Category Archives: Pandemics & Infectious Diseases

Pension investment losses are poised to inflict material damage on US municipal credit

Source: Moody’s, March 24, 2020
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Recent US public pension investment losses are likely to severely compound the pension liability challenge facing many state and local governments. At the same time, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is reducing revenue levels and threatening the ability of governments to afford higher pension costs.

Coronavirus-driven filing extension will delay income tax revenue, but states have resources to bridge the gap

Source: Moody’s, March 27, 2020
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the deadline for filing federal income taxes and tax payments by three months, and many if not all states that levy personal income taxes will follow suit. States will therefore receive a large portion of their income tax revenue in July rather than April, which will force them to make adjustments to bridge budget gaps, but most have considerable financial flexibility to blunt the credit-negative effects of the delays.

Revenue securing certain US state and local debt will weaken as coronavirus slows economy and travel

Source: Moody’s, March 30, 2020
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Tax revenue used to repay state and local special tax debt — debt secured by specific tax revenue streams such as hotel or car rental taxes — will rapidly decline amid the coronavirus-related economic downturn. A state or local government with a dedicated reserve fund or the ability and willingness to cover a gap in pledged revenue bolsters the credit quality of certain special tax debt.

What the world has learned about Zika — and what it still needs to know

Source: Helen Branswell, Stat, September 8, 2016

…It’s been 13 months since obstetricians in northeastern Brazil started noticing babies being born with grossly underdeveloped heads. In the months since, it has become apparent that the condition — microcephaly — is just the most visible form of the devastation that the virus can wreak when it infects the fetus.

Let’s explore some of what we’ve learned about Zika over the past year, and some of the most pressing questions that remain to be answered about this unique outbreak….

….This virus has so many tricks up its sleeve. It causes birth defects in babies and neurological conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a type of temporary paralysis, and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in some adults. We still don’t know, though, how often infection leads to one of these serious problems. There have been other surprises. Zika finds its way into semen and tears and saliva and vaginal fluids — and in some cases stays there for months….
What Does the Public Know and Think About Zika?
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016

Poll findings from 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Tracking Polls and 2016 Survey of Americans on the U.S. Role in Global Health

Experts Say Stepped-Up Monitoring Is Crucial As Zika’s Threat Lasts Beyond A Baby’s Birth
Source: Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News, September 6, 2016

The Status of Funding for Zika: The President’s Request and Congressional Proposals
Source: Adam Wexler, Stephanie Oum, and Jennifer Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation, Issue Brief, September 6, 2016

Mosquito Repellents That Best Protect Against Zika

Source: Sue Byrne, Consumer Reports, April 16, 2016

Consumer Reports shares its exclusive Ratings of the sprays that can help keep you safe. ….

The Most Effective Insect Repellents
To find the most effective mosquito repellents, we tested products containing a variety of ingredients, including deet, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, chemicals called IR3535 and 2-undecanone, as well as a variety of plant oils, such as cedar, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass, and rosemary.
The most effective products against Aedes mosquitoes were Sawyer Picaridin and Natrapel 8 Hour, which each contain 20 percent picaridin, and Off! Deepwoods VIII, which contains 25 percent deet. They kept the mosquitoes from biting for about 8 hours. (The Sawyer product was our top insect repellent overall. It was the only one that also kept Culex mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile disease, and deer ticks, which can spread Lyme disease, away for at least 8 hours.)….

The Six C’s of an Effective Response to the Zika Virus

Source: Kendra Smal, Center for American Progress, August 26, 2016

….To fully protect young Americans from the effects of Zika, policymakers must expand reproductive rights for young people by addressing the six C’s: comprehensive sex education, confidentiality, contraceptive counseling, choice, community support for young parents, and congressional action….