HOUSTON – Alba Garcia, 51, has a decision to make. Does she pay rent Wednesday or does she buy food for her 7-year-old daughter?
“Maybe I should try and pay my rent because I can’t bear for me and my daughter to be on the streets. I can beg for food but I can’t lose my apartment," she said in Spanish. Joe Higgs, an organizer for The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) acted as a translator. TMO works with Holy Ghost Catholic Church where Garcia is a member. Story here
AS THE BLACK MARKET TRADE of its N95 respirator masks has continued to swell, pressure is mounting on 3M, which manufactures the masks and other protective gear, to crack down on price gouging among its distributors.
Tuesday, amid widespread reports that vendors of medical supplies are wildly overcharging for the desperately needed protective devices, the Minnesota-based company insisted that it is committed to combating the inflation of prices for its products used during the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement about both price gouging and the sale of counterfeit masks, which also appears to be a problem, 3M promised that it “will aggressively pursue third-parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We are working with law enforcement authorities around the world — including, in the U.S., the U.S. Attorney General, state Attorneys General, and local authorities.”
But some civic groups are asking the company to do more. The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, or Metro IAF, a Queens-based nonprofit, responded to 3M’s statement yesterday with a letter to the company’s CEO, Mike Roman, insisting that Roman make it clear to the company’s distributors that if they take advantage of the desperate need for protective gear they won’t be able to sell 3M’s products in the future. Intercept story here.
To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy.
As the pandemic rages on, there will be many difficult messages for the public. Unfortunately, the top-down conversation around masks has become a case study in how not to communicate with the public, especially now that the traditional gatekeepers like media and health authorities have much less control.The message became counterproductive and may have encouraged even more hoarding because it seemed as though authorities were shaping the message around managing the scarcity rather than confronting the reality of the situation.
Full story HERE.
Immigrants in the Dallas area mask their symptoms so they can continue to work, according to Josephine López Paul, lead organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith.
“We’ve seen our service industries obliterated,” said Ms. López Paul. “Immigrants are being hit the hardest right now and there’s no safety net for them." Story
Trump's Sh*t Show: America is scared and confused: Even the experts are getting it wrong; Self Praise and Suck ups reign
The CDC said Americans don’t need masks — but now they might. The agency said the virus spread through “droplets” from coughs and sneezes — but then warned about catching it from people with no symptoms, or even from surfaces, like subway turnstiles or metal shopping carts.
It said young people are at low risk — but the hospital beds and morgues of New York called that into question.
Federal officials debating whether to recommend that face coverings be routinely worn in public are responding to increasing evidence that infected people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus, according to internal memos provided to the White House by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Simple cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose can prevent virus transmission from such individuals when they are out buying groceries or seeking medical care, according to the memos obtained by The Washington Post. Story
Colorado emergency child care expands to include grocery, construction workers
The announcement came after two groups representing grocery and food processing workers — Coloradans for the Common Good and the state grocery workers union, United Food and Commercial Workers — urged Gov. Jared Polis and other state officials to give such workers the same kinds of protections available to front-line health workers.
"We have heard from many families and business owners who are part of our member congregations that due to the economic slowdown they are struggling to pay their regular bills including their rent and utility bills." - TMO leader Bryan Lopez of Assumption Catholic Church
In the only public testimony at today’s Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) meeting, Texas IAF Rev. Miles Brandon of Central Texas Interfaith called on the PUC to create assistance programs and halt cutoffs for customers impacted by the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. At the meeting the PUC voted to create the “COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program” providing financial assistance and halting service disconnections for low-income and unemployed customers in deregulated markets such as Dallas, Houston, and Round Rock.
More telling even than the testing and ventilator story is the politics of masks...
Billionaire Mark Cuban has been trying to do his part to help hospital workers get more protective equipment, working with a non-profit group and delving into the market himself to find gold-standard N95 respirator masks he could buy for medical personnel.
He uncovered something else instead.
What he found poking around in that marketplace is leading him increasingly to believe that respirator maker 3M Co. is shirking its duty to keep prices low and get masks where they’re needed most during a national emergency. The problem, he says, is that 3M sells the masks through a network of resellers who aren’t held accountable for raising prices and don’t have to direct their sales to hospitals.
“3M lists all its distributors online, the ones buying and selling these things, and these distributors are making as much money as they possibly can,” Cuban said in an interview. “It’s wrong, it’s criminal.” Bloomberg reports.
“This hurricane’s coming for everybody,” said Broderick Bagert, an organizer with the community organizing group Together Louisiana.