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US Ill-Prepared to House Growing Number of Older People, Study Says

Michael Genaldi’s road to homelessness began early this year when a car slammed into the rear of his motorcycle, crushed three of his ribs, and left him in a coma for over a month.

The 58-year-old lost his job as a machine operator, then his home, and he was living in his truck when he was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer. Too young to get Social Security, Genaldi now lives temporarily in a shelter for people 55 and older in Phoenix while he navigates the process of qualifying for disability payments.

As its population ages, the United States is ill-prepared to adequately house and care for the growing number of older people, concludes a new report being released Thursday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Without enough government help, “many older adults will have to forgo needed care or rely on family and friends for assistance,” warned Jennifer Molinsky, project director of the center’s Housing an Aging Society Program. Many, like Genaldi, will become homeless.

Molinsky said more governmental assistance could better help the upsurge of older Americans who are baby boomers born after World War II.

The report says that in 2021, federal housing assistance like Section 8 or Section 202 — which provides housing with supportive services such as cleaning, cooking and transportation for older people — was only sufficient for a little more than a third of the 5.9 million renters ages 62 and over who were eligible.

Creative ideas are especially needed now to house people with fixed or dwindling incomes and with insufficient savings, the report says. Think house or apartment sharing to cut back on costs rather than living alone, in accessory dwelling units or ADUs known as casitas, granny flats and in-law units. There are also cohousing communities where individual homes — sometimes even tiny homes — are arranged around a building with a communal space such as a dining room.

Over the next decade, the U.S. population over the age of 75 will increase by 45%, growing from 17 million to nearly 25 million. And many of those people are expected to struggle financially. The report notes that in 2021, nearly 11.2 million older adults were “cost burdened,” which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Some of the highest cost-burden rates for renters 65 and older were in Sunbelt areas traditionally popular for retirement: Las Vegas; San Diego; Raleigh, North Carolina; Miami and Daytona Beach, Florida.

Like renters, many older homeowners also struggle to keep a roof over their head.

The report says that mortgage debt among older adults is rising, with the median mortgage debt for homeowners 65 to 79 shooting up over 400% from $21,000 in 1989 to $110,000 in 2022 as people increasingly need to access cash for basic needs and care.

Many older adults also find it challenging to obtain the additional services they need as they age, with the costs of long-term care averaging over $100 a day.

The report says the households of older people of color are far more likely to be cost burdened than older white households, especially Black and Latino households. Older people who live alone are also more likely to be cost burdened than married or partnered couples: 47% versus 21% of couples.

In Phoenix, Angelita Saldaña, 56, became homeless after her marriage fell apart. The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Saldaña initially lived in her truck with her pet dog Gaspar, but they now live at the 60-bed shelter where Genaldi stays with his pet dog Chico.

Saldaña said her $941 monthly disability check isn’t enough to pay for even a studio apartment in the area, where average rents start at around $1,200. A caseworker is trying to help her find something she can afford.

In the meantime, she has a motel room to herself with a private bathroom.

“Here, I can sleep good,” she said, unlike the months she spent at the state’s largest shelter in downtown Phoenix, which has 10 times as many beds.

Lisa Glow, the CEO for Central Arizona Shelter Services, which operates both facilities, said older people do much better in a shelter designed with their needs in mind — including more space, limited stairs and wider doorways for wheelchairs.

Glow spoke of an 82-year-old man with dementia who struggled to sleep on a bunk bed at the downtown shelter before he was transferred. Staff members tracked down his family and got him transferred to a skilled nursing facility for more personalized care.

“The downtown shelter is not a good place for an aging adult with chronic conditions,” said Glow. “We see a lot of people there in their 70s and 80s.”

“I’ve been shocked to see so many seniors on the street,” she added. “People with wheelchairs. People with walkers.”

Flu on Rise, RSV Infections May Be Peaking, US Says

Flu is picking up steam while RSV lung infections that can hit kids and older people hard may be peaking, U.S. health officials said Friday.

COVID-19, though, continues to cause the most hospitalizations and deaths among respiratory illnesses — about 15,000 hospitalizations and about 1,000 deaths every week, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency is also looking into reports of pneumonia outbreaks in children in two states, but Cohen said “there is no evidence” that they are due to anything unusual.

As for the flu season, seven states were reporting high levels of flu-like illnesses in early November. In a new CDC report Friday, the agency said the tally was up to 11 states — mostly in the South and Southwest.

In the last month, RSV infections rose sharply in some parts of the country, nearly filling hospital emergency departments in Georgia, Texas and some other states. But “we think we’re near the peak of RSV season or will be in the next week or so,” Cohen said.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus is a common cause of mild coldlike symptoms but it can be dangerous for infants and older people.

Cohen was asked about pneumonia cases in children reported in Massachusetts and in Warren County, Ohio, near Cincinnati. There are a number of possible causes of the lung infection, and it can be a complication of COVID-19, flu, or RSV.

In Ohio, health officials have reported 145 cases since August and most of the children recovered at home. The illnesses were caused by a variety of common viruses and bacteria, officials said.

Massachusetts health officials said there’s been a modest increase in pneumonia in kids but that it is appropriate for the season.

China recently had a surge in respiratory illnesses which health officials there attributed to the flu and other customary causes.

Known Pathogens Cause Rise in China’s Respiratory Illness, Official Says

China’s surge in respiratory illness is caused by known pathogens and there is no sign of new infectious diseases, a health official said Saturday as the country faces its first full winter since lifting its strict COVID-19 restrictions.

The spike in illness in the country where COVID emerged in late 2019 attracted the spotlight when the World Health Organization sought information last week, citing a report of clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children.

Chinese authorities will open more pediatric outpatient clinics, seek to ensure more elderly people and children receive flu vaccines and encourage people to wear masks and wash their hands, Mi Feng, an official with China’s National Health Commission, told a press conference.

Doctors in China and experts abroad have not expressed alarm about China’s outbreaks, given that many other countries saw similar increases in respiratory diseases after easing pandemic measures, which China did at the end of last year.

On Friday, five Republican senators led by Marco Rubio asked President Joe Biden’s administration to ban travel between the United States and China after a spike in Chinese respiratory illness cases.

A Biden administration official said the United States was closely monitoring the uptick in respiratory illnesses in China, but added, “We are seeing seasonal trends. Nothing is appearing out of the ordinary. … At this time, there is no indication that there is a link between the people who are seeking care in U.S. emergency departments and the outbreak of respiratory illness in China.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, acting director of the WHO’s department of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, said earlier this week the increase appeared to be driven by a rise in the number of children contracting pathogens that they had avoided during two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

The spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, said in response to the Rubio letter, “The relevant claims are purely ill-intentioned fabrications. China firmly opposes them.”

Rubio’s letter was also signed by Senators J.D. Vance, Rick Scott, Tommy Tuberville and Mike Braun. 

Командувач ОСУВ «Таврія»: армія РФ зменшила активність авіації та артилерії, намагається просуватися піхотою

Тарнавський уточнює, що на Авдіївському напрямку, який входить до відповідальності угруповання, втрати Росії склали 495 військових

US Issues New Rule on Methane Emissions

The Biden administration on Saturday issued a final rule aimed at reducing methane emissions, targeting the U.S. oil and natural gas industry for its role in global warming, as President Joe Biden seeks to advance his climate legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the rule will sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants generated by the oil and gas industry, promote use of cutting-edge methane detection technologies and deliver significant public health benefits in the form of reduced hospital visits, lost school days and even deaths. Air pollution from oil and gas operations can cause cancer, harm the nervous and respiratory systems and contribute to birth defects.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi announced the final rule at the U.N. climate conference in the United Arab Emirates. Separately, the president of the climate summit announced Saturday that 50 oil companies, representing nearly half of global production, have pledged to reach near-zero methane emissions and end routine flaring in their operations by 2030.

Oil and gas operations are the largest industrial source of methane, the main component in natural gas and far more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. It is responsible for about one-third of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Sharp cuts in methane emissions are a global priority to slow the rate of climate change and are a major topic at the conference, known as COP28.

Smaller wells included

The methane rule finalizes a proposal Biden made at a UN climate conference in Scotland in 2021 and expanded a year later at a climate conference in Egypt. It targets emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, rather than focusing only on new wells, as previous EPA regulations have done. It also regulates smaller wells that will be required to find and plug methane leaks. Such wells currently are subject to an initial inspection but are rarely checked again for leaks.

Studies have found that smaller wells produce 6% of the nation’s oil and gas but account for up to half the methane emissions from well sites.

The plan also will phase in a requirement for energy companies to eliminate routine flaring of natural gas that is produced by new oil wells.

The new methane rule will help ensure that the United States meets a goal set by more than 100 nations to cut methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, Regan said.

The new rule will be coordinated with a methane fee approved in the 2022 climate law. The fee, set to take effect next year, will charge energy producers that exceed a certain level of methane emissions as much as $1,500 per metric ton of methane. The plan marks the first time the U.S. government has directly imposed a fee, or tax, on greenhouse gas emissions.

The law allows exemptions for companies that comply with the EPA’s standards or fall below a certain emissions threshold. It also includes $1.5 billon in grants and other spending to help companies and local communities improve monitoring and data collection and find and repair natural gas leaks.

Reaction positive

Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, called the new rule a victory for public health.

“EPA heeded the urgent guidance of health experts across the country and finalized a strong methane rule that, when fully implemented, will significantly reduce hazardous air pollutants and climate-warming methane pollution from the oil and gas industry,” he said in a statement.

Methane has been shown to leak into the atmosphere during every stage of oil and gas production, Wimmer said, and “people who live near oil and gas wells are especially vulnerable to these exposure risks. This rule [is] vital to advancing environmental justice commitments.”

David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called methane a “super-polluter.” He said in an interview that the Biden plan “takes a very solid whack at climate pollution. I wish this had happened 10 years ago, but I’m really happy it’s happening now.”

The oil industry has generally welcomed direct federal regulation of methane emissions, preferring a single national standard to a hodgepodge of state rules. Even so, energy companies have asked the EPA to exempt hundreds of thousands of the nation’s smallest wells from the pending methane rules.

US VP Harris Announces $3 Billion Pledge to Green Climate Fund

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Saturday in Dubai at the U.N. COP28 Climate Conference that the United States is pledging $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund — the world’s largest climate fund — created to help developing countries handle climate change.

“Around the world, there are those who seek to slow or stop our progress. Leaders who deny climate science, delay climate action and spread misinformation,” the vice president said.

The multibillion-dollar pledge to the climate fund, however, first must be approved by the U.S. Congress, which is divided on the contribution.

Also Saturday, the U.S. made a commitment to phase out all the country’s coal-fired power plants when it joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Coal is the single largest contributor to the climate crisis, according to the alliance.

Sharp differences were laid bare Friday at COP28 regarding the future use of fossil fuels.

One day after COP28 president, United Arab Emirates’ Sultan al-Jaber — also the head of the UAE state oil company — opened the meeting with a call to not eliminate but phase down the use of fossil fuels, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the opposite.

Addressing the delegates, Guterres said, “We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuel,” and he called for the acceleration of “a just and equitable transition to renewable energy.”

The U.N. chief was referring to the 2015 Paris Climate agreement, which calls for efforts to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, saying the only way that goal can be reached is if the world stops burning “all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate.”

The disagreements over fossil fuel use prompted a prominent member of the COP28 advisory board to offer her resignation Friday.

Reuters news service reported that former Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine resigned in a letter to the COP28’s president, al-Jaber, saying reports alleging the UAE planned to use the conference to discuss possible fossil fuel and other commercial deals were “deeply disappointing” and threatened to undermine the credibility of the multilateral negotiation process.

Reuters reported the letter went on to say the actions undermine the COP presidency and the process as a whole.

Earlier this week, the BBC, working with the Center for Climate Reporting, reported that leaked briefing documents revealed plans for UAE officials to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations. Al-Jaber strongly denied the report.

Also Friday, Britain’s King Charles III addressed the conference, saying that the world was “dreadfully off track” on its climate goals and that he “prays with all his heart” the conference will be another critical turning point toward genuine transformational action.

In his remarks Friday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II linked climate change with the crisis in Gaza, saying they cannot talk about climate change “in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us.” He said thousands have been killed, injured or displaced in a region on the front lines of climate change, which, he said, magnifies the devastation.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his remarks, linked climate change to the global food crisis, citing statistics showing the global demand for food is estimated to increase by 50% by the year 2050, while the climate crisis is expected to reduce crop yields by as much as 30% over that same period.

During its opening day Thursday, conferees did agree to a new $420 million fund to help poorer, vulnerable nations cope with the cost of disasters caused by climate change, such as droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called the agreement “a great way to start” the conference.

The day one deal could pave the way for further agreements at COP28.

“COP” stands for “Conference of the Parties” to the original U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. There are currently 198 parties to the convention.

The current COP runs through December 12.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

ДСНС повідомляє про підтоплення та сніголавинну небезпеку на заході України

Також ДСНС прогнозує, що туман у Києві триватиме протягом дня 2 грудня, видимість обмежена до 200-500 метрів

Обстріли за добу: одна людина загинула на Донеччині, ще одна – на Херсонщині

Ще двоє людей на Донеччині отримали поранення

Міненерго: 938 населених пунктів – без світла через негоду, бойові дії та технічні проблеми

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