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How can I ‘stay at home’ if I will be homeless?

“Was I always going to be here? No I was not. I was going to be homeless at one time, a taxi driver, truck driver, or any kind of job that would get me a crust of bread. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Morgan Freeman

By Alex P. Vidal

ANOTHER 30 days, huh.

President Trump has ordered us to prolong our “social distancing” until end of April.

This means we will extend our “stay at home” sacrifice in compliance with the universal guidelines and call for cooperation to help halt the spread of coronavirus and save more lives.

This means no work for another 30 days.

No work for ordinary “isang kahig, isang tuka” (one strike, one meal) workers like me means no livelihood.

No livelihood means no income.

No income in the United States means no grocery and no cash to pay our staggering bills, including payment for our most precious and important “hideout” during the Armageddon: apartment.

Due to the severity of the situation, “stay at home” has gained currency as a dyed-in-the-wool slogan and tossed as the benchmark to assuage our fears, confusion and outrage as the coronavirus decimates a large portion of our population at a mind-blowing pace these past weeks.

-o0o-

After April 30, what if the virus refuses to throw in the sponge and authorities will be forced to make a perpetual social distancing order this time to save all the inhabitants in the planet?

Whoa.

How can we “stay at home” now if we have no more homes? If we lose our homes after our landlords/landladies have kicked us out for non-payment of arrears?   

People normally think those living in America, or workers in the ”Land of of Milk and Honey” siphon moolah in the trees, thus they can be exempted from a veritable global economic meltdown as a result of any harrowing pandemic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives—rich or poor.

There’s nobody to blame, of course, but the wicked coronavirus why people all over the globe now cringe in disbelief and confusion, why there’s a sudden adrenalin rush as the world breaches the one million mark of infected cases and grapples to understand the difference between existentialism and romanticism now that our mortality is in the emergency room.

This development came as President Trump dangled last week the possibility of reopening the U.S. economy by Easter.

Now he has changed his mind. At a White House Rose Garden briefing, Trump extended the current guidelines on social distancing until April 30, keeping the United States in line with measures taken by other nations gripped by the coronavirus pandemic to keep their populations at home.

-o0o-

The United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide at 239, 630 (as of April 2), according to Johns Hopkins University.

How high will the death toll be? A senior member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, said the outbreak could cause 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the United States alone before qualifying his estimate, “I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

How can I ‘stay at home’ if I will soon be homeless?

“Was I always going to be here? No I was not. I was going to be homeless at one time, a taxi driver, truck driver, or any kind of job that would get me a crust of bread. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Morgan Freeman

By Alex P. Vidal

ANOTHER 30 days, huh.

President Trump has ordered us to prolong our “social distancing” until end of April.

This means we will extend our “stay at home” sacrifice in compliance with the universal guidelines and call for cooperation to help halt the spread of coronavirus and save more lives.

This means no work for another 30 days.

No work for ordinary “isang kahig, isang tuka” (one strike, one meal) workers like me means no livelihood.

No livelihood means no income.

No income in the United States means no grocery and no cash to pay our staggering bills, including payment for our most precious and important “hideout” during the Armageddon: apartment.

Due to the severity of the situation, “stay at home” has gained currency as a dyed-in-the-wool slogan and tossed as the benchmark to assuage our fears, confusion and outrage as the coronavirus decimates a large portion of our population at a mind-blowing pace these past weeks.

-o0o-

After April 30, what if the virus refuses to throw in the sponge and authorities will be forced to make a perpetual social distancing order this time to save all the inhabitants in the planet?

Whoa.

How can we “stay at home” now if we have no more homes? If we lose our homes after our landlords/landladies have kicked us out for non-payment of arrears?   

People normally think those living in America, or workers in the ”Land of of Milk and Honey” siphon moolah in the trees, thus they can be exempted from a veritable global economic meltdown as a result of any harrowing pandemic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives—rich or poor.

There’s nobody to blame, of course, but the wicked coronavirus why people all over the globe now cringe in disbelief and confusion, why there’s a sudden adrenalin rush as the world breaches the one million mark of infected cases and grapples to understand the difference between existentialism and romanticism now that our mortality is in the emergency room.

This development came as President Trump dangled last week the possibility of reopening the U.S. economy by Easter.

Now he has changed his mind. At a White House Rose Garden briefing, Trump extended the current guidelines on social distancing until April 30, keeping the United States in line with measures taken by other nations gripped by the coronavirus pandemic to keep their populations at home.

-o0o-

The United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide at 239, 630 (as of April 2), according to Johns Hopkins University.

How high will the death toll be? A senior member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, said the outbreak could cause 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the United States alone before qualifying his estimate, “I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Death of doc in Aguirre twins operation mourned

“Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.”

Russell M. Nelson

By Alex P. Vidal

THE Aguirre craniopagus conjoined twins—Clarence and Carl—of Silay, Negros Occidental wouldn’t have been separated if not for famed Dr. James T. Goodrich, a Bronx-based neurosurgeon who has died after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

The twins, now 18 years old, were accompanied by their mother, Arlene, when they left the Philippines in 2003.

After the successful operation, Clarence and Carl were brought to the Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York for their post-operation rehabilitation.

They now live in a donated house in Westchester County’s town of Scarsdale, 25 miles away from the borough of Manhattan.

Craniopagus is conjoined twins fused in the cranium. There are 10 to 20 babies in one million in the United States with a case of craniopagus, it learned.

-o0o-

Goodrich, 73, best remembered for performing a 17-hour operation of the Aguirre twins together with 16 other doctors at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York City in August 2004, succumbed March 30 after suffering complications due to COVID-19.

New Yorkers mourned Goodrich’s death, who was described as a “Renaissance doctor” by his colleagues from the Rockland Country Board of Health.

He joined other celebrities and famous Americans in the list of coronavirus-related casualties. Others were: playwright Terrence McNally, actor Mark Blum, chef Floyd Cardoz, “Star Wars” star Andrew Jack, actor Joe Diffie, musician Allan Merril, and singer Adam Schlesinger.

The success of Goodrich’s operation of the Aguirre twins became a worldwide sensation in 2004 and it competed with big events in that year in the Philippines.

-o0o-

These events were: the 2004 Athens Olympics on August 13-29 where the Philippines suffered a dismal 0-0-0 medal drought; the violent onslaught of typhoons Unding, Violeta, Winnie, and Yoyong from Nov. 14-Dec. 4 where 1,060 Filipinos died; and the Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26 where 227,898 people were killed.

Goodrich also hogged the limelight when he operated for 27 hours another craniopagus conjoined twins, 13 months old Anias and Jason McDonald, in 2016 where he was assisted by 40 doctors in the same Bronx hospital.

Death rose to 4,500 in New York State with more than 200,000 cases. Of the 911 Americans who died Tuesday, 391 were from New York City, which has 83,712 cases and 1,942 deaths.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

I live in Elmhurst and my place is like a war zone

“The massive COVID-19 outbreak in New York City demonstrated that dense urban environments are undesirable places for humans to live.”

Steven Magee

By Alex P. Vidal

MY fellow journalist from Iloilo City, Ma. Regine Soliman-Algecera, complained that the loud siren from the passing ambulance distracted her while we were talking over the phone Sunday night (March 29).

Ano ina sa background man? Kada 10 minutes may ambulance nga naga uwang (I heard a siren from an ambulance every 10 minutes in the background),” Regine, who was calling from the Long Island, pointed out.

She was referring to the ambulances that carried suspected coronavirus patients to the Elmhurst Hospital here in Queens.

Every now and then, an ambulance passed by our apartment—day and night non-stop since it was reported that Elmhurst Hospital became the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the world.

Some residents, fearing they had coronavirus, would call 911 if they weren’t feeling good or if they were coughing and having a fever.

One New Yorker or COVID-19 patient died every 17 minutes, according to reports here.

Elmhurst Hospital, located on corner Baxter and Broadway Streets in the most ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood in the borough of Queens, is where the biggest number of COVID-19 patients died over the week.

The death toll, the highest in the United States, has passed 1,000 as of this writing.

-o0o-

“At least you heard it; you’re a witness to what has been going on here in Elmhurst now,” I replied. “Our neighborhood has become like a war zone since five days ago.”

I informed Regine I visited the Elmhurst Hospital Saturday afternoon amid a slight downpour, but didn’t penetrate the emergency room and the area where coronavirus patients were placed.

For our own safety, we have been discouraged from going to that hospital unless we were coronavirus patients or health authorities.

Regine and I actually both live here in Elmhurst.

Her apartment is very near the hospital, or approximately five minutes away by walk.

My apartment is located four blocks away or 10 to 15 minutes (I mentioned 20 minutes in my previous articles) away by walk.

She was confined in the same hospital two years ago for hypertension.

Regine, formerly of Cable Star in Iloilo, had been stranded in the Long Island as a “stay-in” and was advised by her landlady “not to go home” because the government had imposed a strict lockdown order and Monday would be “very difficult” for all New Yorkers who would try to go out.

-o0o-

President Donald Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30 after a top health official warned more than 100,000 people could die from the coronavirus in the United States.

“The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines … We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread.”

The initial 15-day period had been due to expire on March 30.

The United States has 139,000 confirmed infections from the coronavirus, more than any other country in the world, while more than 2,400 people have died from the respiratory illness caused by the pathogen.

Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 718,000. Some 149,000 people have recovered, and more than 33,000 have died.

This developed as The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms and a full medical staff, was scheduled to arrive in New York City on March 30.

Crews on the West Side pier have been preparing over the weekend for its arrival.

Several city agencies have worked together to deepen the area in which the hospital ship can come in to dock.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

My love affair with Big Apple’s Central Park

“My favorite place is Central Park because you never know what you’re going to find there. I also like that when I look out the windows of surrounding hotels, it’s seems like I’m looking out over a forest.”

Haley Joel Osment

By Alex P. Vidal

EVERYBODY who has visited and lived in New York City will fall in love with the Central Park.

State leaders, beauty queens, sports icons, journalists, film makers, students, religious voyagers, rock stars, tourists, Hollywood heartthrobs, photographers, gangsters, comedians, ordinary folks.

Like them, I also fell in love with the Central Park.

It was in the Central Park where I officially played my first serious tournament in chess in September 2016.

It was in the Central Park where I wrote some of my most memorable articles—many of which weren’t yet published.

For a while, Central Park became part of my life.

I love the trees and the surrounding tall skyscrapers. I love the birds, the lakes and green grasses. I can spend my time in the Central Park any day of the week if I am not busy. 

It was on July 21, 1853 when the New York State Legislature enacted into law the setting aside of more than 750 acres of land central to Manhattan Island to create America’s first major landscaped public park; they would soon refer to it as “the Central Park.”

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the winners of the 1858 design competition for Central Park, along with other socially conscious reformers understood that the creation of a great public park would improve public health and contribute greatly to the formation of a civil society. Immediately, the success of Central Park fostered the urban park movement, one of the great hallmarks of democracy of nineteenth century America.

DECLINE

By the early 20th century, vicissitudes of the social, political and economic climate threatened the fabric of the Park and caused its first serious decline.

Robert Moses, park commissioner from 1934 to 1960, received federal funding for the restoration of many eroded landscapes and crumbling structures, and embarked on massive public programming for the post-Depression populace.

When he left office, however, there was no management strategy for maintaining those improvements or educating Park visitors in proper stewardship, and for the next two decades the second — and most devastating — decline took its toll on the fragile 843-acre Park. 

Physically the Park was in a chronic state of decay. Meadows had become barren dustbowls; benches, lights, and playground equipment were broken, and the one-hundred-year-old infrastructure was crumbling.

Socially, the Park bred a careless, even abusive attitude towards the Park evidenced by unchecked amounts of garbage, graffiti, and vandalism. Positive use had increasingly been displaced by illicit and illegal activity. The perception—and in many cases, the reality—of Central Park was of a lawless and dangerous ruin. Despite a workforce of over three hundred Parks Department employees assigned to Central Park, there was no accountability.

New York City had abdicated their responsibility as Park stewards and, as a result, this national treasure became a national disgrace.

To help remedy this troubled situation, George Soros and Richard Gilder, under the aegis of the Central Park Community Fund, underwrote a management study of Central Park in 1974 by E.S. Savas, who was at that time the Columbia University School of Business, Professor of Public Systems Management.

The groundbreaking study proposed that two important initiatives be implemented to ameliorate the conditions in Central Park: one, that a Chief Executive Officer be given “clear and unambiguous managerial authority” for all Park operations, and two, a Central Park Board of Guardians be created to oversee strategic planning and policy, thereby instituting private citizen involvement in their public park.

APPOINTMENT

The study’s first proposal resulted in the appointment in 1979 of Elizabeth “Betsy” Barlow (now Rogers), a Yale-educated urban planner and writer, who became the newly created Central Park administrator, charged with overseeing all aspects of the Park’s daily operations, in essence the Chief Executive Officer recommended in the Savas study.

For four years before her appointment, Betsy had been overseeing the Central Park Task Force’s program for summer youth interns, eventually becoming the head of that small, private organization, financially separate from the City but existing under the aegis of the Parks Department.

Given her new official status and responsibilities as administrator, Betsy first conceived of and then helped to create a revolutionary public/private partnership with the support of then park commissioner Gordon Davis that would bring private monies and expertise in partnership with the City of New York to manage and restore Central Park.

In 1980, the two most prominent private advocacy groups—the Central Park Task Force and the Central Park Community Fund—merged to become the Central Park Conservancy—the citizen-based Board of Guardians that the Savas study had essentially recommended.

Under a Conservancy-funded master plan, the gradual restoration of those decrepit landscapes evolved, and success bred success. As the Conservancy showed its ability to protect and maintain its investment, many more private individuals, foundations and corporations put their trust and their money into the restoration of the Park.

To date, the Conservancy has had three successful capital campaigns towards rebuilding Central Park. The first campaign was launched in 1987; the second, “The Wonder of New York Campaign,” was launched when Richard Gilder made a challenge grant to the Conservancy and the City in 1993.

CAMPAIGN

The work was continued in the “Campaign for Central Park,” which ended in 2008, ensuring the completion of the Park’s transformation. Most importantly, for the first time in the Park’s turbulent history, the Conservancy has created an endowment that will ensure a sustainable green and healthy future for Central Park.

In 1998 a historic management agreement between the Conservancy and the City of New York formalized the then 18-year public-private partnership.

With that contract Douglas Blonsky, who began his career in 1985 in the Conservancy’s Capital Projects office as a landscape architect supervising construction projects, assumed Betsy’s title of Central Park administrator.

In 2004 he assumed the additional role of president of the Conservancy and CEO, responsible for not only the Park’s management but also all fundraising and administrative duties.

Blonsky created innovative management practices to ensure that those healthy new landscapes would have a skilled and dedicated staff to maintain them in a professional manner.

His clear vision for a well-managed and well-maintained Park took the Conservancy’s design and restoration vision one step further with the implementation of Zone Management System, which brought accountability, pride of workmanship, and clear and measurable results to the Conservancy and Parks Department staff under his jurisdiction.

Under this pioneering system, the Park is divided into 49 geographic zones for managerial purposes, each headed by a zone gardener, who in turn supervises grounds technicians and volunteers.

RESTORATION

The Park’s restorations gradually fostered important social changes in public behavior that returned the sanctity of public space to Central Park and ultimately to New York City at large.

The American ideal of a great public park and its importance as a place to model and shape public behavior and enhance the quality of life for all its citizens once again defines the measurement of a great municipality.

Towards this goal, the Conservancy was first in its demonstration of zero tolerance for both garbage and graffiti. An immediate call to action came when even the slightest sign of vandalism appeared in the Park — a busted lamppost or broken bench, for example— and became the tipping point, that turned public opinion of Central Park from one of dire repulsion to one of deep respect.

Today Central Park has never been more beautiful or better managed in the Park’s 156-year history, and the Conservancy is proud to be the leader of the Park’s longest period of sustained health and beauty.

To date the Conservancy has raised over $875 million towards the restoration, programming and management of Central Park and is responsible for 75 percent of this year’s annual operating budget of $67 million. Furthermore, just as Central Park was the leader in the birth of urban parks, so today Central Park, through the Conservancy’s innovative care and expertise, is the leader in the rebirth of urban parks, public spaces and the quality of life movement.

City officials and park professionals from across America and around the world come to the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks to learn of its best practices to restore and manage their local parks.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Death every 17 minutes

“The uninformed stay home and pray they are never infected with COVID-19, whereas the knowledgeable stay home and prepare the body for a possible future fight with the killer virus.”

― Steven Magee

By Alex P. Vidal

I went back to the petrifying Elmhurst Hospital in Queens amid a slight downpour Saturday afternoon and noticed that the area, where hundreds of people lined up for coronavirus admission in the last three days, was empty.  

There were police cars and the tents placed outside to accommodate a horde of patients (from 200 to 400 a day the last week, according to reports) were still there.

Outside or near the entrance, everyone was coughing and apparently had breathing shortage.

A nurse had said earlier dozens of people with symptoms of the coronavirus were sent to sit on chairs in one unit because there were no beds available.

I decided not to enter the area where coronavirus patients were being treated when I sensed some people screaming.

I didn’t want to add to the burden of the front liners if my issues weren’t that serious.    

Dr. Collin Smith, Elmhurst Hospital emergency room doctor, had exposed the eerie situations inside including the lack of tools needed for the “overflowing” Covid-19 patients.

Conditions at the hard-it hospital, located in the most ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood, were so bad that it resembled a “war zone.”

There were shortages of both supplies for the medical personnel and beds for their overflow number of coronavirus patients.

-o0o-

The latest grim citywide statistics as of this writing was that New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes as 84 more patients died only on Thursday and Friday.

The deaths occurred as the number of positive cases and of those who are critically ill had climbed.

New York has become the epicenter of the country’s outbreak with 52,318 confirmed cases and 728 deaths so far.

When adjusted for population, that translates to roughly 269 known cases for every 100,000 residents.

But experts say those numbers don’t give the whole picture because many cases—including mild or asymptomatic infections—have not been diagnosed.

States have also approached testing differently. In our state in New York, where officials have been testing aggressively, the number of known cases is now doubling about every two days.

In California, the number of known cases is doubling about every three days.

These were the statistics in the United States as of March 29 (Source: State and County Health Departments):

New York (52,318 cases 728 deaths); New Jersey (11,124-140);

Michigan (4,659-111); California (4,643-101); Washington (4,310-189);

Massachusetts (4,257-44); Florida (4,037-55); Illinois (3,491-47);

Louisiana (3,315 -137); Pennsylvania (2,751-34); Georgia (2,446-79); Colorado (2,061-44); Texas        (2,052-27); Connecticut (1,524-33); Ohio (1,406-25); Tennessee (1,373-6); Indiana (1,232-31); Maryland (992-10); Wisconsin (989-13); North Carolina (935-4); Missouri (838-10); Arizona (773-15); Virginia (739-17); Alabama (720-3); Mississippi (663-13); South Carolina (660-15); Nevada        (621-14); Utah (602-2); Oregon (479-13); Minnesota (441-5); Arkansas (409-3); Kentucky (394-8); Oklahoma (377-15); District of Columbia (342-4); Iowa (298-3); Idaho (261-5); Kansas (261-5); Rhode Island (239-2); Delaware (214-5); New Hampshire       (214-2); Maine (211-1); Vermont (211-12); New Mexico (208-2); Hawaii (151-0); Montana (147-1); West Virginia (113      -0); Nebraska (108-2); Alaska (102-2); Puerto Rico (100-3); North Dakota (94-1); Wyoming (84-0); South Dakota   (68-1); Guam (51-1); US Virgin Islands (23-0); Northern Mariana Islands (2-0); American Samoa (0-0);

Repatriations (152-0).

-o0o-

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that transmits its signals between the nerve cells and the brain. It reduces hunger, increase sexual interest, improve memory and mental alertness, and alleviate depression. (Vitamin Bible)

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

How does it feel to be in the ‘No. 1’ city

“If a severe pandemic materializes, all of society could pay a heavy price for decades of failing to create a rational system of health care that works for all of us.”

Irwin Redlener

By Alex P. Vidal

Scared. We’re so scared that New York is now the No. 1 hotbed of coronavirus in the United States (82,135 cases and

1,195 deaths as of March 26 night).

As of this writing, three hundred sixty five have died in New York and cases were up to 23,000.

We got goosebumps when Mayor Bill de Blasio hinted March 26 that half of New Yorkers or about four million people could be infected if the situation wasn’t remedied.

We have eclipsed Italy, which hogged the headlines for over a month with horrendous number of cases and casualties.

We’re scared even more because the epicenter of New York’s pandemic is in Queens, where I currently live.

Another reason to tremble in our short pants is that Elmhurst Hospital, now the focal point of “apocalypse” for having the highest number of COVID-19 patients and where death rate has skyrocketed in only several days this week, is located in our neighborhood.

It’s in the Elmhurst Hospital where I regularly had my medicals in 2016.

Elmhurst Hospital ironically was my supposed destination for a check-up on the day I decided to have a “recess” after about two weeks of self isolation and self-imposed “enhanced community distancing” on orders of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for all New Yorkers.

We now feel like there is an “urgent” reason to extend the “stay at home” guidelines we started in the second week of March in order to help prevent the spread of infection, which has savaged the economy prompting nearly three million Americans to seek unemployment benefits.

-o0o-

Coronavirus reportedly tends to spread in dense places and the first and most obvious explanation for the severity of the area’s outbreak is that New York is the largest and most densely populated city in the US.

“That spatial closeness makes us vulnerable,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said March 25.

According to the 2010 Census, New York City had an average of just over 27,000 people per square mile, or more than double the density of Chicago and Philadelphia and more than three times the density of Los Angeles.

At all times of day, we pack together on the subway, bump into each other on sidewalks and brush knees at bars and restaurants—all while potentially contagious.

We live in crowded apartment buildings, squeezing up stairs or into elevators with neighbors.

The transit system connects us across all five boroughs, so most people here don’t own cars that might otherwise separate us

“We’re used to crowds,” New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We’re used to lines. We’re used to being close together.”

New York City is also the largest city in the country with over eight million inhabitants.

New York’s high number of coronavirus cases is also just a reflection of its size. The state will likely lead the country in coronavirus cases even if its infection rate per person is not the highest, according to Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

-o0o-

The U.S. Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet certain other eligibility requirements.

Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers.

There is now the coronavirus relief package which dramatically expands unemployment insurance for the jobless during the outbreak, aimed at easing the suffering imposed by the crisis as claims shattered unemployment claim records.

Passed by the Senate and is set to be approved by the House on March 27, the $2 trillion bill creates two main categories of benefits for individuals.

The first is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers people who are unable to work because of the coronavirus outbreak—that includes independent contractors, gig workers, sick people and those caring for a loved one during the outbreak.

The second is an extra $600 per week over the next four months for those who are out of work and getting jobless benefits in their state.

-o0o-

ATOMS CANNOT BE SEEN. To show that the world was made of particles a million times smaller than objects visible to the naked eye was so difficult that their existence was not established beyond reasonable doubt until the end of the nineteenth century.

WELCOME THE WIND. Many products can cause air pollution to build up in our home, including modern cleaners, which contain strong chemicals. Let’s make sure to ventilate our home well, ensuring a through-flow of air to help reduce pollution levels and encourage good ventilation.

FILTER IT AWAY. The human body requires at least 1 gallon of water a day. If we are considering stocking up on emergency supplies, let’s bear in mind that plastic bottles are thought to leach chemicals into the water if left for a length of time. Let’s save space and the environment by stocking up on water filters instead.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2020 in Uncategorized