Monday, April 13, 2020

California woman arrested for allegedly licking nearly $2G in grocery store items

A 53-year-old woman in South Lake Tahoe, California, was arrested for allegedly licking items in a Safeway store and ruining about $1,800 worth of groceries through cross-contamination amid the coronavirus pandemic. Employees reported that the woman licked several pieces of jewelry for sale in the store that she placed on her hands before putting the groceries in her cart. She also allegedly licked her fingers before taking groceries off the shelves. After determining she was unable to pay for the items, she was arrested for felony vandalism. She was booked into the El Dorado County Jail on $10,000 bail. (South Tahoe Now)


Covid-19 has shut down parts of the hyper-consolidated US meat industry

Plant closures are emblematic of a larger issue across the US food system, as farms and companies work to weather the storm of Covid-19. The health and safety of workers is paramount if food chains are to continue running smoothly—and workers’ perceived safety appears to vary across the industry:

  • A Tyson-owned meat processing plant that churns out 2% of the US pork supply ground to a halt this week as workers became infected with Covid-19.
  • JBS USA on March 31 said it hit pause on much of its work at a beef facility in Souderton, Pennsylvania and wouldn’t have it back online until mid-April.
  • National Beef Packing on April 2 temporarily stopped slaughtering cattle at one of its plants in Tama, Iowa after a worker tested positive for the virus.

Other impacts from COVID-19 include:

  • In Greeley, Colorado, at least 830 JBS employees didn’t show up for work on March 30 after several employees tested positive for the virus.
  • In California, the United Farm Workers union has said that 77% of produce pickers in an informal poll reported daily routines hadn’t changed as a result of the virus.
  • Tyson claims that, in light of 24 positive cases for Covid-19 in its Columbus Junction, Iowa plant, it is being proactive about protecting workers before infections become apparent. That includes shutting the plant down for a full week.

The way the US meat industry is set up, with just a handful of plants churning out an outsized amount of the meat supply, disruption at a single plant can have a big ripple effect. (Quartz)


6.6 million more claim unemployment

Another 6.6 million Americans filed initial jobless claims during the week ending April 4th. The number falls slightly short of the record set the previous week when roughly 6.88 million Americans filed new claims. The dramatic and unprecedented rise in unemployment claims comes as the U.S. continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic by shuttering businesses and telling people to stay at home. The increase began in mid-March, when 3.3 million people made claims in just one week. (Department of Labor)


Florida man who spit in cop’s face now hit with federal bioweapons charges

Federal authorities have charged a man who allegedly spit in the face of a police officer and falsely claimed to have coronavirus, with perpetrating a “biological weapons hoax.” According to a complaint filed in Florida district court, the incident occurred the same day the 31-year-old man, bonded out of jail after an arrest on domestic battery charges. During that initial arrest, which took place outside the home of his girlfriend, prosecutors said he intentionally coughed on a cop’s arm while being loaded into a transport van. “Well I got the corona,” Curry allegedly told the officer. The next evening, his girlfriend called police to say he was again outside her apartment, in violation of a non-contact order. Cops arrived and apprehended the man, who they say resisted violently. Once in the backseat of a police cruiser, he tried to kick out the rear passenger window. After being placed in leg restraints, he attempted to smash the window with his head. When one of the cops reached into the car to grab Curry, he reportedly spit in her face. “A mist of spit struck her in the face and entered her mouth,” the complaint says. At the jail, the man was tested for Covid-19. A week later, according to the complaint, the results came back negative. The federal hoax charge carries a maximum sentence of five years. (United States District Court)


The DOJ just made it too easy to link coronavirus to terrorism

The Department of Justice sent out a memo with this arresting detail: Prosecutors around the country should consider coronavirus as a “biological agent,” and therefore charge certain acts related to COVID-19 as federal crimes of terrorism. Until now, the core concept of a biological agent in terrorism law is an engineered or synthesized toxin, like anthrax. The rules include:

  • Robocalls making fraudulent offers to sell respirator masks with no intent of delivery;
  • Fake COVID-19-related apps and websites that install malware or ransomware;
  • Phishing emails asking for money or presenting malware;
  • Social media scams fraudulently seeking donations or claiming to provide stimulus funds if the recipient enters his or her bank account number;
  • Sales of fake testing kits. cures, ” immunity” pills, and protective equipment;
  • Fraudulent offers for free COVID=19 testing in order to obtain Medicare beneficiary information that is used to submit false medical claims for unrelated, unnecessary, or fictitious testing or services;
  • Prescription drug schemes involving the submission of medical claims for unnecessary antiretroviral treatments or other drngs that are marketed as purported cures for COVID-19;
  • Robberies ofpatients departing from hospitals or doctor offices;
  • Threats ofviolence against mayors and other public officials;
  • Threats to intentionally infect other people.

(US Department Of Justice)


According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90 percent of patients hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms had one or more underlying medical conditions

The study looked at the demographics of 1,482 COVID-19 patients in 14 different states, including New York, California, Michigan and Georgia, who were admitted between March 1 and 30. Nearly all patients (about 90 percent) had pre-exisiting conditions that could exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. The most common conditions were obesity, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study data also showed:

  • approximately 49% of residents are male and 51% of residents are female, whereas 54% of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations occurred in males and 46% occurred in females (this data suggest that males may be disproportionately affected by COVID-19 compared with females).
  • approximately 59% of residents are white, 18% are black, and 14% are Hispanic; however, among 580 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with race/ethnicity data, approximately 45% were white, 33% were black, and 8% were Hispanic, suggesting that black populations might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Additionally, while the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 had similar pre-exisiting conditions as those who have been hospitalized for the seasonal flu, the rate of hospitalization is far higher for COVID-19. For the flu, adults over 85 are hospitalized at a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 people. With COVID-19, that rate jumps up to 17.2. The researchers warn that the findings are still preliminary, and represent just about 10 percent of the U.S. population, but they expect to solidify their data as the number of COVID-19 cases increase, and more medical records become available. They said that further research is needed, but that the data shows that the preventive measures currently in place across the U.S. are needed. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)


Two giant pandas sharing a habitat in a Honk Kong zoo have mated for the first time in 13 years

It is difficult for giant pandas to conceive because females ovulate just once a year, in the spring, and male bears have very low libido. Since the zoo has been closed to the public since late January, media outlets have speculated that maybe Le Le and Ying Ying had not mated for well over a decade because they needed some privacy. It’s too early to say if Ying Ying is pregnant, but if she is, she will give birth in between 95 and 160 days. In 2014, when the last census took place, there were just under 2,000 pandas in the wild, so a birth would bolster worldwide panda conservation efforts. (People)


Microbes from Yellowstone’s hot springs make new meat substitute

Food scientists are using fermented microbes from the geothermal pools above the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming to create a new ingredient that soon will appear in meatless burgers and substitute dairy and as a protein powder. The microbe, dubbed Fy, contains a complete protein that developers believe can be mass-produced in labs, reducing the environmental impact of food production on a large scale. Fy, short for its scientific name Fusarium str. yellowstonensis, is environmentally friendly and has all nine essential amino acids needed for human nutrition, according the the CEO of Nature’s Fynd, which will market the protein products. Unlike other alternative-protein products, Fy is a food all by itself and not a protein additive combined with other processed ingredients. Fy is produced by fermentation, like sourdough bread or kombucha, by feeding sugar to the microbes on tray-based fermenting chambers. The result is a textured material with a bland taste that holds flavors from sweet to savory. Working with food developers, the company has experimented with meatless burgers, patties and sausages, as well as dairy-free cheese, dips and yogurt, according to the company. (UPI)


Using high-resolution CT scans, scientists have digitally reconstructed the skulls of dinosaur embryos that died in their eggs about 200 million years ago

The eggs were found in South Africa in 1976 and belong to a species of plant-eating dinosaurs called Massospondylus carinatus – the ancestors of sauropod dinosaurs like diplodocus. Scientists say that these dinosaurs measured about six meters in length, walked on two legs and had long necks with small heads. The CT scans have revealed astonishing details about the embryos, allowing researchers to observe sets of teeth in the skulls, which are only 2 cm long. The scans have also provided researchers with information about bone development in these dinosaurs. Whereas previously, scientists thought that these embryos were ready to hatch, the scans revealed that they were just about 60 percent through their incubation period, making them some of the least developed dinosaur embryos currently known. (The Guardian)


Facebook has launched an app that offers “a private space for couples”

Tuned allows users to share messages, voice memos, pictures and songs with their significant others – in other words, it creates a social network just for two. It is free to use and does not require a Facebook account. Tuned, which is only available on iOS, was created by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation team, which has also launched a photo-sharing app called Hobbi and a meme-making app called Whale. (The Verge)


Ammon Bundy vows to ‘physically stand in defense’ of constitutional rights amid COVID-19 crackdown

Ammon Bundy, the Mormon rancher who famously led two armed standoffs against the feds in Nevada in 2014 and Oregon in 2016, vowed to “physically stand in defense” of Americans and their constitutional rights during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Bundy recently held a meeting with a few dozen people inside an old factory building north of Boise, Idaho, rejecting orders by Governor Brad Little to avoid group gatherings and stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Mr. Bundy said he aims to create a team of people who will be ready to defend individuals and businesses against further government intervention. He also plans to hold regular meetings to discuss ways to fight back against what he calls government overreach. (Washington Times)


Former police officer arrested in park for throwing ball with daughter due to coronavirus social distancing rules

In an incident caught on video, a former Colorado State Patrol trooper said he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year old daughter on a near-empty softball field Sunday by Brighton police officers enforcing social distancing rules. The department apologized, calling the incident an “overreach by our police officers.” The 33-year-old father said he walked with his wife and daughter from their home to a nearby park to play softball. Police arrived soon after telling him and others in the area to leave because the park was closed. The father said he told officers that he was familiar with the posted rules and believed he and his family were in compliance and practicing proper social distancing. He said he refused to provide his identification when officers asked for it because he had not broken any law. Officers handcuffed him and placed him in a patrol car for about 10 to 15 minutes while they phoned a supervisor for guidance. The incident was captured on cellphone footage by former Brighton City Councilman. “Yeah, it’s Sunday and the Brighton police are apparently arresting a dad for throwing a ball to his daughter,” the father is heard saying on the video. In a statement, the Brighton Police Department said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident and is conducting an internal investigation. The father said he’s hired an attorney and is considering legal action against the city, declined to comment on the apology. The former state patrol trooper now runs a construction company, said officers eventually let him go without issuing a citation. (ABC News)


‘I Need More Beer!!’: 93-Year-Old Woman Goes Viral With Message While Staying Home During Coronavirus Outbreak

A photo of a 93-year-old woman asking for more beer in Seminole, Pennsylvania has gone viral after it has been viewed more than a million times. For the woman, she said staying home has forced her to ask for help in keeping an essential supply in the house. A relative of hers took this photo of her holding a dry-erase board that read “I need more beer!” She was also holding a can of Coors Light beer in the photo. That photo has now gone viral around the world. Several people have reached out offering to get her some more beer. Family members say in fact, they have it on good authority that she will be getting her wish very soon. (KDKA)


IRS says stimulus payments will begin this week

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Americans who have authorized direct deposit and filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns will receive their stimulus money this week. The first round of direct-deposit payments will be made automatically to qualifying taxpayers. Social Security beneficiaries will also receive their payments automatically “in the near future,” the IRS said in a statement. Others who haven’t filed returns, authorized direct deposits, or receive Social Security will likely have to wait weeks and even months before seeing their money. Some will have to first file a return or register online in order to receive the payment. The IRS launched a new tool to help low-income people who aren’t normally required to file returns to input some basic information so that they can receive the stimulus money. They’ll have to provide their Social Security number, name, address, and the number of their dependents as well as bank account information if they want to receive a direct deposit. (CNN)


Monday Brings A New Begining With:

  • Dyngus Day (Monday after Easter)
  • Easter Monday
  • Make Lunch Count Day (TGI Fridays)
  • Scrabble Day
  • Thomas Jefferson Day

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