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COVID-19: Renowned Doctor Says, ‘Be Vigilant. Don’t Be a Vector’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “In 2002, the hosts were cats. Then for MERS, the host was camels,” noted Dr. James Hildreth the president of Meharry Medical College. “So, efforts were made to eradicate the vectors. But what happens when the host is human? The difference with COVID-19 is that we are the vectors. It’s able to jump from human to human. So, our challenge is to eradicate the vector. That’s why we’re asking you to don’t become a vector of COVID-19. You don’t become a vector by staying at home, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing surfaces often,” he said.

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Viruses are incomplete life forms with no ability to replicate on their own, so they must find a way to gain entry into the cells in our bodies, explained Dr. Hildreth.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As COVID-19 continues to spread amid a growing number of fatalities, Dr. James Hildreth said it’s critical that everyone follows stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and anything else that could help keep Americans safe during the pandemic.

Dr. Hildreth, the president of Meharry Medical College, is not just your everyday physician, or media talking head. He’s a renowned infectious disease expert who has repeatedly been called upon by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others to inform the public about coronavirus.

Dr. Hildreth began undergraduate studies at Harvard University and was selected as the first African American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas in 1978.

He graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in chemistry in 1979, according to his biography.

That fall, Dr. Hildreth enrolled at Oxford University in England, graduating with a Ph.D. in immunology in 1982. At Oxford, he studied the biology of cytotoxic T cells with Professor Andrew McMichael and became an expert in monoclonal antibody technology and cell adhesion molecules. He returned to the United States to attend Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, taking a one-year leave of absence from medical school for a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology from 1983 to 1984.

In 1987 he obtained his M.D. from Johns Hopkins and joined the Hopkins faculty as an assistant professor. In 2002, Dr. Hildreth became the first African American in the 125-year history of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to earn full professorship with tenure in the basic sciences.

In July 2005, Dr. Hildreth became director of the NIH-funded Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry Medical College.

In an interview with NNPA Newswire, Dr. Hildreth stressed that “there has to be a new normal,” and he implored all to understand that they don’t “want to be a vector.”

“I think that vigilance has to be raised to a new level. The response to this situation by the [Trump] administration was late,” Dr. Hildreth stated.

“There needed to have been a coordinated response to this. A lot of what’s happening now could have been avoided had we had strong leadership from the beginning. We would be having a different conversation,” Dr. Hildreth added.

As America and most of the world hunker down, Dr. Hildreth said there must embrace a new normal.

“It’s possible that we identify people that are affected and treat them and go back to a somewhat normal life. But if you don’t have that, then it means that the social distancing aspects and the hygienic practices to avoid spreading the virus will have to continue,” Dr. Hildreth noted.

“On any given day, as many as 46,000 flights are carrying over 3 million people, and you have people from Florida, New York, and Miami and other places on there. If one person has the disease, then it starts all over again,” he said.

Dr. Hildreth also warned of a more cataclysmic situation arising if there’s no vigilance.

“And as human beings continue to push into habitats we have not been in before, and come into contact with pathogens we have not come into contact with before, I’m just saying that this may not be the last time we as a world have to respond to a pandemic like this,” he stated. “We could have a situation where billions die.”

Dr. Hildreth noted that that already this century, there’s been three pandemics – SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. He said that SARS and MERS occurred in 2002, and 2019, respectively, while COVID-19 entered the scene late in 2019.

“It’s almost at a frequency that every nine to 10 years we have to deal with this. And then, as the population grows and we have to encroach on more and more habitat that we have not been a part of before, there is an expectation that we will have to deal with emerging infections that we have not had to deal with before,” Dr. Hildreth said.

“Not all of them are necessarily going to become a global contagion, but some of them probably will.”

Viruses are incomplete life forms with no ability to replicate on their own, so they must find a way to gain entry into the cells in our bodies, explained Dr. Hildreth.

Many viruses need hosts before they can get into humans, and those hosts are called vectors, he said.

“In 2002, the hosts were cats. Then for MERS, the host was camels,” Dr. Hildreth stated. “So, efforts were made to eradicate the vectors. But what happens when the host is human? The difference with COVID-19 is that we are the vectors. It’s able to jump from human to human. So, our challenge is to eradicate the vector. That’s why we’re asking you to don’t become a vector of COVID-19. You don’t become a vector by staying at home, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing surfaces often,” he said.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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