Archive for Mary Meisenzahl

All 4 nurses in a Kansas county’s health department refused to give out COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus vaccine
Pharmacies are finding themselves with leftover coronavirus vaccines, meaning some people can score a shot early with the planning.
  • All four nurses in one Kansas county's health department refused to give patients COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The health department administrator shared debunked vaccine misinformation as part of their reasoning.
  • The county will contract with other nurses to distribute the vaccine.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

All four nurses working in the health department of Coffey County in Kansas said they wouldn't give people the COVID-19 vaccine, a sign of how misinformation about the shots is spreading even among health professionals.

In a January 4 county commission meeting, health department administrator Lindsay Payer said that they were not willing to give the COVID-19 vaccine, The Daily Beast reported.

"My staff is not comfortable with that. It's a new technology we've never seen before," Payer told the Board of Commissioners in the meeting, which is available on YouTube.

MRNA vaccines, like those being distributed now for the coronavirus, have been studied since the 1990s.

Read more: What to say to a friend who's skeptical of getting the coronavirus vaccine

Payer said that she and other nurses in the department were uncomfortable with the vaccines and unsure of their safety, citing inaccurate information about the shots. She told the board that the health department would hire outside nurses who were willing to distribute the vaccine.

Coronavirus vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna were studied in tens of thousands of people. Pfizer's late stage trial, for instance, included more than 43,000 people. The vaccines weren't rushed - countries and organizations invested heavily in all stages of the development process, saving time. Scientists were also able to build on previous work on vaccines for MERS and SARS, which are also coronaviruses.

Data on both vaccines was scrutinized by the US Food and Drug Administration before the agency issued emergency-use authorizations for the injections. FDA found that the shots were highly effective and safe for most people to take.

As of January 13, Payer and other Coffey County health department nurses had not changed their minds. She told 13 News in Topeka that it was a personal decision for each nurse, not a message for or against getting the vaccine.

Read more: As an autism researcher, I've dealt with anti-vax misinformation for years. Here's how we can combat it during the COVID vaccine rollout

County Medical Officer Dr. Jeff Sloyer refuted Payer's misinformation in the next meeting.

"Both of these vaccines were very well studied," he said, according to Topeka's 13 News

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment shared a statement with 13 News on the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

"The data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19," the department said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The NRA has filed for bankruptcy after years of financial troubles

NRA
Then NRA Executive Director Chris Cox, left, President Donald Trump, and CEO Wayne LaPierre on April 28, 2017.
  • The NRA said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.
  • The organization has been beset by financial troubles for years.
  • The NRA is also relocating from New York to Texas, where it will register as a nonprofit. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The National Rifle Association has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the group said in a statement Friday.

The move is part of a restructuring process, the NRA said, and "day-to-day operations, training programs, and Second Amendment advocacy will continue as usual." Marschall Smith, a former senior vice president of 3M Co., has been named chief restructuring officer.

Read more: SCOOP: Don Jr. eyes a run for NRA chief. It's one more way the Trump family is making big plays to cement itself in GOP conservative politics for the next 4 years.

The gun-advocacy organization also said it was officially moving away from New York and what it called a "corrupt political and regulatory environment" to register as a nonprofit in Texas. In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA. In a settlement, the organization had to pay $2.5 million in fines and agree to a five-year suspension of its insurance.

The NRA has been in financial trouble for years. Internal financial documents showed it increased spending over revenue and ran a deficit for several years, including a gap of $10.8 million in 2018. Spending jumped in travel, entertainment, and legal and audit categories. Meanwhile, the organization cut spending for gun-safety programs.

Ohio State University accounting professor Brian Mittendorf, who examined the financial documents, told The Washington Post in 2019 that the documents were like those of a person living "paycheck to paycheck." In the statement announcing the bankruptcy filing, the organization said it was in "its strongest financial condition in years."

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Multiple dog foods recalled after 70 dogs died due to suspected poisoning

GettyImages 1230340689
  • Pet foods from Midwestern Pet Company are under a voluntary recall.
  • A reported 70 dogs have died, and more than 80 have gotten sick.
  • The food was found to have dangerous levels of aflatoxins, which are produced by mold.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The FDA is warning veterinarians and animal owners that Sportmix pet foods from Midwestern Pet Foods may be toxic.

The dog food might contain dangerous levels of aflatoxins, a toxin created by certain kinds of mold. So far, 70 dogs have died and more than 80 have become ill after eating Sportmix food, although not all the cases are confirmed to be from aflatoxins.

Read more: 'Pet parents' are expected to spend $99 billion on pet care this year, and Walmart has a plan to dominate the segment with pet insurance and dog walking partnerships

Midwestern Pet Foods has issued a voluntary recall of foods produced at the Oklahoma plant, and owners should stop feeding the food to pets immediately and consult a vet. They can also report suspected cases of aflatoxin poisoning to the FDA, which is investigating Midwestern Pet Foods in cooperation with departments of agriculture in 10 states.

Aflatoxin poisoning can cause "sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea" according to the FDA. It can also result in long-term liver damage and death. No illnesses have been reported in cats or humans, The New York Times reported, although people are recommended to wash their hands after handling.

The pet food company first issued a voluntary recall in December when tests showed high levels of aflatoxin. On January 11, Midwestern Pet Foods expanded the recall to include other products, and the full list can be found on the FDA's website.

"As a fourth-generation family-owned company, Midwestern Pet Foods has been committed to ensuring that our products are safe and nutritious for nearly 100 years. Until recently, throughout our long history, we've never had a product recall" the company said in a statement. "We continue a thorough review of our facilities and practices in full cooperation with FDA in an effort to better serve our customers and pet parents who put their trust in us."

MPF listed the codes of all the affected pet foods here.

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Tech experts and public figures are blaming Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for the siege of the US Capitol

capitol
Supporters of President Donald Trump take over balconies and inauguration scaffolding at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Social media companies have taken steps to temporarily ban Trump and put limits on his accounts.
  • Business leaders and tech experts have called out Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for their part in the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • Violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol during the presidential election certification on Wednesday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have each taken steps to limit President Trump's accounts on their platforms since pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, but many business leaders and public figures say its not enough.

Chris Sacca, who was an early investor in Twitter and Instagram, called the social media companies out on Twitter. He wrote that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have "rationalized this terror" and now "you've got blood on your hands." 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been openly critical of Facebook in the past. On Wednesday, he tweeted a meme calling the insurrection part of a "domino effect" that began as "a website to rate women on campus," a reference to Facebook's origins.

Susan Fowler, who famously called out sexual harassment at Uber, took aim at YouTube. "YouTube is and has been for a while the go-to place for dangerous radicalization content. The fact that YouTube doesn't take white nationalism, racism, and misinformation as seriously as ISIS recruitment videos says something about their priorities and their role in this mess" the New York Times journalist tweeted.

Read more: Resilient, authentic, vulnerable: How to lead like Stacey Abrams

Another Times employee, opinion columnist and tech reporter Kara Swisher, called out Twitter and Facebook in a series of tweets. First, she tagged Dorsey and wrote Trump "has incited violence for days, using your tools in large part and you need to act now." In a followup tweet, she tagged Zuckerberg,  Sheryl Sandberg, and global public policy chief Joel Kaplan, saying "Facebook also needs to act now to calm the situation."

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has been an outspoken critic of Facebook and Trump, and he tweeted after the platform banned the president that "every social media company, every online platform, every advertiser has a choice: Stand with Trump and the domestic terrorists who attacked the Capitol."

Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook and Google, told CNBC Wednesday that social media companies' business model of amplifying content like hate speech and conspiracy theories is to blame for the events at the Capitol. "Its the amplification of dangerous content that I would like to restrict, because that's simply a business model choice," he said.

Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook all removed a video of Trump disputing election results without evidence and calling the rioters "very special."  Facebookhas since blocked Trump indefinitely, at least through the end of his term. Twitter locked Trump's account until he deleted three tweets that violated the platform's policy. He has since deleted the tweets, which led to a 12 hour ban. Youtube introduced new rules that accounts that violate Youtube policies three times in 90 days will be permanently removed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Macy’s is closing 45 stores in 2021, and some have already started liquidation sales

Macy's
  • Macy's told employees at 45 stores that the locations would close this year, according to CNBC.
  • The closures are part of a plan to close one-fifth of stores by 2023.
  • Overall sales were down in 2020, partially in response to COVID-19 closures.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Macy's told employees at 45 locations that their stores would close in 2021, CNBC first reported.

The closures are part of the plan the retailer announced back in February 2020 to close 125 stores by 2023, about one-fifth of total locations. At the time, Macy's also announced that it would cut 2,000 corporate jobs.

Read more: Inside JCPenney's messy 6-month bankruptcy saga: How infighting and egos almost destroyed the company's shot at coming out of bankruptcy alive 

"As previously announced, Macy's, Inc. is committed to rightsizing our store fleet by concentrating our existing retail locations in desirable and well-trafficked A and B malls," a spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. The letters refer to the mall's ranking by analysts, with "A" being the strongest. "These closures bring us closer to achieving the right mix of mall-based stores."

Macy's says it will provide a list of locations to close on Wednesday.

Last year was disastrous for many retailers, due in part to the coronavirus forcing closures and reduced consumer spending. The first nine months of 2020 had more retail and restaurant chains file for bankruptcy than in all of 2019, including J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and JC Penney's.

Malls and anchor stores like Macy's were hit hard. Over the summer, retail consultant Jan Kniffen told CNBC this week that he expected one-third of America's roughly 1,000 malls to close by 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Macy's was already struggling before COVID-19 hit, with sales down year over year in Q4 of 2019. In Q3 of 2020, sales were down more than 20% overall, although digital sales did grow.

Liquidation sales have already begun at some closing locations, while others will begin by the end of the month, CNBC reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

California and New York will start paying out an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits soon, but other states could take weeks

Unemployment filing coronavirus
Ashley Testerman helps John Jolley resolve his unemployment claim at an unemployment event in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 15, 2020.
  • President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package on December 27.
  • The relief package includes $300 in weekly federal unemployment payments.
  • California and New York are among the states starting payments, while others might be delayed to mid-January or later.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 California, New York, Arizona, and Rhode Island will be the first states to start paying an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits that were part of the federal coronavirus relief package, CNBC reported. Over 10 million people are still unemployed, while millions are at risk of eviction or food insecurity.

State labor agencies say that the four states will start handing out payments this week, to be followed by Connecticut and Washington by the middle of the month, according to CNBC. Some Californians received the first payment on January 3. New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on December 29 that state residents would begin seeing payments the first week of January.

The $300 in federal money comes on top of already-existing state unemployment benefits and were enacted through March 14.

Read more: $600 checks for most people, help for entertainment venues, airlines and public transit. Here's what else is in the $900 billion stimulus Trump just signed.

President Trump signed the $900 billion relief package on December 27, which included $300 in additional weekly unemployment and $600 stimulus checks, after he had earlier called the rescue package "a disgrace."  About 14 million Americans temporarily lost benefits, because the payments are not retroactive. 

The $2 trillion CARES Act in March had a similar provision, adding $600 weekly to state unemployment benefits. It expired in July. In August, President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily continued some $300-per-week payments, though those benefits have also since run out.

See what else is in the stimulus here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Chipotle is launching cauliflower rice as customers demand keto-friendly options, but it costs almost as much extra as guac

chipotle
  • Chipotle is now offering cauliflower rice at all US and Canada locations.
  • Cauliflower rice will cost $2 extra and appeals to customers following Keto, Whole30, and other diets.
  • Chipotle began testing the grain-free rice in Denver and Wisconsin during the summer.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chipotle is bringing cauliflower rice to all Canada and US locations, after a limited release in certain cities over the summer.

The cilantro-lime cauliflower rice is available beginning January 4 for a limited time, though Chipotle did not specify how long that will be. Customers can order the option in place of white or brown rice for an extra $2 per order. To promote the product, Chipotle said that it will waive delivery fees on orders of $10 or more that include cauliflower rice.

Chipotle first tested cauliflower rice in 55 locations across Denver and Wisconsin over the summer after the brand noted customers were frequently requesting the option. "Chipotle fans have been craving more plant-powered, better-for-you options that align with the latest health trends and emphasize the benefits of real food," Chris Brandt, Chipotle's chief marketing officer, said in a press release. "That's why we are thrilled to offer Cauliflower Rice nationally and help our fans achieve their diet or lifestyle goals."

Read more: Shake Shack, Panera, and Chipotle open drive-thrus to keep up with fast-food rivals like McDonald's and Taco Bell

The cauliflower rice has four carbs per serving and fits within Whole30, Keto, Vegan, and Paleo dietary restrictions. To further capitalize on healthier options and "support fans' New Year's wellness resolutions," Chipotle is also introducing new Lifestyle Bowls designed specifically for followers of Keto, Whole30, vegan, and vegetarian diets. These bowls will only be available through digital orders. 

Chipotle's digital sales exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, making up more than half of sales in 2020. Now, the brand is investing in building more online-order only "Chipotlanes" and opening new locations. CEO Brian Niccol said in an earnings call that Chipotle plans to more than double its locations.

Keto-friendly fast food options have been on the rise in recent years. In 2019, Blaze Pizza unveiled a keto pizza crust option made from flaxseeds, eggs, and cheese instead of wheat flour for a net of six grams of carbs.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Apple Watch SE was my best purchase in 2020 – here’s why

Apple fall September event Apple Watch SE iPad

I bought the new Apple Watch SE in September after it was announced by Apple, and it was my favorite purchase of 2020.

Apple launched the midrange SE along with the most updated Apple Watch 6. I'd never owned an Apple Watch, or any smartwatch before, but at $280 the SE seemed like a reasonable option. The main feature it lacks form the more advanced model is the always-on display, but I've never found that to be a problem.

A minor tilt of my wrist has already become second nature to check the time, my fitness progress, or whatever else I need to see on the watch face. Since it arrived, I wear it nearly constantly, removing only to charge each day, usually while I'm in the shower.

Read more: Apple just launched a new camera feature for the iPhone 12 Pro that could change the way we think about smartphone photography

Here's how the Apple Watch SE became my best purchase of the year.

I'd been wanting an Apple Watch for a while, and when Apple announced the SE it seemed like the right model for me.
Apple fall September event Apple Watch SE iPad
Apple's creation studio has options to customize the size, case, and band. I chose the 40 mm gold aluminum case with the pink sand sports band.
Screen Shot 2020 12 29 at 2.23.34 PM
Apple Watch Se.
At first, all the widgets and potential displays were overwhelming. It took about a week of use to figure out what would work best for me.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
The WatchOS app has dozens of watch faces to choose from.
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Apple Watch SE.
Then, most of the watch faces can be further customized.
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Apple Watch SE.
You can change each little widget, called complications, to show activity level, alarms, heart rate, or dozens of other options.
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Apple Watch SE.
After switching between different styles, my go-to is a black and white display that shows the date, time, activity levels, and my heart rate.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
I also liked options for using photos from my phone as a background...
IMG_1720
Apple Watch SE.
...but ultimately they were not as useful for me as seeing the complications.
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Apple Watch SE.
There's definitely a learning curve to figuring out how to best use the watch, but like most Apple products it was fairly intuitive.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
Though sometimes they can be annoying, reminders to stand up and breath have been overall helpful while I sit at my desk all day working from home.
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Apple Watch SE.
The activity app has been huge in adjusting the way I think about my day, when I'm mostly stuck at home and sedentary. I especially appreciate being able to tailor the goals to what is realistic and doable for me.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
It was a little disturbing to see how infrequently I stand up during a typical workday, but the reminders at least make me think about it (even if I sometimes swipe them away.)
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
Though it seems silly, the exercise rings are actually really motivating to me, and usually push me to extend walks further.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
Using my Apple Watch during daily walks with my dog has been by far the most useful aspect of the device for me.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
I like to listen to music or podcasts while we walk, and it's so much easier to pause or skip through ads right on my watch, especially while juggling a leash, treats, and gloves, so I don't need to get my phone out of my pocket.
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Apple Watch SE.
Some apps, like my podcast player Overcast, have built Apple Watch apps that make them easy to control from the watch.
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Apple Watch SE.
After, it's easy to check how far we walked and make sure I've exercised her enough for the day.
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Apple Watch SE.
The battery life is good, too. I generally wear the watch all day and night, and charge it while I shower.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE.
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Dunkin’ is introducing new ‘extra charged’ coffee with 20% more caffeine that tastes the same as normal

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Dunkin' just announced it will sell coffee with extra caffeine to start the new year. Beginning December 30, customers can get Extra Charged hot or iced coffees for only $2 to encourage everyone to try out the new drink. The promotion runs through January 26.

The Extra Charged coffee adds 20% more caffeine to a medium coffee from added green coffee extract, according to Dunkin'. The extra caffeine is extracted from the coffee beans before they're roasted. There are other ways to add caffeine to a drink, like espresso shots, but Dunkin' Senior Manager of Research & Development Heidi Curry said that customers often want extra caffeine without changing the taste of their coffees, and espresso can alter the flavor.

Read more: How Dunkin' stole Starbucks' crown as king of social media in 2020 using TikTok stars, purple drinks, and coffee-scented candles

Dunkin' has grown and expanded in 2020 despite the pandemic that hurt some of its competitors. Third-quarter sales were up 0.9%, while Starbucks sales going down 9% in the same quarter.

"Dunkin' has outperformed Starbucks in many ways," industry expert John Gordon told Kate Taylor, with trendy menu items and social media collaborations since the brand's 2018 rebrand.

In November, Dunkin' was acquired by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby's, Sonic, and other fast-food chains in a deal valued at $11.3 billion. Dunkin' is valued at nearly $9 billion, per Pitchbook.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dunkin’ is introducing new ‘extra charged’ coffee with 20% more caffeine that tastes the same as normal

ExtraChargedCoffee+1_a34c554a 57eb 4c3e 8291 520ebe02b7b0 prv

Dunkin' just announced it will sell coffee with extra caffeine to start the new year. Beginning December 30, customers can get Extra Charged hot or iced coffees for only $2 to encourage everyone to try out the new drink. The promotion runs through January 26.

The Extra Charged coffee adds 20% more caffeine to a medium coffee from added green coffee extract, according to Dunkin'. The extra caffeine is extracted from the coffee beans before they're roasted. There are other ways to add caffeine to a drink, like espresso shots, but Dunkin' Senior Manager of Research & Development Heidi Curry said that customers often want extra caffeine without changing the taste of their coffees, and espresso can alter the flavor.

Read more: How Dunkin' stole Starbucks' crown as king of social media in 2020 using TikTok stars, purple drinks, and coffee-scented candles

Dunkin' has grown and expanded in 2020 despite the pandemic that hurt some of its competitors. Third-quarter sales were up 0.9%, while Starbucks sales going down 9% in the same quarter.

"Dunkin' has outperformed Starbucks in many ways," industry expert John Gordon told Kate Taylor, with trendy menu items and social media collaborations since the brand's 2018 rebrand.

In November, Dunkin' was acquired by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby's, Sonic, and other fast-food chains in a deal valued at $11.3 billion. Dunkin' is valued at nearly $9 billion, per Pitchbook.

Read the original article on Business Insider