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Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy are constantly reminded about the importance of integrity. Now, Covid-19 has put the school’s honor code to the test.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The academy at West Point this month concluded investigations into its largest cheating scandal in at least four decades. It punished dozens of cadets found to be dishonest on an exam while studying remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, though those avoiding expulsion won’t have a permanent blemish on their records.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ A final summary report of their transgressions, including a decision to end a policy that for years has protected wayward cadets from being kicked out, is being reported for the first time by The Wall Street Journal.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The policy, known as the “willful admission process,” can protect a cadet who admits to wrongdoing from being thrown out. It was put in place in 2015 to increase self-reporting without fear of removal and to encourage cadets to confront peers about honor violations without having them kicked out of school.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The policy, however, didn’t achieve the desired intent, said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, superintendent of the academy, who is pictured in the third photo. “It’s clear to me, it has to go.”⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The policy change, which will go into effect soon, will be hailed by some alumni of the elite institution who believe the willful-admission process was too forgiving. Yet some cadets and even some current academy administrators liked that it gave a second chance to the remorseful and that one mistake didn’t automatically end a military career.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Read more at the link in our bio. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ 📷: @maslovsaslov for @wsjphotos
Across the country, some of the fastest communities to vaccinate are home to Native American tribes. As vaccinations have quickly spread, case and death rates have plummeted among native groups, which were once among the hardest-hit by the virus.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ At the start of the pandemic, tribal leaders across the country worried that the Indian Health Service—the federal agency tasked with providing healthcare to 2.6 million Native Americans in the U.S.—would be unable to slow the virus’s spread because of widespread staffing shortages and constrained supplies. Over the summer, the Navajo Nation in particular emerged as a Covid-19 hot spot, with the disease spreading like wildfire among families living in cramped, multigenerational households on native lands. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Now, the IHS says that some of the same factors that have in the past constrained the agency’s ability to provide care—chiefly its centralized system of a limited number of clinics where all patients go for most of their primary care—have worked in the agency’s favor during the vaccination drive.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ “Vaccinations—some of the basic preventive health measures we do day-to-day—are to some degree our bread and butter,” said Elizabeth Fowler, acting director of the IHS.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ In Glacier County, Mont., home of the Blackfeet Nation, 46.7% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. In Apache County, Ariz., about two-thirds of which is covered by the Navajo, Fort Apache and Zuni Indian reservations, 42% of the population is vaccinated. In Blaine County, Mont., where one-third of the population lives on the Fort Belknap Reservation, it is 45.9%.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Among U.S. counties of 1,000 people or more, 12 of the 15 counties with the highest vaccination rates in the country contain Indian reservations or Alaska Native communities where IHS or tribal clinics are a primary source of healthcare, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of CDC data.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images
When the only hospital in the small central Wyoming city of Riverton stopped delivering babies and cut back on surgeries, local residents sought to start their own. The fight that ensued now stretches to Washington, and is shining an uncomfortable light on one of the country’s biggest hospital chains and its private-equity owner.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ LifePoint Health, backed by Apollo Global Management, controls the only hospital in the working-class city. After LifePoint merged Riverton’s hospital with another facility it owns in the city of Lander, 30 miles away, it began consolidating the hospitals’ services.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ With many in Riverton worried that cutbacks would hurt the city’s future and some concerned over Lander’s care, local business and community leaders launched an effort to build a new hospital instead. They say they have secured several million dollars in donations for the effort, including land for the proposed hospital from the Eastern Shoshone Native American tribe.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Today, local business and community leaders who are leading efforts to build a new hospital are one step away from achieving its goal of securing $40 million of low-interest loans from the Agriculture Department. LifePoint is trying to scupper the efforts by lobbying the Biden administration and Wyoming’s senators to oppose the project.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Riverton’s effort highlights the struggles in rural healthcare nationwide and the clashes between communities and for-profit chains that own small-town hospitals across the country. Private-equity groups, which poured more than $200 billion into North American health investments over the past decade, have at times exacerbated these tensions. Lucrative returns, an aging population and other factors made healthcare companies attractive targets. But private-equity strategies, which can include the aggressive use of debt to fund dividends or selling off local assets to clean up balance sheets, can deepen conflicts with small communities such as Riverton.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ 📷: @caynimm for @wsjphotos
A little over a year ago, Chanee McLaurin was a few weeks into a new job selling insurance when she began to hear coughing in her office. Co-workers, one after another, stopped showing up. Then she overheard a colleague whispering into her phone that she had been diagnosed with flu-like symptoms.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ When her employer, after letting staff work from home, called them back to the office in early May, McLaurin didn’t go. Although she wasn’t aware of any outbreak at her office, her job involved going door to door at businesses, and she feared what would happen if she caught Covid-19 and grew too ill to take care of her two-year-old daughter or infected her wife, an essential worker with a warehousing job.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ A year after the pandemic burst onto the U.S. economy, 8.4 million fewer Americans hold jobs. There are many reasons, but one of the most important and least appreciated is the one that keeps McLaurin at home: fear. A U.S. Census survey conducted in the second half of March found that about 4.2 million adults aren’t working because they are afraid of getting or spreading the coronavirus.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The large number helps explain why some companies say labor is scarce even though the unemployment rate is 6%. It suggests that even with generous fiscal and monetary stimulus, the U.S. labor market might not fully heal until the virus is tamed.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Indeed, if fear of the virus keeps people out of the work force, it could add inflation pressure as employers seeking to meet stimulus-fueled demand are forced to raise wages to hire enough workers or keep those they have, and pass those costs on to customers. However, many economists assume a successful vaccine rollout would send a surge of people rejoining the labor force, enabling the economy to potentially thrive without inflation caused by supply bottlenecks.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ 📷: @obzerb for @wsjphotos
Rarely have America's children suffered so many blows—and all at once—as during the Covid-19 crisis. ⠀ ⠀ When Victoria Vial’s Miami middle school shut down, it felt like the beginning of an adventure for the 13-year-old. Then her grades slipped, her summer camps closed and she found herself excluded from the pandemic pod she formed with close friends. After her grandfather died from Covid-19, Christmas came and went without the usual celebrations.⠀ ⠀ “It was super, super hard,” she says. “I didn’t know how to feel.”⠀ ⠀ The pandemic has hit children on multiple fronts, and their mental health is suffering amid social isolation, family stress, a breakdown of routine and anxiety about the virus. School closures, remote teaching and learning interruptions have set back many at school. Some parents have had job and income losses, creating financial instability—and exacerbating parental stress. Thousands of children have lost a parent or grandparent to the disease.⠀ ⠀ It is unusual to have so many challenges at once, and for so long. Psychologists and researchers say they expect the crisis to cause deeper and more chronic suffering for more kids than most natural disasters. As vaccinations rise and restrictions are lifted, the looming question for this generation is: What will the long-term effects of the lost year be? ⠀ ⠀ Read more at the link in our bio. ⠀ ⠀ 📷: @mariaalejandra2.8 for @wsjphotos
Protesters called for police accountability Monday evening in the Brooklyn Center suburb of Minneapolis, Minn., a day after the shooting death of a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, whose death police described as a tragic accident. ⠀ ⠀ At the Brooklyn Center Police Department, about 2 miles from where Wright was shot by police, protesters shouted and banged drums, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and “Our streets, our streets.” Others chanted Wright’s name. Some threw water bottles at police and set off fireworks. Windows at a store across the street were broken and the store was looted. About 40 arrests were made at the protest, for violations including breaching curfew and rioting, authorities said.⠀ ⠀ The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police force, as the officer who police say accidentally shot and killed Wright after discharging her gun instead of her Taser during a traffic stop Sunday.⠀ ⠀ Katie Wright, Wright’s mother, spoke Monday evening at a rally at the site where her son was shot. “He did not deserve this at all. My heart is literally broken into a thousand pieces,” said Katie Wright, shown in the second photo. “I just need everyone to know that he was my life. He was my son. And I can never get that back because of a mistake, because of an accident.”⠀ ⠀ Read more at the link in our bio.⠀ ⠀ 📷: @carolineyangphoto for @wsjphotos⠀
One day early in the coronavirus pandemic, El Arroyo, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, banked just $186 in sales. Owner Ellis Winstanley put a cheeky plea on the marquee: “Now would be a good time to legalize drive-up margaritas.”⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Days later, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott did just that by issuing temporary approval of alcohol pickup and delivery from licensed bars and restaurants. Winstanley changed his sign to credit the governor’s move with his ability to rehire 40 employees.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Across the country, state and local governments have temporarily eased hundreds of regulations during the pandemic, aiming to help consumers social distance and businesses avoid economic disaster. Now, some want to abandon them for good.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Lawmakers in Texas and at least 19 other states that let bars and restaurants sell to-go cocktails during the pandemic are moving to make those allowances permanent. Many states that made it easier for healthcare providers to work across state lines are considering bills to indefinitely ease interstate licensing rules. Lawmakers in Washington are pushing for Medicare to extend its policy of reimbursing for certain telehealth visits.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Deregulation has long been a central tenet among Republican politicians, but many of the coronavirus-inspired changes have gained bipartisan support. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ 📷: @brontewittpenn for @wsjphotos
A year ago, when Japan was under a pandemic state of emergency, Seiji Saejima called his ex-wife for the first time since they divorced a few years earlier. He said she told him she was about to remarry and asked him not to call again. It was an unwelcome reminder of the isolation he was feeling.⠀ ⠀ “I did not have many friends to contact even before,” said the 34-year-old, who works at a city government office near Tokyo. Then the pandemic forced reductions in activities that kept him connected, like going to singles’ mixers.⠀ ⠀ Recent data suggest many more people are having the same experience, and that is changing the thinking of some governments. Japan recently named a loneliness and isolation minister, following the U.K.’s example from three years ago. Diana Barran, who now holds the U.K. loneliness minister post, said Covid-19 was an opportunity to destigmatize the issue.⠀ ⠀ “In some ways it has been a much easier argument to make during the pandemic,” Barran said. “Everyone knows what it feels like.”⠀ ⠀ In Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed concern about a rise in suicides among women, especially younger women. Last year, 20,919 people took their own lives in Japan, up by 750 people from a year earlier and the first year-over-year increase in a decade. That mirrors data from other nations. A survey conducted in October by Harvard researchers found that the pandemic has made more Americans feel lonely, affecting young adults and mothers in particular.⠀ ⠀ Read more at the link in our bio.⠀ ⠀ 📷: @shihofukada for @wsjphotos