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The COVID-19 pandemic transformed telehealth by creating a sudden imperative for remote delivery of medical care to the benefit of patients and providers alike. That transformation has catapulted telehealth and its many benefits to the forefront of mainstream medicine. The challenge now: Make those benefits permanent and expand them further to improve value in care delivery. Read more

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Bravo to Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin for urging the Biden administration to create a cabinet-level arts and culture post. In an open letter recently, Nézet-Séguin — who is also music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera — said the pandemic’s crippling impact on the creative economy makes “a voice at the table” in Washington, D.C., even more critical. Read more

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Some Pennsylvania dairy farmers, after years of struggle with volatile and evolving markets for their product, entered 2020 cautiously optimistic about their financial situation. “Then, COVID-19 hit. And by mid-March, a government-ordered shutdown forced dairy-buying restaurants closed, instead sending customers to clear out grocery store shelves,” LNP ‘ LancasterOnline’s Sean Sauro reported for a story that appeared in the Sept. 27 Sunday LNP. “It was an abrupt change in the farm-to-consumer supply chain — one that left processors unable to quickly adapt, leading to waste and yet another round of profit loss.” Read more

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Normally when 2 p.m. arrives on Saturdays here in Latrobe, a certain peacefulness resounds and it’s as if the world is standing still. There is little movement and silence takes over. That’s been typical ever since I lived in this town. Now, however, that same silence has caused a certain stillness brought on by a disease that has spread around the world. To make it worse, government has mandated rules we stay inside causing more lack of movement. Read more

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Recently, Apple and Google caused a stir among cybersecurity experts and privacy advocates in particular with their announcement that they are jointly working on an application to enable contact tracing through their respective devices’ Bluetooth systems. But these digital applications could pose privacy and security concerns of which communities should be aware. Read more

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As we reach the middle of winter, the dreaded flu season continues all over Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported in early January that confirmed cases had jumped to 518 for the season, up 65% from the previous week. As of the week ending Jan. 4, there were 25,362 laboratory-confirmed flu cases across Pennsylvania, officials said. That was up 68% from the week before, which had seen an increase of 56% from the previous week. Read more

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On the National Front for this week, the AAA says gas prices are mostly cheaper across the country thanks to an increase in supply amid robust demand. A small number of states saw pump prices decrease more than a dime, though the majority saw fluctuation of a few pennies. Today’s national average of $2.59 is two cents cheaper than last week. Read more

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For most of the past 100 years, U.S. transportation policy has been based on the users-pay/users-benefit principle. The biggest advantages of this principle are that it is fair (those who pay the fees receive the benefits), proportionate (those who use highways more would pay more), self-limiting (the tax rate is limited), predictable (consistent from year to year), and an investment signal (indicates how much infrastructure to build). Read more

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