Now What? A Layman’s Appraisal of Covid-19…

We hate to pile on with the doom and gloom, but this article describes the current situation and all the possible after-effects on such things as funding for charitable causes. Since asthma sufferers might be at increased risk if exposed to the virus, we are including links to some excellent webinars for all on practical treatment suggestions to those exposed to COVID-19. Meanwhile we remain hopeful about upcoming legislation at both the federal and state levels to address the specific needs of those living with severe allergies such as requiring training and awareness at restaurants.

As we hear more positive news about medications that work as well as vaccines, we will be sure to pass it on!

Now What? A Layman’s Appraisal of Covid-19…

Allergy Advocacy Association Logo Covid-19 Question Marks

…how it effects Allergy Advocacy and….well, everything else, too

By Jon Terry, founder
April 14th, 2020

Greetings.  At this time of international crisis, I sincerely hope all our readers are healthy and safe.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost everyone around the globe.  So many serious questions remain unanswered. How many lives will be lost? How many more individuals will become infected?  How long will so many people need intensive medical care?  When will the number of people at risk for COVID-19 begin to decline? (Who knows?)

And how does the coronavirus affect individuals with life-threatening allergies and asthma?

The Allergy and Asthma Network (AAN or The Network) and Food Allergies Research & Education (FARE) have produced webinars with detailed medical information about the nature of the coronavirus and how doctors are trying to treat the symptoms. These Webinars, below, are the very latest practical treatment suggestions for allergy and asthma suffers who are exposed to COVID-19. Each video features presentations by well-respected clinicians and researchers.

Food Allergy (FARE) Covid 19 Guidance Asthma & Allergy Network Covid 19 Guidance

The pandemic is also having a major impact upon the American economy; recession is probably well underway. Business activity across the country has almost completely stopped. Week after week millions of men and women are applying for public assistance. Almost all health care costs have sky-rocketed. As the crisis has escalated the federal government has committed trillions of dollars for hospitals, medical equipment, unemployed individuals, shuttered small businesses and large corporations.

The finances of New York State are crumbling. A budget deficit of $6 billion at the start of this year will be inflated further by pandemic related expenses; they are estimated at well over $10 billion. Legislators did pass a budget bill for 2020 but were forced to base funding on many unproven assumptions.

Funding for non-profit organizations is now in jeopardy. With all levels of government projected to run significant budget deficits, grants from states and federal agencies are bound to be reduced. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are leaning towards insolvency; corporate grants will be reduced or eliminated. If many people are out of work or out of business, their personal gifting to favorite charities will be much less affordable.

In New York, the state of emergency restricting public activities and requiring everyone to isolate themselves has curtailed our association’s public outreach activities. Until further notice our association cannot participate in any support group meetings, such as Food Allergies Coping Teaching Supporting (FACTS) in Monroe County. The Epi Near You NY anaphylaxis emergency training program has been suspended. Any health fairs where we might have exhibited are cancelled. Helping families afflicted with life-threatening allergies and asthma through personal interaction is vital to us. The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting almost everything.

Moving forward, the Allergy Advocacy Association will adjust our plans accordingly. We remain committed to our goals, purpose and vision.

We will continue as a clearing house of accurate information for families and individuals at risk for anaphylaxis and asthma. Our Website is the access point to many sources of information; almost all of our listings have helpful links. We publish a monthly e-newsletter featuring factual articles and personal stories. Our social media channels include Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. We work hard to ensure the information we provide to our audience is clear, concise and reputable.

In Washington, DC important legislation has been introduced and has received support from many congressmen and senators. Here are some notes about two pending bills (with links) currently being considered.

H.R. 2117
The “Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act: Sesame is officially recognized as the "9th food allergy" by the FDA; all labels on food packages are required to clearly list sesame as an ingredient.

H.R. 2468
Allergies and asthma-related grants bill: states get preference for allergy and asthma school grants if they meet criteria (action plans, staff training, nurses in all schools, etc.)

Here in New York the legislature has passed the annual state budget. Our association understands the all-encompassing nature of the pandemic, especially downstate in New York City and the surrounding suburbs. We still hope lawmakers will focus upon proposed bills important to our advocacy efforts.  Here are some notes about two pending bills (with links) currently being considered.

NYS A1027B
Relates to allergy awareness and training in restaurants; requires allergen awareness training; certification within thirty days after hire date.  This bill ensures that customers with allergies are safe when visiting a restaurant and that certain restaurant staff members are knowledgeable regarding allergens.

NYS A1307A
Requires food allergy awareness in food establishments, online food ordering services, and entity food services including signs & notices. The penalty not to exceed $125.

Will legislators here in NY and in DC seriously consider and support any of the bills listed above? Is COVID-19 going to worsen the health of individuals with allergies and asthma? Can our nation return to “normal” anytime soon? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, our association will continue our advocacy efforts as best we can. As we move through the spring season we will keep all our affiliates and members informed. Any contributions or donations would be greatly appreciated. The vision of the Allergy Advocacy Association remains the same:

“Not another life lost to anaphylaxis – not another life lost to ANY life-threatening allergy!”

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