Election day meant more changes in illicit drug laws, a simple cough may be the key to defeating COVID-19, and one state creates more rules for employers aimed at slowing the spread. Get all the details in today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap.
Drugs were on the ballot across the country on election day. New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota all legalized recreational use of marijuana. South Dakota also approved medical use, which makes it the first state to legalize both at the same time. Mississippi voters also approved medical use.
But marijuana is just a small part of this election story when it comes to drug use.
Things got really interesting in Oregon as it became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, LSD, and others. Under the new law, offenders will be fined, but instead of being arrested they will be sent to new, free addiction recovery centers.
Oregon and D.C. went even further by decriminalizing “magic mushrooms” and other psychedelics. These, however, may only be used in a medical setting to treat depression, trauma, and addiction.
Coughing into your cellphone may soon be the key to finding out if you have COVID-19!
Researchers at MIT have created an algorithm that pinpoints a certain sound in forced coughs that cannot be heard by the human ear. A COVID-19 positive person will make the sound, while someone who is negative will not.
According to a paper published in the IEEE Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the sound difference is there even if you have no symptoms and have no reason to believe you have contracted the virus. This artificial intelligence program can correctly diagnose the virus in asymptomatic people more than 98% of the time.
Finding these asymptomatic people could be the key to dramatically slowing the spread of the disease.
The team is reportedly trying to create a user-friendly app. It would have to be approved by the FDA, but if that happens, the goal is to offer it for free so people can download it and use it every day.
Talk about a potential game changer!
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order late last week that demands employers implement a long list of COVID-19 protocols. The goal of the order was to combine requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with many industry specific rules the state had already implemented and make a simple list for all employers to follow.
Some of the requirements include:
The order also creates an online complaint process that employees can use to report employers that do not follow the guidelines.
There are still some unanswered questions like how this will be enforced and what kind of penalties, other than a forced shutdown, will be used to give the measure teeth.
The order went into effect November 5th.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.