U.S. Senate Republicans block bill requiring agencies to monitor domestic terrorism

New study finds vaccinations have saved thousands of lives in NC, but could have saved more

A man wears a ‘I Do Not Comply’ pin at a protest against masks, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccine passports outside the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control on March 13, 2021. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images

Researchers from the Brown University School of Public Health reported this week that COVID-19 vaccinations have saved thousands of lives — both across the country and in North Carolina — but could have saved many more.

More than 1 million Americans have died from COVID-19, and the researchers concluded that nearly one-third — more than 318,000 of those deaths — could have been prevented if more people were vaccinated. North Carolina has suffered more than 24,000 deaths and, as the report notes, more than 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available in early 2021.

Thanks largely to the Cooper administration’s leadership, North Carolina actually did a better job than a lot of southern states in vaccinating its population, but on the whole, the state’s overall vaccination rate of 61.8% still trails the national average of 67.4%. (The vaccination rate in South Carolina, for instance, is only 56.6%. In Georgia, it’s only 54.9%).

What’s more, according to the Brown report, it’s possible to accurately estimate how many lives would have been saved here if the state had achieved higher vaccination rates.

If our state had achieved an 85% vaccination rate, for example, the researchers determined that we would have seen 5,389 fewer deaths. At a 90% vaccination rate, 6,462 lives would have been saved. And at 100%, the lives saved figure would have risen to 8,604 — that is to say, more than half of those who died since 2021 could have been saved.

The bottom line: while it’s true that achieving a 100% vaccination rate is all but impossible for any vaccine, the report provides still more compelling evidence that vaccines save lives and that North Carolina leaders did the right thing by combating the lies and misinformation spread by vaccination opponents.

What’s more, it still not too late to make more headway. While recent COVID variants have shown a maddening capacity for infecting vaccinated people, it’s also clear that vaccinations have helped assure that thousands of people have gotten much less sick than they would have otherwise.

Note: A story prepared by Dillon Rosenblatt for the Arizona Mirror helped inform this report.

Anti-gun violence advocates to hold vigil today at 5:30 pm across from the Legislative Building

In the wake of the most recent pair of horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, anti-gun violence advocates will gather in downtown Raleigh this afternoon for a press conference and vigil. Anti-gun violence demonstrations are also scheduled for June 4 and 5.

Here are the details from the good people at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action/Everytown for Gun Safety:

Vigil Tonight — EVENT DETAILS:

Vigil and Community Call to Action for Uvalde, TX Victims

WHERE: Bicentennial Plaza, 1 E Edenton St Raleigh, NC 27601

WHEN: May 26, 5:30 pm

We lead the world with 288 school shootings since 2009. This is unconscionable and it is high time our elected officials do their jobs. Stand with us right now, and RSVP for the press and vigil event. 

Events for Wear Orange, hosted by Moms Demand Action: 

  • Friday, June 3: National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Wear orange, post to social media, and let everyone know! We will have some social media posts that you can copy and make your own.
  • Saturday, June 4: Triangle Wear Orange Community Awareness Day.
    10 am-12 pm, Chavis Park in Raleigh (Baseball Field). This is our triangle-wide, family-friendly gathering. We’ll have a few speakers, kids activities, snacks and drinks, and some calls to action.

    • RSVP is here—if you plan to be there, please make it official. :)
    • Volunteer sign-up—this is where you can volunteer to help out that day. We need help with set-up/clean-up; coordinating kids’ activities (coloring, games, etc.); managing our postcard project; providing support to our community partners, and more.
    • Supplies list—if you can share a table, chairs, tent, cooler, lawn games, or anything that would come in handy at a picnic, please provide that info!
  • Sunday, June 5: Wear Orange Walk coordinated by Rep. Julie von Haefen. We’ll walk through downtown, from the legislature (16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh) to Trophy Brewery. Trophy will supply pizza, beer, and soda to participants. RSVP for the Wear Orange Walk here!All are welcome.

For other Moms Demand Action Wear Orange events across North Carolina: 

Here are details and sign up for the other events.

NC Senator: “Censoring school curriculums isn’t going to keep our kids alive” (w/ video)

Members of the Senate Education Committee held their first hearing Wednesday on the controversial Parents’ Bill of Rights. The legislation touted by Senate President Phil Berger a day earlier would ban teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curriculum. It would require schools tell parents if their child wants to change their name or preferred pronouns or seek counseling.

Additionally the bill requires schools to establish a means for parents to learn about “the nature and purpose of clubs and activities offered at their child’s school” while establishing a means for parents to object to textbooks and supplementary instructional materials.

In other states, similar legislation has been dubbed by critics the ‘Don’t say gay’ bill.

Sen. Jay Chaudhuri questioned the timing of House Bill 755, coming just hours after a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

“I’ll say it again, the right I care about is the right to keep our children safe in schools,” said the Wake County democrat.

Chaudhuri noted that children cannot learn if they don’t feel safe in their school.

“As a parent, I would hope we wouldn’t debate a bill that seeks to restrict what is taught to elementary school students, but instead determine how we can protect these elementary school students from school shootings, because censoring school curriculums isn’t gonna keep our kids alive.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-New Hanover)

Committee chair Sen. Mike Lee (R-New Hanover) clearly angry was quick to criticize Chaudhuri for diverting attention from the bill to Tuesday’s mass shooting.

“This about not teaching five, six, seven, eight-year-olds things that are not age appropriate. This is about parent having the opportunity to participate in their children lives,” Lee responded.

Chaudhuri said he was not using the bill as a political platform.

“I am simply reflecting the emails and communications that came into my office in the last 24-hours that expressed outrage about the fact that we are doing nothing to keep our children safe.”

EqualityNC also rejected the notion SB755 would protect students.

“We face a teacher shortage and the NC GOP wants to make your teachers a target for extremists to harass and sue,” the LGBTQ+ rights organization tweeted.

Another aspect of the bill states health care provider who provide treatment for a child without first obtaining written consent from that child’s parent could face disciplinary action and a fine of $5,000.

HB 755 will be heard Thursday at 10:00am in the Senate Health Care Committee.

Click below to hear Sen. Chaudhuri’s remarks:

 

FDA chief cites ‘egregiously unsanitary’ conditions at Michigan baby formula plant