By Jeremy Santiago
Tag Archives: pandemic life
By Monse Juarez
The decision has been made by several colleges and universities across the country: students will be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Some exemptions from this requirement include religious and medical reasons. Aside from the exemptions, there has been pushback by Republicans and even from parents of students. However, the majority of students have not tried to fight the decision at which colleges have arrived. It is clear that different groups have formed their own opinions about the Covid-19 vaccine, however the real question is: Should colleges require students to be vaccinated?
To answer this question, society must first consider if it is actually legal for colleges to set this requirement. According to Harvard Law Professor, Glenn Cohen, colleges aren’t exactly breaking any laws. On the other hand, there aren’t any laws that explicitly say it is allowed. The Covid-19 vaccination roll-out for college students has been controversial for this very reason. The law doesn’t explicitly forbid or allow college institutions from setting vaccination requirements. In reality, the pushback comes from individual states that have decided to ban Covid-19 regulations like masks and vaccinations.
Clearly, Covid-19 vaccinations are needed to make sure that people are safe. So in reality the Covid-19 vaccination requirement that has been implemented by several colleges across the country, is not exactly illegal. Some colleges already require that students receive flu shots, and all public schools require vaccinations for things like MMR and chickenpox. So the Covid-19 vaccination requirement is actually not as far-fetched as some may believe.
By Mario & Mathew Ruiz
Teens are now able to get the Covid-19 vaccine. With all states now starting to open slowly, vaccination eligibility to residents 16 and up, these teens are among the latest groups trying to get the vaccine. Children as well as teens tend to get mild cases of Covid-19, though some have gotten very ill, and have even died from the virus. So by getting vaccinated it can help protect them. Vaccinating these younger populations will help limit the spread of the virus, as proven by the experts.
To my knowledge, many teenagers want to get vaccinated to be able to go out more and keep themselves safe. WIth the reopening of many schools, graduation being around the corner, some health officials are reminding the teenagers about how they may be at lower risk of Covid-19. Many parents want their kids to get vaccinated but others are unsure so it is both-sided. The plan is to get millions of people vaccinated so the rates can drop and everything can go back to normal again. Well, that has already begun. Disneyland has reopened, as well as Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, Universal Studios and many other attractions starting to reopen with precautions.
When teenagers were first eligible to get vaccinated, over 2,000 kids got the shot in the third phase among those who have received it and have no side effects. It has been said that 12-15 year olds produced higher levels of antibodies on average than older teens and adults. So far, it has been successful for the vaccinations on these kids. But everybody’s body is different and they can also react to things differently. Results of further data are being expected in the second half of the year.
By Daisy Penaloza, News & Opinion editor
In the last couple of weeks, much to the relief of many, Americans began seeing a rise in their bank accounts. That is because the stimulus checks have finally started arriving; and, more are on the way!
How did this come about?
The American Rescue Plan is a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus bill created by President Joe Biden and signed into law on March 11, 2021. This bill includes many benefits for people who qualify.
This stimulus bill will bring aid to small businesses and communities as well as many others in need.
This new plan covers just a small portion of what is needed in order to rebuild what was of incredible destruction from the previous years, from the United States last administration. We all know how much of a struggle those last four year were.
Anyways, enough about that. It’s time to focus on the new, the better. We’ve finally got some good coming our way, let’s see what that’s all about.
This new bill incorporates many needed factors from creating millions of additional jobs to advancing racial equity. Many people will finally see their window of opportunities arise.
As President Joe Biden stated, “It’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better.”
With this new plan, Americans are hopeful that the country will begin to recover from not only the consequences wrought by the traumatic pandemic but also from the period of national upheaval and unrest.
By Carter Balbuena 含光君
The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:
Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.
Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.
Public and Education
Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.
Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.
by Eliza Rodrigueza
School is a big part of a student’s life and it will prepare them for adulthood, but since 2020 students have been in distant learning and taking classes over Zoom. If given the option to go back on campus, I wanted to see what the students would choose, so I created a Google survey and asked students to participate.
My question was simple, If high schools were to open again and you were given two options to choose from: (1) going back on campus, or, (2) staying home and continuing to do distance learning, which one would you choose?
Out of the fifty students who responded to the survey, the results were pretty close. 52% said they would opt to return to campus while 48% stated they would remain home.
When asked about her choice to continue distance learning, Cadet Paula Huerta stated,
“I personally do not think it is safe enough to go back. My dad is very prone to getting sick and it could be very risky. The vaccine is out but it doesn’t mean it is a cure.”
Personally, I agree with what Huerta has said because it is not yet safe to go back to school even if the vaccine has been released.
Cadet second class Briana Guvara shared that, “Yes I would go back on campus because distance learning is very distracting.”
Staff Sergeant Mia Martinez states, “I would like to go back on campus because I need to get out of the house. And because I miss seeing my friends even if we are conversing from 6 feet apart.” It’s easy to understand that students miss seeing their friends.
Those wanting to return to school have valid reasons. The distractions at home can really get in the way of learning, and all of us miss socializing with friends.
What to Consider?
In January, Harvard Health Publishing released information on the Coronavirus Outbreak, and it stated that younger kids can get COVID-19 too.
Still, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District just reopened elementary schools beginning Monday, March 29th. But unfortunately, there has been no vaccine released for younger children under the age of 16.
Therefore, I don’t believe that it is safe to send them back to school; younger kids are very naive, and they do not always listen to what adults tell them to do. They may not wear their masks. They may share them with friends. If it is not safe for high school students, why would they send little kids to go back to school?
Just because a vaccine was released there are still many possibilities where it can go wrong and turn out for the worst.
The decision about whether or not it is safe and advisable to return to school remains quite controversial.
If you were given the option, which would you choose? Sound off in our comments section.
By Evelyn Aquino
Starting this Monday, March 29, preschool through 2nd grade students in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District returned back to campus for in-person learning on a hybrid learning schedule. 3rd to 5th grade students are expected to be back after spring break on Monday, April 12, 2021. Parents were given the option to either return their kids back to in-person school or continue digitally online.
In my opinion, schools should not reopen yet; instead, they should focus on how to improve for the following school year instead of possibly putting kids at risk of getting the virus right now. If one person–either a student, teacher, or staff member–got the virus, they would have to close again or send multiple people into quarantine, which could possibly lead to kids falling behind once again. It will also take time for students to adjust to the sudden change of going from online to in-person, and there are fewer than 40 days of school left.
Although young kids are less likely to transmit the virus, it is still important that the schools continue following safety precautions. They should still be 6 feet away from each other while wearing masks, and teachers and custodians should clean any surfaces that the students would most likely touch, such as the door handles, desks, books, and any electronic devices.
It was believed that many parents didn’t want their children to return to school when cases were at the peak. Now, around 50% of parents want their children to return to school since cases are decreasing and L.A. County is slowly reopening since it approached the red tier. Opening schools in general was something that wasn’t settled knowing the risks of getting the virus. Reopening elementary schools was the first approach because they only stay in one room all day.
Young kids will most likely have difficulties following the same precautions an adult has to follow. It is also a concern for kids with special needs. Most might be capable of following safety protocols, but others might not.
It might be better if schools didn’t reopen for the rest of the school year; but the opening has begun, and now we wait and see how things go.
Here are the facts on the amazing science behind the quickest vaccine ever produced
By Andrea Arias
In April 2020, amidst the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the question “When will the vaccine be ready?” first arose, the New York Times released an article where they projected that the vaccine could take until 2033, even though health professionals were aiming to get it done by August 2021. Little did they know that in a little over eight months, the first vaccine for COVID-19 would be approved. Remarkable.
Before the COVID-19 vaccine was created, the quickest vaccine was for the mumps in the 1960s, and that vaccine took 4 years. So, why was the COVID vaccine projected to take so long, and how were we able to get it done so quickly?
–Vaccine Development Process–
Vaccines have always been projected to take years, this is due to the process that takes place to create a vaccine. The process of creating a vaccine is done by using a deactivated version of the virus or a “live but mild version” of the virus that has grown to be less severe. This is then injected into someone, which allows our B cells to create and synthesize antibodies to fight the virus if we are ever to come in contact with a live version.
While this is the traditional and most common vaccine (flu vaccines were created using this method), due to the severity and need for a Covid vaccine as quickly as possible, some companies decided to use a new method this time. Since SARS-CoV-2 was a new virus (SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus and COVID-19 stands for the disease, Coronavirus Disease 2019), with no previous research or understanding of the virus it would be difficult for a vaccine to be created.
The new method used to create the COVID-19 vaccine is called an mRNA vaccine. mRNA is messenger RNA, and its job is to produce proteins. So, how does an mRNA vaccine work? Well, by encoding mRNA with the information needed to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, this allows the body to then realize that this protein is an invader and produces antibodies to fight it. Essentially, it is the same process as a traditional vaccine, but instead of using a version of the virus, a synthetic mRNA is injected and binds to human cells and then creates a “spike” protein (which is what allows coronavirus to infect other cells).
Only two companies decided to take the approach of using an mRNA vaccine, these two were Moderna and Pfizer. The latter is a company under a German government program that is pushing for a vaccine, and the former is a company under the Operation Warp Speed started by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. With the press release from Moderna and Pfizer, we are able to learn how Phase 1/3 went, and how quickly these two companies were able to come up with a solution and vaccine in just 8 short months. According to BioSpace, by Phase I both Moderna and Pfizer achieved outstanding results in non-human models that produced sufficient CD4+ T cells against the virus (see graphic, below). CD4+ cells are “helper” cells that trigger the body’s response to infections.
This is being attached to T cells which are the key white blood cells for the immune system. Along with this, within the first phase both Moderna and Pfizer realized the importance and essential need for a two-dose vaccine. This was discovered because it was found that 43 days or two weeks after the second dose participants had the same level of antibodies as people who had recovered from the virus. While during Phase I Moderna only managed to create a protein, mRNA-1273, that could protect against replication in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2, in a later phase they found how to also prevent infection from the virus.
–Other Promising Vaccines–
While the mRNA vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer have been the quickest to be created and released, they are not the only vaccines being created. There are three other types of vaccines being used by other companies to help put a stop to this pandemic. Novaxax is creating a protein-based vaccine, which uses related versions of the spike protein and injects this into a person. By doing this, the protein tutors the immune system in how to fight the virus. This, in turn, allows cells to be pushed into the frontlines, dedicated to fighting the virus. Protein vaccines have been around much longer and have been proven to be highly effective, but they are slower to produce than mRNA vaccines.
Research on the Novavax vaccine has found that it has the highest neutralizing antibodies reported yet. Another type of vaccine is the adenovirus-based vaccine; Johnson & Johnson as well as AstraZeneca have been trying to create this type of vaccine, and it appears that Johnson & Johnson has succeeded. Adenovirus-based vaccines are prepared by inserting a transgene cassette into the adenoviral backbone by homologous recombination, which is an exchange of genetic information from similar or identical molecules or DNA or RNA. According to the CDC, this is a vaccine that is taken orally and is only used in the military, and none exist for public or general use in the U.S. Similarly to the protein vaccine, adenovirus vaccine technology has existed for several years but has not been used to create a general vaccine for public use.
–Timeline of Historic Vaccines–
•December 31, 2020 The first case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 was reported in Wuhan, China.
•January 29, 2020 The first lab-grown 2019-nCov was created. This at the time was the first step for a traditional version of a vaccine for COVID-19 to be created.
•February 13, 2020 A radiologist from Wuhan published findings of a chest CT scan which suggested four evolutionary stages of COVID-19, these four stages being the early stage (0–4 days), progressive stage (5–8 days), peak stage (9–13 days), and absorption stage (≥14 days). Within this time, researchers found that there was an abnormality within the patient’s lungs.
•February 17, 2020 Just a few days later, it was revealed that warmer weather and humidity might not affect the spread of COVID-19 like many had suggested. This posed a problem as, unlike the flu, a person is likely to contract the disease at any point and time of the year.
•February 24, 2020 With shocking speed, Moderna, one of the companies to later release a well-developed vaccine, sent a vaccine to phase 1 testing in the U.S.
•February 26, 2020 Novaxax announces possible candidate against the Coronavirus.
•March 16, 2020 Moderna vaccine testing begins.
•March 30, 2020 Johnson & Johnson announced a lead candidate for their version of the COVID-19 virus. The Janssen vaccine is not a mRNA vaccine but an adenovirus based vaccine.
•April 29, 2020 The first group for Phase I testing is injected with the Pfizer vaccine.
•May 15, 2020 The Trump administration announces ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ This is done to speed up the process of the vaccines currently being tested, which at the time were Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.
•May 25, 2020 Novavax initiates the start of Phase 1/2 testing in Australia, for their NVX-CoV2373, protein-based vaccine.
•May 29, 2020 Moderna starts their evaluation of the vaccine in Phase II. They ran a placebo-controlled experiment to confirm the dose and evaluate the safety of the vaccine.
•May – July 2020 Seven pharmaceutical companies were approved into ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ These were: Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Moderna Inc., University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc, and Novavax, Pfizer Inc. *Note: Pfizer was not initially involved but a deal was made for 100 million doses of their vaccine in mid-July*
•June 5, 2020 The BBC announced for AstraZeneca that they will begin producing potential Covid vaccines. Around this time, AstraZeneca’s vaccine also passed to Phase I. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine but instead a double-stranded DNA vaccination rather than a single-stranded mRNA. The vaccine is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222.
•July 27, 2020 Moderna begins Phase III testing of their mRNA-1273 vaccine. On this day, Pfizer also chose their lead mRNA vaccine to advance into Phase II.
•August 24, 2020 Novavax advances to Phase II of Phase 1/2 clinical trial of their NVX-CoV2373 vaccine.
•August 31, 2020 AstraZeneca’s advances to Phase III clinical trials in the U.S. for all adult groups.
•September 2, 2020 AstraZeneca temporarily pauses clinical trials of their Covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, due to an unexplained illness that occured in the UK during their Phase III testing there. The clinical trials have to be stopped to ensure the safety of all participants.
•November 8, 2020 Pfizer conducted their Phase III trail revealing an efficiency rate above 90%
•December 8, 2020 The first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine is a 90-year-old woman in the United Kingdom.
•December 10, 2020 Pfizer publicized the results of the Phase III clinical trial. There were 43,448 participants, 21,720 of which received BNT162b2, the vaccine, and 21,728 received a placebo, using the two-dose regimen of BNT162b2, which was given 21 days apart. This demonstrated the vaccine to be 95% effective against COVID-19.
•December 11, 2020 The U.S. FDA approved the first Covid vaccine for emergency use in the U.S., the Pfizer vaccine.
•December 18, 2020 The FDA approved the Moderna vaccine to be the second vaccine approved for emergency use in the U.S.
•December 20, 2020 The U.K. authorized the use of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine.
•December 28, 2020 Novavax announces the start of their PREVENT-19 Phase III trial in the U.S. and Mexico.
•January 8, 2021 A Pfizer press release announced that their Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the multiple mutations recently discovered.
•January 28, 2021 In a press release by Novavax, they stated that in their Phase III trials in the UK proved their vaccine is 89.3% effective against Covid-19. (This test was conducted against the new variant in the UK as well as during a time of high infectious rate, meaning they are looking to create a strong vaccine to stop the multiple mutations of Covid-19, including the one in South Africa.)
•February 3, 2021 AstraZeneca announces that their vaccine is 100% effective against severe cases of Covid-19, making it likely the most effective vaccine to be released.*
*Note: this is only against severe cases, hospitalizations, and death; it is still likely to get coronavirus but the likelihood of being hospitalized is very slim from these results.
•February 4, 2021 Johnson & Johnson requested emergency authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19, vaccine which has been found to be 72% effective, less than both Moderna and Pfizer but large nonetheless for such a short period of time. The J&J vaccine was also able to test against the new variant of the virus present in the U.S., South Africa and Latin America at this time.
•February 7, 2021 Africa suspends the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to minimal protection it provided for the variant identified there.
For more constant updates on new vaccines and other vaccines not listed above check out the New York Times Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker which is updated constantly. They also do a great job in breaking down all the vaccines and their purposes.
by Amya Felix
Students, are you feeling worn out after completing–or even just staring at– an enormous amount of homework? Teachers, do you ever just want to scream at the top of your lungs?
If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.
The year 2020 has taken over (and by taken over, I mean obliterated) our social lives and pretty much everything else we loved or needed to do to keep ourselves calm and bring joy to our lives.
As much as we want to scream out loud or throw a giant textbook against the wall, there are other ways to relieve stress that can heal our minds, bodies, and souls. So instead of carrying the heavy burden of stress everywhere we go, let’s take a look at some activities that will help make us feel calm and at ease.
Music is something that few can resist when feeling blue or frustrated, and it doesn’t much matter what genre of music you listen to. Music is an emotional cure that can make you feel peaceful and soothe your soul. According to Vedic educator Adam Brady, “Using specific pieces of music or melodies [can actually assist] with healing and helping to settle the mind.” Music has the ability to increase our dopamine level, breathing, and heart rate. So, whether you’re cleaning, cooking, doing homework, or even working out, music will always have your back!
Have you ever dreamed of having your very own personal spa? Well, there’s this wonderful invention called a bathtub. That’s right, taking a bath can not only cleanse your body, but can clear your mind from anything you’re going through.
Although scented candles, bath oils, and fancy soaps, are always a nice touch, there are other inexpensive or free ideas to try out. For starters, turn off your overhead bathroom light and plug in a small night light. Don’t have one? Bring in a low-light lamp and place it on the floor. No matter how you accomplish it, the idea is to reduce the lighting so that you have a calmer more relaxing experience.
No fancy oils or bath bombs? No problem. If you have baby oil in the house, you can add a few drops. This will soften harsh water, and help your skin feel silky smooth. Just be careful when you stand up because it can make the tub slippery. Now choose your favorite or regular bar of soap. Before lathering up, take some deep breaths and allow the sweet fragrance of the soap to work it’s magic.
Your bath time doesn’t have to be fancy or pricey to be enjoyable or relaxing, it just has to be planned. With a few minutes of prep time, you can create the soothing environment you need to help wash away your worries.
It’s such an uncomfortable feeling when your body is aching because you’ve been sitting in one place all day long. Yoga is a great way to relieve this type of pain and can keep you stress free. It’s also a wonderful way to help a body stay in terrific shape. Check out this video:
This last self-care suggestion is also a great daily habit to develop because having healthy and clean skin is definitely something almost everyone wants to accomplish and maintain. No matter your gender, good skin and skincare is important. And, it can be quite therapeutic.
Every evening, whether it be the moment the warm water gently splashes your face or the moist heat of a warmed up cloth is placed against your skin, the feeling is the same: almost instantaneous decompression and de-stressing. Take the time to truly enjoy this daily nighttime routine.If you’re in the mood for some fresh face masks or products that will make your skin glow, check out Best Skin Care: Target. Target’s online shopping store provides you with great products for affordable prices. Their que bella spa masks are awesome, and they run from $1 to $2.50 each. Plus, you can get two spa treatments per package, so make the most of it. Invite your sister, brother, mom, or friend to join you for some “us time” and pampering. Or, simply put the open package into a plastic baggie and seal it up ‘til next time.
Life gets extremely stressful, and these past twelve months have been chaotic and beyond stressful for us all. So remember, every now and then plan a break, make a time to relax, and enjoy your moments of stress-free bliss. You deserve it!
A Female Shih Tzu named Oreo McFlurry Martinez
by Mia Martinez
Would you own a puppy right now if you were able to?
For weeks, I had been wondering what to name my new puppy. She would be arriving in 7 weeks! I needed a name. It took me a while to figure out the perfect one. While my cousin, who is also getting a puppy, and I were texting, she gave me the idea of Oreo McFlurry. Instantly, I thought YES! My puppy’s black and white fur and the name Oreo fit perfectly.
The puppy was born January 3rd, so I have to wait a total of 8 weeks to bring my new friend home. In the meantime I will be creating a little corner for her in my room with a crate, bed, blankets, pads, and toys.
This puppy will be the 2nd dog I have owned. But I haven’t had a dog in a couple of years. So I am going off of my memory of what I remember from having a dog in the past. I recall some of the basic necessities they needed on a day to day basis.
She will need pads, training treats, food, a crate, a bed, blankets, and toys, And Items for her hygiene care such as a brush, shampoo, conditioner, etc. From YouTube videos I watched about the same breed of a dog is that some leashes and collars are better than others and now I know which ones are better.
It was important to research this breed to learn how big she’d get. The reason it was important is because I needed to know what size bed and crate to get her, so I wouldn’t need to continue buying new beds and crates as she grows.
Why get a puppy right now?
Since COVID-19, everyone is at home–well–everyone should be staying at home–so instead of being bored, doing nothing, and especially instead of being by yourself you could have a little buddy to lighten up your day!
The dog could bring pleasure into your day. Since there is a lot of negativity in the world right now, having a puppy might bring you joy and help you emotionally and physically. Even though taking care of a puppy is a lot of work, the benefits are worth it.
Dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, and they can ease loneliness and depression. For these reasons, dogs are great companions for older adults too.
Dogs can help you be more physical because they need to go on walks, and they enjoy activity. You can chase them around the house or the yard and play catch or fetch with them. All of this gets your heart beating faster in a good way. Something many of us really need these days.
So since we are in quarantine, and since we really don’t know how much longer this pandemic will last, we should all make the most out of being at home.
For me, the answer was simple: I got a puppy!