Why business leaders need a ‘wake-up call’ to take burnout seriously right now, experts say

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(NEW YORK) — Amid the coronavirus pandemic, another health crisis has been lurking.

It affects people of all backgrounds and in some cases can have profound impacts on their health.

Burnout in the American workforce, which surveys indicate was a widespread problem even before the pandemic, is an issue that employers and managers can no longer afford to ignore as many companies contemplate return-to-office strategies and the future of work in general.

“This is a historic time; we’ve never been through anything like this. Our mental health and our physical health are really being taxed,” Darcy Gruttadaro, the director of the American Psychological Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health, told ABC News. “If there was ever a time to raise these issues, it’s now.”

“If you’re experiencing burnout and you’re trying to ignore it, that will eventually catch up with you,” Gruttadaro warned.

Burnout is also killing people, new data indicates. Last month, the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization said that working long hours led to 745,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016, a 29% increase since 2000. In a statement accompanying the study, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus linked the COVID-19 pandemic to “blurring the boundaries between home and work,” which resulted in longer hours for many — and thus a higher risk of premature death.

And if that isn’t enough for business leaders to take action, experts note that burnout is also linked to plummeting productivity, poor retention and other factors that can impact a company’s bottom line.

Data shows that pandemic-battered workers are now leaving their jobs at some of the highest rates ever. The share of workers who left their jobs in April was 2.7%, marking the highest “quits rate” since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping records, according to data released by the agency earlier this month.

Here is what experts say defines burnout, why it’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, and what can be done to address it:

What burnout is and why it’s been magnified by the pandemic

While the term has been used colloquially for decades, the World Health Organization used three factors — energy depletion or exhaustion, distance or cynicism to one’s job and reduced professional efficacy — to define burnout as an occupational phenomenon for the first time in 2019. It is not classified as a medical condition.

“Burnout is when an individual is experiencing high levels of stress — and usually a person becomes cynical and kind of distant from their job. They just really are not feeling good about their job at all,” Gruttadaro said. “And then the third big area is their efficiency or their ability to perform their job really drops.”

It does not just have to do with workload, however, but also whether there is a sense of fairness in the workplace and the amount of control workers have over their tasks. While the self-help industry and employers may place the blame on the individual, experts say it usually has more to do with the workplace than a specific employee.

High levels of stress associated with burnout can manifest in people experiencing depression, anxiety, substance use, heart disease, obesity and a number of other illnesses, according to Gruttadaro.

Reports of depression and anxiety amid the pandemic have spiked significantly, she added, and overdose deaths have also soared — likely showing that many are turning to substance use in high numbers.

The pandemic has been linked to higher rates of burnout for both essential workers and white-collar office workers, many of whom had the privilege of continuing their jobs remotely.

For essential workers, the pandemic brought a myriad of new and chronic stressors related to trying to stay healthy and safe while working on site or getting to and from work, as well as many new restrictions and changes outside of their control at work.

For those who have been working remotely, many reported working longer hours — marked by days spent eating lunch at their desks or working through the time they would have spent commuting. As a shift to remote work blurred the boundaries between being on and off the clock, some data indicates work productivity actually ticked up during the health crisis.

New caregiving responsibilities as schools and day cares shuttered throughout the past year also disproportionately impacted mothers, leading to an alarming exodus of women in the workforce — many of whom cited “burnout” as the reason for leaving or downshifting their careers, one study found.

“Burnout is essentially saying there’s something not healthy, or not fair, in a lot of different places,” Christina Maslach, a professor emerita of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and a core researcher at the school’s Healthy Workplaces Center, told ABC News.

Maslach noted a feeling of unfairness — in pay, treatment and work assignments — within the workplace is especially linked to burnout.

That sense of unfairness can lead to negative feelings and cynicism toward your work, which often means “that people, in trying to cope with that, are doing the bare minimum rather than their very best,” Maslach added.

Maslach pioneered research on burnout, creating the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a research measure that was a key contributor to the WHO’s later work on burnout.

While there is a common fallacy that burnout and stress is a personal weakness or flaw, Maslach said it usually has to do with an unhealthy work environment rather than an individual not being able to take care of themself.

“It’s rarely something that affects an individual alone; it’s not just about workload,” she added. “It’s about how much control that you have and it’s also affected by the extent to which you get recognized and rewarded for doing good things as opposed to ‘a good day is a day when nothing bad happens.'”

What can be done to address burnout

Maslach warned that many of the solutions to burnout touted by the self-care industry and beyond deal more with coping rather than prevention, and sustainable solutions would require overhauls that tend to be very job-specific but address the root causes of what makes a workplace stressful and exhausting.

“It’s analogous to the canary in the coal mine,” Maslach said. “When the canary goes down in the coal mine and is having trouble breathing, and not surviving and not doing well, you don’t worry about how to make the canary stronger and tougher; you say what’s going wrong in the mine? Why are the fumes getting so toxic that a community can’t survive?”

Gruttadaro said that one thing employers can certainly do, however, is recognize that leadership matters with regards to burnout.

“Leadership sets the culture and organization,” she said, which is why it is so critical to make sure that “managers and leaders are modeling good behavior and not sending emails very late at night, not sending weekend emails all the time.”

Effective communication between managers and workers is also key, Gruttadaro said, such as having check-ins where workers can feel comfortable voicing their concerns to their managers and not just through human resources departments.

Microsoft’s annual 2021 Work Trend Index report warned that business leaders are “out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call.” The report found high levels of overwork and exhaustion among employees, but a major disconnect compared to managers. Some 61% of business leaders say they are “thriving” — 23 percentage points higher than those without decision-making authority.

At the individual level, Gruttadaro recommended doing what you can control — such as “setting healthy boundaries” — and if you’re working remotely to try and mimic the hours you would do if you were still going into the office.

When it comes specifically to dealing with stress management, Gruttadaro emphasized that exercise and sleep are essential, as well as engaging with activities that you enjoy.

“There are likely to be higher incidence of burnout at jobs in which people don’t have as much control over the activities they do during the day as part of their job,” Gruttadaro added. “So the more that employers offer opportunities for people to find meaning and purpose in their work, and really feel like they’re making a difference and they have some control and there’s a certain level of fairness associated with the way they’re treated during the day — these are all elements of a healthier work environment.”

Some companies, including Bumble, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite, have responded to post-pandemic burnout recently by giving all staff an entire week off.

Maslach added that the present time provides the ideal opportunity for organizations to get creative with solutions that aren’t just treating the symptoms of burnout but creating a work environment that people actually want to be a part of.

“The changes in the pandemic I think underscored an important bottom line, which is the importance of a healthy workplace,” she said. “We have to rethink what makes for healthier environments in which people can do productive, meaningful and valuable kind of work.”

“And if anything, the pandemic is pointing out you could do things differently,” Maslach said. “Let’s get creative, let’s rethink this.”

“It may not be the ‘same old, same old’ going back to normal workplaces,” she said. “How do we learn from this and figure out better ways of doing what we do?”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Alyson Stoner reveals she put herself through conversion therapy

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Alyson Stoner opened up about one of the lowest moments of her life, revealing she went through conversion therapy in 2018.

Conversion therapy is described as a practice to forcibly change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  At least 20 states have banned the practice on minors.

The Suite Life of Zach & Cody star recently spoke to Insider and admitted she struggled to come to terms with her sexuality because it conflicted with her religion.  Stoner, who identifies as pansexual, said her struggles worsened after she fell in love with another woman.

“I felt stuck. I felt wretched. I felt like everything was wrong with me,” Stoner, 27, explained. Shortly after, she said she admitted herself into an “outpatient variation” of conversion therapy “because I just wanted to do the right thing.”

Stoner admits what she experienced while undergoing conversion therapy three years ago is “legitimately difficult” to discuss.

“My mind doesn’t want to even go there,” the actress confessed, noting that trying to recall the memories makes her shake. “I’m not capable yet of going back and recounting specifics, which is an indicator of just how difficult that chapter was for me.”

The Mind Body Pride author hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale for others considering conversion therapy, noting, “The dangers are measurable.”

LGBTQ youth who undergo conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who do not, reports LGBTQ suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project.  Stoner admits the therapy made her wonder if her “life was worth living.”

“Even if someone comes out of it on the other side and says, ‘Hey, no, I’m living a great life,’ there are scars there. There are shadows,” she expressed, noting she now understands that her sexuality is “very natural.”

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.

 

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Listen to Taylor Swift sing on new Big Red Machine collab “Renegade”

L-Taylor, R-Aaron Dessner; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Two days after it was announced Taylor Swift would be again teaming up with her folklore and evermore collaborators, Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon and The National‘s Aaron Dessner, the trio dropped “Renegade” at the stroke of midnight Friday.

The song was recorded for Vernon’s and Dessner’s indie rock band Big Red Machine and will be featured in its upcoming album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, due out August 27.  Taylor recorded another song for BRM’s upcoming album, “Birch.”

“Renegade” is about wanting someone to drop their defenses and become a better person so a romance can bloom.

“You’ve come a long way/ Open the blinds, let me see your face/ You wouldn’t be the first renegade/ To need somebody/ Is it insensitive for me to say/ Get your s*** together/ So I can love you,” Taylor gently sings in the chorus.

Taylor gushed about her latest collab, writing on Instagram following the song’s release, “I can’t believe I get to work with Aaron Dessner. When Aaron came into my life, I was ushered into his world of free-flowing creativity where you don’t overthink, you just make music.”

“His generosity of spirit and humility bleeds into every part of his life, and that’s why so many artists have jumped at the chance to be a part of his collaborative project, Big Red Machine,” she continued. 

Dessner also raved about the collab on social media, writing, “Taylor’s words hit me so hard when I heard her first voice memo and still do, every time.”

“I’m so grateful to Taylor for continuing to share her incredible talent with me and that we are still finding excuses to make music together,” he added. 

Dessner was one of several people who shared the Album of the Year Grammy for folklore with Taylor.

(Video contains uncensored profanity.)

 

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‘Fresh Prince’ star Janet Hubert blasts Phylicia Rashad for supporting Bill Cosby

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(NOTE LANGUAGE) Former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Janet Hubert isn’t happy about Phylicia Rashad‘s support for Bill Cosby after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction.

Rashad, who played Cosby’s onscreen wife in The Cosby Show, reacted to the news by tweeting, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”

“Phylicia what are you thinking!!! I don’t know you but to say this was terribly wrong. EVERYONE knew what he was doing back then,” Hubert, 65, tweeted on Thursday.  “How could you NOT! Get your umbrella sista here comes the s*** shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old a** guilty man!”

Hubert added that Rashad could have said, “He’s old he’s out and I’m happy for him, but he still …guilty.”

“I know 5 women who have not come forward,” Hubert continued.  “Enough ya’ll, we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, black or white…”

Rashad has since deleted her original tweet, while posting another expressing her support for survivors of sexual assault.

“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” the actress wrote. “My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth.”

“Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects,” Rashad continued. “My heartfelt wish is for healing.”

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What the delta variant means for Americans this summer

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(NEW YORK) — The delta variant now makes up more than 26% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and has been detected in all 50 states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just a month ago, the variant, which was first identified in India, made up just 3% of new cases in the U.S.

In response to the worldwide threat posed by the variant, which is believed to be both more transmissible and more virulent than other strains, the World Health Organization shifted guidance, and now recommends that vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors. In the U.S., the CDC stayed the course, with health officials continuing to assert that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks inside.

According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, the United States’ strong vaccination rate and its use of highly effective vaccines enables it to do things differently. By comparison, much of the world is unvaccinated and evidence suggests that certain vaccines developed outside of the U.S. are less effective than Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

“The vaccinated, we believe, still are safe,” Walensky told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

Given differences in vaccinations rates at the local level, however, local officials should decide whether to require vaccinated people to wear masks again, Walensky added.

Already, Los Angeles has reversed its guidance. Although the county dropped its mask mandate earlier this month, as of this week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health “strongly recommends” unvaccinated and vaccinated people wear masks inside public places, like restaurants, stores and movie theaters.

With that context in mind, here’s how to approach masking this summer, as the delta variant continues to spread:

I’m fully vaccinated. Should I wear a mask indoors while at restaurants or shopping?

No, unless local officials recommend or require it. (A caveat: If wearing a mask makes you feel more comfortable, or if you’re immunocompromised, you’re under no obligation to take yours off.)

According to the best evidence we have, it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to forgo masks indoors this summer. If you’re fully vaccinated, meaning you’ve received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the one-dose J&J vaccine and the final dose has fully vested, “you are highly protected from the delta variant and to even higher degree, you’re protected from severe disease or hospitalization,” said Dr. Vivek Cherian, an internal medicine physician with the University of Maryland Medical System.

A study the British government conducted in April and May, which analyzed more than 12,000 sequenced COVID-19 cases, found that two doses of Pfizer were 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the delta variant. Preliminary data released by Moderna, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that the vaccine was highly effective against the delta variant, but did not indicate an exact efficacy number. Like Pfizer, Moderna was slightly less effective against delta than against the original virus strain. Although more research needs to be done on J&J and the delta variant, preliminary research shows the vaccine performed well against the delta variant, the company said Thursday.

The guidance is completely different if you’re unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. In those instances, “there is a good chance you’re actually going to catch this variant,” Cherian said. “There’s no question that in those circumstances you want to be wearing a mask.”

In his own life, Cherian, who lives outside of Baltimore, wears a mask inside stores to set an example for his children, who are both under the age of 12 and too young to be vaccinated. When he shops alone, however, he goes maskless.

“We’re not really changing anything that we’re saying,” he said of the delta variant. “Yes, this is a little bit more serious, but only for individuals who are incompletely vaccinated, and especially for the unvaccinated. For the fully vaccinated, the story hasn’t really changed at all for you.”

Got it. So then why did Los Angeles strongly recommend masks for vaccinated people?

Los Angeles’ choice may be primarily about protecting the unvaccinated.

According to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday, the department “strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure.” The department acknowledged that “fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants.”

“We have always said that this virus is an opportunist,” Walensky said. “We are still seeing uptick in cases in areas of low vaccination and in that situation, when you’re suggesting that policies be made at the local level, and those masking policies are really intended to protect the unvaccinated, the vaccinated we believe still are safe.”

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, pushed back on Los Angeles’ masking decision.

“The delta variant treats the vaccinated person very differently than it treats someone who’s not vaccinated,” he said. “I’m not sure why the Los Angeles County Health Department would treat people as if they’ve not been vaccinated when they have.”

For counties with very low vaccination rates, or for businesses, it might make operational sense to require masks for everyone, he added, in order to avoid having to figure out everyone’s vaccination status and ask the vaccinated to put on masks.

“My understanding is that Los Angeles County is not a low vaccination county,” Adalja added.

Indeed, Los Angeles’ vaccination rate appears to be in line with the national average. Sixty-eight percent of residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Los Angeles County, according to the health department. Nationally, 64% of people ages 12 and older have gotten at least one dose, according to the CDC.

Rates are lower for younger Angelenos, with just 36% of those between the ages of 12 and 15 having received at least one dose.

I got the J&J vaccine. Am I safe to take my mask off inside?

People who got the J&J vaccine can behave the same way as those who received Pfizer or Moderna, health experts said.

“There’s no data to show that breakthrough infections with delta are more common with the J&J vaccine or that they’re more severe,” Adalja said.

And while scientists want to see more data from J&J, Adalja doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to support getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot to “top off” the J&J vaccine just yet.

Importantly, he thinks the public is looking at the vaccines wrong.

“This COVID zero idea keeps creeping into people’s minds,” he said. “People are still very focused on cases and not necessarily focused on severe disease, hospitalization and death. If you’re a fully vaccinated individual and you get a breakthrough with the delta or any of the other variants, it’s likely to be clinically meaningless.”

COVID is now an endemic respiratory virus in the U.S., Adalja stressed, and Americans need to learn to treat it that way.

“We’ve got to figure out a sustainable way to teach people to risk calculate and be able to cope with the fact that this is a new infectious disease that we have,” he said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dozens of states end daily COVID-19 data reports, causing experts to fear hidden outbreaks

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(NEW YORK) — After 16 months of coronavirus-related restrictions and requirements — mask mandates, social distancing, extensive state of emergencies — nearly every jurisdiction in the country has now moved to ease up or, for some, completely lift them.

The move comes as many communities attempt to begin to return to some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, following a 95% drop in the number of cases since the beginning of the year when infections peaked at over 250,000 cases a day.

Less than 12,000 patients are hospitalized with the virus across the country — a stark difference from the early months of 2021, when 10 times that amount were hospitalized nationwide.

Despite the hopeful news, health experts suggest that current metrics do not tell the full story of the United States’ continued struggle with COVID-19.

According to an ABC News survey of state COVID-19 information dashboards, more than two dozen states have now either opted to no longer offer daily statistical coronavirus updates or plan to end daily reports in the coming weeks, a choice which has been a source of great concern for health experts as the more virulent delta variant spreads.

“Without real-time reporting, we are essentially flying blind as to the state of the pandemic. Lack of timely surveillance data will create blind spots and potentially a false sense of security as we struggle with vaccination uptake and the rise of new variants,” said Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor.

Some of these states have moved to offer only weekday updates, others are reporting metrics every few days, and a few are now only offering weekly breakdowns. While state officials insist they will continue to monitor data, the frequency of public updates will be limited.

The importance of daily data cannot be overstated, said Beth Blauer, executive director of the Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins University, in a post earlier this month. Data provided by the states has “led to major policy decisions across all levels of government and influenced the behavior and decisions of many Americans.”

Blauer urged officials to “stay the course of daily reporting, and not allow their data to go ‘stale’ by releasing it infrequently.”

One of the states that has moved to shift to a more infrequent reporting schedule is Florida. Although it is still reporting the highest total number of coronavirus cases in the country, earlier this month it became the first large state to end its daily coronavirus report, and move to a weekly model.

“Florida has transitioned into the next phase of the COVID-19 response,” a spokesperson from the Florida Department of Health said in a statement to ABC News, stressing that the department remains committed to infectious disease control, surveillance and prevention.

The erratic data reporting comes as a growing list of states see upticks in their COVID-19 case metrics. In the last seven days, 19 states have reported an increase of 10% of more in their daily case average. Several states, including Alabama and Nevada, have seen their case metrics double over the last two weeks, although numbers still remain significantly lower than at their peak earlier this winter.

Some health experts are concerned that the lack of daily data, which plays a critical role in determining response to the virus, could mask potentially dangerous new outbreaks, particularly in areas of low vaccination rates.

“I’m extremely concerned that we’re repeating history,” said Maureen Miller, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Columbia University, pointing to the U.S.’s “failure to react” in early 2020, when the virus was first spreading across the globe.

“We saw it coming yet failed to react and prepare in a meaningful way. Now we’re watching the delta variant charge through countries like Israel and the U.K., which have much higher vaccination rates than the U.S. Why we think this variant won’t wreak havoc in the U.S. is beyond me,” she said.

Falling coronavirus metrics have led some officials to declare victory against the virus; however, a number of experts suggest the country’s current COVID-19 figure may be higher than reported.

“With fewer public health departments reporting daily, we risk relying on data that represents a distorted view of the true burden of illness. An undercount in cases undermines the legitimacy of public health reporting and may mask any early indications of a surge, especially in unvaccinated populations,” said Brownstein.

National data has been impacted as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aggregates state data as it is released, and thus, the agency’s totals are often impacted by delays in state updates. Additionally, the agency is no longer offering case and death data updates on weekends.

In recent months, as officials have reallocated resources and efforts to state vaccination drives, testing levels have also plummeted.

The nation is now recording around 600,000 coronavirus tests a day, significantly lower than the nearly two million tests a day the U.S. was reporting at the beginning of the year, another cause for concern for health officials who have repeatedly warned that drops in testing could lead to missed infections and subsequent spread.

“While we realized the value of testing and reporting at scale far too late in the pandemic, we are now repeating these mistakes by winding down public health efforts far too soon,” added Brownstein.

Even so, many states continue to close testing sites, including Iowa, which will cease operations of its statewide testing program later this month. Less than 50% of Iowa’s total population is fully vaccinated.

In other states, like Utah, health officials are still urging residents to get tested, as the state faces renewed concerns over rising coronavirus cases, with a 73% increase in cases over the last four weeks.

The number of people getting tested for COVID-19 has decreased dramatically in recent months, the Utah Department of Health reported on Tuesday, from over 32,000 weekly cases in mid-November, to approximately 5,900 tests conducted the week of June 14.

“The pandemic isn’t over yet. In fact, now that new variants are circulating and some are even more transmissible, finding out if you’re positive and isolating can prevent you from exposing others,” the department said in a press release on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the CDC reported that the highly infectious delta variant, which has been found in all 50 states, is now estimated to account for 26.1% of new cases across the country.

It is still unclear exactly how widespread the delta variant is, because U.S. genomic sequencing also remains low across the country.

“I am disappointed that we’re not treating this adversary with the respect it deserves,” Miller said. “Now, when cases are low and traditional outbreak investigations and contact tracing could be a reality, we’re dropping the ball.”

Despite health officials’ pleas for more Americans to get vaccinated to curtail the spread of the delta strain and other concerning variants, the U.S. continues to struggle with falling vaccination numbers.

Over 45% of the total population has still yet to be vaccinated with their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, approximately 1,000 counties in the U.S. have vaccination coverage of less than 30%.

Current evidence suggests that full dosage of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is effective against the delta variant. According to a recent U.K. study, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine offered 88% protection, and earlier this week, Moderna had released new preliminary data, not yet peer reviewed, in which the company’s vaccine appeared to work against all concerning variants, including the delta variant.

In an effort to prevent potential outbreaks, the White House COVID-19 response team reported on Thursday that it would be intensifying efforts in some high-risk communities to help states prevent, detect and respond to hotspots among the unvaccinated by mobilizing COVID-19 surge response teams to be at the ready to deploy federal resources and, where needed, federal personnel.

Miller asserted, however, that the country’s current vaccination level “absolutely” does not provide enough protection to have shifted into a new phase of less testing and surveillance of the virus.

“Denial didn’t work when it first came to the U.S. or last summer when it hit the South or last winter when it hit everywhere. Sadly, it’s places with low vaccination rates that will bear the brunt of this round of infections. These are the same places that will lack testing. They won’t know that it’s hit them until it’s too late,” Miller concluded.

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Girls open lemonade stand to honor late sister and raise awareness for organ donation

Courtesy Monica Madsen

(NEW YORK) — Two girls set up a lemonade stand to raise money for organ donations in honor of their late sister.

Makenzie Madsen was born with congenital heart disease and received a heart transplant at 17 months old. In 2019, her heart and kidneys started shutting down and she was taken to the hospital, where she went into cardiac arrest. She waited there for almost a year for a new heart and kidney transplant when she died on July 13, 2020, at age 14. Now, her sisters, Myleigh, 9, and Makayla, 7, have set up a lemonade stand in her honor.

“We just talked about what we could do because her anniversary is coming up,” the girls’ mother, Monica Madsen, told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

The idea was inspired by Makenzie herself, who would often set up a table and chair outside of their West Jordan, Utah, home to sell everything from baked goods to snow cones while growing up.

“She just loved to bake and cook,” Madsen said. “She even made her own snow cone flavors out of Kool-Aid.”

While she leaned toward making sweets, Madsen said Makenzie didn’t have a sweet tooth or like to eat them.

“I think she just loved interacting with people and seeing people smile,” she said.

The stand’s design is also an ode to Makenzie.

“Teal was our older sister’s favorite color,” Myleigh told GMA. “The other stripe is pink — Makayla’s favorite colors.”

Myleigh and Makayla want to use the stand to raise awareness on the importance of organ donation and how it can save lives.

“They want to open people’s eyes and hope people understand how important it is to say yes to organ donation,” their mother said. “They don’t want other kids to feel this — if their siblings have been waiting for a transplant and they didn’t make it. That’s what they talked to me about.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around 17 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. The average wait time for one is three to five years and, at the time of publication, the current amount of people on the waitlist for a heart is 3,601. For a kidney, that number soars to 90,567.

So far, the family has raised approximately $6,000 and will be donating all of the proceeds to DonorConnect, a nonprofit organization that assists families in the Mountain West with the organ donation process.

Myleigh said that she and her sister want to “get even more money to help other kids.”

In addition to lemonade, the girls are making cake pops to sell and will also try their hand at cotton candy.

“We’ve just tried to keep her spirit alive,” Madsen said. “She’s up there cheering them on and helping them out and rallying people to go see the stand.”

The family will be wrapping up the lemonade stand for the summer shortly, but plan to continue every year just like they said Makenzie would have.

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Disney makes stride toward inclusivity with new park greetings

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(NEW YORK) — Guests visiting Disney Parks in recent days might have noticed being greeted a little differently when waiting for a performance or show.

As a step towards inclusivity, Disney Parks has announced it’s removing the mention of, “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” from its automated announcements, including for the nighttime shows.

This change is one of many ways Disney is working to promote a more inclusive experience for all guests and families.

Changes to Disney’s language have already begun to roll out and will continue to change across Disney Parks globally.

“We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney,” Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro recently said in a statement.

“Inclusion is essential to our culture and leads us forward as we continue to realize our rich legacy of engaging storytelling, exceptional service, and Disney magic,” D’Amaro added.

Disney is the parent company of ABC news.

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Chanel launches bath collection with iconic No. 5 scent

CHANEL

(NEW YORK) — Chanel No. 5 lovers can now bathe themselves in the iconic scent — literally.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Chanel No. 5, the brand has launched a collection of bath products.

“To celebrate No. 5 and its one hundred years of celebrity, CHANEL has developed CHANEL FACTORY 5, a revolutionary experience that has made it possible to produce a completely new collection, with No. 5 as its sole ingredient,” the company wrote in a press release.

Chanel Factory 5 includes 17 limited-edition products from soap to body lotion.

All products in the collection include the signature rose and jasmine No. 5 scent.

“Through this concept, we want to return to the creation process of the first N°5 packaging. At the time, it was a simple laboratory bottle, a functional object that became luxurious and iconic. There was already this notion of transforming a common, ultra-functional object into a precious one,” Thomas Du Pré De Saint Maur, head of global creative resources for fragrance and beauty, said in a statement.

The line is available on Chanel’s website and ranges from $45 to $138.

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New York City is getting the world’s first Bumble café and wine bar

Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Bumble will be opening its first-ever café and wine bar in New York City this summer.

A partnership between the dating app and restaurant Pasquale Jones of Delicious Hospitality Group, Bumble Brew Café and Wine Bar will open in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood on July 24. According to a statement by Bumble, it’ll be a space for “the community to gather, for genuine connections to be built, and for guests to interact.”

“At Bumble, we’re fueled by bringing people together to build genuine connections — both on and off the app,” said Julia Smith, head of brand partnerships at Bumble. “We hope that people can gather at Bumble Brew and connect over an espresso or delicious meal, whether it’s with friends, a potential partner, or a new business connection.”

Designed by FLOAT Studio, the 3,760-square-foot restaurant will have an 80-seat dining room, a cocktail bar, and patio and private dining. The Italian-inspired menu was created by chef Ryan Hardy, and will feature vegetables, handmade pasta and shareable plates.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Bumble and open a new space in our community, especially after this challenging year,” said Hardy. “We’ve always designed our restaurants so that people can connect over delicious food and drinks in a fun and energetic environment, so our mission aligned perfectly with Bumble.”

In line with how Bumble lets women make the first move with messaging on the app, the music will be mostly comprised of women artists.

The idea to open up a permanent location was inspired by the success of the Bumble Hive pop-ups, which act as a physical embodiment of the app where visitors can meet new people while enjoying food and entertainment.

“We’ve seen a resounding response to the Bumble Hive pop-ups we’ve hosted around the world and noticed a clear appetite for a permanent space where people could connect,” Smith said.

Bumble Brew will initially be open for breakfast Wednesday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to noon. It’ll expand its hours to include lunch service on July 31 and dinner on Aug. 7.

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