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After Billie Eilish talks about porn, experts urge parents and kids to have straight talk about sex

Long gone are the days of accessing porn only at the local magazine and video stores. Today, internet and cable television services make pornographic content available to almost anyone. A lot of internet porn is available without charge, and some graphic novels and Japanese anime have incorporated pornographic or nearly pornographic images and plotlines.

In the cyber age, porn is easily accessible to adolescents online. In fact, most porn these days is accessed through the internet, according to a 2016 meta-analysis published in The Journal of Sex Research.
Adolescents who viewed violent, graphic pornography were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed, according to a 2011 study cited by a 2012 review of research. Kids aren’t only seeing porn at younger ages these days, but hoka shoes for women they are seeing more porn and more graphic porn than their parents did. Pornography, however, is no substitute for open and honest sex education.
Such was the consensus among some psychologists and educators this past week after brutally honest — and heartbreaking — comments from singer Billie Eilish about exposure to porn at a young age.
In an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM Radio, Eilish said she started watching porn around age 11. “It really destroyed my brain,” she said, adding that graphically violent imagery gave her nightmares and sleep paralysis.
Singer Billie Eilish opened up about  trauma from watching violent porn starting at age 11. She is shown at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival  in Las Vegas, September 18.
“The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good; it was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to,” said Eilish, who turned 20 on December 18. Eilish went on to say she “didn’t understand why it was a bad thing” and that she “thought that’s how you learned how to have sex.” When she told her mother, the Grammy Award winner said her mom was horrified by the idea that her daughter was learning about sex this way.
Her comments about being “traumatized” were a painful reminder of how porn and other sexualized media can impact young adults in today’s world, sex educators told CNN.
Emily Rothman, chair of the department of occupational therapy at Boston University who is also a professor of pediatrics and medicine, said Eilish’s comments serve as a wake-up call for parents and other trusted grown-ups to play a more active role in children’s lives.
“Having a conversation with youth about what they have seen, when, where and how many times, can be really helpful to try to prevent future incidents and answer their questions,” said Rothman, who teaches and researches about sex, sexuality and gender and has provided violence-related consulting to state departments of public health and coalitions of domestic violence programs.
“We need to do more to prevent youth from viewing sexually explicit media. And because no matter what we do, some of them will see it anyway, we also need to provide information and education to all youth about the fact that pornography is not an instruction manual on how to have sex.”

Graphic porn is easily accessible to tweens and teens

Eilish described what she was watching as “abusive porn,” depicting violence against women “without consent.” What’s more, her experiences might be more common than most adults choose to admit.
Break the ice with your tween or teen using TV shows, social media and podcasts
Porn “is available all the time on the internet, and even if parents put up blockers, kids are finding ways to access it,” said Michael Robb, senior director of research at Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that publishes entertainment and technology recommendations for families. “Whether they’re seeking it out themselves or they’re accessing it unintentionally through friends or older siblings, it’s there.”
There isn’t much trustworthy and recent research about the intersection of tweens and porn, according to Robb. It’s an area that researchers have had difficulty studying due to ethical questions and lack of participation. Furthermore, Robb analyzes the studies hoka shoes on the subject of kids and porn, and said many of these endeavors have had questionable methodologies.
More reliable data that do exist suggest Eilish’s experiences are typical, Robb said. One he cites often:
A 2017 survey of 1,001 young people and children in the United Kingdom, which indicated that 28% of those 11-12-year olds reported seeing porn, while 65% of 15-16 year olds reported seeing it. Robb said these numbers are likely higher now because of increased screen use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All about education

Of course, as Rothman suggested, the real issue underlying most conversations about porn is education.
Tweens and teens watch the material like Eilish did and think it’s real life, laying the groundwork for distorted reality and associated problems down the road, according to David Ley, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ley added that the real disconnect comes with what porn doesn’t show.
“Healthy sexual interactions require negotiation and consent and honesty and self-control and respect,” he said. “Most porn skips over all of this, and without the proper context, kids who are curious and watch it aren’t going to understand how important all of these issues are to healthy sexual relationships.”
Part of the challenge here is educating kids about healthy sexual interactions, Ley noted.
Sex ed conversations you need to have with your tween or teen
While most formal sex education in the United States doesn’t start until middle school, many other nations start teaching kids about it at a younger age. Ley said the effects of this early exposure are indisputable: In the Netherlands, where the basics of sex education begin between ages 4 and 6, there are lower rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual assault.
“We have this idea and belief that we have if you don’t talk about something it won’t happen,” he said. “The reality is that not talking about it sets up kids for unfortunate lessons.”
These comments resonated with author Peggy Orenstein.
Over the last 15 years, Orenstein has written six books about young people, sexuality and sex, and she’s interviewed hundreds of tweens and teens along the way. In talking to these kids, she said she has learned they are picking up misplaced messages from a variety of media.
“It’s imperative to talk to young people about sexuality that’s legal and ethical and good,” Orenstein said. “The values of male sexual entitlement, female submissiveness and availability, and female performance for male pleasure are prevalent in today’s world. It’s not just porn (where kids see these values). It’s easy to get alarmed about many of the things young people are seeing.”

Sex as meaningful human connection

Many experts said the best way for parents to engage in conversation with kids about human sexuality is to discuss it as a celebration of the human condition and how people can connect on deeper, more meaningful levels.
This also makes it critically important to recognize different sexual identities.
Aredvi Azad, co-executive director of The Heal Project, a nonprofit that teaches kids about healthy living, noted that any modern conversation about sex, sexuality and gender must extend beyond the heteronormative, cisgendered relationships depicted in most mainstream pornography.
Guiding gender-atypical kids through puberty
“If we don’t talk about sex more broadly, we are unintentionally creating a situation where kids who don’t have interests within what is deemed normal can easily descend into a shame spiral,” Azad said.
“We need to help kids understand every aspect of sexual and gender identity, and that asexuality is a thing, too,” said Azad, who identifies as genderfluid and uses they/them pronouns.

For adults only

It’s also important to note that pornography isn’t always considered bad.
A recent op-ed by noted sex educator Cindy Gallop pointed out that porn can be innovative, creative, and even downright feminist if made with a focus on a woman’s comfort and desires.
Chelsea Kurnick, an LGBTQ advocate and community builder in Sonoma County, California, agreed. Kurnick said olukai shoes there is a host of porn outside the mainstream that is “beautiful and instructive and can be empowering for adults to watch.”
In many cases, “queer and trans people, fat people (and) disabled people” can gain useful and helpful knowledge from porn that’s made by and for them, Kurnick said. She added that this material is strictly for adults.
“It is totally true that there are often unrealistic expectations set by porn and that you can find violent or disturbing stuff online,” she said. “It’s also important to remember that porn isn’t made for 11-year-olds, it can be healthy for adults to see, and it’s something real people do for a living.”

What parents can do

The best way parents can respond to children’s natural curiosity about pornography is to be proactive and supportive in the process of discussing it with kids.
What body positivity means to today's teens
As Gallop wrote in her recent essay, this means parents must commit to talking to kids about sex frankly and straightforwardly.
Orenstein said that for her, it means conversations should focus on the notion that all people are worthy of dignity and respect.
To achieve these goals, parents must strive to create from the very beginning an atmosphere where children don’t feel or experience shame for expressing curiosities as they develop, according to Jennifer Kelman, a therapist and clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida.
Parents also should commit to parenting with positivity, answering just about every question that kids ask, Kelman said, even if the answers simply state that children are not yet old enough for more information to satisfy their request.
“Parents need to be open about (kids) possibly being exposed to (porn) and validate their natural curiosity around it, while allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings around sexual intimacy,” Kelman said. “There is no shame in natural growth and curiosity, so (parents must) talk to kids about real love and the harms that pornography can do.”


jurassic park kids

Steven Spielberg changed the game in 1993 when he released the dinosaur epic Jurassic Park, which remains one of the most successful and popular movies Hollywood has ever seen. Among those featured in the movie were child nike sneakers actors Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards, who played the forever-traumatized grandchildren of Richard Attenborough. In the two decades since becoming famous for running from velociraptors, where are the Jurassic Park kids now? We dug up some pretty interesting facts to catch you up to (carbon) date.

steven spielberg

According to a 2011 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ariana Richards sent Steven Spielberg a watercolor self-portrait of herself that was inspired by one of the scenes in Jurassic Park, which now hangs in Spielberg’s office. For his part, Spielberg is a pretty good gift-giver, too. “He never fails to send me something around Christmas,” Richards said. “When he finds people he likes, he’s really good at keeping in touch.” And here we thought we couldn’t love Spielberg more than we do already.

joseph mazzello jurassic park steven spielberg

Talk about friends in high places. In a 2013 interview with People, Mazzello revealed that Spielberg helped him get into the University ecco shoes of Southern California. “Steven wrote me a recommendation for USC to go to film school. Believe it or not, I got in,” he said, surprising exactly no one. “He’s been there for me throughout my life whenever I really needed him.” Mazzello graduated from USC with a degree in cinema and television.

joseph mazzello jurassic park

Though he didn’t show up at the premiere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mazzello has acted steadily since becoming famous as a Jurassic Park kid. His biggest post-Jurassic roles include The Social Network, in which he played the Harvard student who inspired Mark Zuckerberg to add relationship statuses to people’s Facebook profiles, and a stint in the HBO Emmy-winning miniseries, The Pacific. More recently, he played John Deacon, the bass guitarist of Queen, in the wildly popular biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. When filming wrapped in January 2018, he tweeted: “I’m sad. Every moment was a pleasure. Every day was a blessing. One of the all time great experiences of my life.” And all that hard work and passion definitely came through in the finished product.

ariana richards in prancer

Although she was relatively young in Jurassic Park, Ariana Richards already had several credits to her name by the time she got her big break in the kickoff of the dino franchise. Richards had 16 acting credits prior to Jurassic Park, including a supporting role as Carol Wetherby in steve madden shoes the 1989 Christmas feel-good flick Prancer. (Also appearing in that film alongside stars Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, and Rebecca Harrell Tickell? Johnny Galecki, who would one day star on The Big Bang Theory.) Her other pre-Jurassic Park credits include appearances on The Golden Girls and Switched at Birth, as well as a role in 1990’s Spaced Invaders.

ariana richards jurassic park

Ariana Richards’ movie career pretty much ended with the Jurassic Park franchise. She last appeared in a feature film in the 1997 sequel, The Lost World. Subsequent acting gigs were on an incredibly smaller scale; TV movies like Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie (1998) and Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001) are among the titles. No, we’ve never heard of them either. And she hasn’t even bothered with those types since 2013, when she played in the TV movie Battledogs.

A Minnesota surgeon was fired after he told a local school board only parents should make decisions on whether or not their kids wear masks

school kids elementary school children
Elementary kids wearing masks. 
  • A Minnesota surgeon told a school board parents should decide whether or not their kids wear masks.
  • “It’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours,” Dr. Jeffrey Horak said, opposing a mask mandate.
  • Horak said he was fired from his job nine days later without an explanation.

A Minnesota surgeon was fired bluetooth headphones after he spoke at a school board meeting and said parents should be the ones to decide whether or not their kids wear masks, KOMO News reported.

At an October 11 meeting in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Dr. Jeffrey Horak spoke out against the district’s mask mandate.

“Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents,” Horak said at the meeting, KOMO News reported. “God gave each one of these kids to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be perfect in their decisions. But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours, God gave it to them, honor their wishes – either side of the fence.”

In a statement on his Facebook page, Horak said nine days after he made those comments his employer, Lake Region Healthcare, told him his views were “no longer congruent” with theirs and asked him to either resign or be fired.

“I wasn’t given a reason nor was I aware of any issues or complaints about me,” Horak said in his statement.

He added: “We live in America where freedoms are held close. I am a man who believes individuals have the right to do their research and decide what is best for them and their children when it comes to their health. I don’t believe governments or institutions should dictate that. It’s a position I’ve always have taken. And when skechers outlet the science doesn’t make sense it’s hard for me to go along.”

In a statement to Insider, Lake Region Healthcare said they did not make the decision to terminate Dr. Horak.

“Lake Region Healthcare is not Dr. Horak’s employer. Dr. Horak is part of Lake Region Medical Group, the partnership of providers that Lake Region Healthcare contracts with,” a spokesperson for Lake Region Healthcare told Insider.

Dr. Greg Smith, President, of Lake Region Medical Group Board told Insider in a statement that the board, made up of nine of Horak’s partners, decided to discontinue his contract after “a thorough review process,” but said the reasons for his separation were a “confidential matter.”

“To be clear, this was a decision that was made by Dr. Horak’s peers who serve on the Medical Group Board, not by Lake Region Healthcare, the community-based hospital where Dr. Horak practiced General Surgery,” the statement said.

COVID vaccines for younger kids could be the secret to ending the U.S. pandemic

On Monday, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11 — and no less of an authority than Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, predicted “there’s a really good chance” younger kids would finally be getting vaccinated “before Halloween.”

Initial reports greeted the news as “​​a ray of hope” for “weary parents” who have endured months of uncertainty about when their long-ineligible children might finally get inoculated — and who recently had no choice but to send them back to school unvaccinated while the hypercontagious Delta variant was hospitalizing a record 30,000 of their peers each month.

But what if opening up vaccination to younger brooks shoes kids represents something more than just peace of mind for parents? What if it’s actually the pandemic off-ramp that all vaccinated Americans have been waiting for — the dividing line between 18 endless months in emergency mode and whatever kind of less disruptive coexistence with COVID comes next?

“There are huge implications here on how we view COVID and live with COVID,” says Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor who previously served as Baltimore’s health commissioner. “Having the vaccine available for children isn’t just critical for parents. It’s critical for everybody.”

One could argue that many Americans — especially unvaccinated Americans — are already living like the pandemic is over. But we aren’t back to normal yet. Millions are still working remotely. Masks are still commonplace in public and in school; many areas still require them indoors. And individual Americans are still limiting their own lives because of COVID, nearly a year after vaccines first became available.

A health care worker wearing blue rubber gloves administers a a shot into the upper arm of someone wearing a face mask and purple T-shirt.
A health care worker administers a dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a child at a pediatrician’s office in Bingham Farms, Mich., on May 19. 

The reason? Some of it comes down to the current trajectory of the virus, which continues to fill hospitals and kill about 2,000 Americans each day, nearly all of them unvaccinated. When a deadly pathogen is spreading that voraciously, public health (and basic decency) requires everyone to help protect the unprotected.

Our present situation is also driven by vaccinated Americans, who tend to be a lot more cautious than their unvaccinated counterparts, protecting themselves from the unprotected — the likeliest vector for breakthrough infections, which Delta can trigger.

But a lot of it is kids — even though they remain much less likely than adults to get really sick from the virus.

Consider the numbers. The U.S. is fast approaching the point where pretty much every adult in the country who’s willing to be vaccinated has already gotten a shot. Right now, 77 percent of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose. With about 20 percent of U.S adults consistently telling pollsters they’ll “never” get vaccinated,clarks shoes uk  that number will soon max out. Indeed, the average daily number of first doses administered nationwide — which inched up during the Delta surge — just fell under 200,000 for the first time since the very start of the U.S. vaccination campaign.

That leaves Americans under 18. There are 73 million of them in all, and about 21 million of them (ages 12-17) are already eligible for shots. But kids ages 5 to 11 actually outnumber older minors, making them the single largest bloc of Americans — at 28 million strong — who aren’t fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration to receive the vaccine.

Likewise, kids ages 5 to 11 are also the most important remaining cohort, because unlike the 24 million toddlers and infants under 5, the vast majority of them are required by law to be inside with dozens of their peers all day long at school. No one in America except school-age children has to do that.

Which means that vaccinating as many kids ages 5 to 11 as possible could have an outsized impact — again, not just for their parents but for everyone.

A teacher seated at the front of a classroom gives the thumbs-up sign to a dozen and a half elementary students seated on the floor.
Teacher Emma Rossi works with her first grade students at the Sokolowski School in Chelsea, Mass., on Sept. 15. 

Part of the equation is epidemiological. Any time you open vaccine eligibility to a new group of people, you get one step closer to reaching the sort of population-wide immunity threshold that makes it hard for the virus to find new hosts. Right now, 75 percent of all eligible Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, but among all Americans that figure is about 10 points lower. To push it closer to 80 percent, younger kids need to get vaccinated en masse.

“We know that children can be vectors for spreading COVID to other individuals,” Wen explains. “This is something that very much affects people in their families as well as in the surrounding community — being able to contain or to prevent children from further spreading to others. It would be very difficult for us to reach herd immunity without children also getting vaccinated.”

The other part of the equation is ethical. At some point — perhaps when the Delta wave has finally burned itself out — the vast, vaccinated majority of U.S. adults will have to accept that their unvaccinated counterparts have decided to acquire hey dude shoes immunity the hard way (and risk suffering or even death in the process).

So vaccinated Americans — who enjoy near-perfect protection from severe illness, hospitalization and death, and who rarely spread the virus to others — won’t continue to limit their own lives indefinitely in order to protect the willfully unprotected. The U.S. doesn’t mandate masks during flu season, and even the most cautious leaders are eager to stop requiring them for people who’ve chosen, through vaccination, to reduce their personal risk from COVID to something like the flu or a cold.

But that’s unlikely to happen before 28 million younger Americans who are required to spend all day indoors with one another have had an opportunity to get vaccinated.

Wen cites office reopenings as an example. “Right now, it’s just not fair to parents who can work from home to require them to engage in in-person work when that could pose a risk to their unvaccinated children,” she explains. Vaccination essentially eliminates that last major risk — which makes it equitable for the office to reopen for everyone.

A health care worker wearing a face mask and rubber gloves, inserts a swab into the nose of student.
Fourth grader Breaker Inge, is administered a test by a Wild Health nurse during a COVID-19 testing day at Brandeis Elementary School on Aug. 17 in Louisville, Ky. 

These wider ripple effects are key, and they apply to everything from masks to travel. “That’s why having the vaccine available for children is critical for us to reach any hope of an off-ramp from the pandemic,” says Wen.

To be sure, there are challenges ahead. For one thing, it’s not 100 percent certain that the FDA will immediately green-light the vaccines for all kids ages 5 to 11. Given the relatively low risk of severe disease in younger kids, it’s possible — though unlikely, according to Wen — that regulators will say “that there isn’t enough safety data; that the risk-benefit calculation isn’t clear enough for otherwise healthy; that they might want a longer period of safety data or more children to be included in the study.”

Then once the vaccines are authorized, pediatric rates are likely to trail adult rates by a significant margin, at least initially. hoka shoes So far, just 61 percent of 16-to-17-year-olds and 53 percent of 12-to-15-year-olds have received one or more doses, and the latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that a full 44 percent of parents with kids under 18 either say they’ll “never” get their children vaccinated (23 percent) or they’re “not sure” (21 percent).

Such hesitation will create awkward situations in the coming months: classrooms where some kids are vaccinated and others are not, so no one is sure if it’s safe to stop requiring masks; disruptive school quarantines that could have been avoided if everyone were vaccinated; school districts in some places — like Los Angeles and other California cities — that require student vaccinations, side-by-side with districts that don’t; birthday parties with vaccine requirements.

Meanwhile, an estimated 7 to 10 million immunocompromised Americans will face an elevated risk of infection no matter how many kids are vaccinated. So the road ahead won’t be smooth.

Children with backpacks and lunch containers stand with their parents on a sidewalk, all wearing face masks.
Children arrive with their parents for the first day of school at Brooklyn’s PS 245 on Sept. 13. 

“There’s going to be an initial group of parents who are really eager for their kids to be vaccinated,” Wen predicts. “Others will wait and see, or only be motivated once it’s required for various purposes. And then there’s going to be a group of holdouts.”

Some degree of initial trepidation is understandable, given how few children have died of COVID so far. But Wen says focusing on the lower risk of COVID in kids relative to adults is backward. Instead, parents should be focusing on the benefits of vaccinating them.

“There has not been a case of polio in the U.S. since the 1970s, but we still get our children vaccinated so that we don’t have polio here in the U.S.,” she says. “We really need to start looking at the COVID vaccine the way that we look at other immunizations.”

Wen says the same logic applies on a personal level. “I’m the mom of two little kids, a one-year-old and a four-year-old,” she continues. “So yes, the risk of them getting COVID, getting hospitalized and dying is very low. But if I could change that risk from very low to zero, why wouldn’t I do that?”

Ultimately, the goal for the U.S. may be to look something like Singapore, where 82 percent of the population is fully vaccinated — and where 98 percent of cases detected in its current Delta surge are either asymptomatic or mild.

The problem is that with so many adults who refuse to get inoculated, the U.S. can’t reach that threshold until most nonadults are eligible too — and transitioning out of emergency mode and into endemic mode won’t be equitable or practical until then, either.

Protesters stand against a backdrop of skyscrapers holding signs, one of which shows an image of a hypodermic needle and reads: Come and make me.
Hundreds gather at Foley Square in New York City as “Freedom Rally” to protest vaccination mandates on Sept. 13. 

Earlier this week, Moderna chief executive Stéphane Bancel gave three reasons why he thinks the global pandemic will be over “in a year.” First, “enough doses should be available … so that everyone … can be vaccinated.” Second, “boosters should also be possible to the extent required” by waning immunity or new variants. And third, we “should also be able to vaccinate children aged five to eleven.”

As for “those who do not get vaccinated,” they “will immunize themselves naturally, because the Delta variant is so contagious,” Bancel explained.

The U.S. already has more than enough doses for its entire population. Boosters are starting to roll out. And now younger kids are likely to be vaccinated here before anywhere else. So while it may take the entire world another year to “return to normal,” the U.S. could get there a lot faster.

Should kids wear masks in school? These states have banned mandates despite experts’ pleas

Lucie Phillips, 6, and her brother David Phillips, 3, join parents and students during a rally at the Utah State School Board Office calling for a mask mandate on Aug. 6. [AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER]
Lucie Phillips, 6, and her brother David Phillips, 3, join parents and students during a rally at the Utah State School Board Office calling for a mask mandate on Aug. 6.

Children under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines against COVID-19. And just in time for back-to-school season, the highly contagious delta variant is causing pediatric cases of the coronavirus to skyrocket.

The good news is experts agree on how to keep kids and teachers safer at in-person school: Adults and older children should be vaccinated, and everyone should wear masks.

But many schools aren’t requiring them – and many states say they can’t, even if administrators and parents want to.

What’s a parent to do?

Studies from last school year show mask-wearing is an effective prevention strategy, according hey dude to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report updated in July. But when mask use is inconsistent, the CDC found, outbreaks can occur.

That will be even more the case this year with the delta variant on the rise.

Most states have lifted mask mandates in schools but allow local districts to impose them as they see fit. Twelve states have imposed mask mandates in schools, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – a group that has grown this week.

Eight states have banned their school districts from imposing mandates.

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Wearing a mask provides instantaneous protection. It can guard an individual from infection even in environments where not everyone is masked, such as schools without mask mandates.

Should everyone wear masks? Why the CDC’s new mask recommendation applies to vaccinated Americans

“It’s similar to a bicycle helmet,” said Dr. James Versalovic, chief pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital. “We have things that we put on or around our bodies that may restrict our hearing or our vision momentarily, but we do that because these things protect us and they keep us safe.”

More than 90% of COVID cases affecting children now are due to the delta variant, Versalovic said. He worries more children will have to be hospitalized in the coming weeks. Texas, where he works, has a ban on mask mandates via executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

Children who contract COVID-19 may suffer symptoms of acute infection, but of even greater concern are the consequences of long-haul COVID. It’s estimated that 10% of children who contract COVID will have chronic symptoms that may include cardiac conditions, decreased lung function and behavioral or functional abnormalities.

With cases on the rise, 63% of parents think their balenciaga shoes child’s school should require unvaccinated students and staff to wear a mask, ​​​​a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. Rural and white parents were more likely to want schools to end COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking, and parents of color and urban parents were more likely to want them in place, another survey by the RAND Corp. found in May.

Passionate, angry parents filled school board meetings across the country this week – to plead for mask mandates or to rail against them.

“I myself have lost faith in the public school system,” one parent told the Michigan State Board of Education on Wednesday, when it met to pass a resolution supporting decisions on mask mandates made by individual schools.

“This is a matter of life and death,” countered Mike Siegel, a parent of two elementary students in Austin, Texas, who is an attorney and a former Democratic congressional candidate.

Some school districts are implementing mask requirements in defiance of their state’s bans.

Schools in Houston, Dallas and Austin, for instance, have implemented a mask mandate for teachers and students, despite an executive order from the governor prohibiting mask requirements in Texas. Several districts are also engaged in a legal battle over the executive order.

Late Friday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote a letter to Abbott backing the districts that have defied his executive order and adopted “science-based strategies” for reopening schools safely. Federal law, Cardona said, requires schools that received American Rescue Plan stimulus money to develop plans for safe return to instruction.

Similar acts of defiance and legal battles are playing out in other states with bans on mask mandates.

Vaccines can help adults limit COVID outbreaks

As schools reopen, it’s important to remember kids are less to blame for the spread of COVID-19 than adults. Data from school reopenings in 2020 suggests adult-to-adult transmission was a higher risk than infections passed from adults to children. And some evidence suggests nike sneakers COVID spread more easily among teens than elementary-age children.

That science puts the emphasis on vaccines for people who are eligible. Keeping cases down among teachers and parents can help schools stay open.

No vaccines for young kids, yet: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors say it’s ‘risky’

“The fall and winter consequences of any (school) outbreaks will depend crucially on how many adults are vaccinated in the wider community, because schools are a hub connecting many different households,” Bill Hanage, an epidemiology professor at Harvard University, told USA TODAY.

So far, only Hawaii and California have required teachers to be vaccinated. Puerto Rico requires the shot for children 12 and over who are taking in-person classes. 

Roughly a dozen states have banned schools or employers from mandating vaccines. Bills seeking to restrict vaccine mandates have passed one house of the legislature in four other states.

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On Thursday, the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, endorsed vaccine mandates for teachers, with requirements for regular COVID-19 testing for people who want to opt out.

“Guardians of children, all adults and teachers, need to recognize their responsibility to children to get vaccinated,” Versalovic said.

Are COVID vaccine mandates legal? Supreme Court declines request by Indiana University students to block vaccine mandate

Half of all Americans are fully vaccinated, CDC data show, but the percentage is much higher in some states — and much lower in others.

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Is it safe to send kids to school – in masks or without?

The pandemic has made it clear children learn best in classrooms, so public health experts recommend schools do everything they can to hold in-person classes.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is likely to spread more easily in schools when a community has high transmission, the CDC says – and much of the country has returned to those levels.

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Versalovic says parents should keep their child at home if they have had a known COVID-19 exposure or are showing COVID symptoms. He also recommends parents have a conversation with their kids about best practices for limiting viral spread.

Successful mitigation strategies include social distancing and proper hygiene. And, of course, masking.

Parents should be cautious but not anxious about sending their children back to school, said Dr. Chad Perlyn, president of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Specialists in the Miami area. Schooling is important to a child’s mental and emotional development, Perlyn said.

That’s the same reason some parents have cited in protesting school mask mandates.

“We often hear the question, ‘Is it natural for children to wear masks in schools?’ And the obvious answer is no,” Perlyn said. “That said, the protections that masks can afford by limiting the spread of the disease is very meaningful.”

The benefit of masks far outweighs any downsides. For instance, Perlyn said, wearing a mask does not impede breathing.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic there has been much discussion about whether masks cause increased (carbon dioxide) levels and whether that affects children,” Perlyn said. “What we know is that the masks that children and adults would be wearing do not raise CO2 levels to any meaningful point.”

Milana Noueilaty and her son, Kaden, on Monday asked Austin Independent School District in Texas to implement a mask mandate. The district did so this week, defying a ban from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Milana Noueilaty and her son, Kaden, on Monday asked Austin Independent School District in Texas to implement a mask mandate. The district did so this week, defying a ban from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Karalyn Maggino, with her daughter, Madison, 8, after a Clarkstown School Board meeting in West Nyack, New York, was adjourned early Thursday when many attendees refused to wear masks.
Karalyn Maggino, with her daughter, Madison, 8, after a Clarkstown School Board meeting in West Nyack, New York, was adjourned early Thursday when many attendees refused to wear masks.

Wearing a mask has no impact on cognitive function or brain development, he added. What does are the side effects of COVID such as inflammation of the brain or the weeks-long phases of mental fog that have been reported in long-haul COVID cases.

Perlyn encouraged parents to arrange Zoom play dates at the beginning of the school year so their children can interact and meet each other without masks.

He also suggested parents or teachers craft a “smile button” for students, which is a photo of the child’s face they pin on their clothes so others can essentially see through their mask.

“Ideally, a child would be playing and laughing and interacting with other children without a mask. But I will say that I think we will see that in a matter of a few months,” Vasolovic said. “I’m confident that we will reach that time before the end of the school year.”

3 things missing from Biden’s extensive plans

President Biden wants to change seemingly everything: the government’s role in the economy, the way we generate power and move around, the way parents take care of kids, the “caring economy.” Is there anything he’s leaving out?

Actually, yes. Conspicuously absent from Biden’s triad of huge reforms—the American Rescue Plan, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan—is the health care reform Biden touted as a candidate. Every Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 had an aggressive health care plan, starting with “Medicare for all,” the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren effort to replace private health insurance with a government program. Biden pointedly rejected that, calling instead for a “public option” that would leave private insurance in place but offer a new government plan for those who couldn’t get decent coverage through an employer.

There’s a glancing reference to Biden’s public option in the American Families Plan, but there’s no outline of how it would work—as there are for other top priorities—and Biden didn’t mention it in his April 28 address to Congress. Biden is detailing smaller measures: the American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in March, contains new health insurance subsidies for people who didn’t qualify under the Affordable Care Act because they made too much money. Those subsidies were temporary, and Biden wants to make them permanent as part of the families plan. That may help a couple million Americans get more affordable coverage.

President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 12, 2021, in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 12, 2021, in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listen. 

That would still fall far short of the “public option” Biden campaigned on, which would be a government program similar to Medicare for anybody looking for a better deal on insurance, with no age requirement. Anybody could buy into the government plan, which, in theory, would be able to offer competitive rates because of its sheer size. That would put the government plan in direct competition with private insurers, which could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. If the government offered lower rates, then private insurers would have to match them, a boon for consumers. But if people flooded into the government plan, it could destabilize the employer-based insurance system, which generally works, at least for big companies with buying power.

Establishing a new government health care plan would be a combative undertaking Biden seems willing to put off for anther time. It could disrupt a large segment of the economy more than anything else in Biden’s plans. Bernie Sanders is pushing “Medicare for more” legislation that would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, similar to Biden’s public option. But that’s unlikely to pass, given lack of enthusiasm among some Democrats, especially in the Senate. Biden might pursue a public option if Democrats maintain or expand their narrow majorities in both houses of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections (which will be tough).

A second thing missing from Biden’s reform trifecta: any plan to remove the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions that went into effect with the Trump tax cut law in 2017. Unlike the public option, Biden never campaigned on restoring the full SALT deduction, as it’s known. But several Democrats from states hurt most by this new limit on tax deductions, such as New York and California, are demanding a repeal of the limit as a condition of voting for Biden’s favored legislation.

In late April, a senior White House official told reporters Biden wasn’t pushing for a SALT cap repeal because it would lower federal tax revenue at a time Biden was looking for new sources of revenue to spend on families and children. There’s also the political problem that repealing the SALT cap would mostly benefit high-income taxpayers. It’s possible Congress could include a repeal or partial repeal of the SALT cap in legislation that Biden would sign, as long as it contained other Biden priorities. One way to do it would be to restore the tax deductions but only for people with incomes below a threshold of, say, $400,000.

A third priority Biden seems lukewarm on: Giving the government the legal power to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers. Biden does mention this in his families plan, and in his speech to Congress he did call for letting Medicare negotiate directly with drugmakers, which it has never been allowed to do. But as with the public option, the White House has provided no detail of how Biden wants to lower drug prices, which is a likely tell: Biden supports the idea in principle but doesn’t want to get bogged down in that fight right now.

In 2019, the Democratic House passed a bill to let Medicare force down drug prices, which is a likely template for legislation this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promoted the legislation. Like the public option, however, this too would be a bloody legislative battle, against the politically powerful and lavishly funded pharmaceutical industry. Biden would probably sign legislation, if Congress could pass it. But Biden may also prefer to put off this battle until the second half of his presidential term—if Democrats can hold onto power in Congress.

Biden still has a full agenda. His proposals for shifting the economy from carbon energy to renewables are complex and extremely ambitious. At the same time, he’s pushing for the biggest expansion of social welfare programs since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society agenda of the 1960s. If Biden accomplishes half of what he’s after, it will be a transformational presidency. That should be enough for one year.

Man on Nebraska death row for killing girlfriend’s kids dies

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man who had been on Nebraska’s death row since 2003 died Saturday, reducing the total number of condemned inmates in the state to 11, prison officials said Monday.

Arthur Gales, 55, was sentenced to death for the November 2000 slayings of his then-girlfriend’s two children. Authorities said he killed 13-year-old Latara Chandler and 7-year-old Tramar Chandler because they were potential witnesses to him severely beating their mother.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said in a news release that the cause of Gales’ death wasn’t yet known, but he had been undergoing treatment for an unspecified medical condition at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, where the state’s death row is located. A grand jury will investigate, which happens anytime a prison inmate dies in custody.

Gales also received a 50-year sentence for the attempted murder of Judith Chandler, whom authorities said was left for dead outside her Omaha apartment.

Autopsies revealed that Latara died of strangulation and Tramar died of drowning and strangulation. Authorities said Latara had been sexually assaulted, and a pathologist testified at trial that each child had been strangled for at least four minutes.

Gales had not been scheduled for an execution, nor have any of the 11 remaining men on Nebraska’s death row. The state’s last execution was in August 2018, and prison officials have acknowledged they don’t have any more lethal injection drugs and aren’t likely to get any.

Before 2018, Nebraska’s last execution took place in 1997. In 2015, death row inmate Michael Ryan died from complications related to cancer.

Nebraska could add two more inmates to death row this year with the sentencing of Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell, who were convicted in the 2017 slaying of a Lincoln woman who disappeared after a Tinder date.


With filming complete for their upcoming movie, “Don’t Worry Darling,” lovebirds Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles are reportedly planning to jet off to England together in the near future. According to the Daily Mail, Olivia will reunite with her kids, Otis, 6, and Daisy, 4, on the trip to Harry’s native home. Otis and Daisy have reportedly been staying with their dad, Olivia’s ex, Jason Sudeikis, who’s been shooting the second season of “Ted Lasso” in London. (It’s unclear if the two will also carve out family time with Harry’s relatives, but he grew up in Redditch, just a few hours north west of London.) Olivia, 36, and Harry, 26, began dating after the singer/actor joined the cast of Olivia’s second directorial project, replacing Shia LaBeouf. “Little known fact: most male actors don’t want to play supporting roles in female-led films,” the director and actress shared on Instagram after the film wrapped this week. “The industry has raised them to believe it lessens their power (i.e financial value) to accept these roles, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to get financing for movies focusing on female stories,” she continued. She went on to gush about Harry, praising him for “[jumping] on board with humility and grace, and blew us away every day with his talent, warmth, and ability to drive backwards.”

Keep reading for new details about Demi Lovato’s upcoming documentary series and more …