In the wake of the protests surrounding racial injustice and the killing of Blacks by police, a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), finds that fatal police shootings have not slowed despite most Americans spending most of this year sheltering in place due to the pandemic.
For four years, between 2015 and 2019, the average number of 19.4 fatal police shootings occurred in the country per week over the first half of the year.
This number remained unchanged in 2020. As of June 30, 511 people were shot by police officers.
“The findings of this report show that police violence in our country is not situational, but rather endemic to our country’s policing institution. Despite a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis that has upended societal norms and caused a decrease in physical interaction, police still manage to kill people at the same rate as before the outbreak of COVID-19,” ACLU policing policy adviser Paige Fernandez said in a release.
Shootings by police has been a hot button issue this year, with many advocating for money to be redirected from police departments to bolster other health services such as mental health and other resources to improve communities.
The ACLU report also highlights the disproportionate killing of Blacks by police. Since 2015, 2,491 white people were shot and killed by the police compared to 1,298 Black people. However, white people make up 60 percent of the U.S. population while Black people make up around 13 percent. [READ MORE]
African Americans are more than three times more likely to be fatally shot by police than white people. Latino people and Native Americans are also killed by police at considerably higher rates than whites.
“In order to address the tide of police violence that continues in Black and Brown communities despite a global pandemic, we must transform policing in this country by dramatically reducing police departments’ role, responsibilities, power, and funding,” Fernandez said.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
New guidance from the Trump administration that declares teachers to be “critical infrastructure workers” could send teachers who have been exposed to Covid-19 back to the classroom. In several states, teachers who were exposed to the virus can be required by public health agencies to quarantine for 14 days after exposure during an outbreak, but this requirement could hamper a district’s ability to continue providing in-person instruction.
A few districts in Tennessee and Georgia have already designated teachers as critical infrastructure workers, alongside doctors, police officers and meat packers. Critics fear the designation will lead to more infections in schools and say it’s unethical for teachers to risk infecting students.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Covid-19 vaccine researchers to aim to include minorities in clinical trials at levels that are at least double their representation in the population.
According to Census data, Black people represent 13% of the U.S. population, but so far, Black people represent only 4.5% of study participants. The inclusion of minorities in clinical trials are crucial in order to determine safety and effectiveness for these populations, which, data shows, are disproportionately affected by the virus in the U.S. A study by the CDC found that of the 600,000 coronavirus cases where race was indicated, 22% of cases were Black. The report also found that while 18% of the U.S. population is Latino, 33% of cases were Latino.
After issuing a warning and final notice to a Los Angeles residence, the city shut off utility service at a Hollywood Hills home after hosting several large parties during the pandemic.
Los Angeles Mayor Andrew Garcetti announced on August 5 that he would allow utility shutoffs at properties hosting large events in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Several University of Connecticut students were evicted from their dorms for hosting parties, violating campus rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Five students who live on campus have tested positive and are quarantining is the school’s isolation space. 25 others who came in contact with them are in self-quarantine, the university said. Two additional students who live off-campus have also tested positive.
According to a tally by CNN, at least 15 states are reporting positive cases of coronavirus at colleges and universities. They are:
Colorado: Colorado College
Connecticut: University of Connecticut
Georgia: University of Georgia
Indiana: University of Notre Dame
Iowa: Iowa State University
Kansas: 5 clusters at unnamed colleges
Kentucky: University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University
Massachusetts: Boston University and Emerson College
Mississippi Northeast Mississippi Community College and University of Mississippi
North Carolina: East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma
Pennsylvania: Temple University
Tennessee: University of Tennessee
Virginia: Virginia Tech
West Virginia: West Virginia State University
On Thursday, American Airlines announced plans to suspend about 700 flights to 15 U.S. airports in October due to decreased travel demand. Congress gave airlines $25 billion in payroll assistance early in the pandemic and is considering giving airlines another round of aid to keep tens of thousands of airline workers on the job for another six months.
American will suspend flights to Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Joplin, Missouri; Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Michigan; Lake Charles, Louisiana; New Haven, Connecticut; New Windsor, New York; Roswell, New Mexico; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania starting Oct. 7.
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