Opinion COVID heroes: Custodians deserve our gratitude. I know because my dad worked as a cleaner.
Tom Ridge: The heroes of Flight 93 ran toward danger to save the lives of others
At our country’s worst moment, we survived on a steady diet of kindness, generosity and compassion. You may not find those words in any national security plan. But I can assure you – those concepts are just as critical to our national resilience as any component of national defense. News can be overwhelming I know the country seems fractured at the moment. And that the daily news headlines seem too much to bear. Some of you have told me you’re feeling overwhelmed by the challenges we face and uncertain about our ability to meet them.
Thirty years ago, my dad worked at a sugar plantation in Guyana. In fields once worked by African slaves and indentured Indian laborers, he had risen to become senior manager.
Our Guyanese family lived at a company compound built for British expatriates, with a swimming pool and a tennis court. With the country around us still hung over from colonial rule, we kids thought we had it all.
My dad knew better. He had started work at 14, so he had plenty of experience but not enough school, and he saw how important that missing piece was. He wanted us to be educated overseas.
Pumpkin patches and Halloween parties: Experts weigh in on COVID-19 risks at fall gatherings
Regardless of your vaccination status, autumn will bring gatherings for communities throughout the U.S. Here’s what you need to know stay safe.But COVID-19 cases are still spreading throughout the country. On Labor Day, daily coronavirus infections were more than four times what the U.S. saw on the holiday last year. Hospitalizations were also up over 150%, although most individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 this year are unvaccinated.
USA TODAY's opinion newsletter:
Two of my sisters had already emigrated, so the rest of our family followed them to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where we started a new life in the dead of winter. I’ll never forget the blast of cold that hit my face as we left the airport terminal.
That was a shock, but it was nothing compared with what hit me when I saw my dad mopping floors in his first job as an immigrant. It brought tears to my eyes.
Not because it was below him to be a cleaner. With no degree or local experience, he had to start somewhere – I understood that.
Astros right-hander Zack Greinke confirms he tested positive for COVID-19
Greinke has slowly been working his way back to the mound and will start Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers.Greinke provided an update Saturday, saying he, his wife and two sons all tested positive for COVID-19, adding that all four are fully vaccinated, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.
But the job was hard on him, which says something after a life in plantation work. Cleaning is physically taxing, it’s dirty and it puts you in close quarters with some nasty germs, microbes and pathogens.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaners have been grossly underappreciated. You might think of doctors and nurses as front-line heroes, but some of the toughest battles have been fought by orderlies and custodians. They don’t make a lot of money, and they rarely get singled out for praise, but they save lives as surely as the others.
Cleaning became family business
I’ve been thinking a lot about them and other cleaners lately because our family is still in the business today. We employ a bunch of front-line heroes, and I think we owe them less risk and more peace of mind, even after we finally put COVID-19 behind us. We owe them and the people they clean for the best technology and tools available.
Fact check: Indiana doctor spreads false information about COVID-19 vaccines
While no vaccine offers bulletproof protection, the coronavirus vaccines have proved to be effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Breakthrough infections are possible, but they make up a small portion of total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Public health data shows the bulk of COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated individuals. Fact check: 6 of the most persistent misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines Social media platforms have removed versions of the video for violating rules against coronavirus misinformation. But as of Aug.
I say that having seen this work up close. As teenagers, my brothers and I would come home from school, relax for a few minutes then load up the car to go help my dad.
It wasn’t how most teens would choose to spend their evenings, and I eventually thought: Instead of working for someone else, why don’t we set up our own cleaning business?
A job came up with Transport Canada and we landed it. We ended up with 200 employees and a bunch of big contracts, including one at the same airport where our family had landed in the cold a few years earlier.
We eventually moved to Toronto to grow the business. For the past 10 years, we’ve expanded our cleaning business while building a technology start-up that makes ultraviolet disinfection robots and other advanced products.
COVID-19 has been horrible, but it has kept us very busy, especially in transit. In Toronto, monthly ridership fell toin April 2020, as office workers started working from home and it became clear that passengers on trains, subways and other transit vehicles were at risk.
Alaska's largest hospital implements crisis standards of care; Florida makes death data public after secrecy: COVID-19 updates
Alaska’s largest hospital applies rations care, prioritizing resources to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most. COVID-19 updates.“While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,” Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center, wrote in a letter addressed to Alaskans distributed Tuesday.
When the pandemic eventually recedes, restoring public confidence in mass transit will be critical. Some call it hygiene theater, but confidence matters.
Three-quarters of New Yorkers have told transit authorities that enhanced measures – such as continual cleaning, nightly shutdowns and deep disinfection – ought to continue tousing the system, according to the New York Post.
Cleaning in hospitals reduces infections
Yet transit feels like child’s play compared with hospital safety. The pandemic has pushed emergency rooms, patient wards and health care workers to their limits, but surface disinfection was a critical-care issue for them long before COVID-19. It’s always going to be a priority.
That’s because the pathogens and superbugs lurking in our hospitals are stubbornly resistant to cleaners and modern medicines. Patients already have compromised immune systems, which makes them soft targets. Spread can happen whenever a patient or staff member touches a medical instrument, a catheter, even an innocuous item like a magazine or a drinking glass.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,.
That’s expensive. Athat each year, 2 million Americans acquire infections in hospitals or while receiving care – and 90,000 of them die. The direct medical cost is as much as $45 billion, not to mention the personal and broader economic costs.
Anti-Trump Republican group targets Texas governor with ad showing wall of COVID victim coffins
The Lincoln Project is calling out Texas governor Greg Abbott after a television ad was pulled blasting his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Your browser does not support this video The Lincoln Project, an American political action committee formed in 2019 made up of former and current Republicans, issued a statement questioning why the TV ad that it funded for $25,000 on ESPN during the nationally-televised Texas vs. Rice college football game didn't air. The group said the ad was pulled 10 minutes before it was expected to run, despite ESPN's legal team clearing it beforehand.
This is where robots come in. In an operating theater or a patient room,.
Then the humans can spend their time on surfaces the robots can’t reach, surfaces they never would have had time to clean before. It’s a much better outcome for hospitals, patients and cleaners.
For me, this is about more than business – it’s personal. It’s about the front-line workers who have put themselves at risk over the past 18 months. It’s about my dad and all the other cleaners pushing a mop or wiping a rag, trying to do a difficult, dangerous job with basic tools.
If our cleaners have better technology at their disposal, it will mean better public confidence and better public safety. That’s going to matter as we put the pandemic behind us and for years to come.
Val Ramanand is CEO ofand co-founder of .
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
FDA authorizes Pfizer booster for people 65 and over; Iowa sets new 2021 high for coronavirus hospitalizations: COVID-19 updates .
Health care workers, teachers and grocery workers are among the high-risk workers eligible for a Pfizer booster. The latest COVID-19 updates:Individuals 18 and up who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 were also included in the authorization, which only covers those who are at least six months out from their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.