Arizona Public Health Officials Update Community Transmission Level of COVID-19

Residents asked to take precautions and practice social distancing

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has updated the community transmission level of COVID-19 in Arizona to widespread. Widespread transmission indicates that cases have been confirmed in 12 or more counties throughout the state. As of March 26, Arizona has confirmed 508 cases in 13 counties. There have been 8 deaths reported due to COVID-19.

“Given widespread transmission, all Arizonans should expect that COVID-19 is circulating in their community,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS Director. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that is highly contagious and can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. Protecting those at highest risk of complications and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to deal with a surge in cases is our highest priority. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect themselves and their family from this disease.”

The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek healthcare.

ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center Jan. 27 after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources to Know & Updates From North Valley Municipalities

TOWN OF CAREFREE

With the recent cancellation of sporting events, concerts and other community events the concerns regarding the coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  There are a number of resources which can give you up to date information on the evolving circumstances related to the virus and what to do to protect you and your family.  Please share these resources with your family, friends and neighbors. 

For important information, including travel advisories:
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

For specific questions, see the CDC’s FAQ section:
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

For Arizona:
https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home

For information about COVID-19 in each state, search each state’s health department, which works with the CDC to monitor and implement all recommendations:
www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html

For up-to-date developments, research, and guidance from government health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), go to:
www.idsociety.org/public-health/Novel-Coronavirus


TOWN OF CAVE CREEK

The Town of Cave Creek has issued a statement about the situation and will keep the community informed with updates as we receive them from federal, state and county officials. Read the full statement on our website at https://tinyurl.com/vtphfy8.


CITY OF PHOENIX

Mayor Gallego Statement on Phoenix Response to COVID-19

March 12, 2020 PHOENIX- The City of Phoenix is in regular communication with all appropriate emergency response agencies to ensure we are working together to limit exposure to COVID-19 in Arizona. This collaboration allows the city to implement safety protocols that are based on facts and to pass along updates, so that employees and residents can make informed decisions.

The city has two main goals–to keep the public safe and accurately informed and ensure flexibility to monitor this fast-moving situation. Phoenix will be providing regular updates to both city residents and employees through our social media channels and Phoenix.Gov.

“Phoenix is working closely with the appropriate emergency response agencies to provide accurate and up-to-date information to our residents. Our goal is to alleviate fear and give residents the needed tools to best protect themselves and others,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

City Plans

  • As of March 12, the City of Phoenix Water Department has halted all water shut-offs for non-payment to ensure residents have access to water for COVID-19 sanitation purposes. Those currently disconnected will be re-connected and receive low-flow water service adequate for sanitation and cooking.
  • We are coordinating closely with our Fire and Police Departments to ensure they have the resources they need.
  • The city is reviewing possible alternative options for upcoming public meetings and gatherings.
  • We are working with each of our city departments to determine possible telecommuting needs for city staff should the need arise. Work travel for city business has been greatly restricted for the time being. All staff who feel ill are asked to stay home.
  • City staff and custodial vendors have increased cleaning efforts in all city facilities, targeting surfaces like elevator buttons, handrails, bathroom handles, fixtures and doors.

Prevention Strategies

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer).
  • Stay home when you are sick. Consider using telemedicine if healthcare is needed.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with elbow or tissue.
  • If you are sick and have traveled to impacted areas in the last 14 days, please call your healthcare provider.

To learn more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Frequently Asked Questions page at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

[Additional resources: https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/em-and-hs/866]


CITY OF SCOTTSDALE

Coronaviris update

The city continues to serve the public throughout situations like the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Scottsdale’s All Hazards Incident Management Team is a cross-functional group staffed by employees from throughout the organization who are meeting regularly to share current information and ensure that city staff and the public are protected, and that city operations continue despite any interruptions that could occur. This team is in regular contact with partners at Maricopa County Public Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services, who are providing updated guidance as needed. Learn more: https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/news/coronavirus-update.

Mayor Gallego Issues Statement on COVID-19 Precautions Ahead of DNC Debate

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

PHOENIX- The City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, the State of Arizona, public health officials, the Democratic National Convention, Sky Harbor International Airport, CNN, Phoenix Convention Center, Arizona Federal Theatre, and other pertinent parties are in daily contact ahead of the Sunday, March 15 presidential debate in Phoenix to discuss precautions being taken against COVID-19.

We understand the responsibility that comes with hosting an event under these circumstances. We are taking strong precautions, and, most importantly, breaking down communication silos. From now until post-debate we will be convening these stakeholders daily to discuss precautions we are taking. 

We understand that the fear felt by residents is real, which is why we want to ensure transparency and efficiency in the dissemination of information on this topic. At this time, we are working with the understanding that the debate is moving forward as planned and taking proper safety precautions in the lead up to Sunday. Based on this information we will reassess daily what possible changes need to be made.

To learn more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Frequently Asked Questions page at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or Maricopa County’s page at: https://www.maricopa.gov/5460/Coronavirus-Disease-2019.

Desert Foothills Family YMCA Kicks Off ‘Livestrong’ Program

Carol Maxfield, pictured on the left, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Read her personal journey below.

The Desert Foothills Family YMCA (Y) and the Livestrong® Foundation joined together to create Livestrong at the YMCA, a physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors achieve their holistic health goals.

The research-based program offers people affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. In addition to physical benefits, Livestrong at the YMCA focuses on the emotional well-being of survivors and their families by providing a supportive community where people impacted by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, Livestrong at the YMCA helps people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

Livestrong at the YMCA is a free 12-week small-group fitness program for adult cancer survivors. The program focuses on improving cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance to regain overall health. Classes meet twice a week for 75 minutes. Participants will receive a free Y membership for the session’s duration.

Program Goals:

  • Improve energy levels and self-esteem
  • Build muscle mass and strength
  • Increase flexibility and endurance
  • Improve ability to do everyday tasks
  • Develop an ongoing fitness plan to continue practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Those who are interested in sponsoring the Livestrong at the YMCA program may donate at https://valleyymca.org/donatedffy — $250 supports one participant, $1,000 supports a class of four participants — or contact Allie Avishai, associate executive director Desert Foothills Family YMCA, at allie.avishai@vosymca.org or 602.212.6058. The next program at Desert Foothills Y kicks off March 3.

Carol Maxfield, pictured above, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Here is her personal journey, in her words:

My name is Carol Maxfield and I am a volunteer at Desert Foothills YMCA. I am here representing the LiveStrong Program for cancer survivors.

Let me ask you a rhetorical question.  How many of you know someone who has cancer?

My guess is that you all do.  Friends, family members, co-workers …. it seems to be everywhere.  I never thought I would be included in the ranks of those who have the disease, but I am, and  I remember September 9, 2016 like it was yesterday, when my husband and I  heard the terrifying words, “you have Stage 4 ovarian cancer.”  How could this happen to me?  In a split second my life as I had always know it, and the future my husband and I had always planned, was forever changed. Of course there were treatments, Dr’s appointments, good days, bad days – it all comes with the diagnosis. 

I don’t share this with you because I want sympathy — I share this with you because 3½ years later I AM standing in front of you today. When I completed my treatments I knew I needed to take back control of my new life. One of the things that has allowed me to do that is the Live Strong Program offered thru the Desert Foothills YMCA. This program believes that our Drs have done their part, it is now up to the survivor to take their life back and start building their new norm with a healthier body and mind.

LiveStrong is a 12-week physical activity program that meets 2 times a week and is designed to get survivors back on their feet after a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. During the 12 week program, membership to the Desert Foothills YMCA is complementary for the participants. The primary focus is helping our participants to strengthen their bodies through a series of closely monitored exercise routines. They receive encouragement, work-out in a safe environment, and most importantly have FUN.  Accordingly, our program is tailored to each individual’s fitness level, disease state and stage of treatment.  They learn exercises that can be continued in whatever phase their journey presents itself. They have all seen remarkable results in their stamina, strength and the ability to return to doing some of the things that have always made their life fulfilling

The program is blessed to have a certified group fitness trainer and a compassionate facilitator at its helm, Laurie Satter. She has also become one of my best friends. Two other LS graduates are also volunteers for the program and we all help Laurie in any way we can. Each of us is a cancer survivor and has experienced its benefits firsthand and want to give back. For me, it has become a passion to help the program succeed. We have all joined forces to make a difference in someone else’s life and to continue growing the program. 

Our program is not just an exercise regimen. Laurie and I believe the mind is an integral part of recovery. We try to create an environment of trust. We have heard over and over that having a place to come together with other survivors and be able to share, is key. Knowing that you are surrounded by the support and care from others, who intimately know all that you have experienced in ways no one else can understand, has given a voice back to all of us. We ARE a big family.

We are the exercise program with a heart.

Since its inception at Desert Foothills and Laurie took the helm, LiveStrong has graduated 6 classes. Several of those graduates are with us tonight. Feel free to ask them any questions about their own experiences. They are all strong, compassionate and remarkable women and are easily recognized by the t-shirt they are wearing.

Love Is All There Is!

— By Michele Guy Syne

February is the month for Valentines…a time to express our love and appreciation for our partners, our family and our friends.

Love is the Magic that bonds us in our relationships, and relationships are what allow us to discover our true Essence. Here are five suggestions for how to build, maintain, nurture and grow our relationships.

Always Be Gentle and Kind: Do you know that an act of kindness releases endorphins, and oxytocin in the donor, the recipient and anyone watching that act of kindness. Endorphins are the brains natural painkiller, and oxytocin is the hormone of love. Acts of kindness make everyone feel good. And feeling good is good for our mental health, and also our physical health.

Be Considerate and Respectful: Open the door for someone. Bring home flowers. Send a text just to see how someone is doing…let them know we are thinking of them. Smile at a stranger. Take out the garbage (without being asked to). Set the table for dinner. Make someone’s day.

Always Assume the Positive Intent: Everyone is only trying to satisfy their needs, and until we walk a mile in their shoes…we may never know what those needs are. No one does anything intentionally to hurt someone else. So be understanding, and forgiving, and allow yourself and others to be imperfect.

Be Present and Attentive: Take the time to appreciate the contribution that the people in your life make to your quality of life, and to your sense of well-being. When you are with them, really be present with them, and make that time quality time.

Surprise and Delight: The element of surprise wakes us up to our lives. We may get caught up in our day-to-day routine, and pretty soon, we cannot remember what happened yesterday, or the day before. Yet we remember the surprises in our lives. We are delighted with something new, exciting, and different.

Love knows no bounds. And the most wonderful thing about Love, is that the more love you give, the more love you have to give. It never runs out.

So, cherish your loved ones and share your love with those who may not have your blessings and make every day a Valentine’s Day!

Michele Guy Syne is a Professional Engineer and Certified Hypnotherapist. Michele offers private hypnotherapy sessions from her office in Carefree. She also facilitates workshops on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Holland Community Center. Contact Michele at 480.652.6698, michele@uniquelynorthern.com, or visit her website at http://www.uniquelynorthern.com.


Photo: 109924135 © creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime.com

Blue Light: The Visible Danger

By Stephen Cohen, O.D.

Over the past decade, our lives have been transformed due to smart phones, tablets and other handheld devices. These devices are backlit by LED light. Also, legislation has been implemented that require that incandescent light bulbs be replaced by more energy efficient LED bulbs. Unfortunately, this change in technology has come with a price tag: these devices emit high levels of “blue light.”

Think about the colors of the rainbow. On the spectrum, blue light is right next to ultraviolet radiation (UV). We know that UV (which we cannot see) can be damaging to our skin and to our eyes. Its neighbor, blue light, has been found to cause numerous problems in higher and extended doses.

Although the sun is the major source of all wavelengths of light, including blue light, we have experienced a tremendous increase in blue light exposure in other settings, such as in our office, on our laptop and even in our beds when we tend to use our smart phones and tablets before going to sleep.

Here are some of the challenges we now face. Blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. Using a smart phone in bed for a short time in anticipation of sleep actually wakes us up. Apple, for example, has come up with an adjustment to turn down the blue light at night in an attempt to counteract this problem for its iPhone users. Blue light also causes significant eyestrain. This can affect visual comfort, moods and behavior, whether for adults in an office, or, more significantly, for children in a classroom.

Blue light (which has been found to penetrate deeper into our eyes) has been implicated as a contributing factor to developing Macular Degeneration later in life. Protecting your eyes now will not only help to improve your quality of life today, it can also help in the future. There are now coatings that can be applied to lens surfaces of eyeglasses that block UV, glare, and blue light. This can enhance clarity (since the “blue” end of the visible spectrum tends to be more distorting), reduce strain and protect your eyes. Special filters on computer/tablet screens can reduce blue light exposure. Using the adjustment settings on your smart phone can also reduce exposure to higher levels of blue light.

We are familiar with the term “unintended consequences,” where some advances in technology provides benefits but can also cause unanticipated challenges. Such is the case with lighting changes that were made for environmental benefits, as well as digital device technology. So, while we help to protect our environment, let’s protect our eye health and visual comfort as well.


Photo credit: Japanexperterna.se via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services Extends Marketplace Open Enrollment Deadline to Dec. 18

After technical issues prevented some consumers from accessing the HealthCare.gov website on the final day of open enrollment for 2020 Marketplace insurance coverage, the Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) made the decision to extend the enrollment deadline, and issued the following statement:

“CMS’s primary goal is to provide a seamless Open Enrollment experience for HealthCare.gov consumers and ensure that those Americans who want coverage offered through the Exchange can enroll in a plan. In an abundance of caution, to accommodate consumers who attempted to enroll in coverage during the final hours of Open Enrollment but who may have experienced issues, starting at 3:00PM EST today, December 16 we are extending the deadline to sign up for January 1 coverage until 3:00AM EST December 18. This additional time will give consumers the opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage. While the website and the call center remained open for business on December 15 with over half a million consumers enrolling throughout the day, some consumers were asked to leave their name at the call center.  Those consumers who have already left their contact information at the call center do not need to come back and apply during this extension because a call center representative will follow up with them later this week.”

World Hunger on the Rise — Causes, Consequences and Solutions

A map of all the countries Feed My Starving Children has partners in and is sending food to. The black dot on the far right is the country the volunteers were packing for at the facility in Mesa, Arizona, when the reporter visited. Photo: Jeff Rosenfield

—By Jeff Rosenfield

From 2005 to 2015, world hunger was decreasing, but it is once again on the rise.

Over two billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, and in the past three years the number of people suffering from hunger has slowly increased, according to 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SFSNW) report.

This report was authored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

The report measured the percentage of undernourished people in the world to represent global hunger. Undernourished people may have access to food that is not nutrient-rich.

While hunger is a physical discomfort due to not eating food for a time, undernutrition is a condition resulting from lack of necessary nutrients, usually obtained from food, according to World Hunger Education.

Hunger and undernutrition are results of food insecurity, when one has limited or unreliable access to healthy and nutritious foods.

“About two billion people in the world experience moderate to severe food insecurity,” according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

“The lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food that these people experience puts them at greater risk of malnutrition and poor health,” according to the 2019 SFSNW report, in which maternal and child undernutrition reportedly contributed to 45 percent of deaths in children under 5 years old.

“These nutrient deficiencies lead to a lack of function,” registered dietitian and lecturer for the Nutrition Program at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University (ASU), Jessica Lehmann said.

The immune system can be suppressed if the “body doesn’t have enough protein to build antibodies,” Lehmann said.

Some examples of vital nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water.

“If there’s not enough protein and not enough calories, then the body starts basically cannibalizing itself and its own proteins, in order to create enough energy to live,” Lehmann said.

The body will start by consuming the glycogen — or stored carbohydrates — and will ultimately consume its own skeletal muscles, Lehmann said.

Some other vital nutrients are vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, iron and zinc.

Vitamin A deficiency can result in blindness in children, according to Christy Alexon, a clinical associate professor at the College of Health Solutions at ASU.

“It’s completely heartbreaking,” Alexon said about the “number one preventable cause of childhood blindness.”

Vitamin A deficiency is preventable because there is enough nutritional food in the world.

According to Concern Worldwide U.S., Inc., “the world produces enough food to feed all 7.5 billion people.”

“Despite this, 1 in 9 people around the world go hungry each day,” according to Concern Worldwide U.S., a statistic confirmed in the 2019 SFSNW report.

“If you want to talk about why people are hungry, a lot of it is access to food,” Lehmann said.

Time and money are scarce, and people will often choose the cheaper meal, even if it is lacking nutrients, Lehmann said.

“Poverty is a huge reason,” Lehmann said.

In countries with greater income inequality, people with lower incomes spend a larger percentage of their income on food, according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

While enough food is produced worldwide, it is not readily available worldwide. As such, countries need to find a way to secure their own food source.

Countries lacking the necessary land and water resources to produce crops are forced to import, Mark Manfredo, a director and professor at the Morrison School of Agribusiness at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, said.

Even if a country can afford importing food, it may not be able to afford importing nutritious food, which is typically more expensive.

Any nutritious food that is imported will be more expensive than non-nutritious foods in the domestic markets, according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

A country that produces its own food is not necessarily better off, either.

Prices may fluctuate due to weather and natural disasters destroying crops. Food safety scares can also create a lot of volatility, Manfredo said.

Additionally, poorer countries have fewer incentives to offer farmers to increase production, Clifford Shultz, a professor at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University, said.

Cambodia, as a previously communist country, used a model that “didn’t have incentives for farmers so they underperformed,” Shultz said.

Underperforming farmers hurt the economy, which also undermines efforts to end hunger and malnutrition, according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

“After they switched to a more market-oriented economies they were able to produce more food,” Shultz said.

Still, some countries have underperforming economies.

“In 2018, more than 96 million people in 33 countries suffering from acute food insecurity lived in places where economy had rising unemployment, lack of regular work, currency depreciation and high food prices,” according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

Another reason people have unequal access to food is war and violence.

Food waste and insecurity are greatly increased in times of war and violence.

“Food is a weapon,” Shultz said.

In war, “One of the first things you do is cut off the supply chain of your adversary,” Shultz said.

Destroying food supply chains causes crop failure and reduces the supply of food, and when the demand remains the same or increases, the result is an increase in food prices.

For example, South Sudan’s civil war has led to mass displacement and abandoned fields, resulting in crop failure. Combined with a soaring inflation rate, imported foods are unaffordable, leaving six million people food-insecure, according to Concern Worldwide U.S.

Many countries with food insecurity also face an increasing number of overweight people. This is not a result of well-nourished people overindulging.

“The most recent data show that obesity is contributing to 4 million deaths globally and is increasing the risk of morbidity for people in all age groups,” according to the 2019 SFSNW report.

“People are growing up and they’re just not sure where their next meal is coming from,” Lehmann said.

“It can create a very real need to make sure that someone has extra calories,” Lehmann said.

“Whenever food does appear they’re going to be much more likely to get as much as possible because they don’t know when their next meal is gonna arrive or be there,” Lehmann said.

Whether or not this food is nutritious is of little concern to the hungry person.

Countries around the world are food insecure and suffer from undernutrition, even though the world produces enough food to feed them all.

So, where does the excess food go?

It is wasted.

“Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted,” according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States.

That is the equivalent of roughly 680 billion United States dollars being wasted annually.

“Food waste occurs at all points of the supply chain,” Manfredo said.

“Researchers and scientists and economists are all trying to address this problem,” he continued.

“There is a lot of agricultural investment right now, in new technologies, in land, in infrastructures and equipment, all of this to create more efficiency in food production.”

One example Manfredo gave was investments in robotics. Having a robot that can remove weeds from a farmer’s field could potentially remove the need for spraying chemicals and herbicides.

Another example was using data analytics to build models and predict how much fertilizer is needed for a field.

However, as Manfredo said earlier, “Food waste occurs at all points of the supply chain.”

Manfredo said waste occurs in fresh produce, in particular, as produce is not put on the market if it does not meet industry standards.

“Maybe it’s bruised or imperfect,” Manfredo said, “That’s the word they often use is imperfect.”

Imperfect Foods is a Public Benefit Corporation that sells groceries online and delivers them.

Imperfect Foods lists several reasons why a product may be classified as imperfect, including a product not being visually appealing or being outside the size parameter given by the buyer.

Usually, imperfect foods in the United States are discarded before they reach the market, not because they are unsafe to eat, but because they are significantly less marketable, meaning they are less likely to be bought by customers.

“People are demanding higher quality food,” Manfredo said.

Americans are particularly picky eaters, as Brian Hetzer from Feed My Starving Children, (FMSC) discovered.

FMSC has tried sending their Manapack bags to the Red Cross for disaster relief, such as hurricanes and flooding.

“The bottom line is most people in the U.S. won’t eat this,” Hetzer said.

Most people in the U.S. are used to high-quality food that tastes better.

In the U.S., “More times than not, the food ends up going to waste,” Hetzer said.

Because U.S. citizens are so particular, vendors must be very cautious about only using marketable foods.

Just because U.S. citizens do not want to eat imperfect food, does not mean hungry people around the world will not. So why is this excess food thrown away instead of being sent to those who need it?

Because it is cheaper.

“Getting it into the hands of someone to eat it isn’t free,” Harold McClarty, the owner of HMC Farms, said in a video clip used in the episode Food Waste (12:53) of “Last Week Tonight.”

“It’s a lot easier and cheaper to just throw it away,” McClarty said.

This behavior is not unique to the United States; it is practiced throughout the world.

Every year, consumers in rich countries waste about 222 million tonnes of food, according to the FAO.

Though much of the world’s food goes to waste, there are many organizations actively sending food and supplies to people in need.

Feed My Starving Children is one of these organizations.

They send Manapack rice to various countries in need.

“We pack 1 million meals a week,” Hetzer said, adding “there is still tremendous need.”

Feed My Starving Children has partner organizations around the globe in over 50 countries.

“There are other organizations that are willing to partner with us that we have to say no to because we can’t pack enough food to meet the additional need,” Hetzer said.

Moving food around the world is expensive, but FMSC does not charge its partner organizations for the food. They only pay for the shipping, Hetzer said.

Currently, FMSC cannot accept additional food partners because it does not have the money to purchase more food, beyond its commitments to its current partners.

FMSC said 999,110 children are fed each year because of volunteers and donors. The solution to world hunger is neither inexpensive nor easy, but it is more than a lack of food and resources.

The “problem is really one more of will rather than a lack of technology or resources,” Shultz said.


Jeff Rosenfield is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Arizona Responds to Maternal Mortality Rates

—By Jeff Rosenfield

UA College of Medicine-Phoenix held an event last night to address the rising maternal mortality rates in the United States and how Arizona is combating the crisis.

Dr. Kendra Gray poses for a photo before giving a presentation on maternal mortality rates in the United States and how Arizona is combating it. Gray gave her presentation at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Education Building in Phoenix, Arizona, Dec. 4. Photo: Jeff Rosenfield

Dr. Kendra Gray, a clinical instructor and maternal fetal medicine fellow of the UA College of Obstetrics and Gynecology discuss the trends in maternal mortality and what can be done about it. 

“In the United States there’s an estimated 700 women a year who will die from pregnancy or birth related causes,” Gray said. “That number is absolutely crazy to me.”

Every one of those numbers is a person, is a mom. Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths, she said.

Other causes of death during pregnancy can include hemorrhage, infection, blood clots in the lungs, anesthetic complications, cardiomyopathy, substance abuse and obesity, she said.

“More than 80 percent of all maternal deaths in Arizona are believed to have been preventable. Not all of them are preventable, but 80 percent is really, really high and so we have to figure out what we can do to fix that,” she said.

Gray cited findings by the CDC, including roughly one-third maternal mortalities happen while pregnant, one-third occur within one week of delivery and one-third occur within a year after delivery.

“There has been no improvement [of the U.S. maternal mortality rate] in roughly 25 years,” she said. “We’re still doing worse than many of our comparative first-world countries.”

According to Gray, Arizona has made some positive changes.

Arizona is one of nine states to receive $2.1 million grant per year for five years from the Health Resources and Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will be used to collect more data in a “more timely fashion,” Gray said.

Gov. Doug Ducey established an advisory committee to combat maternal mortality, in April.

The 13-member advisory committee provides recommendations for enhancing data collection and reporting on maternal mortality, according to a press release.

“We’re one of 25 states to receive an award for $450,000 per year, for a five-year period from the CDC, related to preventing maternal deaths,” Gray said. “We’ve had Medicaid expansion, we report our maternal mortality rate by race.”

The state of Arizona has been cited in multiple American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists practice bulletins and is being looked at as a model for other states to start to mimic some of what we’re doing, Gray said.

According to Gray, Arizona decided to join the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, which provides packages with “checklists” on how to manage various hypertensive disorders and emergencies systematically in hospitals.

“In the states that these bundles have been tried out in, the mortality and morbidity have decreased dramatically,” Gray said.

The University of Arizona and Banner University also run many simulations of medical emergencies, including maternal mortality related issues, so future nurses and doctors will be prepared, Gray said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists American also has its own initiatives to reduce maternal mortality rates, including optimizing postpartum, designating levels of maternal care and advocating more for maternal mortality, Gray said.

Dr. Shirley Savai specializes in Gynecology and Maternal and Fetal Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Banner Health.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Savai said. “Compared to European women, our women get twice as many chronic illnesses during pregnancies.” 

Bryce Munter, a third-year medical student at the college and audience member, said she knew maternal mortality was a problem, but she did not know the severity of it.

Philip Maykowski, a third-year medical student at the college and audience member, said Gray’s lecture reinforced how behind we are on maternal mortality, in terms of understanding and preventing it, and that one can focus on it more when going into training.

“We need to give better care to women in general in our country, in particular reproductive age women,” Gray said. “Losing just one mom at all is really, really devastating.”


Jeff Rosenfield is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Work Off Thanksgiving Dinner the Day After — Mountainside Fitness members’ guests work out for free Thanksgiving weekend

Arizona’s largest locally owned fitness center, Mountainside Fitness has 17 locations across the Valley including Chandler, Desert Ridge, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe and Surprise, with three additional Valley locations scheduled to open in 2020.

Mountainside Fitness says that it aims to help each one of their customers reach their fitness goals by offering a wide range of amenities. Each location has top-of-the-line equipment, state-of-the-art childcare, full-service locker rooms and free towel service.

There are also more than 80 group fitness classes to attend like Zumba, High Fitness, cycling with a live DJ, Flow Yoga, Step, H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) and many more.

“We are offering four days of free workouts to our members’ guests as a way to say thank you and share good health with everyone this holiday season. As a family friendly business, we want to encourage our members to bring their holiday visitors or friends this Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy for free all the classes and high-end amenities that Mountainside Fitness has to offer,” said Tom Hatten, CEO and founder of Mountainside Fitness.

For specials and more information on locations, visit mountainsidefitness.com.

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