COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Why the divergent fatality rates?, Time for Telehealth, Missing the Greatest Generation, Senator profiting from COVID-19 & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email:  pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org.

Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News:

Jim Stergios, Executive Director: This is a really thoughtful, data-driven look at the divergent fatality rates observed around the world, with focus on two western countries (Italy and Germany) and one Asian country (South Korea). The ability of South Korea to drive up testing across all of its populations has been critical in its thus-far successful strategy to turn back the tide on the virus.

William Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences: Here is a link to the widely-used Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking map.

Our Picks for Public & Private Sector Best Practices:

Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow in Healthcare, writes in CommonWealth magazine that Telehealth is a vital tool to serve patients and protect medical providers. Gov. Baker has taken some important steps to address current obstacles, and has a big opportunity to do more. Read more.

Barbara Anthony, Senior Fellow in Healthcare, writes in WGBH News about the generation who endured the Great Depression and World War II:

“Although we are deprived of their personal experience and guidance, we can still learn from their courage and strength and put our own complaints about lack of social contact in perspective.” Read more.

Barbara also shares a Boston.com news story on the City of Cambridge paying restaurants to make meals for the homeless. And she praises some municipalities, including Cambridge and Boston, for suspending the ban on plastic bags for essential businesses, and Gov. Baker for following suit with a statewide ban. On a related note, “kudos to Whole Foods at Fresh Pond for concrete steps to implement social distancing. This is the same method being used inside for checkout lines. Hopefully, all essential retailers are following suit.” See images below:

 

 

Jamie Gass, Director of Education Policy, shares with you an informative story: “The COVID-19 crisis is giving parents a taste of digital ‘unschooling’: With 55 million children now learning at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, digital homeschooling is providing an alternative form of education—one parents just might stick with once the threat recedes.” This story features a guest co-host of Pioneer’s “The Learning Curve” podcast, Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.

Shawni Littlehale, Director of the Better Government Competition, shares some information on the stimulus bill as it relates to small businesses.

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Mary Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency: Why is transparency of elected officials’ financial disclosures as important now as ever? Read how financial disclosures at the federal level revealed that one US senator may have profited from the COVID-19 crisis. Yet at the state level, financial disclosure transparency of elected officials and policymakers varies widely. Pioneer Institute can show you how your state ranks here.

Do YOU have interesting articles to share with us? Please email us, or message us through our social media channels below!

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Read our COVID-related content below:

UChicago’s Dr. Leon Kass on Genesis, Exodus, & Reading Great Books

This week on “The Learning Curve," guest co-host Jason Bedrick and co-host Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Leon Kass, MD, the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kass describes the important pieces of wisdom and humanity people today can still learn from reading the Book of Genesis, the topic of his 2003 work, The Beginning of Wisdom.

“America Today is on Bended Knee” – 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – 20 Resources for Parents & Students

The heroic stories of 9/11 are part of our national consciousness and memory. It’s the duty and obligation of the living and those who survived to pass along this history to the next generation. As Americans mourn the events of 20 years ago, while in the midst of another national crisis during COVID-19, let’s recommit ourselves to teaching students and the younger generation about seminal events like 9/11 that still shape our world today. To support this effort, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high school students.

NYT Best Seller Dr. Kate Clifford Larson on Fannie Lou Hamer & the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, a New York Times best-selling biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer. Kate shares why she has written about these historical African-American figures, and how she thinks parents, teachers, and schools can draw on their lives to talk about race.

Valhalla Foundation’s Nancy Poon Lue on STEM Access & Equity

This week on “The Learning Curve," host Gerard Robinson talks with Nancy Poon Lue, incoming Senior Director at the Valhalla Foundation, where she will be leading their K-12 math funding initiatives. Nancy shares her recent work with the EF+Math Program, some of the challenges America has faced in ensuring students have a strong grounding in math and science, and the kinds of results she aims to achieve for kids in all ZIP codes. 

Untangling Variants & Outbreaks: Can Vaccines & Natural Immunity Outrun Delta?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with author, surgeon, and public health expert Dr. Marty Makary about the COVID-19 Delta Variant, the durability of natural and vaccinated immunity, the benefits of booster shots, and the health risks for children as we move into the fall.

Trevor Mattos Shows How Massachusetts Runs on Immigrants

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Trevor Mattos, research manager at Boston Indicators, the research center at The Boston Foundation, which educates state and local leaders on the important contributions immigrants are making. They discuss the urgency of this work, particularly in a time of divisive disinformation about immigrants and the uncertainty of the pandemic, and some of the surprising findings on the disproportionately large impact immigrant workers, entrepreneurs and innovators are having on the local economy

Yale’s Pulitzer-Winning Prof. David Blight on Frederick Douglass, Slavery, & Emancipation

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with David Blight, Sterling Professor of American History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

UVA Prof. E.D. Hirsch, Jr. on Core Knowledge, Equity, & Educating Citizens

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Professor E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, and acclaimed author of the books, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation.

“Key of the Gulf” – Exploring Cuba – 35 Resources for Parents & Students

Castro’s despotism, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Embargo, remains the Cuban people – vibrant, creative, pious, and poor, who have continued to inspire and awe with their smiles, culture, music, dance, food, tobacco, resilience, and hopes. With the desire of passing along some of this magic to American families, students, teachers, and schools, we’re providing a variety of resources to educate our people about their neighbors, who live a mere 100 miles from our shores, in Cuba.

Human Rights Advocate Kristina Arriaga on Cuba, Religious Liberty, & Cancel Culture

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Kristina Arriaga, president of Intrinsic, a strategic communications firm, and former vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Kristina shares her family’s experiences fleeing Castro’s communist regime in Cuba and other hardships, and how her background has shaped her commitment to religious liberty.