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A massive concrete Cuban flag being build in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, in April 2021.

U.S. diplomats and other government staffers experiencing symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome" sent a letter to the State Department on Tuesday raising concerns that some injured workers are still being denied proper care, according to NBC News.

Context: Havana Syndrome is used to describe mysterious brain injuries suffered by embassy staff in Cuba in late 2016 and the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, in early 2017.

  • The cause of the injuries is currently unknown, but experts have floated the possibility of directed microwave radiation attacks by U.S. adversaries, infectious diseases, exposure to pesticides or specific cricket noises and mass psychogenic illness.
  • The New York Times reported this month that more than 130 cases of Havana Syndrome among overseas U.S. personnel have now been reported, and that the National Security Council has begun an intelligence review.
  • Canada's government has confirmed 14 of its citizens also fell ill in Cuba's capital, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Driving the news: The letter from group of 21 U.S. government workers and their spouses alleges that since the Biden administration took office, the U.S. government has continued to "reject scientific evidence regarding the injuries and treatment needs" and "invalidate our injuries and experiences."

  • The group adds that military and intelligence personnel "have had a different level and frequency of engagement" about their treatment.

What they're saying: "After four years of challenges, we were hopeful that the new administration would welcome a partnership with us to ensure those affected receive the care and treatment they need and ensure appropriate care for the new cases," the letter reads.

  • "Unfortunately, our experience thus far has fallen short of our renewed expectations," it continues.
  • "Senior Department leadership's continued refusal to meet with and hear directly from its injured personnel is discouraging."

The big picture: Alongside the letter, the group sent a list of 11 recommendations for the department that included the creation of care and response plans for future employees who become injured. A State Department spokesperson told NBC that the agency is aware of the letter and views the situation as a "priority."

Go deeper

Aug 19, 2021 - Health

23 AAPI civil rights groups press Biden to "use precise language" on COVID origins

Photo: Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

Twenty-three AAPI civil rights groups led by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans are calling on the administration to take extra caution as it prepares results from its investigation into the origins of COVID.

Why it matters: In late May, the Biden administration launched a 90-day probe into COVID's origins amid controversy over the lab leak theory. In a letter delivered to President Biden on Thursday, advocates warn the "simple existence of that report will put our communities at risk."

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.