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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

ME fighters of COVID-19 alarmed by new federal recommendations

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Friday, March 15, 2024   

Today is "Long COVID Awareness Day," and Mainers will be among those who gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to commemorate it.

Advocates for those who suffer or have died from COVID-19 say they're alarmed by new federal health recommendations about the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says people no longer need to isolate for five days and can return to regular activities - even with mild, improving symptoms and just one day after a fever.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of the advocacy group Marked by COVID, said she thinks the CDC has abandoned its mission to protect Americans' health.

"We don't want anybody else to have to go through what we're going through," she said. "So, the entire community of millions of people are just sucker-punched right now by these recommendations."

Urquiza noted that more than 1,000 Americans still die from COVID-19 each week. Health officials say the recommendations reflect the progress made in fighting the virus and that people should still take common-sense measures to protect themselves and others - including staying home when sick.

More than one million Americans have died from COVID-19, and it's estimated up to 20 million more continue to deal with long COVID, with potentially debilitating symptoms. Despite the new health recommendations, Urquiza said, advocates are pushing to establish COVID remembrance days in Maine and nationwide.

"These types of changes attempt to undermine the severity of what we continue to face," she said. "So, it's critically important that we do as much as we can to keep this in the forefront of people's minds."

Urquiza said COVID isn't a politically popular topic, but more funding is needed to address the pain and suffering the disease has caused. Advocates are also lobbying for a National COVID Memorial in Washington, D.C., to remember those like Urquiza's father, whom she said was looking forward to retirement when he died from COVID in July 2022.


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