The Effects of Federal Covid Funding Cuts are Already Being Felt in Schools
"We're deliberately disarming because we just want the pandemic to be over"
An upstate New York school in the Hudson Valley is changing Covid testing protocols because of federal funding cuts.
Staff at the school, which is remaining unnamed to protect source anonymity, received an email from the district’s superintendent on Tuesday alerting them that “changes with the Covid testing from our government” having to do with federal funding meant that there would be no testing of staff this week.
“This impacts unvaccinated teachers who are required to test, plus those of us who opt to test weekly,” Jane, a teacher at the school, told me. “I don't know what it's going to look like next week.”
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Federal funds for Covid testing and treatment dried up suddenly when House Democrats stripped out over $15 billion in funding from a spending bill earlier this month. That bill included a rushed $13.6 billion in funding for Ukraine.
The U.S. government funding bill passed following a revolt from Pelosi's own Democrats who objected to a $15.6 billion COVID-19 aid initiative because of the way it would have parceled out money to individual states. The money was to be used for research and to stockpile vaccines for possible future spikes in COVID-19 infections.
Jane did note that “the daily new case numbers in our county are in the single digits,” meaning that the lack of testing this week is likely to be something the school system can absorb. It could be worse, but the longer-term ramifications of cutting down on testing and proactive public health measures could spell disaster.
“I worry about the possibility of another wave before the end of the year,” Jane said. “We're deliberately disarming because we just want the pandemic to be over.”
In other news
I wrote about the 1990s Marvel Universe trading card sets and their debatable power level stats for Polygon.
The card for Spider-Man in the black costume, the set’s number 2, is a good example of this approach. The back of the card claims he fought 982 battles, winning 620, losing 328, and tying 34 for a win percentage of 63%.
“We made all that stuff up,” Budiansky said. “We didn’t go through a thousand books and count all the battles with this character; we just made it up. Number one, we wanted to make the Impel executives happy, and number two, we thought it would be fun.”
And I covered Arizona progressive group LUCHA’s fight for economic and electoral justice at Blue Tent.
For donors looking at the group, Robles has a simple message: LUCHA’s work as a c4 is member-funded and member-driven, so your dollar is working within an organization that has grassroots accountability.
“In the years when the organization started, from 2010 to 2016, our small-dollar donations were hugely important, and they still fund a lot of what we do today,” Robles told Blue Tent. “You can expect that money to go toward an aggressive approach to engaging our voters and communities about what's actually happening in the legislature.”
On the podcast, I talked with CAIR Washington’s Imraan Siddiqi about the double standard in how we discuss the war in Ukraine and the wars in the Middle East.
Plus, a conversation with Ben Judah of the Atlantic Council on Vladimir Putin’s rise to power.
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