Fauci Optimistic On Vaccine; What’s Different About Military Homecomings

Earlier this week, an experimental coronavirus vaccine showed promise. But, for the moment, the full data from that research hasn’t been released.

Friday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR he’s seen the data and it looks “quite promising.” According to Fauci, barring any setbacks, the US is on track to have a vaccine by early next year.

Millions of Americans are turning to food banks to help feed their families during the pandemic. A new federal program pays farmers who’ve lost restaurant and school business to donate the excess to community organizations. But even the people in charge of these organizations say direct cash assistance is a better way to feed Americans in need.

A few months ago, before the lock downs, nearly 3,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division left on a short-notice deployment to the Middle East. The 82nd is coming back is being welcomed back to a changed nation and a changed military.

Plus, about 180 people are hunkered down together in a Jerusalem hotel, recovering from COVID-19. Patients from all walks of life — Israelis, Palestinians, religious, secular groups that don’t usually mix — are all getting along. Listen to the full Rough Translation podcast “Hotel Corona.”

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Divorce can impact your long-term finances

Older generations often describe younger people as impulsive, self-interested and less likely to commit to a long-term relationship. Even if that is true, recent data shows a rise in divorce rates among those older than age 50. People in that demographic may have a multitude of understandable reasons to end their marriage, but there is a key difference.

If you are over the age of 50 and thinking of divorcing here in Texas, you may want to consider just what the impact will be to your finances. Older people generally have been married for a longer period of time and thus have more assets to divide in a divorce agreement. Experts say that there are certain factors you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the process of divorce. This way, you’ll be better prepared for potential financial impacts.

Plan for lifetime expenses

When an older person gets a divorce, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have plenty of life left to live. One recent statistic found that people aged 65 could expect to live almost 20 additional years. They need to think of what kind of expenses they may need for the rest of their life. If they happen to divorce, they will likely divide their assets between themselves and their ex-spouse. That leaves the person with less money for not just living expenses but potential medical costs.

Medical and day-to-day finances aren’t the only consideration. Certain tax laws may greatly affect each person’s future finances. Some people may pay their ex directly from a retirement account, but both a 401(k) and IRA payout may incur taxes and penalties. It is a better idea to get a qualified domestic relations order for your 401(k) and to list an IRA trustee-to-trustee payment explicitly in your divorce decree.

What if you get married again?

It isn’t uncommon for people this age to remarry. However, if they do so and subsequently divorce again, that could mean an even more significant impact on the person’s finances. Even if that marriage continues for the rest of the person’s life, his or her assets may end up with the other spouse’s children from a different relationship other than their own. The best way to avoid all of that is to get a prenuptial agreement that outlines exactly how to handle finances in the event of divorce or death. 

No matter what the future may hold for you, divorce doesn’t have to destroy your finances. Working with a divorce and family law attorney can give you the confidence to work through your divorce proceedings and feel good about the future. It is yours to make, no matter your age.

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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Safeguard your retirement savings after divorce

Divorce can happen to anyone for any reason. Various studies say that the overall rate of divorce is on the decline. Some say this may be due to fewer people getting married, but overall, fewer couples are choosing to legally dissolve their marriages. 

However, the rate of divorce among older people, according to many of these same studies, is rising. Data from the Pew Research Center found that the divorce rate for people age 50 and older doubled in the last 30 years. Many Texas residents may struggle after their marriage ends while they try to adjust to a new set of personal finances. The struggle often comes to a head when considering their retirement savings. Fortunately, if this applies to you, experts say there are ways to minimize the impact of divorce on your retirement.

Change your day-to-day finances

If you haven’t been working, you may want to get a job. Consider your skill set, and know that you may have to start somewhere that isn’t your dream job. If you’ve been working, definitely stay at your job if you can, since it’s often the best means for getting health care. Even though COBRA is an option, it may not be the most cost-effective one.

Another point to consider when thinking about your immediate need for money is your budget. If you don’t typically do your own budget, you’ll want to start. Even if you have been the one handling all the family finances, you may need to make adjustments to your spending or income. This is also how you can build a savings account if you don’t have one and start your retirement fund. Experts recommend investing in low-risk funds, especially if you don’t have a lot of years before you’re going to retire.

Take stock of your potential income and assets

If you can, try to wait as long as possible to collect Social Security. That way, you will receive the maximum amount of benefits possible. If your spouse worked and you didn’t, as long as you were married for at least 10 years, you qualify for Social Security benefits through him or her.

If you and your spouse shared a home, though it may be tempting to keep it, selling it may be the better financial choice. Many people think they can wait until retirement and sell the home, but not many people actually do that. If you’re going to keep it, you’ll need to make sure to maintain it, which is more costly on one income.

Start your own retirement account

If you don’t already have your own retirement savings, now is the time to start. Creating an account may be vital before finalizing your divorce because, if you receive any retirement assets as part of the divorce agreement, you’ll need somewhere to put them. An IRA is likely the best bet as long as you leave the assets in place until about age 60.

The most important thing you can do is consult professionals to help you navigate this transition. A financial planner can look at multiple aspects of your personal finances and recommend how to proceed. An attorney who has extensive experience in helping people through the divorce process can serve as your advocate, making sure that your best interests are kept top of mind.

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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Optimism For A Vaccine; Strapped Unemployment Offices Leave Many Waiting

A new analysis from Columbia University says that roughly 36,000 people could’ve been saved if the United States had started social distancing just one week earlier. But that all hinges on whether people would have been willing to stay home.

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Research with mice, guinea pigs and monkeys is making scientists increasingly optimistic about the chances for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Three studies released Wednesday show promising results after the animals received experimental vaccines. But public health success will require global cooperation.

Meanwhile, state unemployment agencies are feeling the pinch as they try to keep up with unparalleled demand for their services.

And as bordering towns begin to ease stay-at-home restrictions, the logistics around reopening neighboring areas is leading to quite a bit of confusion.

Plus, sometimes you just need a hug. And if you’re isolating alone, TikTok star Tabitha Brown has got you covered with comfort content to help you feel loved.

What Contact Tracing Tells Us About High-Risk Activities

Three-quarters of Americans are concerned that a second wave of coronavirus cases will emerge, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. Despite that, groups around the country, including in Michigan, are protesting state lockdowns.

President Trump’s stance on hydroxychloroquine has made the drug harder to study, according to some scientists.

Researchers have been digging into contact tracing data from countries that had early outbreaks. Data suggest high risk activities include large indoor gatherings. Lower risk is going to the grocery store.

Plus, what is happening with classroom pets when school is out of session due to the coronavirus. Reporter Sara Stacke’s story with photos.

You can hear more about the NPR poll on the NPR Politics Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and NPR One.

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Indoor Spread, Workers’ Anxieties, And Our Warped Sense Of Time

There are still a lot of questions about how the coronavirus is transmitted through air. Researchers are looking at how the virus is spread indoors and how to safely have people under one roof.

As states around the country lift restrictions and businesses reopen, many workers in close-contact jobs are scared for their health and would rather stay on unemployment. NPR’s Chris Arnold reports on what options workers have.

Listen to Short Wave’s episode about why it’s so hard to remember what day it is and some tips for giving time more meaning on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and NPR One.

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Can you get divorced in Texas if you got married elsewhere?

When you get married, you file the legal agreement in the state that you reside in at the time. If you then choose to get divorced, but you have moved since the marriage, does this mean that you have to return to the other state to divorce?

For instance, perhaps you and your partner are from Maryland. You got married there in 2010. In 2012, you moved to Texas for a job opportunity. You have lived there since. Do you have to fly back to Maryland just to get divorced, or can you do it in Texas?

You’ll be glad to know that you can divorce in Texas in this example. It does not matter where you got married. The Texas courts can still take care of everything for you — though you will be bound by the divorce laws in Texas, not those in Maryland, so it’s important to understand any significant differences.

The one stipulation about divorce in another state is that you must meet the residency regulations in that state. You cannot just drive across the state line for the afternoon, perhaps because you like the divorce laws in that state more, and file for divorce. In this example, you do satisfy those requirements and you have been living in Texas for years. But those thinking of making a quick stop in another state need to know that they can’t do so just to file for a divorce.

If you have any questions about the divorce process in Texas or the different laws, it helps to work with an experienced team that can provide those answers.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Encouraging Vaccine News; Pandemic Grows More Political

A new coronavirus vaccine candidate shows encouraging results. It’s early, but preliminary data shows it appears to be eliciting the kind of immune response capable of preventing disease.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been signaling that more government spending might be necessary to prevent long-term economic damage.

As the pandemic becomes more political, researchers are concerned debates over masks, social distancing and reopening the economy are inflaming an already divided nation. Incidents of violence are rare, but concerning to experts.

Plus, a 102-year-old woman who survived the influenza of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II and now, COVID-19.

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How accurate are paternity tests?

Children are generally automatically assumed to be their mother’s biological children when they’re born to them. This isn’t the case with fathers though. Unmarried dads must establish their paternity before they’re allowed to exercise their parental rights to visitation or custody with their child. One way that fathers can do this is by taking a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) paternity test. You may be surprised to find out just how accurate such tests are.

Data compiled by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) shows that DNA tests are a particularly effective tool for determining paternity. They are 100% accurate at excluding a man as the father of a child. DNA tests can be used to confirm that a male is a dad with 99.9% accuracy.

In case you’re wondering how these tests are performed, it involves a clinician taking a small sample of tissues or bodily fluids from both you and your potential child. That genetic material contains both chromosomes and genes and is unique to both of you. Half of your’s and the mother’s genetic material join and form the child. A small sample from both you and a child can show geneticists whether you two share a biological parental connection or not.

Clinicians can sample cells from around the body. The ones that they most often take and test for paternity are buccal (or cheek) cells and blood. The genetic profile of samples like these is consistent no matter what bodily source they come from.

Unmarried fathers generally don’t enjoy any parental rights to their child until they establish their paternity of them. This means that you aren’t legally entitled to visitation or custody of your child. You’re also not entitled to make any decisions about their education, religious upbringing or medical treatment unless you’ve established your paternity either.

If you aren’t listed as the father on your child’s birth certificate and their mother seems reluctant to sign any necessary paperwork to add you to it, then you should initiate the paternity process right away. An attorney here in Dallas can advise you of the steps that you must follow to move forward in establishing paternity and exercising your parental rights here in Texas.

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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Q & A: Sleep Problems And Summer Childcare

Sleep experts answer listener questions about insomnia, and a nurse practitioner offers advice to parents about summer childcare.

These excerpts come from NPR’s nightly radio show about the coronavirus crisis, ‘The National Conversation with All Things Considered.’ In this episode:

Dr. Sonia Ancoli-Israel of the Center for Circadian Biology, and Dr. Christina McCrae of the Mizzou Sleep Research Lab offer advice to listeners who are having trouble falling asleep.
– Pediatric nurse practitioner Suzannah Stivison answers parents’ questions about childcare this summer.

If you have a question, you can share it at npr.org/nationalconversation, or tweet with the hashtag, #NPRConversation.

We’ll return with a regular episode of Coronavirus Daily on Monday.