of 545 children separated from their families by the US government since 2017. “The 545 children are among more than 1,500 who were separated from their parents as far back as July 1, 2017, and whose cases were not immediately disclosed to the U.S. district judge who ordered the families reunited in June 2018, said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt. Some of these cases were part of an earlier pilot immigration program… When records prove insufficient, lawyers must instead rely on a network of human rights lawyers and nonprofit staff — led by the New York-based group Justice in Motion — who have tried to physically track families on the ground in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. With little more than a misspelled name or an outdated phone number, the attorneys travel to remote, mountainous villages that are sometimes controlled by gangs, and residents often are suspicious of all outsiders. The roads to these tiny hamlets are bumpy and ragged, and the prevailing tongue might be the Mayan language of Mam, not Spanish. These human rights defenders “take the minimal, often inaccurate or out-of-date information provided by the government and do in-person investigations to find these parents,” Nan Schivone, the group’s legal director, said in a statement to The Washington Post, noting it was already “an arduous and time-consuming process on a good day.” Then came the coronavirus pandemic. With strict curfews and other containment measures imposed across much of Central America, Justice in Motion was forced to halt its work entirely. The suspicion and trauma common among separated parents — who are no easier to locate these days — have made it difficult to replicate efforts online.”
New research finds that kids growing up in poverty “show the effects of being poor as early as age 5 -- especially those who are Black.... The research adds to mounting evidence that children of Black parents who are also poor face greater health inequities than whites. "Our findings underscore the pronounced racialized disparities for young children," said lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, director of the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities at the University of California, Los Angeles. For the study, teachers administered a standardized test to measure physical, social, emotional and language development of kindergarteners in 98 school districts across the United States. More than 185,000 kids took the test from 2010 to 2017. Analyzing the data, the researchers found that 30% of the poorest children were vulnerable in one or more areas of health development, compared with 17% of children from wealthier areas. These differences in vulnerability varied among from different ethnic and racial groups. Black children were at the highest risk, followed by Hispanic children. Asian children were at the lowest risk. The difference between Black children and white children was most striking at the higher socioeconomic levels and tended to narrow for kids from lower-income areas. The disparities can have a profound effect on kids' long-term development and lead to higher rates diabetes, heart disease, drug use, mental health disorders and dementia, the researchers said.”
The CDC estimates that 300,000 excess deaths have been occurred that are linked directly or indirectly to the coronavirus pandemic. “The coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 300,000 deaths in the United States through early October, federal researchers said on Tuesday. The new tally includes not only deaths known to have been directly caused by the coronavirus, but also roughly 100,000 fatalities that are indirectly related and would not have occurred if not for the virus… “This is one of several studies, and the bottom line is there are far more Americans dying from the pandemic than the news reports would suggest,” said Dr. Steve Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, whose own research recently reached similar conclusions about excess deaths.”
Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges related to marketing and impeding federal investigations and has agreed to a settlement of $8 billion—though the company will ultimately pay much less. “Since the company doesn’t have $8bn in cash available to pay the fines, it agreed to transform into a public benefit company, meaning it would be governed by a trust that has to balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health, the officials said… Lawyers and public relations firms for the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma have spent months pushing an aggressive campaign to deny that the company’s powerful painkiller, OxyContin, unleashed the devastating US opioid epidemic. They manipulated statistics and attacked critics to paint the company and the Sacklers as victims of an unwarranted smear campaign driven by a sensationalist media and grasping addicts trying to lay their hands on the billions of dollars of profits generated by a legitimate drug. But on Wednesday, Purdue Pharma laid that strategy to waste by agreeing to plead guilty to three criminal charges and pay $8bn in fines and damages. The company admitted to bribing doctors to unnecessarily prescribe OxyContin and to lying to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about controls on sales of the painkiller. It also paid illegal kickbacks to a health records company to promote opioid prescribing to physicians.” Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family face ongoing criminal litigation.