Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Florida man warns others after fake COVID-19 relief check arrives in mail

A Florida man is sounding the alarm after he received what appeared to be a fake coronavirus relief check in the mail. The massive $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package approved by congress includes “stimulus checks” for many Americans, especially those facing financial difficulty as a result of the outbreak. While some Americans will receive their relief as a physical check in the mail, many will receive a direct deposit based on their tax-filing information from the previous year. However, there are some who will try to trick people into thinking they are getting their checks a little earlier than most. One man in Florida got his in the mail and believes whoever sent him that check is trying to exploit the coronavirus crisis for financial gain. The fake check, which claims to be a COVID-19 stimulus check in the memo line, was made out for more than $3,000. Knowing no such check would be available yet, he posted on Facebook to give people a heads up. “I wanted to post it as soon as I could because I know that some people, like my grandma, would have fallen for stuff like that,” he said. Along with the check is a letter telling people to come claim their “stimulus incentives” over the next ten days at a “temporary relief site” in Bushnell. There’s no phone number listed, but the letter does show a couple of cars you can buy there with no money down. While the Florida Attorney General’s office says they have not received any consumer complaints regarding this, they will be looking into the issue. (WFLA)


Astronauts’ advice on isolation

Amid the spread of COVID-19, more of us are contending with the emotional challenges of living in varying degrees of isolation. It might help to take some advice from those who have spent large chunks of time in space. Several astronauts, including retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly who lived aboard the International Space Station for almost a year, have weighed in with tips in recent days. Their advice? Stick to a routine, keep lines of communication open and don’t forget self-care. Looking to the stars themselves can also make a difference, as it may put our individual experiences in a larger perspective. (Axios)


An inventor and retired respiratory therapist from Ontario, Canada, has made a new ventilator design open source and free for anyone to access

John Strupat was frustrated at how long the Canadian and U.S. governments were taking in responding to the manufacture of the device, and decided to make it available for anyone to make. He initially developed the ventilator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2007, though a deal was never struck. The machine only costs about $500 to build, significantly less than the $25,000 hospitals pay for a modern ventilator. It requires a patient to be intubated, however, which most modern ventilators do not. (CBC)


Google sees rise in searches for how to cut your own hair

When it comes to getting haircuts, it’s usually best to leave it to the professionals. But these aren’t usual times and there may be quite a few interesting looks in the coming weeks. Barber and beauty shops have been closed by many orders around the country, so people are doing what they do when they want to learn how to do something – they’re Googling it! According to Google, the search for ‘How to cut your own hair’ has spiked in searches since November in the United States with a big upswing since March 8th! So if you’re dusting off your Flobee, finding those old clippers or just going at it with a bowl and a pair of scissors, know you won’t be alone. With this trend, there could also soon be a spike in deliveries for baseball caps and hats! (KHOU)


Amazon delivery driver in California caught on camera apparently spitting on package

An Amazon delivery driver in California apparently spit on his hand and wiped it on a package as he dropped it off, as seen in security cam footage. This happened while the deadly coronavirus crisis grips the country. The victims said they noticed their package was wet and at first suspected a dog had urinated on it, but they checked the video from their Ring doorbell camera and saw a deliveryman spit on his hand and wipe it on the box. In the video posted on social media, a gray-haired man in glasses and a short-sleeved Amazon shirt appears to spit on his palm and wipe vigorously on the box before scanning the label and taking a picture of its arrival. A spokesperson for Amazon said that the driver is no longer delivering packages. “If it truly was a malicious act by the driver, we will be sure he is held accountable, up through and including law enforcement action,” the spokesperson said. (Fox 11)


Walmart is seeing an increase in orders for professional shirts and tops…but not pants or bottoms

The trend is likely the result of increased teleconferencing as millions of workers transition to a work-from-home model. The executive Vice President of Walmart’s Corporate Affairs, said “behaviors are going to continue to change and evolve as people get accustomed to this new lifestyle.” He said Walmart also saw an uptick in online orders this week for puzzles and crafts, whereas the previous week had been all about disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and masks. (Digital Trends)


The presidential race continues, online only

The pandemic has dramatically transformed the 2020 campaign, changing how candidates communicate with voters, raise money from donors and confront their opponents. It’s also propelled issues like public health and the economic downturn to the forefront in races up and down the ballot. The outbreak has also delayed multiple primary elections. June 2 will now confer a trove of delegates so large it will be second only to Super Tuesday. (The New York Times)


The NRA sued California Governor and other officials over the closure of gun stores

The National Rifle Association and other gun owner groups are suing California Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials after gun stores were deemed non-essential businesses and ordered to close during a statewide stay-at-home order to curb coronavirus infections. The lawsuit seeks to have gun stores declared essential businesses. It was filed by the NRA, a Los Angeles-area gun retailer, and other gun owner groups in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In addition to Governor Newsom, other defendants listed in the suit include California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. The Governor’s order allows grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other businesses to remain open during the stay-at-home order, but forces the closure of others considered non-essential. The lawsuit filed by the NRA and other gun owner groups claims the executive order violates gun owners of their Second Amendment rights. (CNN)


Taco Bell donated $1 million to aid with childhood hunger and will also be offering free tacos to everyone in America this week

The fast-food giant donated the money to “No Kid Hungry“, a non-profit that provides nutrition programs to American children. On Tuesday, March 31, Taco Bell will offer free Doritos Locos Tacos, through the drive-thru, for free across the U.S. Popeyes has also partnered with No Kid Hungry to raise funds for the organization, while actress Angelina Jolie also recently made a $1 million donation to No Kid Hungry. (Chew Boom)


A heart, lung transplant game changer

Researchers at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., have developed a machine that can successfully transplant hearts and lungs from patients whose hearts have stopped. The method could double or perhaps quadruple the number of such organs available for donation. Typically, viable organ donations come from those who suffer brain death, not circulatory death. But the new device can pump oxygenated blood into the organs after a patient’s heart stops, reanimating and reconditioning organs, buying doctors more time to perform a transplant. (BBC)


Woman trains dog to bring groceries in for neighbor

In one Colorado neighborhood, a pup is doing his part and bringing groceries to a neighbor in need. A woman’s neighbor has COPD and other medical conditions that make her a prime target for the virus, so she came up with a solution that would help the neighbor. She trained her dog Sundance, also known as Sunny, to fetch her neighbor’s grocery list every day. Then every night, he brings the groceries over to her. It started with a test try but it quickly became clear Sunny wanted to help. Of course, there’s something in it for him too. The trained pups owner says “he does get his treats, he’s motivated by those for sure. But he’s really special to me, and I’d be lost without him because he helps me so much, so I wanted him to help other people. That’s exactly what he did. Pretty proud.” She  says her dog has been doing this for a few weeks now and they’ll keep it going as long as they have to. It’s no surprise Sunny brings a little brightness to the world. The neighbors both say this goes to show that it’s not only humans who can help during this tragic time of need, maybe your pets can too. (KRDO)


College basketball loses $375M

The NCAA will slash $375 million from its budgeted $600 million distribution of men’s basketball tournament revenue to Division I schools. The association’s board of governors voted to distribute $225 million to 32 conferences following the cancellation of its basketball tournaments and other championships due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of this, $50 million will come from NCAA reserves. Larger conferences could weather the storm, whereas smaller schools that rely on NCAA funding throughout the season could struggle. (Sports Illustrated)


Trump extends social-distancing rules

President Trump announced that national social distancing measures will be extended through April 30, adding that current modeling suggests “the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks.” The move follows news that at least 140,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed nationally, with 2,400 deaths from the virus. Also President Trump set June 1 as the date by which the nation “will be well on our way to recovery.” (CNN)


Tuesday Brings In:

  • Anesthesia Tech Day
  • Bunsen Burner Day
  • Cesar Chavez Day
  • Equal Pay Day
  • International Hug A Medielvalist Day
  • International Transgender Day of Visibility
  • National Crayon Day
  • National Prom Day
  • National “She’s Funny That Way” Day
  • Terri’s Day
  • World Backup Day


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