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CWA Flash E-Newsletter - July 29, 2020
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Taking Care of Routine Healthcare  
Most of us have changed our habits due to the pandemic. Activities that once were a given in our day-to-day lives have become less common or have disappeared altogether. We've also stopped keeping appointments with doctors, dentists, physical therapists and more - here are some appointments experts say you might want to reconsider delaying. 
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Remembering John Lewis 
It is with deep respect and sorrow that we recognize the passing of Congressman John Lewis. As an African American child living in Alabama, he not only experienced racism, but at a young age was drawn to understand how to address racial injustices. He studied the approaches of and worked alongside leaders of the times, including Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, only to become a legendary leader himself. His life is a chronicle of lived experiences standing up for the rights of Black people and fighting against racism in all forms for all people. He not only lived with the pain of slavery, being a child of sharecroppers, but experienced brutal beatings by white supremacists and police, while participating in non-violent protests against racism. As a young adult he stepped up to participate in and eventually lead historic organizations and actions including the Freedom Riders, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Field Foundation. Since 1986 Congressman Lewis has been a leader in Washington DC continuing to include antiracism as foundational to the success of our country. During this time of renewed activism to stop systemic racism and police brutality, especially against Black, Indigenous, and people of color, Congressman Lewis was called upon to impart wisdom and advise. You can listen to a recent interview in June. Let us follow John Lewis' recent advocacy, "We must be able and prepared to give until we cannot give anymore. We must use our time and our space on this little planet we call Earth to make a lasting contribution. To leave it a little better than we found it. And now that need is greater than before."
House Approves WIC Funding 
Last week, the House approved USDA spending for fiscal year 2021, funding WIC at $5.75 billion for FY 2021, a $250 million decrease from FY 2020 levels, but WIC received $500 million in additional funding through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the House has proposed $1.6 billion in WIC funding in the HEROES Act as well. The House bill continues last year's $90 million allocation for the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program, which NWA had championed. The Senate has not taken up appropriations bills yet, significantly delayed while they battled the details of their version of a COVID relief bill. 
Senate COVID Package Concerning
Divided over what to propose in their next COVID relief bill, the Senate is months behind and just this week, unveiled their proposal, the Heals Act. With unemployment benefits set to expire this Friday, the Senate package proposes a complicated set of benefits, greatly reduced from the current levels. Of concern for food programs, there is no mention of USDA waivers, set to expire Sept. 30 and needing Congressional approval for an extension. Nor does the bill include any additional nutrition support, as is proposed in the House HEROES Act for SNAP benefits, Pandemic EBT support to replace school meals, and additional WIC funding for fruits and vegetables. ACTION: Continued communication with our representatives is vital in the coming months. Virtual visits are an easy way to speak up - if you'd like to organize or join a call or Zoom meeting with your member of Congress, please contact Sarah. NWA has also created an op-ed template to pitch in local media, building support for Congress to grant USDA the authority to issue waivers through September 2021. This important provision must be included in any COVID-19 relief package considered by the Senate later this month. CWA can assist you with this, and also available is Noora Kanfash, NWA's State Public Policy Associate, at nkanfash@nwica.org. 
Census and Undocumented Immigrants 
In another illegal attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration issued an executive order to identify and exclude census data from undocumented individuals for determining reapportionment of Congressional representatives. This is after earlier attempts to include a citizenship question in the census. This action would be significant for CA home to approximately 2 million undocumented immigrants. The state of CA and LA, Oakland and Long Beach have filed a suit against these actions. ACTION:Social media reminders may help counter fear and misunderstanding. Here are messages from CA Counts. 
Prepare Now to Vote by Mail
Election Day is still over three months off, but in light of major changes to the way California votes, and a lot of misinformation widely shared, voters should prepare now. By early October all counties will be required to send vote-by-mail ballots to the state's 20 million active registered voters, and elections officials will finalize mailing addresses as early as Labor Day. To make sure that you get your ballot as early as possible, you need to be registered where you currently live - many students and others have been forced to move during the pandemic, but haven't updated their address to receive voting materials this fall. Californians can register to vote and update their address at registertovote.ca.gov . The website also allows you to check your political party preference, your language preference for election materials, among other options. Once you receive and fill-out your mail-in ballot, you still need to sign the outside of the envelope. Experts from the California Voter Foundation also urge patience, as results in California as well as other parts of the country may be slow to come in.
CA Legislature Plans for Voting Remotely 
Last week, both houses of the California Legislature announced plans on how lawmakers could vote on bills while working remotely. The Senate and Assembly will use different methods of remote and proxy voting. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that the Assembly will let Assembly members vote remotely through four Assembly leaders. The votes cannot be changed and will only allow votes during floor sessions. The Senate, meanwhile, may only vote remotely during committee hearings. For Senate votes, all Senators must be present to cast their votes with no proxy voting being allowed. A quorum of in-person voters will be held at all times during votes in both houses. Both the Senate and Assembly return to work this week after summer recess was extended to clean and add safety measures in the Capitol building following a small outbreak of COVID-19 in early July struck the buildings. Lawmakers will now have a shortened voting timeline, and many non-emergency or COVID-19 based bills have already been set back to 2021 due to the limited number of days left until the end of the session on August 31st. Now legislatures will have to deal with a mix of remote and in-person votes and discussions. 
Gov. Newsom Announces Actions to Address COVID-19 in the Central Valley 
Governor Newsom started this week by announcing additional targeted actions to support the Central Valley - a region seeing concerning virus spread that is disproportionately impacting Latinx people. The Governor announced $52 million for Central Valley counties - San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern - to help expand disease investigation, contact tracing and quarantine efforts. In addition, the state will deploy three Unified Support Teams to these counties, which are experiencing increased cases and hospitalizations. Statewide, Latinx make up 38.9 percent of the population but comprise a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases (56 percent) and deaths (45.7 percent). In the Central Valley, where between 41-65 percent of any given county is Latinx, there are a disproportionate number of Latinx deaths compared to population - for example, in Fresno County, Latinx comprise 52.6 percent of the population and 65 percent of COVID-19 deaths. 
Schools in Most CA Counties Unlikely to Open This Fall 
Schools in most California counties are unlikely to open by the start of the school year under a new plan announced by Gov. Newsom earlier in July.  Schools located in counties on the state's monitoring list are prohibited from allowing in-person instruction, until they emerge from the list for 14 consecutive days.  The state's monitoring list identifies at-risk counties based on a set of metrics, including the number of new infections, the "positivity rate" or percent of positive virus tests and increases in hospitalizations. The administration also provided guidelines for when students are able to return for in-person instruction, including use of masks, temperature checks, regular testing, and contact tracing.Bottom of Form Under a newly enacted law, school districts will be required to provide devices and ensure internet connectivity for every student. Schools must also provide daily live interactions for every student with teachers and peers. 
Public Comments on 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines 
USDA and HHS will hold an online-only meeting to hear comments from the public on the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Registration to attend the online meeting, Aug. 11, 8:30am-1:00pm ET, and to present oral comments is now open. For members of the public interested in providing oral comments, please note that confirmation of registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Comments will be facilitated live via an operator-run webcast platform; detailed instructions will be provided to all confirmed oral presenters. Please note that individuals who submit a registration form to provide oral comments must also register to attend the meeting. Unable to participate in the live webinar? You can still participate in the public comment process by submitting a written comment to USDA and HHS on the Committee's Scientific Report before August 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm, Eastern time. USDA and HHS will consider the Advisory Committee's Scientific Report, along with public and agency comments, as the Departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. What's the difference between the Scientific Report of the Committee and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? See this infographic. Learn more about next steps in the USDA-HHS process to develop the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines.  
CWA News
Beverly Kyer
Empowered Young Families Unite, Inspire, Uplift!
We will see you in a month at the virtual conference Empowered Young Families Unite, Inspire, Uplift! Final details are coming together. We will provide you with the conference platform a week before the event so you can sign in, create your profile with your favorite photo and fun facts and look around. Kind of like checking out the hotel at a conference before it starts. We are excited to provide you with an outstanding agenda. As an example, On Wednesday August 26th, Beverly Kyer, Founder and CEO of The Kyer Group will share how to recognize the risks and challenges of compassion fatigue and understand the benefits of planned and intentional self-care in Surviving Compassion Fatigue, aka Secondary and Vicarious Trauma and the Importance of Self-Care. Check out the conference information, including the agenda and FAQs.  
Our Top News Picks
Strengthening WIC's Impact
A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation details the temporary changes permitted in WIC program operations and services, as a result of COVID. Reflecting on the evidence-based outcomes throughout WIC's nearly half century, and recent multi-year lag in participation, the emergency flexibilities are an opportunity to implement lasting program changes with positive impacts. With the economic fallout due to the pandemic expected to worsen and remain for several years, the need for improvements is significant. The authors call for evaluation on a wide range of program aspects under the flexibilities, including enrollment, eligibility, outreach, food package flexibilities, breastfeeding support and telehealth. 
National Eviction Crisis
Last week, the federal moratorium on evictions in properties with federally backed mortgages and for tenants who receive government-assisted housing expired. The Urban Institute estimated that provision covered nearly 30% of the country's rental units. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that he would extend that moratorium, but these tenants are now unprotected from eviction. At the same time, some 25 million Americans will stop receiving the $600 weekly federal unemployment checks by July 31, as most of the statewide eviction moratoriums are winding down and eviction proceedings have resumed. By one estimate, some 40 million Americans could be evicted during the public health crisis, compared to the Great Recession, where evictions topped out around  100,000. 
COVID-19 and In-Utero Infection
New data is emerging to indicate that infants of infected mothers can contract COVID-19 in utero, although it's rare. Cases in France,Italyand the United Stateshave pointed to the virus, in some instances, being able to reach the placenta and replicate there. In more encouraging news, scientists think in utero infection will continue to be uncommon, because a recent studyfound that while cells in the placenta had many of the receptor proteins that allow viruses to propagate, there was evidence of only "negligible" amounts of a key cell surface receptor and an enzyme that are known to be involved in allowing the coronavirus to enter cells and replicate. This comes at the same time as growing evidence that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 may become more severely ill. 
Families With Children Experiencing More Stress, Hunger
A survey published in Pediatrics last week indicates that a high number of families are struggling with physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting disruptions to things like school, work and childcare. Twenty-seven percent of parents reported worsening mental health for themselves, fourteen percent reported worsening behavioral health for their children, and twenty-four percent of parents reported a loss of regular childcare. Worsening physical and mental health were similar no matter the person's race, ethnicity, income, education status or location. However, larger declines in mental well-being were reported by women and unmarried parents. Since March, more families are reporting food insecurity, and more reliance on food banks, and delaying children's visits to health care providers. With COVID-19 cases and deaths on the rise around the country, families may continue to experience higher levels of need and disruption. 
CA Works to Shrink Alarming Gap in Infant Mortality Rates
There is an unacceptable disparity in birth outcomes for California's Black families. Infant mortality, low birth weight and preterm births occur at alarming rates for Black babies, particularly compared to other groups around the state. To address these disparities, California established the Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI), an initiative intended to support and promote interventions that will help Black babies live and thrive. The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division (MCAH) recently published a new program profile with details about PEI. We invite you to share this profile with your stakeholders to help spread awareness about how California is helping Black families achieve perinatal health equity. Visit the PEI landing page for additional information about the initiative. Want to help spread the word about PEI? Feel free to borrow from any of the posts below, or visit the MCAH Social Media page to download the graphics today. 
InformaGente COVID-19 Toolkits 
Last week, Listos California and leading national Latino organizations - National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) - released the latest installment of InformaGente. The online conversation series aims to bring critical information on COVID-19 and emergency preparedness to Latinx communities across the Golden State. This episode is focused on helping California workers and their employers understand what employers must do and what they cannot do as California continues to try to limit the spread of COVID. Linked below are InformaGente social media toolkits in English and Spanish with graphics and suggested messages. Please feel free to distribute this series to your network and community who may find these online conversations beneficial. English toolkit, Spanish toolkit. 
World Breastfeeding Week is Coming Up! 
To celebrate the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week, NWA's Breastfeeding Promotion Committee developed a breastfeeding infographic that can be made into posters or fliers for display in WIC clinics, doctors' offices, bookstores, churches, and more. This graphic is availablein English and Spanish. WIC plays a vital role in the promotion and support of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding peer counselors, IBCLCs, lactation consultants, and other lactation professionals help WIC elevate the capacity of breastfeeding to improve health outcomes of moms and babies. Join us in celebrating this important occasion! Click here for more information about World Breastfeeding Week.
Native Breastfeeding Week #1stSacredFood Twitter Chat 
The second week of World Breastfeeding Month (August) is dedicated to Native Breastfeeding Week. Now, more than ever, it is important to connect with Native and Indigenous mamas and parents across social media around issues of birthing, breastfeeding and parenting little ones in a pandemic. The Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition and Bold Futures have teamed up to host the 6th annual #1stSacredFood Twitter Chat that shows love for breastfeeding in Indigenous communities. This will take place on August 13th at 2pm MDT. Don't worry if you have never heard of a Twitter chat or even used Twitter, you will be guided along so you can participate too. Here's an example of a past #1stSacredFood Twitter Chat. Questions are created ahead of time, and you can participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. If interested, please respond to Amanda Singer and/or Esperanza Dodge to get involved, along with what org you will be representing.
COVID Symptom Tracker App 
A new free app is helping track the onset and progression of COVID-19 symptoms for over 4 million users across the US, Sweden and the UK. The COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app has been created to collect information on your general health and whether you are well or have symptoms, helping identify those at risk sooner to slow outbreaks. The research, led by Dr. Andrew T. Chan, at Massachusetts General Hospital, provides critical real-time information on COVID-19 symptoms, baseline health factors, infection status, and clinical outcomes to researchers every day. By tracking the exposure, the data can be used to better understand how to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Secure anonymized data from the app will be made available to academic researchers, health services and policymakers on a strictly non-commercial basis. Crucially, the zip code-level data from the app should help hospitals and the CDC predict when and where the next wave of the virus will hit - vital information that will enable decision-makers to allocate limited resources more effectively and to get the country back on its feet as quickly as possible. This data will be invaluable to improving our understanding of risk factors for COVID-19 and outcomes from the disease.
You can help researchers better understand the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 by using the app, available in English and Spanish, for Apple, Covid Symptom Tracker or Android/Google, Covid Symptom Tracker. For questions about the app or download issues, please email predict@mgh.harvard.edu or covidtrackingquestions@joinzoe.com. Share the app with your friends and family.
California WIC Association
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Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760