Tag Archives: Hostile

Biden’s Covid surge teams begin rolling out to a hostile heartland

The Biden administration’s coronavirus surge teams have yet to materialize in states across the Midwest and South where the highly contagious Delta variant is leading to a rapid rise in hospitalizations, according to four state health officials and two senior administration officials.

The administration has sent a surge team to Nevada, but multiple local health officials there said they aren’t sure if the federal aid — including help with Covid testing and door-to-door visits to promote vaccines — could help the state respond to the spread of Delta, or whether it would have an immediate and significant impact. Nor had the officials decided whether they need the assistance.

Vaccination rates are stalled throughout the country and remain stubbornly low in Republican strongholds throughout the South and Midwest. That has raised fresh concerns among health officials at all levels that the national vaccine campaign is stalled, increasing the chance that rising infections driven by Delta will prolong the pandemic and threaten the economy. The impacts are likely to hit hardest in undervaccinated states once schools reopen and the weather turns cold in the fall.

States’ ongoing vaccination struggles underscore the challenges facing Biden’s surge teams as they parachute into communities where unvaccinated people are wary of anyone who advocates for Covid shots. The situation also underscores how — almost 18 months into the pandemic — federal and state leaders still struggle to respond in real time to emerging hot spots, often slowed by local politics and logistical hurdles.

“We have heard that FEMA officials will be coming to this area and they are coordinating with the state. Some of them are already helping with epidemiology,” said Fermin Leguen, the district health officer in southern Nevada. “But we are still waiting to hear what more they will be doing on helping with our vaccine campaign.”

A White House official said the administration is working with governors and local public health officials “to ensure that they have the support they need to curb the spread of the virus and increase vaccinations in their state.”

In many instances, the White House and state officials are still sussing out what resources are needed. The president’s call for a “door-to-door” vaccination campaign earlier this month drew swift rebukes from Republican governors, but there are less obtrusive ways the administration can help, the two senior administration officials said.

In recent days FEMA has dispatched dozens of employees to Nevada, where hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the last two weeks. Federal personnel will work to expand Covid-19 testing and canvass neighborhoods to talk to the unvaccinated about receiving the shot. The administration also sent 1-2 person teams to a handful of other states in the South and West. Federal officials are helping Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and Arkansas with genomic sequencing and outbreak investigations.

But many other states are in a holding pattern.

“There have been recent discussions between Wyoming pandemic leadership about various federal resources that might be made available to support us here, but no firm plans have been set,” said Kim Deti, a spokesperson for Wyoming’s public health department.

Privately, at least two senior administration officials are skeptical that federal personnel can do much to boost vaccination rates, especially in conservative areas where skepticism of Covid vaccines and government run high. The next few weeks and months of the vaccine push will be slow, those officials said, and should fall largely on political and health leaders trusted by the local community.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has spoken with the White House about getting surge team help, is traveling across the state trying to boost vaccination rates. Arkansas is now giving first doses to less than 17,000 people each week, according to the CDC. Despite the stalled vaccination campaign and a surge in cases spurred by the Delta variant, the state has no plans for a mask mandate or new restrictions on gatherings.

But several other Republican governors are either ignoring vaccination plans or actively undermining the effort.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he opposed any federal officials coming to Missouri to help with the vaccination campaign, while South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster warned state agencies against working with anyone from the White House who is promoting vaccination. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said his state has “no plans to participate in the federal government’s door-to-door initiative,” and the federal government has not offered to do so.

And in Tennessee, the health department this week fired Michelle Fiscus, the state’s top vaccine official, after legislators alleged the department was encouraging teenagers to get vaccinated even without their parents permission.

“The morale amongst my colleagues is really critically low,” she told POLITICO. “We have just come from working 90-hour weeks trying to launch vaccines in our states … and a large number of those who are eligible refused to receive it.”

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This post originally posted here Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

Lithuanian Parliament Votes to Declare Hostile States ‘Hybrid Aggression’ and to Detain Illegal Immigrants

Lithuanian Parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution, declaring that the recent influx of illegal immigrants is a “hybrid aggression” by hostile states, and that the illegal immigrants should be treated as potential active participants of the aggression.

It comes after Lithuania declared a state of emergency due to the sudden influx of illegal immigrants via neighboring Belarus, which Lithuania accused of flying in migrants from Iraq and sending them across the border into Lithuania, which is an EU member state.

The resolution said that “countries hostile towards Lithuania are carrying out hybrid aggression against the Republic of Lithuania,” and that the coordinated move is aimed at destabilizing the country, according to Lithuania’s public broadcaster LRT.

The resolution also said that “this hybrid aggression can be further developed and exploited and can even be used as a basis for threats of new nature in the context of the large-scale military exercise Zapad,” referring to Russia and Belarus’s quadrennial military exercise due in September this year.

Tensions between Belarus and Lithuania intensified after Belarus intercepted a passenger flight en route to the Lithuanian city of Vilnius and arrested an opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend from the plane in May.

Lithuania has said that Belarus was using illegal immigrants as a weapon after the EU slapped sanctions on Belarus over the plane diversion incident.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent has called on Belarusian authorities to stop the “pressure tactic,” which he said is comparable to migrant flows from Russia to Finland and Norway in 2015.

The Lithuanian resolution on Tuesday urged the government to ramp up protection of the Belarus–Lithuania border, including building a physical barrier and mobilizing the military.

It calls for sanctions against those responsible for organizing the movements of illegal immigrants, treating illegal immigrants with no ID as possible active participants of the coordinated aggression, and placing them in detention or other arrangements.

Women with children, pregnant women, disabled people, and the under-16s will be excluded.

The resolution also set out plans to return the illegal immigrants to their countries of origin, and consulting with NATO member states if the situation deteriorates.

Red Cross and other non-government organizations have protested against the resolution, saying it violates Lithuania’s international obligations and migrants’ rights.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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This post originally posted here Norway Government & Politics News

ACC Survey: 44% of Cardiologists Report a Hostile Work Environment

In a survey of cardiologists from around the world, 44% of respondents reported experiencing a hostile work environment at some point in their careers.

A key finding was that of those who reported a hostile work environment, 62% said it had some effect and 13% said it had a significant impact on their professional activities with colleagues.

Almost half of those who reported such an environment, 46%, said the behavior affected patient care.

“Perceived emotional harassment or discrimination — and it may be small micro-invalidations, microaggression against women or people of color, or it could even by these little insults like being interrupted constantly or not introduced as a doctor — these things are very damaging and impact not just professional advancement and satisfaction, but they can also impact patient care,” said lead author Garima Sharma, MD, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Higher rates of reported hostile work environment (HWE) were found among women cardiologists (68% vs 37% for men), Black cardiologists (53% vs 43% for Whites), and North American cardiologists (54% vs 38% for South Americans).

As part of an American College of Cardiology effort to better understand the workplace experienced by their 54,000+ members and beyond, an anonymous online survey was sent to 71,022 cardiologists, of whom 8% or 5931 (77% men; 23% women) responded.

The results were published in the May 18 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Both ACC members and non-members listed in the ACC database were eligible for participation. Medical students and nonphysicians were excluded.

“This is really just scratching the surface, but I think it’s important to note that no other subspecialty in medicine has been able to do a survey like this at this scale,” said Sharma.

Emotional harassment was reported by 29% of respondents (43% of women vs 26% of men). Sexual harassment was reported by 4% overall (12% of women and 1% of men).

Discrimination in some form was reported by 30% overall, 56% of women and 21% of men. Gender was the most frequent cause of discrimination (44%), followed by age (37%), race (24%), religion (15%), and sexual orientation (5%).

In this 50-item online survey conducted by the American College of Cardiology, HWE was defined as emotional harassment, discrimination, or sexual harassment.

In an interview with theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, Sharma readily acknowledged that their survey was designed with a North American lens.

“What someone might find offensive or inappropriate is so variable and cultural, but I think the larger message here is that 44% of respondents felt harassment of some kind — whether it was sexual, emotional, based on age or gender or sexual orientation, or something else — that hindered their ability to practice medicine.”

On multivariate analysis, women had the highest odds of experiencing HWE (OR, 3.39; P < .001) as were cardiologists early in their career (OR, 1.27; P < .001).

Javed Butler, MD, MPH, MBA, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, and Ileana L. Piña, MD, Central Michigan University, Midlands, Michigan, authored an editorial comment published alongside the paper. They called the results “disturbing, to say the least.”

They noted some concern regarding the low response rate and the possibility of “responder bias,” but ultimately decided that “even if one were to assume that most of the cardiologists who did not respond to the survey actually felt that hostile work environment is not an issue, this is not a reason to ignore the results of this survey and not address the concern of the individuals who did.”

Regardless, strong action is needed. “For egregious infractions, there should be a zero-tolerance policy,” they write, with “strict legal and human resource interventions” used as a deterrent against, for example, forced sexual behavior and reviews of complaints by “nonconflicted, diverse third parties” to calm fears of internal ramifications.

Important to understand better, they write, is whether this is an issue in some way more pertinent to the cardiology world, or more generalized to the medical field?

Sharma feels that cardiology may be a more hostile environment to women and minorities than some other subspecialties. “While the face of medicine is more diverse, cardiology is still predominantly a field of White men, which is partly why the ACC is working so hard to better understand these issues and affect change,” said Sharma.

“We’ve moved the needle somewhat, but women are still only 21% of the cardiology workforce, while, for example, 50% of internal medicine graduates are women. In cardiology, it’s still a leaky pipeline where women just get worn out from the discrimination and harassment and hostility, and it’s perceived by trainees as being a really difficult subspecialty for women.”

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

J Am Coll Cardiol. Published in the May 18, 2021 edition. Abstract, Editorial

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines