Table of Contents
Intro and Disclaimer
QM would like to help you make sense of information being circulated by: 1. Translating data into digestible language, 2. Dispelling misconceptions and linking to evidence, and 3. Curating relevant data, and articles on a weekly basis. Our Round Up/ Mythbusting projects are intended to help our QM family make sense of information being circulated. Taking control of our health as a queer community includes making institutional knowledge accessible to the public.
Disclaimer: Although this information has been evaluated and determined to be accurate by Queering Medicine (QM), we at QM do not want to give the impression that we are the sole gatekeepers of medical knowledge. As a collective, QM members bring professional and personal qualifications that allow us to research and share credible knowledge. Our goals for this weekly round up and myth busting is to translate data into digestible information, dispel misinformation, and curate relevant data for the Lansing queer community. We encourage the community to question knowledge found outside of reputable sources, however, Queering Medicine will gladly help facilitate this process. If evidence or recommendations change, or any inaccuracies are found, we will correct them and explain the changes. If you have any questions about our methodology and sources, or you would like to point out any inaccuracies, please let us know!
Where to Get Free Masks in Michigan
On August 14th, Governor Whitmer announced that there would be 4 million free masks to protect vulnerable populations in Michigan from COVID-19. The MI Mask Aid partnership is part of the Mask Up Michigan campaign. Information on how to get masks is below:
For low-income and older folks in Michigan that need free masks, call the state COVID-19 Hotline (888-535-6136) to be directed to the appropriate local agency that is distributing them, or to have masks mailed to you.
In the Lansing area: For those with low income, masks are being distributed by Capital Area Community Services (pickup or mail). For older adults, masks are being distributed by Tri-County Office on Aging (pickup or delivery).
For low-income residents of other areas of Michigan, refer to this link to find the appropriate local agency: https://mcac.memberclicks.net/agency-map
Trans Health Care Access Protected by Court
On June 12, just before the June 15 Supreme Court ruling that legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex applies to trans rights, the Trump administration finalized a rule to overturn protections for trans health care and health insurance that had been put in place under the Obama administration. The new rule, which would have allowed health care providers to discriminate against trans people, was set to take effect on Tuesday, August 18th. On Monday, one day before it could go into effect, a federal judge blocked the new rule on the basis of the Supreme Court's June decision. This marks a major victory for the rights of trans people.
Long-Term Effects of COVID-19
The long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unknown, but recent studies show that the virus does not just affect the lungs.
A 41-year-old woman from Clinton Township claims she has experienced hallucinations, brain fogs, and seizures since testing positive for COVID-19 more than four months ago. Unfortunately, her story isn't unique, and researches are still discovering the ways that COVID-19 might affect the brain. A study published in The Lancet that followed 60 patients with COVID-10 found that 55% of patients presented with neurological symptoms 3 months later. Furthermore, brain scans of patients with COVID-19 showed possible disruption to micro-structural and functional brain integrity as compared with brain scans of healthy individuals.
But the brain is not the only part of the body where the effects of COVID-19 have been observed. A study with 1,216 patients (813 with COVID-19) from 69 countries across six continents found that more than half showed an abnormality in their heart scans. In this study, patients underwent an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart that shows how well the heart muscles and valves are working. Anomalies observed included abnormal heart chambers, recent heart attacks, and inflammation of the heart muscle.
There is still much we do not know about COVID-19 and its effects in the body, even in people who experienced milder symptoms. For now, let's continue to wear our masks and keep a healthy distance.
"Black August commemorates the rich history of Black resistance. Revolutionary moments such as the Watts Uprising, Haitian Revolution, Nat Turner Rebellion, Fugitive Slave Law Convention, and March on Washington all happened in August. Also, many of our revolutionaries, such as Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton, were born in August. Black August was started in California prisons in the 1970s by Black freedom fighters who wanted to honor the lives and struggle of Black political prisoners killed by the state. Fifty years later, groups like Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and New Afrikan Independence Movement continue the Black August legacy of celebrations by amplifying our history of resistance and creating spaces for Black people to come together in community to recharge the revolution." - Movement for Black Lives (https://m4bl.org/black-august/)
The Black National Convention
"On August 28, 2020, at 7:00 PM ET / 4:00 PM PT, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and Electoral Justice Project will host the 2020 Black National Convention (BNC) live broadcast. Together, we will ratify a Black political agenda days after the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and ahead of November, when Black voters will play a pivotal role in determining whether we have four more years of domination or a new set of challenges to overcome." - https://blacknovember.org/
“The BNC will be a virtual event that is part documentary, showcasing the expansiveness and depth of Black Movement, and part political education, framing the foundational values of our visionary politics: abolition, ending patriarchal violence, racial capitalism, climate justice & free the land, and global Black power.”
Black Lives Matter Michigan Allyship Orientation
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 7:00-8:30pm
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/407530576879466/
"Are you looking for ways to practice allyship and support Black Lives Matter Michigan?
Join us for this orientation webinar, which includes an introduction to the Black Lives Matter movement, principles, and work in MI, and learn about allyship and joining the statewide network BLM MI Allyship.
Join the BLM MI Allyship facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BLMmiAllyship/
Learn more about BLM MI and allyship: www.BLMmichigan.org
Attending this orientation or a future one is highly encouraged, as it will be a prerequisite for engaging in some allyship actions."
Update on COVID-19 and Fall School Plans
Disclaimer: These issues are very nuanced. Situations vary from student to student.
We have seen a need for quick adaptation and strategizing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, school systems are grappling with the best strategy for delivering education to students this fall. Education is critical and its method of delivery is a public health concern. Schools across the country have tried to transition back to in-person instruction, causing a rise in the spread of the virus.
Most K-12 (kindergarten through twelfth grade) students will be attending school virtually to start the school year. Locally, in the Ingham Intermediate School District (ISD), 8 of the 12 traditional school districts will be fully virtual. The remaining 4 (primarily rural districts) will offer some face-to-face instruction, with a virtual option for those that need it. Additionally, 6 of 9 charter schools in the ISD will have face-to-face instruction, with the remaining 3 being fully virtual. Both ISD parochial schools will be face-to-face.
Local school districts starting the year fully online include Lansing, Waverly, East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, Holt, Mason, Dewitt, and Bath.
We must keep in mind that while the decision for virtual instruction is necessary for public health and safety and an important measure to combat the pandemic, but it does worsen existing vulnerabilities for some families and children. School for many families not only provides education but also serves as a safety net. Food access, adult supervision, and safety from home violence are just a few ways that school settings provide extra support to their students. As we adjust to virtual education, it is important that we also uplift the need to address student mental health and physical, emotional, and mental abuse at home. Without in-person school, many of the adults who recognized signs of child abuse and reported these are not able to do so. As a community, we can support children and their families that are in abusive situations by being aware of resources in the community, recognizing signs, and offering safety when possible.
There are a variety of other challenges that lack of in-person schooling creates. For parents and caregivers, having children at home can interfere with the ability to work, particularly for those with jobs that cannot be performed from home, which disproportionately applies to those in marginalized groups, including BIPOC, women, and trans folks. For some students, particularly low-income and rural students, technology and broadband access to participate in virtual instruction may be limited. Lack of in-person social interaction will create additional mental health and emotional challenges for many children. Despite these challenges, it is critical that schools be conducted virtually to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, but as communities, we need to try to find solutions to reduce the negative impacts.
EVE (End Violent Encounters) 24 Hour Crisis Line: 517-372-5572
Colleges and universities have been rapidly changing plans for the fall. One example is UNC-Chapel Hill, where 130 students tested positive in its first week of in-person instruction. The reality has set in for the MSU community. With safety in mind, Dr. Samuel Stanley, M.D., Michigan State University’s President, released a statement on August 18th, detailing their decision to return all instruction for undergraduates to on-line:
“...it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus.
“So, effective immediately, we are asking undergraduate students who planned to live in our residence halls this fall to stay home and continue their education with MSU remotely. While a vast majority of our classes already were offered in remote formats, we will work the next two weeks to transition those that were in-person or hybrid to remote formats.”
“There will be some exceptions for the colleges of Law, Human Medicine, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine and Veterinary Medicine as well as all graduate programs. Those colleges and programs will learn more details soon. In addition, our research initiatives, which are done in the very safest possible conditions, will continue. We will also work with our international students on their student visa status and those needing labs, studios and performance-based classes that are required for graduation.”
Queering Medicine supports the decision to move instruction online. This decision keeps many safe and decreases the likelihood of transmission to vulnerable populations at MSU and in the surrounding communities. It does, however, worsen existing challenges around safety, support, and stability for some. Returning to school and living on campus is often a protective factor for LGBTQ+ folks and others in abusive or unsupportive home situations. MSU will reportedly still be able to provide housing to those in need. The MSU LGBT Center has been working hard to provide ways to support students, and has instructed students who need to live in the dorms to “Fill out the application in your MyHousing account and explain why MSU is still the safest place for you to live.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a student or know a student that needs support for housing at MSU, or if you need help filling out the MyHousing application.
More Evidence in Support of Masks
As more data becomes available, evidence continues to grow supporting mask mandates. In parts of Kansas, COVID-19 cases have dropped in areas where masks mandates have been put in place. In South Carolina, data suggests that areas where masks mandates have been instituted have seen a 46% drop in COVID-19 cases compared to areas where there are no mask mandates. The correlation of decreasing cases with mask mandates continues to support the fact that masks work in decreasing transmission of COVID-19.
Continue to wear masks whenever possible once you’ve left your home or when interacting with anybody who does not live in your household. Also continue to follow social distancing measures (six feet of distance) and proper hygiene practices (washing hands, not touching your face) so that we can continue to do our part to protect everybody from COVID-19.
Governor Whitmer Announcement: MI Mask Aid
Coronavirus Cases Drop by 46% South Carolina Mask Mandate
Mask Literature Review
QM Public Health Crisis Round-Up Team (in no particular order):
Mauricio Franco (he/him/his), M.S.- Global Medicine, Third year medical student.
Andrew-Huy Dang (he/him/his), Third year medical student, B.S. Microbiology.
Wyatt Shoemaker (he/him/his), Third year medical student.
Antonio Flores (he/him/his), Second year medical student, B.S. Public Health Sciences.
Daniel Pfau (they/them/theirs), Neuroscience PhD, Biological Sciences MS, Homeschool Teacher.
Francis Yang (he/him/his), M.S.-Global Medicine, First year medical student.
Kryssia Campos (she/her/hers), First year medical student.
Alessandra Daskalakis (she/her/hers): First year medical student, B.S. Biology, B.A. Comparative Literature
Vanessa Burnett (she/her/hers) M.P.H; Health Equity Consultant, Michigan Public Health Institute
Wilfredo Flores (he/him/his), M.A. Technical Communication
Grey L. Pierce (they/them); M.A., Cognitive Psychology; Assistant Director, Michigan State University (MSU) Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting; Project Manager, State of the State Survey, MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research