(TMU) — Prisons have increasingly become a point of concern for health experts as data shows that these facilities have been encouraging the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. According to data compiled by the New York Times, the largest new cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States is in the Cook County Jail in Chicago, one of the biggest prisons in the country.
This should come as no surprise considering that prisons are notoriously unsanitary, and inmates often have weakened immune systems due to lack of nutrition in the typical jailhouse diet.
At Cook County Jail, 304 inmates and 174 staff members have tested positive for the virus, but officials have said that the real number is likely far higher because only a small percentage of the inmates at the facility have actually been tested.
This prison, and likely many others, is acting as an incubation center for the illness, which ultimately leads to greater spread in nearby communities. The virus was likely initially brought into the prison by correctional officers and other workers at the facility, or perhaps by friends or family members of inmates before visitation was stopped last month. Once the virus finds its way into one of these facilities, it can spread very easily because the inmates are kept in close proximity in unsanitary conditions. Now that there is a massive cluster of infected inmates, corrections officers and other workers are taking the virus back to their families and communities.
The virus has already taken the life of one inmate at Cook County Jail. The inmate died while handcuffed to a hospital bed. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the family of the inmate is now suing the prison for violating his constitutional rights.
The “shackling policy, applied to [the inmate], was excessive, caused gratuitous pain, and violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment,” the lawsuit states.
Other inmates who fear that they could suffer the same fate have put up signs in the windows of the facility that say things like “help us, don’t let us die,” and “save us.”
On Thursday, protesters urged the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to release inmates from the jail, according to WGNTV. Prisons in many U.S. states have released nonviolent offenders in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.
A recent press release from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department said that action has already been taken to reduce the inmate population at the prison. According to the press release, 1,247 inmates have been released from the facility since March 9, which is a decrease of nearly 22% in the prison’s population.
Unrest has also been occurring at prisons all over the world as inmates feel that they are being put in danger amid the current pandemic. Last week, the Mind Unleashed reported that there was a prison riot involving over 100 inmates at the Monroe Corrections Complex in Washington state. And last month, 16 inmates escaped a prison in Italy after a riot broke out because officials canceled all visits. In Iran, over 100,000 inmates have been released from prison, but those who remained have also rioted in hopes of breaking free.
It was recently revealed that Julian Assange has two young children. Their mother, his fiancée, publicly revealed that the pair is engaged and hoping to marry while making a plea for his release from Belmarsh Prison in London. His fiancée said, “Julian’s poor physical health puts him at serious risk, like many other vulnerable people, and I don’t believe he will survive infection with coronavirus.”
Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings
People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.
However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.
In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.
“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”
The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.
In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.
Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.
The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.
Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone
A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.
Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.
Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.
“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.
As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.
“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.
Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.
Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.
“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.
From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.
The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.
“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.
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