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COVID-19 patients with gum disease more likely to die: study

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Brushing your teeth regularly and maintaining proper oral care can play a big role in the fight against COVID-19 — since patients with gum disease are nine times more likely to die from the bug, according to new research.

A study of more than 500 patients also found that those with gum disease were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care and 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, Medical Xpress reported.

In addition, coronavirus patients with poor gum health are at least three times more likely to experience complications, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Blood markers indicating inflammation in the body were markedly higher in patients with gum disease, suggesting that inflammation may explain the raised complication rates.

“The results of the study suggest that the inflammation in the oral cavity may open the door to the coronavirus becoming more violent,” said study co-author Professor Lior Shapira of the Hebrew University in Israel.

“Oral care should be part of the health recommendations to reduce the risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes,” added Shapira, president-elect of the European Federation of Periodontology.

Periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that affects up to half of all adults worldwide, can spread throughout the body if left untreated — and COVID-19 is associated with an inflammatory response that may be fatal.

Medical officials take care of a COVID-19 patient in his ICU room at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, amid coronavirus pandemic in Chula Vista, South of San Diego, California on February 5, 2021.
Medical officials take care of a COVID-19 patient in his ICU room at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, amid coronavirus pandemic in Chula Vista, South of San Diego, California on February 5, 2021.
EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

The study, which was conducted in Qatar, included 568 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between February and July 2020.

Of those, 40 had complications — including admission to the ICU, being placed on a ventilator, or death — and 528 did not.

Other factors including body mass index, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure and smoking also were taken into account in COVID-19 complications. Data also were obtained on blood levels of chemicals related to inflammation in the body.

The chances of death for COVID-19 patients with gum disease was 8.81 times higher than others, while the chances of ending up in intensive care or on a ventilator were 3.54 and 4.57 times greater, respectively.

“If a causal link is established between periodontitis and increased rates of adverse outcomes in COVID-19 patients, then establishing and maintaining periodontal health may become an important part of the care of these patients,” the authors wrote.

Professor Mariano Sanz of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, one of the authors, said that oral bacteria in patients with periodontitis can be inhaled and infect the lungs.

“This may contribute to the deterioration of patients with COVID-19 and raise the risk of death. Hospital staff should identify COVID-19 patients with periodontitis and use oral antiseptics to reduce transmission of bacteria,” he said.

Shapira said the link between periodontitis and lung diseases including asthma, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is well established.

“This study adds further evidence to the links between oral health and respiratory conditions. Periodontitis is a common disease but can be prevented and treated,” Shapira said.

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Biden pushes DC statehood, which would likely give Dems two more Senate seats

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The White House is officially supporting Democrats’ long-shot effort to grant statehood for Washington, DC — a move that would all but assure the party would gain two more seats in the Senate.

“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of Biden administration policy.

“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”

Congress should “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood,” the statement continued.

The city of Washington is home to more people than Vermont and Wyoming, but has no representation in Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and White House, the party has faced pressure from progressives to move on a host of issues, including DC statehood.

In order to do that, however, Democrats would need to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment would need two-thirds support to pass, nearly impossible given the current makeup of the body.

Still, H.R. 51 faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to cross over and support the legislation in order to have the 60-vote margin needed to pass it.

Republicans have noted that Democrats’ real motive here is that if DC became a state, the highly Democratic area would give the party another seat in the House along with two Democratic senators.

Biden has backed the DC statehood effort for years, saying as much repeatedly during the Obama administration.

In the OMB statement released Tuesday, the administration argued, “Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just.”

The District of Columbia, it continued, “has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The Democrat-led House voted last June almost entirely along party lines to make DC a state. One Democrat and the only Libertarian in the body joined all Republicans in opposition.

At the time, Republicans controlled the Senate, where then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to not bring the bill to a vote.

Senate Democrats introduced the bill in the upper chamber, currently split 50-50, in late January, once their party took the White House and the Senate.

In an Oval Office interview with The Post last May, President Donald Trump said Republicans weren’t “stupid” enough to add guaranteed Democratic seats in Congress.

“DC will never be a state,” Trump said at the time.

“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen.”



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GOP forces censure vote on Waters’ call for protestors to ‘get confrontational’

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House Republicans on Tuesday forced a vote to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for calling on protesters to “get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin were to be acquitted of murder charges in the killing of George Floyd.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) introduced the privileged censure resolution, forcing the vote on the floor.

The motion to censure was ultimately defeated in a party line vote 216-210, with Democrats defending Waters’ inflammatory comments.

“This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence. Speaker Pelosi is ignoring Waters’ behavior—that’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments,” McCarthy tweeted on Monday.

Waters called for protesters to “get more active” in Brooklyn Center, Minn., for a protest against police brutality on Saturday evening.

“We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice,” she said, according to videos posted to social media.

 Maxine Waters( speaks to the media during a protest at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Centre on April 17, 2021.
Maxine Waters( speaks to the media during a protest at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Centre on April 17, 2021.
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

“We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Her comments sparked sharp pushback from Republicans, who accused Waters —  the chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee —  of attempting to incite violence during a time of unrest amid the trial.

McCarthy told Fox News her comments warranted censure “because Maxine Waters believes there is value in violence.”

“And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury. You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior​,” he continued.

Top Democrats, however, largely came to Waters’ defense, with House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) blasting McCarthy for targeting the California Democrat, noting similar rhetoric made by former President Trump sparked a deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Kevin McCarthy should focus on his own conference, because the Republicans in the House are a mess right now,” he told reporters of the resolution during a press conference on Tuesday. “Perhaps he should sit this one out.

“When you’ve got a situation where (Colorado Rep.) Lauren Boebert is a mess, (Florida Rep.) Matt Gaetz is a mess, (Georgia Rep.) Marjorie Taylor Greene is a mess, clean up your mess, Kevin,” Jeffries continued. “Sit this one out. You’ve got no credibility. Here, we support peaceful protests.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Waters and accused Republicans of taking her remarks out of context, telling reporters on Monday: “No [she shouldn’t apologize], Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement.”

Waters has stood by her remarks, telling The Grio: “I am nonviolent,” during an interview on Monday.

”Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent — any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats’] backs,” she told the publication.

The resolution took issue with Waters’ rhetoric and noted that the judge in the Derek Chauvin trial said that her comments could lead to the trial verdict being overturned on appeal.

Maxine Waters said protestors in Minnesota should "get more active."
Maxine Waters said protestors in Minnesota should “get more active.”
Alex Brandon/AP

Judge Peter Cahill denied a motion for mistrial but told Chauvin’s defense lawyer, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.

“This goes back to what I’ve been saying from the beginning,” the judge fumed. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”

Censure resolutions are historically rare, with just 23 lawmakers having been censured in the history of the House of Representatives.



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Kristin Smart suspect pleads not guilty to her murder

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The man suspected of killing California college student Kristin Smart in 1996 entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on Monday afternoon, a report said.

An attorney for suspect Paul Flores, who allegedly killed Smart during an attempted rape at California Polytechnic State University, entered the plea during the court hearing, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Flores was ordered held without bail, according to the report.

Paul’s father, 80-year-old Reuben Flores, was charged with accessory to murder for allegedly helping his son hide Smart’s body, which has never been found.

The elder Flores also pleaded not guilty Monday, but it’s unclear if he was let of jail on bail, according to the report.

Prosecutors in the county previously said they believe Flores killed Smart during a rape attempt on May 25, 1996.

Paul Flores, then also a 19-year-old freshman, had walked Smart home from an off-campus party that night, authorities said.

Paul Flores (top left) and Reuben Flores (bottom center) at their virtual arraignment on April 15, 2021 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, California.
Paul Flores (top left) and Reuben Flores (bottom center) both entered not guilty pleas at their virtual arraignment on April 15, 2021 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, California.
AP Photo/Nic Coury

Investigators believe Flores may have killed Smart inside her dorm room, while “attempting to or committing a rape,” San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said.

Flores was the last person to be seen with the college freshman had walked Smart home from an off-campus party that night, authorities said.

He faces 25 years to life if convicted.

Additional reporting by Tamar Lapin



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