Tuesday, November 30, 2021 |
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Commentary

Korean COVID-19 test kits: Why can’t Maryland’s governor admit mistakes?

One year ago, Gov. Larry Hogan made what might be generously described as a high-profile mistake when his administration cut a deal to purchase 500,000 coronavirus test kits from a South Korean company, LabGenomics, for $9 million. They did not work as expected, had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and most were probably never used. The state then spent another $2.5 million to secure a second batch of workable kits. This is detailed in a report released last week by the Office of Legislative Audits, a nonpartisan auditing team within the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services that operates similarly to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
GOP claims about ‘real infrastructure’ are silly. Why are media playing along?

Republicans are still road-testing their attacks on the giant infrastructure bill Democrats are assembling, and while some are predictable (It would be disastrous to raise taxes on corporations!), their most frequent one is not only weak; it also shows how disconnected the debate in Washington can sometimes get from the things that actually affect people’s lives. Unfortunately, the news media are giving them a big hand.

Sen. McCray: Ensuring the Health of Our Public Transit System

As we chart the path forward, reimagining life post-COVID-19, my family – my wife and four kids – are especially excited to travel again. This past year, we remained mostly at home. Virtual school, virtual teaching and virtual Senate meetings for me. Our hope to see more of the world together has led us to do a few fun exercises where we consider potential vacation itineraries. The suggestions vary, as you would imagine – Paris, Boston, New York City, London, Tokyo, Cape Town and Washington, D.C.

A bold commitment to offshore wind would be a win-win for Maryland; Gov. Hogan, how about it?

I’ve had the privilege of visiting nearly every state in the union, in each one meeting people from all walks of life who are working to make their communities better places to live, work and raise families. Their success, or the barriers that thwart it, often come down to one simple fact: Strong executive leadership in a state matters. A strong, effective state leader nourishes productive partnerships with legislators, neighborhoods, faith communities, educators, businesses and unions. Strong executive leadership gets good things done.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Despite rise in virus cases, elected leaders again ignore health experts’ advice to tighten restrictions

In a deadly pattern we’ve seen before, coronavirus infections are rising across the region but area elected officials are ignoring health experts’ advice to tighten restrictions on public gatherings and businesses to thwart the disease’s spread. It seems our leaders are willing to tolerate scores or even hundreds of additional covid deaths in the next few months, on the assumption that rising vaccination rates will prevent a major surge before they pay a political price.

What employers should know about new COVID-related leave rules

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided that employers may once again voluntarily extend Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to employees and receive those tax credits. This time the extension runs through Sept. 30, 2021, and further modifies the benefits that employees may receive if employers decide to voluntarily extend the benefits effective April 1, 2021.

A compassionate response to mental health

Frederick County has taken a giant step forward to improve community policing and public safety by expanding the services of a team of counselors and other specialists to help those experiencing a mental health crisis. This should also make the job of police officers in this community simpler and safer. One of the most difficult assignments for police officers here and around the country is to respond to a 911 call for a mentally ill person having a crisis.

Why Johnson & Johnson Throwing Out 15M Vaccine Doses Shouldn’t Alarm You

Human errors at a manufacturing plant in Baltimore forced Johnson & Johnson to throw out 15 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine – enough to vaccinate 7% of the U.S. adult population. The New York Times, which first reported the loss on Wednesday, called it “a major embarrassment” for the vaccine-maker and its subcontractor, Emergent BioSolutions. But while errors with an impact of that magnitude sound shocking, they’re also a reminder that the U.S. vaccine manufacturing process has strict quality control measures designed to catch these problems before they reach the public.

How to Expand School Health Care Support

It’s the middle of a busy day when you get that call. “This is the school nurse, everything is fine, but …” You worry, but it helps when there’s a calm and competent voice letting you know your child is in good hands. We can all agree on the importance of a school nurse. With the challenges that COVID-19 threw at us this year, our schools need those calm and competent voices now more than ever.

 

half closed laptop
Baltimore’s big opportunity to reverse digital redlining

If the pandemic has taught Americans anything beyond the importance of underappreciated front-line health and nursing care workers, as well as truck drivers, first-responders and even grocery store clerks, it’s the importance of internet connectivity. Many of us take for granted that we can open up our laptops, tablets or other devices and, within seconds, connect to work, school, and our families, or to essential goods and services and to our health care providers. Others do not have that opportunity.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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