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Bill to bring back eviction moratorium filed in Congress

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Bill to bring back eviction moratorium filed in Congress

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., hope to bring back the COVID-era eviction moratorium, a move property owners continue to oppose.

“An extremist Supreme Court cut short eviction protections and put millions of people at risk for losing their homes,” Warren said in front of the White House Tuesday. “Forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes will only make this public health crisis worse as (the delta variant) surges.”

The Supreme Court struck down the federal eviction moratorium late last month, arguing that the Department of Health and Human Services lacked the authority to implement eviction moratoriums and that Congress had to specifically authorize it.

The bill, titled the “Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021,” would also implement an automatic eviction moratorium that would not require renters to apply, an issue Massachusetts renters and landlords have struggled with, and would remain in effect until 60 days after the end of the public health emergency.

But landlords, who have long opposed the moratorium, said it would only saddle renters with debt they can’t pay.

“Instead of responsibly addressing the crisis at hand, moratoriums leave renters strapped with insurmountable debt and housing providers left to unfairly hold the bag,” said Greg Brown, a senior vice president for government affairs at the National Apartment Association. “Ultimately, any effort to pursue additional moratoriums will only balloon the nation’s rental debt … and exacerbate the housing affordability crisis, permanently jeopardizing the availability of safe and affordable housing.”

Warren argued that a stay on evictions have staved off some COVID-19 spread, and cases spike after they expire. One study from MIT found that the average risk of contracting COVID-19 in states that ended eviction moratoriums jumped 1.39 times in the five weeks following the expiration, and 1.87 times after 12 weeks. The effect was amplified in low-income communities.

The Bay State senator acknowledged that, although Congress approved $45 billion for rental assistance to help landlords, “the money is going out too slowly.”

She cited statistics that almost 90% of the funds haven’t been distributed. “There are still billions of dollars to distribute and millions of families who need that help to avoid losing their homes,” she said.

Massachusetts received $768 million in federal emergency rental assistance funds and has spent almost $270 million on over 40,000 households since March 2020, according to recent data from the Baker-Polito administration.

Massachusetts currently has a temporary law in place that prevents evictions, providing the tenant has filed for rental assistance.

— Herald wire services contributed

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In northern Colorado’s strained hospitals, ongoing COVID fight is “three-dimensional chess, all day every day”

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In northern Colorado’s strained hospitals, ongoing COVID fight is “three-dimensional chess, all day every day”

If the previous waves of COVID-19 in Colorado were a sprint, the current “high plateau” the state is experiencing is like trying to run a marathon at close to a full sprint, hospital leaders in Larimer County said.

This week, Larimer became the second county along the Front Range to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in an effort to reduce the burden on hospitals whose intensive-care units already were full. Boulder County had reinstated its mandate in early September.

Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales briefed Loveland City Council members Tuesday, telling them he had hoped the era of mask mandates was over, but with hospitals at or above capacity for at least six weeks and the pace of new vaccinations slowing down to fewer than 100 per day, the county was out of options.

Hospitals in the county are putting two patients in ICU rooms designed for one, and less severely ill patients are stuck waiting in emergency rooms for beds to open somewhere, he said.

“What I saw (visiting in September) was what I saw back in December,” he said.

About 16% of people currently hospitalized in Colorado are residents of Larimer or Weld counties, though only about 12% of the population lives there, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Thursday.

Hospital capacity is especially strained in northern Colorado, but it’s been a growing issue statewide, with COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing since late July. This week they reached a level — 1,132 confirmed patients — not seen since Christmas as only about 120 intensive-care beds were available statewide. Nearly 80% of COVID-19 patients in Colorado hospitals are unvaccinated.

As of Friday, 100 people were in Larimer County hospitals with COVID-19, as intensive-care units expand to care for more patients than their normal capacity. At the previous worst point, in early December, 122 people were hospitalized in Larimer County with COVID-19, according to the county health department.

In some ways, the situation is worse than it was in December, said Dr. Steven Loecke, chief medical officer at Banner Health. Hospitalizations rose and fell quickly in previous waves, whereas the current “high plateau” has lasted for weeks. The leaders of the nursing team are meeting four times a day to try to find beds for everyone and staff to take care of them, he said.

“It’s three-dimensional chess, all day every day,” he said.

Frontline staff are tired and emotionally drained this far into the pandemic, especially now that so many of their patients are people young enough to have children at home, said Margo Karsten, CEO of Banner Health’s northern Colorado region, which includes Banner Fort Collins Medical Center and McKee Medical Center in Loveland.

Hospital leaders are also worn out from managing a long surge, she said.

“Over the last nine weeks, none of them (the nursing and medical leaders) have gotten a full night’s sleep,” she said. “They’re on call, 24-7, managing the pandemic.”

Despite the perception that Colorado hospitals are being overrun by out-of-state transfers, that’s not the case, Karsten said. The vast majority of patients in the Larimer County hospitals are from northern Colorado, with transferred patients in the single digits, she said at the council meeting on Tuesday.

COVID “just part of the story”

Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, said the two hospitals have postponed non-emergency surgeries for the past nine weeks because they don’t have intensive-care beds available if a patient needs one while recovering. The average non-COVID patient stays in the hospital about three days, while COVID-19 patients who don’t need intensive care stay five to six days. The sickest COVID-19 patients can stay 25 days or longer, he said.

“That’s where we’re starting to get into trouble,” he said. “We’re not able to turn those beds over.”

Unger said COVID-19 patients are using about half of the intensive-care beds in UCHealth’s northern Colorado hospitals, which is a problem because hospitals also have to treat people who’ve had accidents, heart attacks or severe cases of another virus.

“The COVID volume is just part of the story,” he said.

It’s not just a Larimer County problem, said Dr. Diana Breyer, chief quality officer of UCHealth’s northern Colorado hospitals. Systemwide, UCHealth had 311 COVID-19 patients as of Friday, which is about the same number as in late December 2020.

“We’ve been at this since August,” she said. “We are full everywhere.”

The UCHealth hospitals have started using a “team” approach, where nurses without ICU training work under a specialized nurse, helping with routine tasks like managing catheters and repositioning patients to prevent bedsores, Breyer said. They had done that to extend staff in previous surges, she said.

Some hospitals have started putting intensive-care patients into rooms on the “progressive care unit,” which is designed to be a step-down phase between the ICU and an ordinary floor, Breyer said. Since those rooms are set up with the equipment needed in an intensive-care unit, the main difference is bringing in more staff to handle less-stable patients, she said.

“It’s a long haul”

This wave has been particularly difficult for staff, both because it has lasted two months and because the general public doesn’t seem to understand how dire the situation is, Breyer said.

“It’s not just a sprint, where everyone chips in and we get through it,” she said. “Everyone’s chipping in, but it’s a long haul.”

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NFL Picks: Green Bay big home favorite over terrible Washington defense

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NFL Picks: Green Bay big home favorite over terrible Washington defense

Game of the week

Kansas City at Tennessee

The Chiefs are a 4 1/2-point road favorite and the combination of their blowout win at Washington and the Chargers’ blowout loss at Baltimore last week put them just a game behind the Bolts/Las Vegas. Tennessee is coming off an emotional win over Buffalo on Monday night and the Titans will have a letdown.

Chiefs 34, Titans 24

Lock of the week

Washington at Green Bay

Before traveling to Denver next Sunday, WFT (a 9 1/2-point underdog) will serve as the Packers’ punching bag at Lambeau Field. It is remarkable that a defense with so many first-round picks, led by Chase Young, can be so bad. WFT is second-worst in yards allowed (423.0), worst in pass defense (309.5) and worst in points allowed (31.0).

Packers 38, Washington 17

Upset of the week

Atlanta at Miami

How can anybody pick the Dolphins after their loss to Jacksonville last week in London? The 1-4 Fins are a 2 1/2-point favorite and declined the post-London bye week to play the Falcons, who were off last week. The only thing that may save general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores is swinging a deal for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Falcons 30, Dolphins 14


Around the AFC: Tennessee’s Derrick Henry running away from other tailbacks

Mark Zaleski, The Associated Press

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) dives into the end zone for a touchdown ahead of Buffalo Bills cornerback Levi Wallace (39) in the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.

Around the AFC

Henry running wild. Tennessee tailback/wrecking crew Derrick Henry is running away with the NFL rushing lead … literally. The Yulee Bulldozer — the nickname I’ll take credit for giving him when he was a high school player in the Jacksonville, Fla., area — enters Week 7 with 783 rushing yards, a whopping 260 more than the next-closest player (Cleveland’s Nick Chubb). Henry’s 10 rushing touchdowns are double any other player. He can’t keep up this pace, right? His current projections are for 459 carries for 2,218 yards, which would both be single-season records albeit in a 17-game season. The current record holders are Eric Dickerson (2,105 yards for the Rams in 1984) and Larry Johnson (416 carries for Kansas City in 2006).

Perryman trade working out. Those watching last week’s Broncos game against Las Vegas probably noticed No. 52 in a white jersey/silver britches all over the field. It was middle linebacker Denzel Perryman and he has proved to be one of the best preseason acquisitions in the league. Perryman signed a two-year, $6 million contract with Carolina, which flipped him with a seventh-round pick to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick on Aug. 26. Perryman previously played for Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with the Chargers and replaced Nicholas Morrow, who sustained an August foot injury. Perryman is tied with Seattle’s Bobby Wagner for the NFL tackle lead (72) and has at least 10 tackles in every game.

AFC cross-off teams. The AFC has only one team with five wins (Baltimore) compared with six for the NFC (Arizona has six to lead the way). Cross-off-from-playoff-contention teams already are the Jets (1-4), Miami (1-5), Houston (1-5) and Jacksonville (1-5). A 9-8 record could secure the seventh and final playoff spot. At least the Jets and Jaguars feel they have their quarterbacks in place.


Around the NFC: Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs’ interception ability puts him in rare company

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs on ...

Steven Senne, The Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs on the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass.

Around the NFC

Record-tying Diggs. Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs is outshining his brother Stefon, the Buffalo Bills’ star receiver. Trevon joined Pittsburgh’s Rod Woodson as the only two players in league history with seven interceptions in their team’s first six games with last week’s interception-for-a-touchdown at New England. Frequent notes contributor Dan Daly researched that Diggs is only the 10th player to have at least 10 interceptions in their first 18 career games; the only Hall of Famer on the list is Mike Haynes. In the last 42 years, the only player with a season of more than 11 interceptions is the Raiders’ Lester Hayes (13 in 1980).

Adams, Kupp starring. The last time the NFL had two 1,600-yard receivers in the same year was 2015 when defenses had no answers for Atlanta’s Julio Jones (1,871) and Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (1,834). Through six games, Green Bay’s Davante Adams (668) and the Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp (653) are averaging 100-plus yards per game. Their statistics are even more impressive considering both of their teams are 5-1 and have three wins by double digits, meaning they aren’t in must-throw-to-rally mode. Both players should have big games Sunday — Adams faces Washington’s league-worst pass defense and Kupp plays the 19th-ranked Detroit pass defense.

Panthers back to .500. Feel better, Broncos fans, your team isn’t the only one who followed a 3-0 start with three consecutive losses to fall crashing back to reality. Carolina won by five, 19 and 15 points and have lost by eight (at Dallas), three (vs. Philadelphia) and six (vs. Minnesota) points. Credit coach Matt Rhule for pounding the drums after the overtime loss to the Vikings in which Carolina passed 41 times and ran 23 (four of those were quarterback scrambles). “We’re going to run the football,” he said. The Panthers play at the lowly Giants on Sunday.

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Upcoming DC Comics live-action ‘Batgirl’ movie to cast trans Asian American woman

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batgirl dc comics cast alysia yeoh

HBO Max’s upcoming “Batgirl” movie is currently looking to cast a trans Asian American woman for a supporting role.

Awaiting: On Oct. 14, Kate Ringsell Casting tweeted an open call for an untitled DC project under Warner Bros, which is suspected to be for character Alysia Yeoh, according to ScreenRant.

  • The movie will focus on the character Barbara Gordon’s rendition of the masked vigilante, who is also the daughter of Jim Gordon, Gotham City’s Police Commissioner.
  • Yeoh is one of the first major trans characters to be added into mainstream comics and first appeared in “Batgirl (vol. 4) #1” in 2011.
  • Created by writer Gail Simone and Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf, Yeoh becomes Gordon’s roommate and longtime friend, with the latter later also becoming her maid of honor.
  • Although it’s unconfirmed that the role is for Yeoh, “Bad Boys for Life” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were confirmed to lead the “Batgirl” movie in May and were also listed on the call.
  • Whoever secures the supporting role will fit the bill for a woman in her mid-to-late 20s, named Alanna. A childhood version of Alanna is also being cast as an Asian American trans girl or nonbinary person between the ages of 10 and 12.
  • The deadline for the possible Yeoh role ends on Oct. 28, and the movie is slated to premiere in 2022.

Featured Image via DC Comics/Joshua Middleton

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