“Keeping Everything In Perspective”

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Last month, the nation’s rollout in vaccina- tions experienced a hiccup when the CDC -temporarily paused Johnson & Johnson’s one dose vaccine, – a move that set vaccine hesitancy back a notch or two. The decision was made after six (eventually increasing to a total of 15) cases of thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) or blood clots in the large blood vessels in the brain in what was an extremely rare occurrence for those with low blood platelets.

Of course, the rarity makes little difference if your loved one is the one in a million, but here’s some data that could help to keep things in perspective, keeping in mind that all of the cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59–with a median age of 37 years with symptom onset 6 to 15 days after vaccination.

Deadly blood clots caused by birth control pills kill 300-400 women in the U.S. every year. According to another report, 100 people die every day of taking too much Tylenol. In fact, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity is the second most common cause of liver transplantation worldwide and is responsible for 56,000 emergency department visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and 500 deaths per year in the United States. Fifty percent of them unin- tentional according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The truth is there are risks to nearly every medication on the market.

Here’s the more relevant statistic. Without any of the three vaccines, 290 out of 100,000 blacks in L.A. County will die of COVID-19, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The good news is we are heading towards normalcy. Just recently, the CDC relaxed some of the restrictions about mask wearing and Governor Newsom has said that by June 15 California will lift most COVID restrictions and reopen the economy.

With outdoor mask restrictions the first to go, experts are now focused on high risk settings, such as large gatherings and closed spaces with poor ventilation, which is why –erring on the side of caution–our annual First Ladies High Tea is scheduled for April 2022.
And keep those vaccination cards handy. All indica- tions are that you will need them to prove that you have been immunized against COVID-19. According to some, they are the ticket back to the good old days and yet another reason to get vaccinated,– that’s unless you live in Texas or Florida where they are being banned.

In what was last month’s other big news story, a jury in Minneapolis came to the right verdict in a decision that is reverberating in police departments across the nation following a case that sparked the nation’s most intense reckoning on racial issues since the civil rights movement. This, as Americans are finding out just how deadly traffic stops can be for black men, and though less frequently black women, with Daunte Wright among the latest fatal casualties.

A report by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Office of the Inspector General, published last year found traffic stops of whites (and some other groups) were most likely to be related to how the suspects were driving, while Black and Hispanic people were most likely to be stopped for having expired vehicle registration docu- ments, or some other regulatory or equipment violation.

Philando Castile was stopped 52 times resulting in 86 minor traffic offenses before he was ultimately shot to death in a traffic stop in 2016 that turned tragic in less than a minute.

We understand that police are human and make mis- takes. So too are the people they stop. Caution is always advised. Abuse is not acceptable.

Still, there are those who would argue that the jury had to find him guilty to stave off riots characterizing the verdict as mob justice even as one columnist ironically wrote: “a guilty man was railroaded.”

The truth of the matter was a not so perfect man was killed that day, despite people pleading with a heartless officer to take his knee off his neck so he could breathe.

After years of drug abuse, perhaps his heart wasn’t the strongest. He also had Fentanyl in his system and he may have inhaled carbon dioxide, but keeping everything in perspective, but for the knee on his neck, George Floyd would have lived to die another day.

There are reports that officers are leaving police forces in droves. But if that’s due to the idea that they could or should be held accountable for their actions–or their prejudices, perhaps they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

I respect the fact that police put their lives on the line every day, but I respect just as much that the black com- munity shouldn’t have to fear that a traffic stop could cost them their lives.

I’ve always believed that police should be held to a higher standard given the power they’ve been given under color of authority. And for all the talk about bad apples, some- times they fall from rotten trees.

George Floyd’s family got $27 million in a settlement, but that won’t solve the problem. After all, in police set- tlements, it’s taxpayers like you who foot the bill.

In closing, I want to wish all a Happy Mother’s Day, especially to my Mom, Aleasta Newborn, who taught me that for every problem I had, that I was part of the problem and that just as surely I was most of the solution.

Keep the faith.


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