Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Masks are back.. for some

 Looks like Middlesex County is not subject to the revised mask requirement. But I've not stopped wearing mine in stores since the beginning. I hope Baker and the School Chief Riley mandate the masks in school until ALL the kids, teachers and staff get vaxed. It saddens me that some parents are making matters worse by imposing their radical views on their children about wearing masks. For the good of society in general, shots must be mandated by employers including all government employees and contractors.

From the Globe:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced an update to its mask-wearing guidance, now suggesting that fully vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public places in areas of the country with “substantial and high” transmission.

So, what does that mean for Massachusetts?

There are five counties in Massachusetts that qualify as “substantial” or “high” transmission areas, according to the CDC.

High Transmission
Barnstable County

Substantial Transmission
Bristol County
Dukes County
Nantucket County
Suffolk County

In the wake of the CDC reversal, over 200 public health and medical experts called on Baker and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley to implement universal indoor masking for the 2021-2022 school year .

The letters circulated by Sen. Becca Rausch were authored by Dr. Regina LaRocque of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Natalya Davis, a Quincy pediatrician.

"The rapid, ongoing spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant in Massachusetts represents a serious risk as the 2021-2022 school year begins," LaRocque said. "Young children lack protection from disease, and vaccination rates among adolescents are insufficient to prevent outbreaks in school communities."

The Delta variant, a highly contagious version of COVID-19, has contributed to rising new daily new case counts in Massachusetts.. State health officials reported 657 confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 12 confirmed deaths.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Child tax credit... to many don't know about it

 As some of you who have younger kids, the tax credit checks have already gone out to those who the IRS can recognize from past tax filings. But according to the IRS, some 851 families in 01702 and 403 families are not getting the cash and tax credit. My thought was for the schools who are providing meals to anyone who wants one, ask those who are obviously in need if the parents know how to get the government benefits. At tonight's school committee meeting this will be on the agenda. Adam and Bob have both said in an e-mail to me that they are on it. I wish I could see the CC and the Mayor get on it as well. Or even the candidates that are running. This is real money that have no restrictions attached.

From the Globe:

The child allowance is grounded in the idea that raising children is expensive, and the federal government has a long-term stake in their health and well-being. Families will receive up to $300 monthly for every child under 5, and up to $250 monthly for every child age 6-17. Half of the credit will be delivered each month through December; the other half will be distributed in tax returns next April. The amount of the credit decreases proportionate to income, but only the wealthiest families would receive nothing — for example, the credit would drop to $0 for a married couple with one child who make $440,000, according to the Congressional Research Service.

On July 15, the IRS will begin sending monthly checks to almost all families with children in the United States — the official launch of President Biden’s flagship antipoverty program. Hailed by advocates as a transformative way to halve child poverty, the effort is also a national experiment in something akin to a universal basic income.

But in order to fully live up to its promise, the money must reach everyone who is eligible to get it. And that’s proving to be a major hurdle.

Both the IRS and local community groups are warning that a significant number of families who most need the relief risk falling through the cracks because they are not known to the IRS. In Massachusetts, roughly 58,000 children who are eligible for the money may not receive it, according to a ZIP code level analysis by the IRS.

That includes children whose parents earn too little money to be required to file taxes, and families with mixed-immigration status, in which the children are citizens but the parents are not. (Any child with a Social Security number is eligible for the credit.) The number of children most at risk of missing out is highest in a Framingham ZIP code, followed closely by ZIP codes in Everett, Malden, Revere, Dorchester, Lynn, and Chelsea.

“They’re the ones who need it the most. In that sense, it’s failing the group that really needs that intervention,” said Dr. Lucy Marcil, cofounder of Boston Medical Center’s StreetCred program, which provides free tax services to families. It is one of the only free tax preparation programs that remained in Boston after tax season ended, even though many families need help now to get the credits.