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6 Reasons Why the Nurses Union Endorsed Bernie Sanders Over Hillary Clinton
The more than 100,000 people who have jammed into arenas in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Madison and other cities should be a wake up call for anyone still on the sidelines in the critical 2016 election campaign.
National Nurses United, I’m proud to say, has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for many of the same reasons that have brought those 100,000 people to their feet.
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) August 11, 2015
Bernie Sanders aligns perfectly with nurses on the most critical problems facing our nation, from income inequality to guaranteeing healthcare to all to holding Wall Street and corporations to account to opening the doors to college education for everyone to racial justice to the climate crisis.
Those are the same issues that animate nurses when we talk about voting for nurses’ values—caring, compassion and community to heal America.
But we also support the Sanders moment because of the rare opportunity his campaign represents to not just speak truth to power, but to join movements together to change our country. To stand as a social movement against the obscene wealth that controls our lives, starves our communities, destroys our people and expand a populist movement that put human life before profit.
All the establishment pundits who are scrambling for ways to dismiss the outpouring of excitement for his campaign and to marginalize those who have filled the stadiums increasingly look like cranks trying to stop an approaching train.
Bernie can’t win. Exactly what they said about President Barack Obama at this parallel point in 2007. American history, of course, is filled with examples of change that could never occur, until it does—abolition of slavery, votes for women, ending legal segregation, the right to same sex marriage. Sanders is used to the naysayers. They said he couldn’t win running for mayor of Burlington, as an independent running for Congress and then Senate and he won them all. That’s why we have elections—to let the voters, not the “experts,” decide.
He’s not drawing African American and Latino voters. As his campaign and platform become better known, that is changing, evident in the multi-racial crowd at his overflow Los Angeles rally and support from young artists like Lil B and Killer Mike. At a time when Cecil the lion evokes more outrage than the death of Sandra Bland, Bernie is increasingly speaking out and has advanced a platform with a call for a “societal transformation” to end police violence, mass incarceration and “institutional racism.” Nurses hold every life in their hands. Nurses know why Black Lives Matter needs to be amplified and so does Bernie Sanders.
He’s an “avowed democratic socialist.” That fear mongering has lost much of its resonance. What does democratic socialism mean in America? It’s how we teach our children, put out fires, pay for our libraries and for building our roads, bridges, highways and street lighting. It’s how we inspect our food to make it safe, to provide oversight for clean air and water, develop life saving medications and vaccines and of course, provide Social Security and Medicare. Every governor, mayor and school board member who uses public funds to pay for basic services could be called a socialist.
We also support the Sanders moment also because of the rare opportunity his campaign represents to not just speak truth to power, but to join movements together to change our country. Photo credit: National Nurses United
As nurses, an organization of predominantly women, I have been asked, don’t you want to break the glass ceiling with Hillary Clinton?
Yes. We’d love it if Hillary had Bernie’s politics, his unequivocal opposition to a dreadful Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that would expand big pharma’s monopoly control over high priced drugs and hand corporations increased ability to overturn public protections. And if she opposed the toxic polluting, climate disaster known as the Keystone XL pipeline.
And we’d especially love to see her standing up for single payer, Medicare for all at a time when millions remain uninsured, skipping needed care or facing bankruptcy due to inflated medical bills.
But, at a time of the greatest income disparity in nearly a century, Citizens United corruption of our political system, an all out assault on workers lives and a threat to our planet and our future, our first challenge today must be to break the Wall Street, corporate stranglehold over our economy, our politics, our nation.
“You’ll never have to wonder which side I am on,” he says. While other candidates are intrinsically tied to Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce, Bernie not only calls for repeal of Citizens United and public financing of campaigns he is the only candidate not taking money from big corporations and PACs.
Bernie wants to take money from Wall Street too—by taxing them to fund a civil society with the health care, the jobs, the housing and the environmental protections people need.
Bernie Sanders knows that his campaign is not about him. It’s about all of us. And it will take all of us to change the course of history. It’s time to start now.
RoseAnn DeMoro is executive director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses, and a national vice president of the AFL-CIO. Follow Rose Ann DeMoro on Twitter.
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A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.
How does our immune system react to the coronavirus?<p>The coronavirus is — like any other virus — not much more than a shell around genetic material and a few proteins. To replicate, it needs a host in the form of a living cell. Once infected, this cell does what the virus commands it to do: copy information, assemble it, release it.</p><p>But this does not go unnoticed. Within a few minutes, the body's immune defense system intervenes with its innate response: Granulocytes, scavenger cells and killer cells from the blood and lymphatic system stream in to fight the virus. They are supported by numerous plasma proteins that either act as messengers or help to destroy the virus.</p><p>For many viruses and bacteria, this initial activity of the immune system is already sufficient to fight an intruder. It often happens very quickly and efficiently. We often notice only small signs that the system is working: We have a cold, a fever. </p>
Is there an immunity? How long does it last?<p>The good news is that it is very likely there is an immunity. This is suggested by the proximity to other viruses, epidemiological data and animal experiments. Researchers <a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.13.990226v1" target="_blank">infected four rhesus monkeys,</a> a species close to humans, with SARS-CoV-2. The monkeys showed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, developed neutralizing antibodies and recovered after a few days. When the recovered animals were reinfected with the virus, they no longer developed any symptoms: They were immune. </p><p>The bad news: It is not (yet) known how long the immunity will last. It depends on whether a patient has successfully developed neutralizing antibodies. Achim Hörauf estimates that the immunity should last at least one year. Within this year, every new contact with the virus acts as a kind of booster vaccination, which in turn might prolong the immunity.</p><p>"The virus is so new that nobody has a reasonable immune response," says the immunologist. He believes that lifelong immunity is unlikely. This "privilege" is reserved for viruses that remain in the body for a long time and give our immune system a virtually permanent opportunity to get to know it. Since the coronavirus is an RNA (and not a DNA) virus, it cannot permanently settle in the body, says Hörauf.</p><p>The Heidelberg immunologist <a href="https://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/immunologie/immunologie" target="_blank">Stefan Meuer</a> predicts that the novel coronavirus will also mutate like all viruses. He assumes that this could be the case in 10 to 15 years: "At some point, the acquired immunity will no longer be of any use to us because then another coronavirus will return, against which the protection that has now been formed will not help us because the virus has changed in such a way that the antibodies are no longer responsible. And then no vaccination will help either."</p>
How can we take advantage of the antibody response of the immune system?<p>Researchers are already collecting plasma from people who have successfully survived an infection with SARS-CoV-2 and are using it to treat a limited number of patients suffering from COVID-19. The underlying principle: <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-drugs-can-antibodies-from-survivors-help/a-52806428" target="_blank">passive immunization.</a> The studies carried out to date have shown positive results, but they have usually been carried out on only a few people.</p><p>At best, passive immunization is used only when the patient's own immune system has already started to work against the virus, says Achim Hörauf: "The longer you can leave the patients alone with the infection before you protect them with passive immunization, the better." Only through active immunization can one be protected in the long term. At the same time, it is difficult to recognize the right point in time.</p><p>PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are currently used to find out whether a person is infected with the coronavirus. With the help of PCR, it is not possible to tell whether or not there is reproducible viral RNA; it is just a proof of whether the virus is still present, dead or alive. A PCR test cannot tell us whether our immune system has already intervened, i.e. whether we have had contact with the virus in the past, have formed antibodies and are now protected. Researchers are therefore working on tests that check our blood for the presence of antibodies. They are already in use in Singapore, for example, and are nearing completion in the USA. With the help of these tests, it would finally be possible to gain an overview <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/corona-confusion-how-to-make-sense-of-the-numbers-and-terminology/a-52825433" target="_blank">of the unclear case numbers.</a> In addition, people who have developed antibodies against the virus could be used at the forefront of health care, for example. An "immunity passport" is even under discussion.</p>
Is it possible to become infected and/or ill several times with the coronavirus?<p>"According to all we know, it is not possible with the same pathogen," says Achim Hörauf. It is possible to become infected with other coronaviruses or viruses from the SARS or MERS group if their spike proteins look different. "As far as the current epidemic is concerned, it can be assumed that people who have been through COVID-19 will not become ill from it for the time being and will not transmit the virus any further," he says.</p>
How long before you're no longer contagious?<p>A study <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2196-x" target="_blank">carried out on the first coronavirus patients in Germany</a> showed that no viruses that are capable of replication can be found from day eight after the onset of symptoms, even though PCR can still detect up to 100,000 gene copies per sample. This could change the current quarantine recommendations in the future.</p><p>According to the Robert Koch Institute, patients can currently be discharged from hospital if they show two negative PCR samples from the throat within 24 hours. If they have had a severe case of the disease, they should remain in domestic isolation for another two weeks. For each discharge, whether from hospital or home isolation, they should have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.</p>
Why do people react differently to the virus?<p>While some people get off with a mild cold, others are put on ventilators or even die of SARS-Cov-2. Especially people with <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-who-is-particularly-at-risk-and-why/a-52710881" target="_blank">pre-existing conditions</a> and older people seem to be worst-affected by the virus. Why? This is the hottest question at the moment.</p><p>It will still take a very, very long time to understand the mechanistic, biological basis for why some people are so much more severely affected than others, virologist Angela Rasmussen told <em>The Scientist</em>. "The virus is important, but the host response is at least as important, if not more important," her colleague Stanley Perlman told the magazine.</p><p>Stefan Meuer sees a fundamental survival principle of nature in the different equipment and activity of our immune systems: "If we were all the same, one and the same virus could wipe out the entire human species at once. Due to the genetic range, it is quite normal that some people die from a viral disease while others do not even notice it. "</p><p>Achim Hörauf also suspects immunological variants that could be genetically determined. Since interstitial pneumonia is observed with the coronavirus, the focus is probably on an overreaction of the immune system. However, it is also possible that each person affected may have been loaded with a different dose of the virus, which in turn leads to different outcomes. And finally, it makes a difference how robust the body and lungs are: Competitive athletes simply have more lung volume than long-time smokers. </p>
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