magicshrooms-150x150Voters in the nation’s capital joined with peers across the country to nudge forward a further reconsideration of mind-affecting substances popularized in the Sixties but made illicit thereafter.

Support ran strong for a District of Columbia ballot initiative directing local law enforcement to make among its lowest priorities the prosecution of those who use or sell certain hallucinogenic plants and fungi — aka magic mushrooms and psilocybin, the Washington Post reported.

Those substances also appeared to be headed to legalization in an Oregon vote, which also would “decriminalize the possession of all illegal drugs,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

covimask-300x159While Americans have been riveted for days about incremental shifts in election results, other confounding numbers raced ever higher and into worrisome places. Just consider these numbers: 128,000, 9.6 million plus, and 235,000 and more.

“Covid, covid, covid. By the way, on Nov. 4 you won’t hear about it anymore,” President Trump asserted during his closing re-election campaign rallies.

If only. The nation’s coronavirus pandemic is unchecked and showing signs of worsening, bigly, with records shattering on consecutive days for infections diagnosed: 100,000 on Nov. 4, 120,000 on Nov. 5, and 128,000 on Nov. 6.

colorscreen-300x168An important federal advisory group has joined with medical specialists in recommending a change in the age at which patients should start screening for colorectal cancer, to age 45 and not the current 50 years old.

Earlier detection of bowel issues could save lives, the U.S. Protective Services Task Force (USPSTF) has decided, with the influential medical group issuing a draft screening guidance and posting it online for public and expert comment.

Clinicians have reported for a while now that they are seeing more cases of colorectal cancers in younger patients, and their treatment might have better outcomes if it could be started earlier, too. As the New York Times reported:

chairinhomeDisturbing new data shows that a much-promoted plan by federal watchdogs to protect vulnerable residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities from Covid-19 resulted in dismal outcomes, with inspectors dispatched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services largely dismissing infection-control concerns as the deadly pandemic raged.

“During the first six months of the crisis [inspectors] cleared nearly 8 in 10 nursing homes of any infection-control violations,” even as tens of thousands of facility residents were infected and died from the coronavirus, the Washington Post reported.

The newspaper’s investigation found this:

benfrankbuck-200x300The expected surge in coronavirus cases is slamming hospitals across the country, and they and the entire U.S. health care system will need major public support in difficult days ahead. Still, important markers also have gone down, so pillars of the medical establishment eventually may have to account for billions of taxpayer dollars they have been all but gifted already and why they charge sky-high prices for their medical services.

Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times deserves credit for his reporting about the public largesse that already has benefited parties in the health care system. As he wrote:

“The Trump administration has pumped billions of dollars into the health care industry during the Covid-19 crisis, padding bottom lines at some of the country’s most profitable businesses even as millions of Americans have been left struggling with mounting medical bills. And although taxpayer money has poured into drug makers, hospital systems and medical distributors, administration officials have put few requirements on the businesses that took public assistance. Pharmaceutical companies could charge more for vaccines and treatments developed with public money. Medical distributors that received government assistance to air-lift supplies from China this spring were able to sell the material at undiscounted prices. And hospitals sustained with bailout money will be free to raise prices on patients for years to come.”

votebanner-300x150As coronavirus infections rage unchecked from coast-to-coast, Americans may need to redouble the attention they pay to their health and safeguarding it.

To deal in optimal ways with what threatens to be a tough November, we all may wish to:

Vote as safely as possible.

caddytweet-223x300As pandemic-curtailed traffic returns to greater normality, motorists, bikers, and pedestrians may need to pay increased attention to two novel means of transportation taking to the roads: monster-sized SUVs and zippy high-tech scooters.

Even as officials in the nation’s capital approved, as expected, new rules on e-scooters, Andrew Hawkins, a reviewer at the Verge news and information site, deserves credit for raising safety concerns about a rising slice of the U.S. auto market: the over-sized Sport Utility Vehicle.

In case you missed it, SUVs have become the nation’s vehicular obsession, particularly in the kid-filled suburbs, with experts estimating they made up a large part — 47.4% — of auto sales in 2019.

andbehome-300x191Audiences laugh when Sancho Panza, a sage but servile character in the musical “Man of La Mancha,” observes that “whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it’s bad for the pitcher.” A paraphrase of that aphorism — regarding community spread of the coronavirus and the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes — might be sadly apt these days.

From Norton, Kansas, to La Crosse, Wis., public health officials and owners and operators of long-term care facilities are watching with dread the predicted Covid-19 surge occurring in communities across the country and surrounding the aged, sick, and injured in institutions.

And while some extreme theorists — including in the White House — argue for a pandemic response that claims the vulnerable can be protected (say, in nursing homes) while the healthy should, doggone it, just get sick with the coronavirus and get it over with, common sense and evidence are laying waste to the risky “let’s let Covid-19 blaze so herd immunity takes effect” theory.

buildingpurdue-300x200Christmas arrived before Halloween for a notorious Big Pharma firm. Federal prosecutors effectively gave its family founders and its executives gilded skates, so they can slide away for now from major criminal charges and severe financial penalties for their part in fostering the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and cost the nation more than $1 trillion.

The devil is in the details in the announced settlement by the U.S. Justice Department with Purdue Pharmaceutical, the maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin.

Federal prosecutors painted a picture of their planned deal with Purdue as an historic, $8.3 billion knock-out for a company that critics say played a major role in the opioid crisis, with the firm creating a template for hyping falsehoods about the safety and effectiveness of prescription painkillers. As the Washington Post reported, the first glance at the multibillion-dollar Purdue settlement seems tough:

casesurgecovidoct-300x175Numbers can tell a persuasive story, but will even overpowering figures shock Americans into taking the steps needed to deal with the coronavirus cases surging across the country?

By many metrics, it is counter-factual to contend, as President Trump insists, that the nation is “rounding the corner” on the Covid-19 pandemic and “the country is learning to live with it” — as opposed to getting sick and dying from it. Let’s take a look at a bunch of the metrics:

The United States’ new coronavirus case count exceeded 70,000 in a day for the first time since July.

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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