The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.
California Dreamin’ –
“I just took [my son] to our local Walgreens to buy him a toy. While there, a man shoved past me so firmly that he sent me into the shelving. Then he proceeded to fill a brown paper bag with Halloween candy and waltzed out of the store. This is one of five Walgreens stores in SF that will be closing in the next two months, in part because of rampant theft. And our city leaders all keep insisting crime is down.”
I didn’t need to read Michael Shellenberger’s new book, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, to know what has happened to the city on the Bay. The above quotation is taken from an email from a former student, herself a San Francisco native. Earlier she reported that a homeless man had defecated in front of her townhouse.
San Francisco’s mainstream media and political elite have tried to downplay such stories. But the trends are impossible to ignore. California is one of just a handful of states to see dramatic increases in its homeless population. Between 2015 and 2020, San Francisco’s homeless population grew by 32%, despite the city tripling its funds to address homelessness. Public health and safety have been jeopardized. The entire state has witnessed a spike in shoplifting, particularly in San Francisco. Meanwhile, homeless encampments have become breeding grounds for all sorts of diseases, some of them distinctly medieval.
Some say it’s the mild weather that drives this growth. But other warm-weather places like Houston, Phoenix, and Miami have all reduced their homeless populations, and their percentages of unhoused people are just a fraction of San Francisco’s. As Shellenberger shows, the blame lies not with climate, but with policies and politics.
San Fransicko lays out in precise detail the growth of homelessness and disorder in San Francisco and other West Coast cities, and how the efforts by progressive governments—from liberal drug policies to a deliberate reduction in punishments for minor property offenses—have simply made things worse.
Shellenberger suggests that many of the homeless in San Francisco are not people down on their luck, but those who, quite rationally, move to places where they are free to camp, avoid prosecution for property crimes, receive the occasional hotel room, and even access to free drugs and alcohol. Progressive politicians and policymakers, Schellenberger notes, live in a kind of dreamworld, where the public can build housing for anyone who wants to come to the Bay, a fiscal impossibility in the country’s most expensive city.
But San Fransicko is no right-wing screed about Democratic failure. Shellenberger, a long-time environmental activist, was a socialist in his youth and worked with radicals to protest “economic globalization.” He is part of a dissident movement from within liberal ranks that includes Bill Maher, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Batya Ungar-Sargon, and many others.
Shellenberger traces some of California’s urban dystopia to the writings of Michel Foucault, who challenged the very idea of incarceration and ascribed crime not to personal failings, but to social oppression. Thus seeing in the homeless an advertisement for “social justice,” progressives are reluctant to admit that many homeless people are actually drug-addicted or mentally ill, people whose needs must be addressed by professionals. They sanction even the most demeaning behaviors, like shooting up, masturbating, or defecating in public—now considered “victimless crimes” by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose main priority is not fighting crime but “deincarceration.” Read More > at The Commons
A huge California budget surplus – Remember the Golden State stimulus checks? Well, more might be landing in your bank account in the near future.
That’s because California is — once again — overflowing with money, and will likely have a $31 billion budget surplus next year, according to a Wednesday report from the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office. And because the state is forbidden from spending more tax dollars per Californian than it did in 1978, once adjusted for inflation, it only has a few options for handling the cash windfall: slashing taxes; issuing tax rebates; funneling it to schools and community colleges; or earmarking it for certain purposes, such as infrastructure.
While touring the backlogged Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to “substantially increase our one-time investments in infrastructure” in the budget proposal he’ll send to state lawmakers in January. He also suggested that another round — or two — of stimulus checks could be on the way.
- Newsom: “How we framed that historic surplus last year, similarly, we will frame our approach this year.”
Newsom and state lawmakers agreed on a record-breaking $262.6 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, which included $12 billion in stimulus payments and unprecedented investments in education, homelessness and the environment. On Wednesday, Newsom unveiled the first 18 projects that will receive funding from the $6 billion broadband package.
Much of the extra revenue came from one-time funding sources, which helps explain why many California schools are still facing yawning budget deficits. However, the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts that California can afford to increase its annual expenses by $3 billion to $8 billion through the 2025-26 fiscal year — a prospect that didn’t appear to sit well with Republicans.
- Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron: “There’s something wrong when the state is flush with extra cash — $750 for every man, woman and child — while ordinary people have to choose between putting food on the table and filling their gas tank.”
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, there are several main reasons why California is swimming in money even though a whopping 26% of residents are functionally unemployed and its poverty rate is the highest in the nation when the cost of living is taken into account. They include:
- Massive capital gains for the state’s wealthiest residents amid the pandemic.
- Record consumer spending as residents use state and federal stimulus checks. California businesses reported a record high of $217 billion in taxable sales during the second quarter of 2021, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
Asked about skyrocketing gas prices on Wednesday, Newsom said Californians have to “disenthrall” themselves from “being victims of petro politics,” adding, “We have to accelerate our transition — once and for all — away from fossil fuels.” Read More > at CalMatters
$20 billion more projected in early forecast for 2022-23 funding for K-14 schools – In what usually is an accurate annual preview of the governor’s state budget released in early January, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting a double-digit increase in billions of dollars and percentages in 2022-23 in education funding under Proposition 98. That’s the formula that determines the minimum funding allocation for K-14 schools.
Schools and community colleges can expect an additional $20 billion in 2022-23, which will follow a record level of funding this year. Even the usually restrained LAO calls this good fortune “extraordinary.”
About half of this amount will be from what’s expected to be conservative revenue estimates by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature for 2021-22. A surge in state revenue — the fastest growth rate in history for the year ending in September — will produce $10 billion in one-time money that will roll over to 2022-23.
The other half will be a 12.4% increase in the Prop. 98 guaranteed, ongoing funding, which will rise to $102.7 billion — $9.5 billion more than in 2021-22. Community colleges usually receive about 11% of Prop. 98 funding, with nearly all of the remainder going to K-12 districts, county offices of education and charter schools. Read More > at EdSource
$1 billion project to expand major Bay Area reservoir gains momentum – The rolling hills and ranchlands of eastern Contra Costa County are known for wineries, cattle ranches, wind turbines and growing subdivisions.
But soon they may be known for something else: The biggest new water storage project in the Bay Area in years. And now, amid the current drought, nearly every major water agency in the region wants a piece of it.
The Contra Costa Water District is moving closer to breaking ground on plans to expand Los Vaqueros Reservoir, south of Brentwood, by raising the reservoir’s earthen dam by 56 feet, to 287 feet high. That would make it the second tallest dam in the Bay Area, eclipsed only by Warm Springs Dam on Lake Sonoma near Healdsburg, which is 319 feet high.
Construction, slated to begin in late 2023 and finish by 2030, would expand Los Vaqueros from its current 160,000 acre-feet capacity to 275,000 acre-feet, enough water when full for the annual needs of 1.4 million people.
Recently, the project has cleared several significant hurdles.
Last month, the Contra Costa Water District and seven other agencies formed a legal partnership to oversee the design, construction and funding of the reservoir — including negotiating in the coming year how much money each agency will contribute and how much water they will secure. Read More . in The Mercury News
Gas prices hit new record high – If you’re one of the 6.1 million Californians planning to take a Thanksgiving road trip, prepare to pay more at the pump. The Golden State’s average price for a gallon of gas skyrocketed to $4.69 on Tuesday — breaking the previous record of $4.68 set on Monday, according to AAA. That’s far above the national average of $3.41 and a whopping six cents higher than California’s average gas price last week. Sacramento has set a new record gas price 10 times this month, with the average cost climbing to $4.71 per gallon on Tuesday. A gallon costs more than $5 in many parts of the Bay Area, and some Los Angeles residents were shocked to see prices tick past $6 per gallon on Tuesday. “This is absurd,” Brian Sproule told the Los Angeles Times after paying $72 to fill a tank that normally only costs him $40. Meanwhile, rising inflation rates are pushing up the price of everything from electricity to meat. Frozen turkeys, for example, cost about 26 cents more per pound than they did last year.
- Los Angeles resident Monica Oliva: “Even the carne asada at the market is $25 to $36, so we were like, ‘OK, we have to change our plans to make (Thanksgiving dinner) affordable.”
As the backlogged supply chain struggles to keep up with steep demand, California businesses reported a record high of $217 billion in taxable sales during the second quarter of 2021, a 39% increase over the same period last year and 17% higher than in 2019, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced Tuesday. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation. Read More > at CalMatters
CA cars: Supply slows, while prices head to the fast lane – Several factors are shaping demand, prices, sales and supply of new and used cars in the Golden State, but consumers know one thing — their pocketbooks are taking a hit.
Jessica Caldwell is Edmunds’ executive director of insights, based in Santa Monica. “There has never been a greater imbalance of supply and demand for vehicles as there is right now across the country, including the nation’s largest automotive market, California,” she says.
By one estimate, new car prices rose 12.1 percent between September 2020 and September 2021, or about $4,871 per vehicle. The average cost of a new car has surpassed $45,000 — an historic first.
Brian Maas helms the California New Car Dealers Association. “Each new car has thousands of computer chips in it,” he says. “There are certain global companies in nations such as South Korea and Taiwan that make these chips. The U.S. was an industry leader a couple of decades ago before companies relocated such production abroad. That’s led to Congressional discussion of returning computer chip production stateside.”
New car sale increases varied by region, according to the CAO. “Southern California led very slightly with 35.3 percent to Northern California’s 34.9 percent. More specifically for selected markets, San Diego County saw a raise in 35.2 percent, LA and Orange counties an increase of 32.9 percent, and the Bay Area an increase of 29.7 percent.”
Meanwhile, new and used auto price hikes are having uneven impacts on Californians.
Amir Daneshvar is the general manager at Zen Auto in East Sacramento. “Major dealerships have financial capital and can control the market by purchasing the available inventory,” he says, “like a monopoly. When they have the majority of the inventory, they can dictate the selling price as the new norm.”
Small car dealers cannot compete with larger ones on inventory or price. There is another factor pushing up car prices, according to Daneshvar. “We also have the new cars which are more advanced and are costing more to produce,” he says. “In turn they are more expensive.”
That is good for the seller, not so much for the buyer. Price hikes can and do spur inflation, which can eat into buying power. Read More > at Capitol Weekly
Oroville Declares Itself a “Constitutional Republic” Free of Mandates – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Oroville has been a den of COVID defiance. The small town at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada made headlines when it bucked state prohibitions on indoor dining last year. Today, the County of Butte where Oroville is located has a vaccination rate under 50%.
Like many rural, conservative areas, Oroville feels unfairly constrained by a heavily democratic government in Sacramento. In the wake of the failed recall attempt against Gavin Newsom, city leaders have let out a primal scream — a resolution declaring Oroville a “constitutional republic” free from federal and state COVID restrictions.
The resolution means absolutely nothing. Except that Oroville is really, really ticked off.
“A municipality cannot unilaterally declare itself not subject to the laws of the state of California,” rural law expert Lisa Pruitt told The Guardian. “Whatever they mean by constitutional republic you can’t say hocus pocus and make it happen.”
Even one of the members who voted for the resolution admitted it has “no teeth.”
What the resolution does do is underscore the growing red-blue, rural-urban divide and some of the fury surrounding vaccine mandates. Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, who proposed the resolution, said the final straw was Newsom “going after our kids and schools.” read More > at California City News
California Desert Towns Struggle To Survive As Violent, Illegal Drug Cartels Take Over – “Cartelville, USA” is a new documentary produced by The Daily Caller and Jorge Ventura that investigates rural Southern California desert towns overrun by Mexican drug and human trafficking cartels. Ventura joins Christopher Bedford and Emily Jashinsky to discuss the film on this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour.
Ventura describes the environmental problems these towns face as cartels steal water for their illegal marijuana farms, as well as the migrant slave labor and violence that comes with cartel turf wars.
“We are starting to see these cartels shoot at American citizens … the homicide rate is climbing up. They’re finding bodies that are shot and killed connected to this illegal marijuana growth,” Ventura said. Read More > at The Federalist
California Public Employees Must Pay More for Pensions – Public employees in California will bear the brunt of an investment policy change the CalPERS board made Monday, contributing more toward their pensions while their employers enjoy a short-term reprieve thanks to last year’s stock market boom.
The vote by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration concluded a once-every-four-years review of the pension fund’s assets, which were recently valued at $495 billion.
The approved changes, including added flexibility to borrow money, are aimed at adapting the fund to a shifting financial landscape in which stock market expectations decline and traditionally “safe” investments such as treasuries and bonds no longer earn nearly enough money to keep up with increasing pension costs.
The board adopted an annual investment return target of 6.8%, two-tenths of a percentage point lower than last year’s 7% target. It follows the board’s decision in late 2016 to drop its annual earnings target from 7.5%, a change that drove up costs for cities, schools and other government employers.
The new reduction to investment expectations means CalPERS will charge some local governments and employees more because the fund expects to earn less money from its portfolio. Read More > at Governing
State’s encampment strategy unclear – The Newsom administration is giving Caltrans, the state’s transportation agency, $1.1 billion to clean freeways. Some of the money is earmarked for clearing homeless encampments — 100 of which the governor’s office has identified as top priorities. But both Newsom’s office and Caltrans declined to tell CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias which encampments were on the priority list — raising questions about where and how the money is being spent and whether the state is making good on its promise to connect homeless Californians to housing and mental health resources.
- Christopher Martin, policy director of the nonprofit advocacy group Housing California: “How are we supposed to know what’s happening with these resources? It’s very behind closed doors, and I think that’s a little bit frightening because we need some accountability.”
Other experts question whether the sweeps themselves are an effective long-term solution, given that California has less than one shelter or transitional housing bed available for every three homeless people. However, the Sacramento city council will today consider a measure that would allow it to start clearing more homeless encampments starting in 2023 as long as residents have been offered two different types of shelter or housing.
- Josh Barocas, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado who studies homelessness and substance use: “It’s what I would call social theater. It’s showing your neighborhood that you are trying to do something by literally sweeping the problem away. But anybody who has a house pet that sweeps their pet hair, knows that the pet hair comes back because you still have the pet.” Read More > at CalMatters
FBI email system hacked to send fake cyberattack alerts – The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Saturday, November 13, that hackers had compromised its external email system, then sent out warnings of fake cyberattacks.
The hackers accessed an unclassified server used by FBI personnel to communicate outside of the organization. The hackers then used the compromised server to send the fraudulent emails to possibly thousands of individuals and companies, according to the Washington Post .
“The impacted hardware was taken offline quickly upon discovery of the issue,” the FBI said in a statement . “We continue to encourage the public to be cautious of unknown senders and urge you to report suspicious activity to ic3.gov or cisa.gov.”
The emails sent by the hackers contained no harmful attachments, potentially signaling that the hackers did not have a serious plan to maliciously exploit it. The cyberattack alerts could have simply been a means for the hackers to “get some street cred to tout on underground forums,” a former FBI agent told the outlet.
Spamhaus, an international threat intelligence organization, posted a picture of the email sent by the hackers on social media. Referenced in the email is an international hacker group called the Dark Overlord, which allegedly steals data and demands hefty ransoms for its return. Read More > in the Washington Times
Number of Americans quitting jobs reached record high in September – The number and percentage of U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs reached an all-time high in September, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.
Roughly 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September and the “quits rate” rose to 3 percent, according to the latest edition of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey, each a new record. The number of job openings stayed roughly even in August at 10.4 million.
The surge in American workers voluntarily leaving their jobs is the latest sign of growing worker power in the recovering labor market.
Economists see quits as a window into how willing workers are to leave their current job in search of another role with higher compensation or greater personal fulfillment.
Wages have risen rapidly through 2021, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, as businesses struggle to fill millions of jobs. Both the percentage and number of working-age adults in the labor force are still well below pre-pandemic levels, giving those currently seeking jobs greater leverage and opportunities. Read More > in The Hill
Why Are People Really Quitting Their Jobs? Burnout Tops the List, New Research Shows – The Great Resignation shows no signs of stopping as employee resignations hit an all-time high in August, extending a five-month streak of record-breaking quit rates.
The pandemic changed everything, and for most employees, it deeply affected how they view and want to experience work. Employers can’t afford to sit back while losing more of their workforce because employee expectations have drastically changed.
Limeade, an organization dedicated to researching and improving employee well-being, has released its new study, “The Great Resignation Update,” to examine why the “Great Resigners” left. The study surveyed 1,000 U.S.-based employees who started a new job in 2021 and have been there for at least three months.
Here are three key findings from the report with guidance on how to apply these takeaways to become the organization employees are flocking to, not from.
1. The main reason employees quit was burnout.
The No. 1 reason job-changers left their previous employers was burnout, which was cited by 40 percent of survey respondents. Events outside the workplace, like the 2020 COVID-19 recession, have contributed to worsening burnout over the past 20 months.
2. Job changers left seeking flexibility.
When asked what attracted them to their current job, job-changers cited the ability to work remotely (40 percent) and other forms of flexibility (24 percent) like a non-traditional work schedule. Read More > at INC.
Men Are Just As Emotional As Women, Study Suggests – It is not a compliment to call someone “emotional.” We incorrectly see emotion as the opposite of the “rational” or “effective,” even though neuroscientists have long known that emotion is what drives intelligent thought.
Now scientists have just revealed another area where we get emotion completely wrong. Despite centuries of stereotypes, a new study finds that men are just as emotional as women. Men have the same ups and downs, highs and lows as women do. And that is good news for all of us.
Why are we all so sure that women are more emotional than men? There are two main reasons:
First, there is a long history of classifying emotion in a pejorative way and then blaming that on the uterus. In the 19th century, women were considered prone to a uniquely female problem: hysteria. The idea was that women were emotional and unstable and likely to develop behavioral problems, and men couldn’t be because they didn’t have a uterus. Hysterical females were often treated with hysterectomies.
In the 20th century, women have largely been excluded from research (even that used to understand women). Seriously. According to the study authors, this was “partly due to the assumption that ovarian hormone fluctuations lead to variation, especially in emotion, that could not be experimentally controlled.” Those hormonal women were just too unpredictable to be studied. So instead of using science to find out if these assumptions about emotions and female hormones were true, researchers simply ignored women and studied men instead.
Second is the real difference between men and women’s emotionality. Specifically, we describe men’s and women’s emotions in biased ways. As the study’s senior author Adriene Beltz, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, shared in a press release, a man whose emotions fluctuate during a sporting event is described as “passionate.” But a woman whose emotions change due to any event, even if provoked, is considered “irrational.” Read More > at Forbes
Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm – The athletic program at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, has suffered its share of humiliations and harassment over the years. There was the time that a visiting team’s volleyball coach mocked the deaf players. And another time a hearing coach for the girls’ basketball team listened as opponents discussed how embarrassing it would be to lose to a deaf team.
It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, recently suffered seven straight losing seasons, leaving the school with the sinking feeling that opposing football teams came to the Riverside campus expecting an easy win.
No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest-ranked team in their Southern California division. Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them.
Led by the school’s physical education teacher, Keith Adams, a burly and effervescent deaf man whose two deaf sons are also on the team, the Cubs are a fast and hard-hitting squad. Wing-footed wide receivers fly past defenses, averaging 17 yards per catch. The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher, with 22 touchdowns on the season. A system of coded hand signals among tight-knit teammates and coaches confounds opponents with its speed and efficiency.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs are two games away from capturing the division championship for the first time in the school’s 68-year history. But coaches and players say they already feel like winners. Read More > in The New York Times
From arrest warrants to car warranties, Americans face nearly 30 scams a month! – Does a robocall or bogus spam email ever catch you off guard? Don’t feel bad, a new study finds scammers may be targeting you more than you realize. Americans are the targets of nearly 30 scams a month.
From 10 email scams, nine phone calls, and eight fishy texts a month – the survey of 2,000 American millennials and baby boomers finds the scamming crisis is running rampant.
Two in five respondents reportedly receive upwards of 11 scam emails a month and 34 percent say they get scam phone calls more than 11 times a month. Baby boomers report an average of two more scam calls than millennials per month (10 vs. 8 calls, respectively).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Scam Spotter, a platform created by Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) with support from Google, the survey finds that 46 percent of respondents have lost money due to a scam. The average respondent has fallen victim to five scams over their lifetime where they’ve lost an average of over $500. Read More > at The Study Finds
Employers vs Employees – Who Blinks First – In October, the number of unfilled jobs clocked in at 10.4 million. Meanwhile, there are 7.4 million unemployed workers.
At first blush, this is a head-scratcher…
With more open jobs than jobseekers, why aren’t we at full employment?
Obviously, with 7.4 million people in question, there are variety of reasons for the unwillingness to take open positions, so there’s no definitive takeaway.
However, here’s a broad perspective from The Washington Post:
American workers are increasingly seeking higher pay, more flexibility, and remote options as they flex their leverage in the current job market, but many companies are not necessarily being more accommodative, continuing to favor candidates with several years of experience in their industry, more availability to work evening or weekend hours, or a preference for those willing to work in-person.
Labor economist Aaron Sojourner recently built on the “higher pay” aspect of this argument, asking “why aren’t companies bidding up wages and working conditions fast enough to pull people off the sidelines?”
Well, many are.
Wages have risen more than $1 an hour, or 4.5%, in the past year across all private-sector jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some sectors are up more — leisure and hospitality pay is up 11%, to $18.95 an hour, for example. The Bureau attributes the upward pressure on earnings to a rising demand for labor.
As one example, Starbucks announced that all hourly pay workers will make an average of nearly $17 an hour by this summer.
There’s a disconnect between what jobseekers want and what employers are willing to give, resulting in a “who will blink first?” impasse.
The odds don’t favor the jobseekers… Read More > at Investor Place
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Back Home Loans of Nearly $1 Million as Prices Soar – The federal government is about to back mortgages of nearly $1 million for the first time.
The maximum size of home-mortgage loans eligible for backing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to jump sharply in 2022, a reflection of the rapid appreciation in home prices nationally over the past year.
The increase may make it easier and cheaper for some borrowers to buy a home, particularly in more expensive areas of the country, but the higher limits are also likely to elevate debate about how big of a mortgage is too big to be backed by the government.
“Housing prices are expensive,” said Steve Walsh, president of Scout Mortgage in Scottsdale, Ariz., adding that some of his clients are unable to qualify for loans for modest-sized homes under the current limits.
“I don’t believe these people are looking for a castle, just a three-bedroom house with a backyard,” Mr. Walsh said.
By law, the loan limits are updated annually using a formula that factors in average housing-price increases nationwide.
Currently, the government-controlled mortgage companies can back single-family mortgages that have balances as high as $548,250 in most parts of the country and up to $822,375 in expensive housing markets, including parts of California and New York.
Those limits are expected to jump to a baseline level of about $650,000 in most jurisdictions and to just under $1 million in high-cost markets. Read More > in The Wall Street Journal
CVS is closing 900 stores – CVS Health is closing 900 stores over the next three years, amounting to nearly 10% of its footprint, in response to the changing of “consumer buying patterns.”
The drug store chain said Thursday that the closures will result in a retail presence that ensures it has the “right kinds of stores in the right locations for consumers and for the business.” A list of locations shutting down, which will happen beginning next spring, was not immediately released.
The closures are part of broader realignment of its retail strategy of its roughly 10,000 locations. That includes remodeling some stores to include more health services, such as primary care, and an “enhanced version” of its HealthHub layout. Read More > at CNN Business
Pandemic or no, kids are still getting — and spreading — head lice – According to those in the world of professional nitpicking, Pediculus humanus capitis, the much-despised head louse, has returned.
“It’s definitely back,” said Kelli Boswell, owner of Lice & Easy, a boutique where people in the Denver area can get deloused, a process that can range from minutes to hours depending on the method and the infestation. “It’s a sign that things are coming back to normal.”
Colds and more serious bugs like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are also back. That may leave some to wonder: With all the COVID prevention measures in place, how are kids sharing these things?
Like the coronavirus, all these bugs depend on human sociability. Unfortunately, the measures that many reopened schools have taken to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 — masks, hand-washing, vaccination — do little to deter the spread of the head louse. However, physical distancing, such as spacing desks 3 feet apart, should be helping, if it’s actually happening. Read More > at NPR