The District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a new temporary injunction against the DHS Public Charge rule that blocks the rule from being implemented as long as the US is under a national emergency for COVID-19.
On the day of his funeral, John Lewis’ family shared a letter to the public that Lewis wrote near the end of his life: “Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”
In addition to an attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the US Census count for purposes of assigning political representation, the White House is also seeking to “keep the Census Bureau on a timeline to deliver its data for congressional apportionment by the end of this year — a timeline the Census Bureau’s own experts have said is no longer workable, given the pandemic. Secretary Ross himself requested in April a four-month extension from Congress on those data delivery deadlines, but now it appears the administration is walking away from that request to ensure that Trump will still be in office when the data is delivered… The other upshot is that a rushed count stands to have a biggest negative impact on communities of color and low-income people, who, according to experts, are more likely to go uncounted if the Census Bureau’s operational plans are condensed.” NPR estimated that four in 10 households have yet to be counted.
Bloomberg News reports that millions of additional US families will be thrown into poverty if Congress “fails to enact three policies meant to help families get through economic hardships related to the pandemic, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. The report finds that the poverty rate for the last five months of 2020 will rise to 11.9% if expanded unemployment-insurance benefits, a second round of stimulus checks, and increased SNAP allotments are not approved, a significant increase over the projected annual rate of 8.9%. Those three measures are contained in the HEROES Act that was passed by the House in May but has yet to clear the Senate.”
The official US death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 150,000 deaths this week. The Guardian surveyed how the pandemic has unfolded in the US: “An average of 63% more food was being sought by food banks and pantries around the US in the wake of widespread job losses, according to Feeding America… Almost three times as many black people are dying of the virus compared with white people and at least 20,000 African Americans have died, according to Amp Research Lab. The virus is twice as deadly for black and Latinos than white people in New York City, preliminary data suggests. Wide disparities exist in states such as Missouri, where black and Latino people make up 40% of those infected, despite comprising just 16% of the state’s population… Up to half of the deaths in some US states have been nursing home residents or workers, studies have indicated. There have been 55 deaths at one Brooklyn nursing home, the Cobble Hill health center, according to reports… 80% of inmates tested positive for Covid-19 at one Ohio prison and across the US, prisons and jails have reported large outbreaks, which could spread out to the community… More than 36 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits in mid-May, meaning that more than one in five workers were out of a job. By mid July, the total claiming unemployment benefits was more than 14 million in 47 states.”
A Washington Post op-ed looks at how the pandemic has affected child-care responsibilities and warns the child-care crisis could threatens to set women “back by a generation.” “Where does that leave working parents? With two colleagues, I conducted a national panel survey of 2,557 working parents between Mother’s Day (May 10) and Father’s Day (June 21) to find out. We learned that 13.3 percent of working parents had lost a job or reduced their hours because of a lack of child care. Working parents lost eight hours per week on average, or one full working day, to care for their children. In households with two working adults, we found an even greater loss of 14.6 hours per week, potentially representing a significant hit to total family income. Some families found short-term child-care solutions by reducing hours, taking paid or unpaid leave, or alternating schedules with another adult in their household. However, these stopgap measures were based on the assumption that the fall would bring a return to school and organized child care and are simply unsustainable for the long term... During the pandemic, there have been numerous stories about women quitting their jobs because of a lack of child care. One out of four women who reported becoming unemployed during the pandemic said it was because of a lack of child care — twice the rate among men… For low-income and single moms, the pandemic has exacerbated the hard choices between spending a significant portion of their income on child care; finding a cheaper but potentially lower-quality option; or leaving the workforce to become a full-time caregiver. Our survey of working parents found that the loss of hours because of a lack of child care is greater for women of color, women without a college degree and women living in low-income households. Low-income, less educated and nonwhite households were also less likely to have backup child care. The sheer magnitude of the disruption to child care during the pandemic will probably affect women’s labor force participation and earnings trajectories for decades to come. Research shows that women who drop out of the workforce to take care of children often have trouble getting back in, and the longer they stay out, the harder it is to return. Wage losses are much more severe and enduring when they occur in recessions, and workers who lose jobs now are less likely to have secure employment in the future. These effects accumulate over time as people who drop out of the labor force miss out on pay increases and promotions that come from long-term relationships with an employer.”
The New York Times reports on new research showing the extent of lead poisoning of children around the world. “Lead contamination has long been recognized as a health hazard, particularly for the young. But a new study asserts that the extent of the problem is far bigger than previously thought, with one in three children worldwide — about 800 million in all — threatened by unacceptably high lead levels in their blood. The ubiquity of lead — in dust and fumes from smelters and fires, vehicle batteries, old peeling paint, old water pipes, electronics junkyards, and even cosmetics and lead-infused spices — represents an enormous and understated risk to the mental and physical development of a generation of children, according to the study, released late Wednesday. The danger is particularly acute in poor and middle-income countries where industrial pollution safeguards are poorly enforced or nonexistent. “The unequivocal conclusion of this research is that children around the world are being poisoned by lead on a massive and previously unrecognized scale,” said the study, a collaboration of UNICEF and Pure Earth, a nonprofit that seeks to help poor countries threatened by toxic pollutants.”