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Dining News

Survey Finds Harassment of Tipped Workers Has Increased During Pandemic


A new report from One Fair Wage outlines the unsafe and unfair treatment of tipped service workers during the pandemic, and as is unfortunately expected, the current state of affairs is bleak as hell. The survey of 1,675 tipped service workers in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. reveals that workers are worried for their health and safety as restaurants refuse to follow COVID-19 guidelines and customers ignore mask protocols.

Some of the most appalling revelations from the survey are regarding sexual harassment. About 250 workers reported a massive uptick in sexual comments from customers, “a substantial portion of which were requests from male customers that female service workers remove their mask so that they could judge their looks, and, implicitly, determine their tips on that basis.”

One Fair Wage reports tips overall have declined through the pandemic, making the dynamic between a customer and a tipped worker even more fraught. Nearly 65 percent of workers report customers docking tips if they are asked to adhere to public health protocols, and that they are “even more vulnerable to have to tolerate harassment that is now compounded with a threat to their physical safety, even life.” Over a quarter of those surveyed said they’ve witnessed a rise in sexual comments and harassments from customers, and 43 percent of women surveyed reported they had experienced it themselves.

“[A male customer] asked me to take my mask off so they could see my face and decide how much to tip me,” said one worker surveyed. Women were also accused of being rude and inhospitable if they refused to remove their masks, or asked customers to wear them, and often received even more harassment for attempting to protect themselves and others.

The ethos of “the customer is always right” often places tipped workers in the uncomfortable and unfair position of enduring abuse from customers in order to make a living wage. In 2014, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United called sexual harassment, from both customers and fellow employees, “endemic to the restaurant industry.” In its report, 80 percent of female restaurant workers reported experiencing sexual harassment from customers at some point.

Niko Prytula, a nonbinary server in Virginia, told Eater in June that they endured misgendering from guests, “because I don’t want to get in an argument with some elderly person when it’s literally a matter of my income.” That’s because, as they described, “your income depends on whether or not guests find you palatable, or performing the right way, or, god help you, attractive.” And with the pandemic raging and restaurants around the country on the brink of closure, some managers and owners are even less likely to stand up for their workers. Nobody wants to lose customers at a time like this.

The reports of sexual harassment are, of course, on top of the other horrific details of the survey. 44 percent of respondents said someone at their restaurant contracted COVID, 31 percent say they interact with over 30 unmasked people during their shift, and only 31 percent say their employers consistently follow COVID safety protocols. And “should a worker contract COVID-19 while employed by a restaurant, only a little over one quarter of workers, 28 percent, would be offered paid time off by their employers.”

President-elect Joe Biden has made a $15 federal minimum wage, and the elimination of a tipped minimum wage, part of his platform. While $15 an hour is still not a “living wage” in many states, it would at least mean that workers had less pressure to tolerate abuse for the sake of a paycheck. As One Fair Wage puts it, “Paying workers a full minimum wage would empower them to enforce safety protocols on customers and to reject sexual harassment and the life-threatening demands on women to remove their masks for the sexual pleasure of customers.”



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Health

Masks Help Slow The Spread Of COVID-19, CDC Study Out Of Kansas Finds : Shots


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It has become the battle cry of public health officials around the world: “Wear a mask to slow the spread.” Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new evidence supporting this advice.

Researchers analyzed COVID-19 infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.

“This adds to the growing body of evidence that says large, widespread masking helps to slow the spread of COVID,” says Dr. Aaron Carroll, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carroll cautions that this was not a randomized, controlled study and there could have been other factors at play (such as more physical distancing in social situations and fewer large gatherings) in the counties that were enforcing masks.

Still, as the study notes, the findings were consistent with declines in COVID-19 cases observed in 15 states and the District of Columbia where masks were mandated, compared with states that didn’t require the face coverings.

The Kansas mask requirement went into effect on July 3, when COVID-19 cases were rising across the state. But 81 counties opted out of the mandate, as permitted by state law. The other 24 counties — which account for the majority of the state’s population — chose to require that masks be worn in public places.

The CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment analyzed trends in county-level COVID-19 cases before the mandate went into effect and two months afterward. Though COVID-19 rates were considerably higher in the 24 counties that required masks, over the two-month study period they brought the growth of cases under control and even reduced them. The counties that didn’t require masks continued to see their cases increase.

On average, the counties that required masks saw a 6% reduction in cases (calculated as a 7-day rolling average of new daily cases per capita). In contrast the counties that opted out saw a 100% increase.

Along with other mitigation strategies including physical distancing and hand washing, “the decrease in cases among mandated counties and the continued increase in cases in nonmandated counties adds to the evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks,” the CDC says.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. It spreads from person to person, primarily via respiratory droplets expelled when we are in close proximity to others. These droplets can hang in the air — especially indoors, in poorly ventilated spaces. So, blocking the dispersion of such droplets with a mask is a good strategy to cut down on transmission. The CDC recently updated its guidance to clarify that masks protect the person wearing the mask as well as other people.

“You wear masks because the evidence suggests it not only protects you from acquiring the infection, but it protects others around you,” says Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease expert at Columbia University.

He says it’s been “incredibly frustrating” to see the use of masks become a partisan wedge issue instead of being seen by everyone as a sensible, public health strategy. “You do it to protect your loved ones, to protect your neighbors. You do it for the good of the country.”

Shaman acknowledges that “we’re all exhausted by this virus. But the reality is the virus doesn’t care. All it looks for is the opportunity to move from person to person,” he says.

And a mask is a harmless, cheap way of slowing it down.



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Health

Study Finds Blacks, Asians More Vulnerable to COVID



By Robert Preidt


HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Black and Asian people in the United States and the United Kingdom have significantly higher odds of COVID-19 infection compared to white people, a large research review finds.

The study authors analyzed data from more than 18 million COVID-19 patients who were part of 50 studies published between Dec. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020.

Compared to white patients, Black patients had twice the odds of COVID-19 infection and the risk was 1.5 times higher among Asian patients, according to findings published online Nov. 12 in the journal EClinical Medicine.

The researchers also found that Asian patients with COVID-19 had a higher risk of admission to intensive care units and related deaths, according to a news release from the U.K.’s National Institute for Health Research.

“Our findings suggest that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Asian communities is mainly attributable to increased risk of infection in these communities,” said senior author Dr. Manish Pareek, associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

Pareek said there are many reasons for the higher rate of COVID-19 in ethnic minority groups. Among them: a greater likelihood of living in large households with multiple generations; lower economic status, which may lead to overcrowded living conditions; and holding jobs where working at home is not an option.

According to study co-author Dr. Shirley Sze, a specialist registrar in cardiology at the university, “The clear evidence of increased risk of infection amongst ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance. We must work to minimize exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to health care resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities.”


More information

For more on groups at increased risk for COVID-19, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: National Institute for Health Research, news release, Nov. 12, 2020



WebMD News from HealthDay



Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.





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Politics

The Surging Coronavirus Finds a Federal Leadership Vacuum


Aides said the president believed that Pfizer could have announced the success of its clinical trial before Nov. 3 but deliberately chose to hold up the news, possibly not to taint the company’s vaccine as a last-minute effort to save Mr. Trump’s re-election bid. White House aides were particularly incensed that Mr. Biden publicly said his public health advisers knew of Pfizer’s results on Sunday, before aides said the news had reached the White House.

Beyond Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed, the federal bully pulpit — an essential component of an effective infectious disease response — has largely gone silent. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on Tuesday that the vaccine would be “a game changer” over time.

But a vaccine is not an immediate panacea, and until doses become widely available — likely in mid-2021 — the nation is in a “difficult situation,” he said, that calls for Americans to wear masks and social distance, and to avoid crowded settings, particularly indoors.

“My message to the American public is: Hang on, help is coming, a vaccine is on its way, we need to all pull together,” Dr. Fauci said.

Washington’s leadership void is raising anxiety in states and cities.

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that private indoor gatherings statewide would be limited to 10 people and that gyms, bars and restaurants must close each night at 10.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced a series of new measures, including one that escalated the state’s mask order by threatening to temporarily shut down retailers that fail to comply and another that demanded that private celebrants at events like weddings wear masks and refrain from dancing and games. He said the state would consider new restrictions on bars and restaurants a week from Thursday.

“Wear a mask,” he implored on Wednesday in an address to the state. “Wear a mask, so that your friends, neighbors and family members might live.”



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Politics

Survey Finds President Trump Has Far More Support From Muslim Voters Than Joe Biden


A new survey has found that Muslim voters are backing President Trump over Joe Biden, and by a large margin.

Democrats and the media have spent years falsely describing Trump’s temporary travel ban as a “Muslim ban” in an obvious effort to portray him as anti-Muslim. This has obviously failed.

Trump’s approval among Muslim’s is even higher than Obama’s was in 2012, according to the survey.

The Washington Examiner reports:

TRENDING: BREAKING: Giuliani Gives Hunter Biden’s Hard Drive to Delaware State Police Over Photos of Underage Girls, Inappropriate Texts

‘Trump does what he says’: Muslims abandon Biden, back president

President Trump, whose Middle East plan is winning support from Arab nations, is gaining strong support from Muslim leaders and their followers who believe that the Democrats haven’t delivered on years of promises, according to a new survey of Islamic leaders.

In a shocking turnaround, 61.48% of the 109 Muslim leaders who “represent two million voters” plan to vote for Trump. That is a slight edge over their 2012 vote for Barack Obama.

The survey of the leaders was done by the Washington correspondent for Aksam Gazetesi, a Turkish news site. It suggested that the Muslim leaders’ support for former Vice President Joe Biden was 30.27%.

Those results represent a dramatic flip of the Muslim vote, which for years has sided with the Democrats.

Aksam’s Washington correspondent Yavuz Atalay shared his results with Secrets and said, “It’s about the trustworthy. Obama, Clinton said good words, but they did not do what they said. Biden is doing same things. Good words but no action. Trump does what he says.”

This is a remarkable development which is being largely ignored by the mainstream media.

Here’s an interesting theory about the support:

It will be fascinating to revisit this after the election to analyze the results.

Cross posted from American Lookout.





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Health

Drug May Extend A.L.S. Patients’ Lives by Several Months, Study Finds


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The A.L.S. Association is urging the Food and Drug Administration to expedite its review process and grant approval as soon as the company applies for it — but to require rigorous follow-up studies, since the original study was a Phase 2 trial instead of the larger and longer Phase 3, which is often required for approval. The association also wants the company that makes the treatment, Amylyx, a Massachusetts start-up the students founded, to seek the agency’s permission to provide the drug for compassionate use while it is still being evaluated.

Experts who weren’t involved in the study said the data was encouraging, but that important unanswered questions remained about the potential therapy. One unknown is what benefit the drug would have when compared with patients who never received it at all and received only placebo for 30 months, said Dr. Robert Miller, director of clinical research at Forbes Norris MDA/A.L.S. Research Center at California Pacific Medical Center. Still, he said he considered the results a “base hit single.”

The study involved patients who developed symptoms within 18 months before the trial and were affected in at least three body regions, generally signs of fast-progressing disease. Most were already taking one or both of the approved A.L.S. medications: riluzole, which can extend survival by several months, and edaravone, which can slow progression by about 33 percent. That could suggest that AMX0035 — a powder that patients mix with water to drink or ingest through a feeding tube twice daily — might work on top of existing treatments.

Researchers said that according to a statistical model that included factors like patients’ age and their score on a 48-point A.L.S. functional scale before they entered the trial, patients who received AMX0035 from the beginning had a 44 percent lower risk of death during the study period.

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who wasn’t involved in the trial, said that the data suggested a “powerful impact that’s pretty striking” in extending survival for patients who got the drug for the 24 weeks of the trial — when they were earlier in the disease than patients who started the drug after the trial.

But, he said, it wasn’t clear how much those who first received 24 weeks of placebo benefited when they took the drug. “It could mean that the drug is really effective and people who got the drug late really would have been dead at 12 months instead of 18,” Dr. Koroshetz said. “Or, the other way of thinking about it is that the drug is not effective unless you get it early. There’s no clue here to which one of those is true.”

Dr. Koroshetz also said that the reality that many of the patients ultimately died “emphasizes how devastating A.L.S. is.”



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Politics

Trump’s Attempt To Prosecute Obama Officials Flops As Bill Barr’s Review Finds No Wrongdoing


At least one attempt by Donald Trump to use his Justice Department to go after political rivals has flopped as new reporting reveals that a review conducted by a Barr-appointed prosecutor found no wrongdoing.

According to the Washington Post, “The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.”

The news will likely send Trump into (another) rage as he desperately searches for ways to turn the election back in his favor before Joe Biden fully runs away with it.

More from the report:

The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.

The president in recent days has pressed federal law enforcement to move against his political adversaries and complained that a different prosecutor tapped by Barr to investigate the FBI’s 2016 investigation of his campaign will not be issuing any public findings before the election.

Legal analysts feared Bash’s review was yet another attempt by Trump’s Justice Department to target political opponents of the president. Even if it ultimately produced no results of consequence, legal analysts said, it allowed Trump and other conservatives to say Obama-era officials were under scrutiny, as long as the case stayed active.

The fact that the assessment was concluded quietly and without any public report speaks volumes. Had anything of substance been uncovered, Trump would have spent the next three weeks shouting it from the rooftops.

Instead – as was the case with Hillary Clinton’s emails – the exercise was another fail for a president who is desperately trying to find dirt on his enemies.

Trump has openly urged Barr to go after political rivals

With Donald Trump becoming increasingly desperate as this election slips away from him, he has been openly pressing Attorney General Bill Barr to go after his political rivals.

Just last week, Trump even criticized Barr for not moving quickly enough to target his political enemies ahead of the November election.

If this latest report is any indication, Trump’s dreams of finding a smoking gun on his opponents – Barack Obama and Joe Biden, in particular – are unlikely to come true.

After all, if Bill Barr – arguably this president’s most loyal henchman – is struggling to find dirt on Donald Trump’s political rivals, chances are there isn’t any.

Follow Sean Colarossi on Facebook and Twitter





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Health

Pregnant women are likely to have mild covid-19 cases but suffer prolonged symptoms, study finds


Despite the mildness of their cases, 25 percent of the participants continued to experience symptoms eight weeks after becoming sick. The median length of symptoms was 37 days. Although pregnancy is known to cause major changes to the immune system, the length of time for continuing symptoms was surprising, said co-principal investigator Vanessa Jacoby, vice chair of research in the obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences department at the University of California at San Francisco.

“We know in most studies in the general population that if you have mild covid-19, usually your symptoms go away within the first one to two weeks,” she said. “But that is not what we found if you are pregnant.”

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, many questions remain unanswered about how the virus impacts pregnant women and their babies, including its long-term effects, said David Jaspan, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, who was not involved in the study.

One complication is that symptoms of the virus may overlap with symptoms of a normal pregnancy. Another, Jaspan said, is that fear of being in a waiting room and being exposed to the virus has meant fewer patients are showing up for postpartum visits.

“I think there’s a lot of unknowns,” Jaspan said.

The new research, which will follow participants for a year after their deliveries, aims to fill that gap. Launched in March, it includes 594 women who tested positive for the coronavirus between March and July.

The cohort is diverse, with participants who are 60 percent White, 31 percent Latina, and 9 percent Black. Their mean age is 31 and they live across the country, with 34 percent in the Northeast, 25 percent in the West, 21 percent in the South and 18 percent in the Midwest. Thirty-one percent work in health care.

The most common initial symptom was a cough, followed by a sore throat and body aches.

In one of the study’s main findings, just 12 percent reported fevers as among their first symptoms. That’s a significant difference from the general population infected by the virus, for whom fever is a prevalent initial symptom. It also runs counter to a common belief that testing is not necessary until fever appears.

“One of the big take-home messages we want to share with people who are pregnant is, don’t wait until you have a fever to seek evaluation for covid-19 if you have these other symptoms such as sore throat or cough,” Jacoby said. “We want to also emphasize that to health-care providers, that fever was not a common symptom at all as the first symptom.”

Other, less common initial symptoms included the loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, a runny nose, sneezing, nausea, a sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness.

The researchers found that three weeks after becoming sick, 52 percent of the study’s participants no longer had symptoms. By the fourth week, that number had increased to 60 percent. By the eighth week, 75 percent of participants were asymptomatic.

Jacoby said the study provides an indication of what the coronavirus may look like for pregnant women who do not require hospitalization — “the overwhelming majority of people who are pregnant.”



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Entertaiment

New Athleisure Finds We’re Obsessed With This Week


We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. 

Forget bikini season: we’re working out for the Holiday season, so we can snarf baked goods without guilt. And some of our favorite athleisurewear brands just launched some new collections to help us raise our heart rates!

To start with, we’re totally loving the new collab between APL and Summersalt. The limited-run capsule collection offers four exclusive items paired with APL’s signature shoes, so you can look awesome when you’re pushing your limits. Then, L.A.-based luxury activewear brand Koral just released drop one from their Fall 2020 collection, featuring a new neon lime colorway and accessories like scrunchies, bags and face masks. And when you’re ready to cool things down, grab a sweatsuit from Bandier’s WSLY collection curated by Sincerely Jules, featuring bold color-blocked styles in cozy silhouettes.

We’ve picked some of our fave styles and shared them below to help you get your cart started. Have fun shopping… and sweating!



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Celebrity

‘The Simpsons’ finds replacement to voice Carl after Hank Azaria’s exit



Fans of “The Simpsons” might notice one character sounds different in the Season 32 premiere Sunday.

Carl Carlson, Homer Simpson’s nuclear plant co-worker and Lenny Leonard’s best friend, will not be voiced by Hank Azaria, at least in the season premiere episode.

Carl will now be voiced by actor Alex Désert, according to Variety, although it’s unclear whether this is a permanent replacement.

Désert, 52, also voices Swarm on Disney XD’s “Spider-Man: Maximum Venom” and Mr. Bojenkins on Adult Swim’s “Mr. Pickles.” He can also be seen in “The Flash,” “Becker” and “Better Call Saul,” and is the lead singer in the ska band Hepcat.

The switch comes as producers for “The Simpsons” said earlier this summer that it will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters. Azaria has been the voice of Carl, who is black, since the beginning of the show, except Carl’s first appearance, where he was voiced by Harry Shearer.

Shearer previously said in an interview that he didn’t exactly agree with the decision.

“The job of the actor is to play someone who they’re not,” he told Times Radio in August, suggesting there was a “conflation” between representation and performance.

The change might affect other recurring characters as well, including Dr. Julius Hibbert, who will appear in this episode but doesn’t speak.

Azaria, 56, was also known for voicing Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a character that was criticized for its stereotypical depiction of a South Asian man. Azaria announced in January he would no longer voice Apu.

“The Simpsons” started an effort to make this change in recent years, with Kevin Michael Richardson of “The Cleveland Show” often voicing the show’s black male characters.

The decision to have characters of color be voiced by actors of color came after the nation was dealing with controversial depictions of race on TV. Many television shows made similar decisions over the summer. Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell stepped away from voicing black and biracial characters, and other shows pulled episodes featuring blackface from streaming platforms.



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