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Commentary

Pandemic has shown we can reduce arrests without an uptick in crime

COVID-19 has laid bare many societal challenges, including those in our criminal justice system. How can we continue to incarcerate people for petty offenses at a time when sending someone to prison can be a death sentence? The Sun’s recent article showing a reduction in arrests and prosecutions in Baltimore City, with no discernible uptick in crime, shows that we can be smart about crime, protect public health, and promote public safety simultaneously.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Kurtz: Maryland must take drastic action to limit climate change; this legislation is it

The Maryland General Assembly convened its annual session this month, and lawmakers are staring down a bevy of crises. There are the obvious political, economic and health crises, but looming next to those is climate change and its long-term repercussions to the state. We’re losing agricultural land to saltwater intrusion due to rising sea levels. Rainstorms are increasing in frequency and ferocity — resembling the heavy rain spells typically seen in tropical climates. Coastal communities such as Annapolis are dealing with tidal flooding that threatens historic and commercially important areas.

Read More: Balt Sun
Editorial: As the virus mutates, here’s another public health failing that needs correcting

Vaccines offer hope for an easing of the pandemic, but the coronavirus is not loitering around, waiting to be vanquished. Two significant genetic variants in Britain and South Africa pose a challenge on top of all the other misery and suffering. They require an urgent response and a concerted effort to scale up genomic surveillance in the United States so we aren’t flying blind into the next storm. All viruses mutate, and most mutations have little consequence. But some variants in the genetic makeup can cause significant changes in viral behavior and in the ability of vaccines to protect against it.

Read More: Wash Post
Editorial: Maryland must do more to get COVID vaccine to African American, LatinX communities

We know it’s early in the COVID-19 vaccine game, but preliminary data show the most vulnerable demographics, people of color who are most likely to contract the virus and die from it, are already getting left behind. In Maryland, about 16% of the first doses for which race data is available went to African Americans, and 4.6% to Latino people. White people have received 66% of the first shots. Nationwide, a similar pattern is forming. A report by Kaiser Health News found that in 16 states that have released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated in many cases at two to three times higher the rates of African Americans and Latinos.

Read More: Balt Sun
Allen: Everyone should be wearing N95 masks now

We are rightly grateful to the front-line health-care workers who put their lives on the line each day. Their relative risk of death rose 20 percent in 2020 over previous years. We should also be grateful for the bakers and cooks, whose risk of death rose more than 50 percent. And for maids and truck drivers, who saw a 30 percent increase in death risk. And construction workers and shipping clerks, up more than 40 percent.

Read More: Wash Post
Bishop: Politics and passion drive push to open or close schools, but what does the data say?

The reluctance to reopen Maryland schools amid a deadly pandemic is understandable, particularly from parents and teachers of small children. We know that they are germ factories on a good day and the source of most every cold, flu bout and weird rash experienced in many a household. My own child has brought home, at various times: hand, foot and mouth disease from day care; influenza, strep throat and ringworm from elementary school; and molluscum contagiosum from summer camp.

Read More: Balt Sun
Pitts Jr: No way for decent people to ‘unite’ with racism, anti-Semitism or homophobia

It’s been said of Abraham Lincoln that he had a “mystical” devotion to the idea of Union. His conviction that the American states were united in an indissoluble bond is what braced him through the monstrous burdens he bore. It’s not too much to say that the very existence of this country owes in large part to the stubborn faith of that sorrowful man. He held to Union even when military reversals, political reality and common sense all counseled against it.

Read More: Balt Sun
100 US dollar banknote
Del. Darryl Barnes: Override Hogan’s Tobacco Tax Veto to Save Lives in Maryland

With Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday just in the rearview mirror and most of the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session ahead, I cannot help but reflect on Dr. King’s legacyspecifically, how relevant his teachings are at this moment, to health and social justice in the Black community. It is no secret that, COVID-19 has taken a far heavier toll on communities of color, specifically the Black community, both here in Maryland and throughout the country. The virus highlighted ongoing health inequities, including poorer health outcomes, as we saw those with preexisting conditions contract the virus at substantially higher rates.

Read More: Md Matters
Bai: Teachers are vital public servants. Time for them to start acting like it.

It won’t be easy for President Biden to get America’s teachers back into public schools. Teachers unions are a powerful force in Democratic politics, and they’re resisting calls to return to classrooms where about half the nation’s kids ought to be sitting. When asked about the issue on Monday, Biden seemed to back up the unions, saying the onus was on districts and governments to make the classrooms safer. Behind closed doors, however, Biden’s message to the teachers should be straightforward and emphatic: You are vital, irreplaceable public servants. And it’s time you started acting like it.

Read More: Wash Post
Donnelly, Barno & Bensahel: Biden has lifted the military ‘trans ban.’ But there’s more work to do.

President Biden on Monday fulfilled one of his earliest campaign pledges, to lift the restrictions on military service for openly transgender Americans. By doing so, he restored a basic right of citizenship — to volunteer to defend the Constitution — to those who had been deprived of it. But he also restored a small but important measure of good order and discipline to the armed forces themselves.

Read More: Wash Post

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