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In today's edition:

  • Tomorrow marks one year since the murder of George Floyd
  • What to do about assault rifles?
  • Requiring proof of vaccination: Is it possible?
One Year On: Remembering and Honoring George Floyd
Examining the Psychological Impacts of Racialized Police Violence
Tomorrow marks one year since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police—a harrowing event that left an indelible mark on America’s collective consciousness, and cracked open wider the discussion about race and policing in America.
 
Many institutions—including this one—took the important step of calling out racism itself as a public health crisis; discussion ramped up about racism as a “biopsychosocial stressor.” 
 
But the killings continued. 
 
Since George Floyd’s murder, it’s estimated that nearly 1,000 people have been shot and killed by officers on duty, according to the Washington Post tracker.
 
Blacks are killed at 2.2 times the rate of whites. Hispanics: 1.8 times.
 
This week, Public Health on Call is dedicated to exploring the many dimensions of the work that lies ahead to eliminate racism in all its forms.
 
Part I: The first episode in this series, guest host Rachel Thornton of the Center for Health Equity explores the psychological impact of racialized police violence with Wizdom Powell of the UConn Health Disparities Institute.
 
Up for discussion:
  • The potential for mental health fallout from increased racialized violence
  • The impacts of trauma
  • The “adultification” of Black youths
  • How the concepts of radical love and radical healing can help mend America’s deep wounds associated with the legacy of racism.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
TOMORROW: PART II—The Link Between Voting Rights and Meaningful Police Reform
In the year since George Floyd’s murder, there have been calls for police reform, record voter turnout for a Presidential election, and 360 bills with restrictive voting provisions introduced by legislators in 47 states. 
 
Thornton talks with democracy and elections expert Kareem Crayton about which elected officials are in positions to enact police reform, how community members can hold those officials accountable, the challenges of redistricting, and the importance of protecting voter rights.

ICYMI: Read the special section on racism and public health in the Fall 2020 issue of the magazine.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
In the US, mass shooting fatalities make up the fastest-growing category of gun-related deaths. The most common weapon used in killings with the highest casualty counts? Assault weapons that accept large capacity magazines (LCMS). They can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, making it possible to shoot many people within a short span of time.
 
Daniel Webster breaks down the numbers and some potential solutions.
 
The numbers:
  • Assault weapons are used in 10%–30% of fatal mass shootings.
  • LCMs are involved in 20%–67% of fatal mass shootings. (The broad range of numbers is because data on the ammunition capacity of firearms in mass shootings is often missing.)
  • Mass shootings with LCMs have 60%–70% higher fatality counts than mass shootings without LCMs.
Some Solutions:
  • Ban both the sale and possession of LCMs.
  • Require licensing for firearm purchasers—the policy most associated with reductions in mass shootings.
Why: “There’s not a justifiable reason for civilians to have military-style weapons like assault weapons … ,” says Daniel Webster.
 
READ THE Q&A
A Superstar Convocation Speaker
Even if you don’t know a graduate, you may well want to tune in for this year’s Bloomberg School convocation to hear the remarkable headlining speaker: Kizzmekia S. Corbett.
 
If you got the Moderna vaccine, you have her to thank. Corbett is the scientific co-lead of the Coronavirus Vaccine and Immunopathogenesis Team that developed the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
 
In addition to this remarkable work, Corbett volunteers her time to share her knowledge about science with people of color via social media and in public forums with the aim to mitigate health disparities. Her most recent outreach has been about vaccine safety and educating people on the facts to help counter vaccine misinformation. 
 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
3 PM ET
 
WATCH THE VIRTUAL CEREMONY
'Fortune Favors the Bold Colors'

U.S. CDC Looking Into Heart Inflammation in Some Young Vaccine Recipients (U.S. News & World Report)
A small number of teenagers and young adults who received COVID-19 vaccines experienced heart inflammation, a CDC advisory group said, recommending further study of the rare condition. Amesh Adalja says vaccines are known to cause myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and that it will be important to monitor the condition in young people to see if it is causally related to the vaccine. 
 
How feasible is it for businesses to require proof of vaccination? Experts are split (CNN.com)
Many states are easing coronavirus restrictions, allowing vaccinated people to go maskless in many settings. Now, some places are opening their doors, but only for the vaccinated. Nancy Kass understands why businesses would want to require patrons to show proof of vaccination, but adds, “What I think is challenging and important is whether these venues will allow an alternative mitigation strategy if someone doesn't want to be vaccinated or is unable to provide proof of vaccination.”
 
Experts say it's too convenient for politicians to blame COVID-19 outbreaks on variants — we have the tools to fight them, we just need to use them (Business Insider)
The B.1.617 variant first tracked in India was labeled a “variant of concern” by the WHO. It appears to be more infectious than older versions of the coronavirus. But that doesn't mean we are powerless. There is reason to hope vaccines will defeat variants. “There’s nothing magical about these variants,” says Gigi Gronvall, “All of the measures that we all know that people have been following—to greater or lesser degrees—they will still be effective.”

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