Officials in Maryland’s Prince George’s County say they “will spare no time or expense” investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a veteran public health worker who died of COVID-19 after relatives and co-workers believe she contracted the coronavirus on the job.

The probe follows a story by KHN and the Associated Press two weeks ago focusing on the worker, Chantee Mack, a 44-year-old disease intervention specialist at the Prince George’s County Health Department who union officials said was among at least 20 department employees infected by the coronavirus. The outbreak underscores the stark dangers facing the nation’s front-line public health army, the subject of an ongoing series by KHN and the AP, “Underfunded and Under Threat.”

Mack’s co-worker Rhonda Wallace, leader of a local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said she and others from the union met with two county council members shortly after the stories ran, then was told about the investigation after a separate meeting among county council members and officials.

“Your article started everything,” Wallace said in an interview this week.

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter discussed the need for a probe at

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Imagine this scenario, perhaps a year or two in the future: An effective COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available and the world is moving forward. Life, however, will likely never be the same — particularly for people over 60.

That is the conclusion of geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists. Experts say that in the aftermath of the pandemic, everything will change, from the way older folks receive health care to how they travel and shop. Also overturned: their work life and relationships with one another.

“In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience,” said Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a think tank on aging around the world. “We’ve been forced to stop and think: I could die or someone I love could die. When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”

Older adults are uniquely vulnerable because their immune systems tend to deteriorate with age, making it so much harder for them to battle not

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ST. LOUIS — Haley Organ thought she had everything figured out. After graduating from a small private college just outside Boston, she earned her master’s degree, entered the workforce and eventually landed a corporate job here as a data analyst.

Life seemed to be going as planned until the national retailer that Organ worked for announced furloughs during the coronavirus pandemic. After nine weeks of mandatory leave, the 35-year-old was laid off. The company gave her a severance package and put an expiration date on her health insurance plan.

“I haven’t slept the whole night since about March,” Organ said earlier this summer. “I can’t turn my brain off, just worrying about everything.”

Organ filed for unemployment, adding her claim to more than 40 million others nationwide since the pandemic took hold in mid-March, according to the Department of Labor. That’s about 1 in 4 U.S. workers. As a result of the unemployment crisis, millions of people lost access to their private health insurance plans at a time when they might need it most.

Medicaid, the federal and state health insurance program for

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After spending a May day preparing her classroom to reopen for preschoolers, Ana Aguilar was informed that the tots would not have to wear face masks when they came back. What’s more, she had to sign a form agreeing not to sue the school if she caught COVID-19 or suffered any injury from it while working there.

Other teachers signed the form distributed by the Montessori Schools of Irvine, but Aguilar said she felt uncomfortable, although it stipulated that staff members would be masked. At 23, she has a compromised immune system and was also worried that she could pass the coronavirus on to her fiancé and other family members.

Aguilar refused to sign, and a week later she was fired. “They said it was my choice to sign the paper, but it wasn’t really my choice,” said Aguilar, who’s currently jobless and receiving $276 a week in unemployment benefits. “I felt so bullied.”

As employers in California and across the country ask employees to return to the workplace,

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Hiya! I’m Lauren Olsen, your new Newsletter Editor. That’s right — the totally official, no more fill-ins, always-here-for-you Newsletter Editor. As the replacement for editor extraordinaire Brianna Labuskes, I’m here to tackle all your health news needs.

Why yes, you’re right — a pandemic is a heck of a time to take over this job. I’d argue, however, that it’s the best time, because who doesn’t need a hand sorting out all this craziness? So far, 2020 has been like trying to paint the “Mona Lisa” while riding a unicycle in a rainstorm — in other words, a sloppy mess teetering on disaster — but, with any luck, when it’s done we might all manage to smile.

In the meantime, I won’t Louvre you in the lurch. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Be sure to read each day’s top health news headlines in KHN’s Morning Briefing, compiled by yours truly. Please subscribe, if you haven’t already — and tell your colleagues and friends, too. Have a

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