This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Anti-COVID Technology Makes Returning to Work Safer Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, April 29 2020
It's time to deploy innovative technologies to make going back to work safer.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is allowing upstate construction and assembly line businesses to reopen May 15, but other businesses have to stay shut longer. How long? That depends on how "essential" they are, he said.

Sorry, Governor, but any business is essential if it's how you earn your paycheck. People need to work, and new research indicates for otherwise healthy, working-age people, it's safer than taking a car trip.

"People under 65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 deaths even in the hotbeds of the pandemic," according to Stanford scientists John Ioannidis, Cathrine Axfors and Despina Contopoulos-Ioannidis.

In New York, 70% of coronavirus deaths are people over 65 years old. In Michigan, it's 79%. And in Washington state, it's 92%.

Instead of this pandemic spanning all ages, the coronavirus is a disease that kills one age group gruesomely.

In Delaware, 58% of coronavirus deaths have been nursing home residents and their caregivers. In Massachusetts, 55%, in Pennsylvania, 51%, and in New Jersey, 40%.

Shutting down the economy didn't stop these deaths. They were predictable. In Italy and Spain, over half of deaths were nursing home residents.

Yet, health officials in New York, and most states, rushed to equip hospitals but ignored nursing homes. Without help, these facilities became death pits.  Florida was an exception. Governor Ron DeSantis rushed in medical supplies, deployed the National Guard to test residents and cut the nursing home death rate to roughly half New York's.

As for younger people, a minuscule 1.8% of New York City coronavirus deaths are otherwise healthy people under 65. We've all seen news reports of a young mother or middle-aged coach tragically killed by coronavirus, but those are exceptions.

Plans to reopen should focus on the majority, not these rare exceptions.

Step one is opening up large workplaces, including office settings, where employers can proactively improve hygiene. Employers can erect hand sanitizer kiosks every few feet, provide antimicrobial keyboards and desktops and install continuous disinfection devices in the central air systems to reduce viral contamination. These technologies are already used in professional sports teams' locker rooms and manufacturing facilities. The upside is a healthier workforce and lower absenteeism even if the virus doesn't come back.

Air travel can be made more hygienic by installing hand sanitizer dispensers near the touchscreens, jetways and security lines. Airlines are requiring masks, but the airport is the problem, according to MIT researchers. They estimate that installing hand sanitizers at the world's Top 10 airports could reduce pandemic risk by 37%. If all airports had them, the risk would go down 70%. New York's Port Authority could take the lead at the region's three airports.

Similarly, hand sanitizers on subway platforms would improve safety for straphangers.

New York City mass transit is facing a double health crisis, posed by the virus and by an influx of homeless using the cars as toilets and sleeping quarters. COVID-19 can survive on stainless steel for at least 48 hours, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Most bacteria survive even longer, weeks in some cases.

MTA workers manually scrub subway cars every two or three days. That's better than nothing, but barely. Applying antimicrobial coatings to subway poles and seats would continuously kill traces of the coronavirus and bacteria.

Nature Research reported Monday that the coronavirus particles linger in the air for hours when spaces are crowded and ventilation is limited. Think subway cars and Grand Central Station at rush hour. New technologies can continuously reduce that viral burden.

President Donald Trump has marshaled the private sector to cure the ventilator shortage and produce masks, medicines and vaccines. He features problem-solving CEOs at his briefings. It's time to deploy innovative technologies to make going back to work safer.

Many workers are fearful, reports Fishbowl. No surprise. They've been bombarded with daily death reports that ignore age or health status.

Reopening the economy should be guided by facts. And the fact is working-age people seldom die from the coronavirus. With precautions in place, they can go back to work.


Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York. 
COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals laid the ‘Golden Spike’ joining the Eastern and Western U.S. railroad lines to create the Transcontinental Railway?
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