Anti-vaxxer Candace Owens was denied a COVID test, highlighting a big debate in medical ethics
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The COVID-19 era was officially dubbed the "pandemic of the unvaccinated" by CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD last July and she wasn't kidding.

Unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who got the jab and studies show they now account for 99% of deaths from the virus.

It's terrible that people are dying of symptoms that are nearly 100% preventable. But it's also fair to criticize those who are unvaccinated because for nearly all of them it's a selfish decision. There are of course exceptions, primarily those who cannot get vaccinated because of overriding medical conditions. But those are relatively few and far between. Unvaccinated people are three times more likely to spread COVID-19 and on rare occasions, they can infect someone who did the right thing and got the shot.


The virus just keeps dragging on so it's understandable that some on the front lines are fed up with those who keep it going.

Conservative pundit Candace Owens has been very vocal about her opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine and mask-wearing. She often tweets that she's proud to be unvaccinated, even saying that no one in her family will "ever touch the COVID-19 vaccine."

If that decision only affected her, then this wouldn't be much of a problem. But, unfortunately, there are many people who cherish her opinion.

Owens needed to get a COVID-19 test earlier this week but was denied by Suzanna Lee, co-founder of Aspen COVID Testing because she's actively encouraged the spread of the virus.

"I've just learned of this testing request and as the owner of this business am going to refuse this booking and deny service," Lee wrote.

"We cannot support anyone who has proactively worked to make this pandemic worse by spreading misinformation, politicizing and DISCOURAGING the wearing of masks and actively dissuading people from receiving life-saving vaccinations," the email continued. Lee then directed her to a free testing facility at city hall.

Owens shared the letter on Twitter calling Lee a "danger to the Aspen community."

Owens responded to Lee by saying it was the most "hilarious email" she's ever received in her life and criticized her for politicizing the virus. This is pretty hypocritical from someone who has repeatedly politicized the virus.

It's debatable whether it's ethical for a healthcare provider to deny Owens a test but there were no real consequences for her actions because there are other places to get tested.

But what about doctors who are the last line of care and only have a limited number of beds. Is it fair for them to prioritize someone who got the vaccine over someone who didn't? All things being equal, doesn't the person who got the shot to protect themself and others deserve care more than the person who did not?

A doctor in Alabama recently said he would no longer treat unvaccinated patients.

"We do not yet have any great treatments for severe disease, but we do have great prevention with vaccines. Unfortunately, many have declined to take the vaccine, and some end up severely ill or dead. I cannot and will not force anyone to take the vaccine, but I also cannot continue to watch my patients suffer and die from an eminently preventable disease," Dr. Jason Valentine, a physician at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, wrote in an open letter.

Last month, Dr. Chavi Eve Karkowsky wrote a piece in The Atlantic saying that unvaccinated people are beginning to run up against "compassion fatigue" in America's hospitals.

"To many medical providers working today, the rejection of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines feels like a giant 'Fuck you' from 29 percent of American adults. We will keep providing the best care possible, but they are making our job much harder," she wrote.

"Doing the work of curing human bodies is harder when some of one's faith in humanity is lost," she added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an awful time to live through because millions of people have suffered and our lives have been completely upended.

Even if the virus does go away there will be one thing that will never change. It's left many of us with a diminished view of humanity. It's disheartening to realize that at a time when lives were on the line there were opportunists who knowingly promoted the spread of the deadly disease through misinformation.

We'll also never forget that at a time when a virus was raging, millions of people had the opportunity to do what they can to stop the spread and did nothing.

What are the consequences? For Owens, the annoyance of having to find another testing place. But for many others, their lives.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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