One of the most important jobs that tend to be overlooked, especially in the midst of this current coronavirus pandemic, is regular mail delivery. Based on the constant contact with people and items encountered on the job, United States Postal Service (USPS) drivers bringing mail to areas hardest hit by coronavirus are demanding hazard pay, according to CBS News.
Postal workers say that it is time that they receive hazard pay. So, a petition on Change.org has been started, which has acquired more than 525,083 signatures.
The petition states:
“As we get deeper and deeper into this Coronavirus epidemic postal employees are being forced to work and do overtime upwards of 12 hours a day. As of this present time, there have been Upwards of more than 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus with-in the United States Postal Service (As of April 3rd, that number has increased to more than 293 employees). From dealing with the day-to-day struggles of rain, sleet snow, hail or no AC in postal vehicles limited heating in postal vehicles no innovations in carriers delivery methods no innovations in protection clothing or any other areas of the post office.
“Megan Brennan USPS CEO hasn’t sent any supplies such as hand sanitizer or mask for employees protection, she made a very vague statement which basically read her employees should follow CDC guidelines. Blood, sweat, and tears postal employees carrier this company on their backs day in and day out at the expense of time with our families wear and tear on our bodies, mental and emotional abuse from USPS management.
“We are demanding hazard pay for working during Coronavirus considering we are essential during this epidemic we should at be paid for it. The union is no help to employees during this at all they should be fighting for this hazard pay or threatening for another shutdown. We have to get louder post office!! Hopefully, this is an outlet to make change happen.”
The government has deemed postal workers as “essential employees” during the ongoing pandemic crisis. Lawmakers have stated that if the USPS doesn’t get more support, it could shut down in the next few months.
Anyone who was set to launch a book, album, or tour of any kind in the last few weeks has had to quickly master one of two things: Patience, as those projects got postponed, or the art of the strong pivot in real-time. Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys has done both.
Set to launch a full trifecta of autobiographical material featuring her new album, ALICIA, a memoir, More Myself: A Journey, and an intimate storytelling tour in the final weeks of March, her promotional pivot is in full swing, and she’s killing it while encouraging fans on social media to be responsible and “kind to each other” in the wake of the COVID-19 virus.
“My Beautiful Fam,” she addressed fans in a March 19 letter posted on Facebook, “I wanted to officially tell you the #MoreMyself Tour & my new album #ALICIA will be postponed.” The note went on to say that her memoir would be released on March 31, as originally planned but her book tour and seventh studio album would be postponed. Although three singles have been released, the 15-track album is now slated to drop on May 15.
While live book tour appearances in multiple cities were canceled due to nationwide shelter-in-place restrictions, Keys moved swiftly to make up for them from the safety of her own home. On March 29, her friend and mentor, Oprah, featured Keys on a special Facebook Live Super Soul Sunday. (Oprah features prominently in Key’s book, writing a brief introduction to a chapter called, “Resounding Yes,” and sharing gems like, “No one else can see your big picture. Only you know the journey you’re on.” Queen O also advised Keys to protect her most personal relationships from the media: “Keep your love life to yourself,” Keys recalled Oprah telling her. “Keep some of you for you.”)
Recalling a restorative trip to Egypt, she wrote, “Fourteen days of solitude can bring…space to breathe. Time to reflect. A chance to reimagine what your life can look like.” Ultimately, she also reminds us, “Nothing but uncertainty is certain.”
Today at noon ET, Keys will appear on Amazon Live, to talk about her book and answer questions. Click here to watch.
The spread of the coronavirus has caused a global public health crisis that has led many governors to issue mandatory stay-at-home orders and close all non-essential businesses until the virus can be contained. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and thousands have died. One survivor in New York City, however, says using traditional Caribbean remedies helped him beat the virus.
Raeburn Fairweather, a 47-year-old respiratory therapist at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, looked to his Jamaican heritage for an alternative treatment after he tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18.
“I’m going to be honest with you, the staff was still somewhat laid back about it,” he told the New York Post. Fairweather was allowed to return to work the same day he got the result because he hadn’t had a fever during the previous three days. He describes his symptoms ranging from a 104-degree fever, losing his senses of smell, and taste, and coughing up “thick, white mucus” by day three.
“The Tylenol would not bring it down. My body felt like it was falling apart,” he said. “Headaches were immense. They were making my eyeballs feel like they were on springs.”
The married father of five quarantined himself in an extra room in his family’s Canarsie rowhouse, away from his wife and children. After discovering Tylenol wasn’t completely effective, he resorted to using Jamaican remedies he often used growing up for different ailments made with turmeric, garlic, and ginger.
Although Fairweather credits home remedies for helping him recover, the World Health Organization states that there is no cure for the novel virus. “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease,” reads the org’s website. “WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”
Maimonides spokeswoman Eileen Tynion confirmed the hospital’s policy allowed employees who recover from the coronavirus to resume work on their fourth consecutive day without a fever. Officials at the hospital in Borough Park said several other workers have also tested positive for the coronavirus, but declined to provide additional details.
Computer and technology giant Apple announced in a video Sunday it’s designing and producing face masks for medical workers and plans to produce 1 million masks per week.
According to CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement on Twitter. Cook added the masks fit 100 in a box, takes two minutes to assemble, and are fully adjustable.
“We’ve launched a company-wide effort, bringing together product designers, engineering, operations and packaging teams, and our suppliers to design, produce, and ship face shields for health workers,” Cook said. “Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara Valley this past week and the feedback from doctors was very positive.”
Medical professionals across the country are dealing with a shortage of medical supplies including face shields and masks, putting them at risk while they save lives. Cook added Apple has donated 20 million N95 masks to organizations that need them.
In some states, governors are asking citizens with sewing skills to make and donate masks for medical workers. Some hospitals are threatening to fire doctors and nurses who speak out on the lack of medical equipment.
Apple has already donated 20 million N95 masks and is working with medical professionals and government officials to determine where the shields are most needed. Cook said the company is also looking to expand distribution beyond the United States soon.
Other technology giants are also pitching in. Google announced it will release location data in more than 100 countries to help health officials and governments make informed decisions on the virus.
“For Apple this is a labor of love and gratitude, and we’ll share more of our efforts over time,” Cook continued. “In the meantime each of us can stop the spread of the virus by following expert advice to stay home, and practice social distancing.”
The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 350,000 and killed more than 10,000 in the US alone.
Today, Fair Count and Comcast NBCUniversal announced a million-dollar national partnership to encourage people of color to participate in the 2020 Census. Historically, black and brown people have been undercounted in the census. In 2010, 1.5 million black, Latinos, and Native Americans were undercounted. Part of that is due to the lack of access to the Census as well as mistrust and disinformation campaigns in communities of color.
With federal funding for communities at stake, Fair Count and Comcast NBCUniversal want to ensure that people understand the importance of being represented this time around.
As a part of the partnership, Fair Count’s “Piece of the Pie” ad began airing during Comcast NBCUniversal’s Public Service Announcement time across the nation this week. It will be followed by another ad, called “Sisters for the Census,” that will run through the end of the census response period on Aug. 15.
In a joint statement released by Fair Act and Comcast NBCUniversal, Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean, vice president of Fair Count said, “Comcast is a trusted voice in households across the nation, and we are grateful to them for allowing us to utilize this platform. This partnership will allow us to reach people across the country—from urban to rural communities — letting them know how participation in the 2020 Census will benefit their families, friends, and communities for the next ten years.”
American’s response to the Census helps direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services.
On the heels of the announcement, McLean of Fair Count joined Sheila Hyland to talk about how Fair Act is working to achieve a fair and accurate count of America’s population in Census 2020.
With the Census now being offered digitally and over the phone, people have more access to the form.
“As we embark on the first digital census, Comcast is proud to extend our platform and support the outreach efforts of Fair Count, an organization that shares our commitment to encouraging census participation across hard to count communities, particularly communities of color,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, senior vice president for Community Investment at Comcast Corp. and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.
Communities are reliant on every member to be counted to receive the support they need to advance over time
To be counted in the Census, click here.