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Bits 'n pieces from east, west and beyond

by LORRAINE H. MARIE
| September 10, 2021 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Unvaccinated teens are now almost 10 times as likely to be hospitalized as those vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded after studying recent data. August was a record-breaking month for youth hospitalized with the disease, Forbes reported. The CDC data looked at July stats for 99 counties from 14 states. In August, youth hospitalization was close to four times higher in states with low vaccine rates. The COVID-19 increase is linked to in-person schooling starting up. The American Academy of Pediatrics said death among children with COVID-19 is currently rare, but more data is required to determine if there are long-term health effects on children who recover from the disease.

Over a recent 10-day span, 15 staffers and educators in the Miami-Dade County school system died from COVID-19, according to Salon.com. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had attempted to ban masks in schools — even where communities wanted them — but a judge ruled that he couldn’t take that action.

The U.S. now has in the vicinity of 10,000 COVID-19 deaths every week, John Hopkins University data found. This exceeds records from last March. Just two months ago the death rate was 1,525 per week.

In August, 14 million people got their first COVID-19 vaccination as compared to 10 million in July, NPR reported. The uptick likely was due in part to employer-mandated vaccination requirements.

According to The New York Times, former President Donald Trump reportedly said at a political meeting that he hopes Republicans get vaccinated because “we need our people.”

A Vietnamese court jailed a man for five years after he deliberately did not follow COVID-19 safety precautions and infected eight people, leaving one dead, BBC.com reported.

While some have said federal pandemic unemployment insurance has discouraged the jobless from seeking employment, the Economic Policy Institute pointed out that July’s State Jobs Day release found states that kept the benefits had greater jobs growth as compared to states that cut them.

The southwest U.S. may be in a “mega-drought,” The Week reported, meaning a decades-long drought.

The Project on Government Oversight (using input from a panel of former Republican-appointed judges) points out there currently is no code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court. The call for a code has been triggered by Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s refusal to recuse herself from hearing a case about a dark-money group, which had spent $1 million to get her on the Supreme Court, Huffington Post reported.

In another case involving Barrett, she so far has refused to recuse herself from a case involving Royal Dutch Shell and climate change. Her recusal list for the Court of Appeals listed Shell seven times (her family has financially benefitted from the company). Ethical concerns were similarly raised when now-deceased Justice Antonin Scalia socialized with Dick Cheney, but did not recuse himself from a case involving Cheney, which Cheney won. Such behavior is not regarded as acceptable in lower courts.

Supreme Court proposal: Rather than lifetime Supreme Court positions, how about 18 year terms, NBCNews.com has asked. That would allow each president a set number of picks per term.

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) recently stated at a meeting of Republicans that elections are “rigged” and there will be “bloodshed” if the nation’s electoral system continues on its current path. He asserted that those arrested following the Jan. 6 insurrection, at which he was a speaker at a preceding rally, are “political prisoners.” Asked “when are you going to call us to Washington again?” Cawthorn replied: “We have a few plans in motion that I can’t make public now,” The Washington Post reported.

Blast from the past: Cawthorn, at age 26, is the first congressman to be born in the 1990s. He was homeschooled and, at age 18, was in a BMW SUV when the driver fell asleep and it crashed. He said he was declared dead, but reports said he was incapacitated. Insurance paid him $3 million and he uses a wheelchair (he’s seeking another $30 million). In 2016 he went to college, but dropped out, stating that his low grades were due heartbreak as well as his injuries, which interfered with his ability to learn. In a deposition he stated that the accident slowed his brain and made him “less intelligent.” He decided to pursue a congressional seat in 2020 and won against a Trump-endorsed opponent. That summer he claimed, sans evidence, that cartels were kidnapping American children for a sex slave market. On Jan. 23, Cawthorn admitted on CNN that there was no voter fraud in 2020. He has also blamed Democrat “agitators” for causing trouble at the Jan. 6 insurrection.