Friday, May 15, 2020

Facebook is compensating staff for PTSD

In a settlement, the social network agreed to pay $52 million to thousands of US content moderators over mental health issues. The complaint was brought by moderators who said they operated in unsafe workspace. In a preliminary settlement filed in San Mateo Superior Court in California, the social network agreed to pay damages to American moderators and provide more counseling to them while they work. Each moderator will receive a minimum of $1,000 and will be eligible for additional compensation if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or related conditions. The settlement covers 11,250 moderators, and lawyers in the case believe that as many as half of them may be eligible for extra pay related to mental health issues associated with their time working for Facebook, including depression and addiction. (The Verge)


Hong Kong Government Will Prioritize Bill to Make Booing China’s National Anthem Punishable by Prison

The proposed law is aimed at ensuring that residents of Hong Kong respect China’s national anthem. Under the bill, those who use the anthem for commercial purposes, or publicly and intentionally insult the anthem, such as booing it during soccer games, could face fines of up to the equivalent of $6,450 and up to three years in prison. The move comes as differences between the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps in Hong Kong were sharpened during months-long protests last year that were sparked by an attempt to pass a bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China to face trials. That bill was eventually withdrawn. (Time)


Woman seen driving over headstones at Houston National Cemetery on Mother’s Day

Many people went to the Houston National Cemetery recently to watch the Lone Star Flight Museum flyover, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War ll in Europe. For many people who were at the cemetery, it was a tribute to the veterans and a chance to visit the graves of loved ones. Instead, some people were witness to a bizarre incident that outraged the family. A woman driving a red minivan was in a hurry to leave as soon as the flyover ended. “She tried to back up, and then went up on the curb of the section where my grandparents are buried,” one witness explained. “[The woman] couldn’t get around some cars, and then she started running over the graves.” In all, the driver tried to get around the traffic jam three times. She went over dozens of graves by the time she finished, according to witnesses. Onlookers were yelling at her to stop while one person was recording it on his cell phone. The driver’s window was down and the driver was heard yelling “I got to get out of here!” The woman finally got out of the cemetery, but not before being caught on video. The woman behind the wheel has not been identified at this time. The director of the National Cemetery said the bulk of the investigation was done. The damage was estimated at $1,000, with much of it to the sprinkler system. No headstones appeared to be damaged. (ABC 13)


Man stabbed with ‘homemade throwing star’ during fight

A man was arrested in Downtown Pensacola, Florida after the victim says he stabbed him with a “homemade throwing star”, a police report states. The 28-year-old man is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Pensacola police report they responded to find the victim holding the man’s face in a flower bed. The victim told officers the man had a knife that looked like a homemade throwing star that he just cut him with. The victim states he was talking to someone when the assailant walked up to him and started “mouthing off to him” then pulling out a sharp object and came at him, according to the police report. The victim held the man in a headlock until police arrived. The victim was treated for a minor cut on his arm by EMS. The suspect was arrested and taken to Escambia County Jail where is held on a $1,000 bond. (WEAR)


Protesters do squats and push-ups while demanding gyms reopen

A group of demonstrators in Florida did push-ups and squats outside of a courthouse in protest of gym closures. The protesters, 30 or so of who gathered on the sidewalk next to the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater, Florida, called for athletic facilities to reopen despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Gyms across the state have been closed since last month after Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order shuttering business deemed non-essential in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Although last week Florida began allowing select businesses to reopen, gyms were not among those included in the first phase of the reopening plan. Small protests similar to the one in Florida have popped up across the country in recent weeks. Some questioned the group’s dedication, arguing that just push-ups and squats are hardly sufficient for a good work out. (Daily Dot)


Krispy Kreme offering free ‘graduate dozen’ doughnuts to Class of 2020

Most members of the Class of 2020 will not be able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas due to the coronavirus pandemic. To soften the disappointment, Krispy Kreme is offering a free “graduate dozen.” The company announced in a news release that graduating high school and college seniors can get the assortment of a dozen doughnuts, which spells out “2020” in three rows, for free at participating locations. The only requirement is that the graduates must wear their cap, gown, class ring, class shirt, letterman jacket or any class of 2020 apparel. The doughnuts also will be available to buy beginning Monday through May 24, via drive-thru and by ordering online at Krispy Kreme’s website or app for pickup or delivery, the company said. “We feel for all of the high school and college seniors. We wish they had that moment of walking across the stage and getting their diploma,” Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer said in the news release. “We can’t replace that … but we thought we could help them safely have a little fun and enjoy a special ‘Graduate Dozen’ on us.” The free dozen includes flavors such as Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled, Strawberry Iced Kreme Filled, Cake Batter Filled, Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles, Strawberry Iced with Sprinkles, and Yellow Iced Original Glazed Doughnuts, the company said. (Krispy Kreme)


Social distancing could remain until 2021 or 2022

Scientists in Massachusetts are doing some critical research on the future of the pandemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, social distancing has become our guiding principal toward getting to a “new normal.” But now two research papers, including one done by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, suggest the public may need to keep elements of social distancing, until 2021 or even 2022. The herd immunity threshold in the Harvard study when the virus would stop spreading is 55%. However, researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at three possible scenarios for the future of the pandemic:

  1. An initial wave of cases, followed by peaks and valleys over one to two years.
  2. A larger fall peak, similar to what took place during the Spanish flu.
  3. A peak in cases now, followed by a slow burn.



IRS gives employers more choice

Under new rules from the Internal Revenue Service as a “response to the coronavirus pandemic,” employers will be able to let their staff change their health care plans more easily. Workers may not have to wait for the usual enrollment period to come around to make any change, meaning that family members, for example, can be added to plans, and workers can sign up or change their health coverage at any stage. The new option, which employers must opt into, means those who have been furloughed can drop health insurance payment for the time they are not working, and those who hadn’t chosen to be covered can do so now. (The New York Times)


Teen caught driving 191 mph in his father’s car — more than triple the speed limit

A teenager was caught driving 191 mph in his father’s car on a highway in Ontario, Canada, more than triple the speed limit, police said. He was among the 150 drivers that have been charged with street racing or stunt racing since the start of May, according to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The 18-year-old was behind the wheel of a Mercedes with a 19-year-old passenger when he was caught going about a “football field per second,”  OPP spokesperson said in a 14-minute Periscope post. The OPP Highway Safety Division’s Twitter account posted a photo of the radar gun catching him speeding and the vehicle being towed away. The teenager was charged with dangerous driving and street/stunt driving. He also gets his license suspended and the car taken away for a week. Stunt driving carries fines up to $10,000 and can end with six months in jail and a loss of license for up to two years in Canada. (CBS News)


Study shows correlation of Covid-19 cases with lower levels of vitamin D

Vitamin D was previously associated with resistance to acute respiratory infections. A new study shows that countries with lower mean vitamin D levels are also having higher infection and mortality rates of coronavirus. The primary aims of this study were to assess if there is any association between the mean levels of vitamin D in various countries and the mortality caused by COVID-19. The secondary aim was to identify if there is any association between the mean vitamin D levels in various countries and the number of cases of COVID-19. As a result, research showed that vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide in all age groups but vitamin D status deteriorates with age, above 70 years of life, due to decreased sun exposure and cutaneous synthesis. It is poor in the institutionalized people, 75% of them being severely vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D has multiple roles in the immune system that can modulate the body reaction to an infection. Researchers found significant crude relationships between vitamin D levels and the number COVID-19 cases and especially the mortality caused by this infection. The most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19, the aging population, is also the one that has the most deficit Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D has already been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections and it was shown to be safe. (Springer)


Wisconsin court nixes stay-at-home

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down a statewide stay-at-home-order in a 4-3 decision, saying, “in the case of a pandemic, which lasts month after month, the Governor cannot rely on emergency powers indefinitely.” The order, meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, had been in place since March and had been extended until May 26th, prompting a lawsuit from state lawmakers. While lockdown orders have seen legal challenges in other states, this is the first such lawsuit to succeed as debate intensifies over the response to the pandemic. (Reuters)


Another 2.98 million jobless

Another 2.98 million Americans filed jobless claims for the week ending May 9th. The new claims bring the total number of U.S. jobs lost since the start of the pandemic in March to more than 36 million. While the new number is far below the weekly claims filed during the height of the pandemic, it still surpasses the 695,000 applications filed in October 1982, the high before the global health crisis. The growing numbers foreshadow the unemployment rate increasing again in June. (Department of Labor)


WHO Warns That COVID-19 May Never Go Away

New coronavirus clusters have surfaced around the world as nations struggle to balance reopening with preventing a second wave. Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan reportedly pressed ahead to test all 11 million residents for the virus within 10 days after a handful of new infections were found. In Lebanon, authorities reinstated a nationwide lockdown for four days. “This virus may never go away,” top WHO official said. Without a vaccine, he said, it could take years for the global population to build up sufficient immunity. (BBC)


Friday Kicks The Dust Up With:

  • Endangered Species Day (3rd Friday)
  • Hyperemisis Gravidarum Awareness Day
  • International Day of Families
  • International MPS Awareness Day
  • International Defense Transportation Day (3rd Friday)
  • International Virtual Assistants Day (3rd Friday)
  • Nakba Day
  • National Bike to Work Day (3rd Friday)
  • National Chocolate Chip Day
  • National Pizza Party Day (3rd Friday)
  • National Slider Day (Food)
  • Nylon Stockings Day
  • National Tuberous Sclerosis Day
  • Peace Officer Memorial Day
  • Straw Hat Day

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