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How the changing workplace could reshape American health care

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Sidecar Health used news sources and research reports to compile a list of how the changing workplace in the United States could impact the health care system.

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Thailand’s public health minister says the government will distribute 1 million cannabis plants free when most legal restrictions on production and possession of the drug are lifted next month. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who spearheaded the country’s drive to decriminalize cannabis, signed a measure in February officially dropping cannabis from a list of controlled drugs. Officials hope that a major new cannabis industry will blossom, generating hundreds of millions of dollars each year. When the measure becomes effective on June 9, possessing and using all parts of cannabis plants will be allowed. However, extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high.”

For people and groups planning to stay in Atlantic City, the resort’s main union for casino workers is warning that “labor disputes” could occur if the casinos don’t agree to new contracts by a May 31 deadline. Local 54 of the Unite Here union set up a website listing other hotels that have union contracts in place that travelers might want to consider using if picketing or a strike occur. The move comes at the start of what will be a crucial season for Atlantic City’s casinos in the third year of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Donald Trump’s winning streak in U.S. Senate primaries is on the line Tuesday as voters in five states cast their ballots in midterm elections. Trump backed celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina in those states’ Republican primaries for U.S. Senate. On the Democratic side, Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman revealed Sunday he had suffered a stroke but said he was on the way to a “full recovery.” In other races, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho hold primaries for governor Tuesday. In North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn is trying to survive a Republican primary after a turbulent first term in office.

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking. Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions. Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Officials said Wednesday those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors  — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and a top Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, John Fetterman, is recovering from a stroke he says was caused by a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. In a statement Sunday, Fetterman says doctors quickly and completely removed the clot. A cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, says people who develop A-fib are almost always put on a blood-thinning medication for the rest of their lives. He says that helps prevent the stroke-causing blood clots that untreated A-fib can create.

Stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street Wednesday as dismal results from Target renewed fears that inflation is battering U.S. companies. The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, fell 4%. Target lost a quarter of its value, dragging other retailers down with it, after saying its profit fell by half in the latest quarter as costs for freight and transportation spiked. That comes a day after Walmart cited inflation for its own weak results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,164 points, or 3.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back 4.7%. Treasury yields fell as investors sought safer ground.

Upcoming data shows traffic deaths soaring in the U.S. The Biden administration is steering $5 billion in federal aid to cities and localities to address the growing crisis. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday announced the availability of money over five years under his department’s new Safe Streets & Roads for All program. The goal is to spur cities to adopt detailed plans to reduce traffic deaths by slowing down cars, carving out bike paths and wider sidewalks and nudging commuters to public transit. Fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists are rising faster than those within vehicles. Roadway safety advocacy group BikeWalkKC in Kansas City, Missouri, wants communities to foster walkable neighborhoods.

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