What We're Reading: Expectant Mothers; ICE Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Online Addiction Counseling

March 20, 2020

Experts provide recommendations for women expecting to give birth during the coronavirus epidemic; ICE announced that a New Jersey employee tested positive for coronavirus; mental health and addiction recovery groups are transitioning to online services.

Pregnancy During the Coronavirus Epidemic

In the next 3 months, nearly 1 million US women will give birth, which an article published by ProPublica notes will be likely very different than what is typically experienced in a hospital setting. Although precautions may be taken to ensure increased isolation during events such as the postpartum period, Christina Han, MD, a high-risk pregnancy specialist who teaches at the University of California, says “there’s no evidence that pregnant women are any more susceptible to COVID than the average healthy adult is.” Expected mothers are recommended to maximize their immune systems and to avoid any situation where they may be at higher risk of being infected; however, according to preliminary findings, the virus has shown to not be transmittable to infants during birth.

ICE Employees Test Positive for Coronavirus

A member of the medical staff at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed case by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of an employee contracting the virus, according to The Guardian. The announcement fuels concerns voiced by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit against the US government to release high-risk immigrants with underlying health issues. Currently detaining nearly 40,000 immigrants, ICE has decided to halt most arrests amid the pandemic.

Mental Health, Recovery Groups Going Online

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, numerous recovery and mental health groups have decided to transition to a digital platform, with participants conducting online meetings, video chats, and other forms of therapy. Although some individuals have been able to connect with other individuals in online meetings, an article published in The Washington Post details the difficulties of numerous addicts seeking counsel. “The face-to-face meetings are what keep so many of us sane,” said Elizabeth, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). A woman at the Washington DC area AA helpline noted the numerous calls that have come in during the epidemic. “We have 1600 meetings a week from D.C. to Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Virginia, and all of them are shut down. And I’m trying to keep it all straight, which one’s doing online, which one’s doing conference calls.”